Verse 15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures. That is, the Old Testament; for the New Testament was not then written. See Barnes "Joh 5:39".

The mother of Timothy was a pious Hebrewess, and regarded it as one of the duties of her religion to train her son in the careful knowledge of the word of God. This was regarded by the Hebrews as an important duty of religion, and there is reason to believe that it was commonly faithfully performed. The Jewish writings abound with lessons on this subject. Rabbi Judah says, "The boy of five years of age ought to apply to the study of the sacred Scriptures." Rabbi Solomon, on De 11:19, says, "When the boy begins to talk, his father ought to converse with him in the sacred language, and to teach him the law; if he does not do that he seems to bury him." See numerous instances referred to in Wetstein, in loc. The expression used by Paul—from a child, (apo brefouv) does not make it certain at precisely what age Timothy was first instructed in the Scriptures, though it would denote an early age. The word used brefov denotes,

(1.) a babe unborn, Lu 1:41,44;

(2.) an infant, babe, suckling. In the New Testament, it is rendered babe and babes, Lu 1:41,44; 2:12,16; 1 Pe 2:2; infants, Lu 18:15; and young children, Ac 7:19. It does not elsewhere occur, and its current use would make it probable that Timothy had been taught the Scriptures as soon as he was capable of learning anything. Dr. Doddridge correctly renders it here "from infancy." It may be remarked then,

(1.) that it is proper to teach the Bible to children at as early a period of life as possible.

(2.) That there is reason to hope that such instruction will not be forgotten, but will have a salutary influence on their future lives. The piety of Timothy is traced by the apostle to the fact that he had been early taught to read the Scriptures, and a great proportion of those who are in the church have been early made acquainted with the Bible.

(3.) It is proper to teach the Old Testament to children— since this was all that Timothy had, and this was made the means of his salvation.

(4.) We may see the utility of Sabbath schools. The great and almost the sole object of such schools is to teach the Bible; and from the view which Paul had of the advantage to Timothy of having been early made acquainted with the Bible, there can be no doubt that if Sunday schools had then been in existence, he would have been their hearty patron and friend.

Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. So to instruct you in the way of salvation, that you may find the path to life. Learn hence,

(1.) that the plan of salvation may be learned from the Old Testament. It is not as clearly revealed there as it is in the New, but it is there; and if a man had only the Old Testament, he might find the way to be saved. The Jew, then, has no excuse if he is not saved.

(2.) The Scriptures have power. They are "able to make one wise to salvation." They are not a cold, tame, dead thing. There is no book that has so much power as the Bible; none that is so efficient in moving the hearts, and consciences, and intellects of man-kind. There is no book that has moved so many minds; none that has produced so deep and permanent effects on the world.

(3.) To find the way of salvation, is the best kind of wisdom; and none are wise who do not make that the great object of life.

Through faith which is in Christ Jesus. See Barnes "Mr 16:16".

See Barnes "Ro 1:17".

Paul knew of no salvation, except through the Lord Jesus. He says, therefore, that the study of the Scriptures, valuable as they were, would not save the soul unless there was faith in the Redeemer; and it is implied, also, that the proper effect of a careful study of the Old Testament, would be to lead one to put his trust in the Messiah.

{c} "which are able" Joh 5:39

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