Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Wicked people and impostors, however, will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
Though my foes and oppressors are countless
I have not swerved from your will.
Your word is founded on truth:
your decrees are eternal. (R./)
Though princes oppress me without cause
I stand in awe of your word.
The lovers of your law have great peace;
they never stumble. (R./)
I await your saving help, O Lord,
I fulfil your commands.
I obey your precepts and your will;
all that I do is before you. (R./)
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet." ' David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?" And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
Timothy’s role in the Church sounds like a retired foreign missionary who became leader of the local Christians in Ephesus. He had been baptised by Paul around the year 47 and then joined in his apostolic travels, being with Paul at the founding of the Church in Corinth. During his years with Paul, he became a most trusted colleague and was sent on difficult missions – often in the face of disturbance in local churches which Paul had founded. When Paul installed him as leader for the Church of Ephesus, Timothy was comparatively young for this work. When Paul advises, “Let nobody have contempt for your youth,” it seems to indicate that Timothy was timid, and at one point he gets the advice to “Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1 Tim 5:23). Since he had observed at first-hand Paul's patience under suffering for the Gospel, Paul urges him to show equal patience and perseverance in his own ministry of church leadership.
Timothy is urged to continue reading the Scriptures regularly, for they are an inspired guide to living. Paul's holds the Scriptures as vitally important, both for doctrine (how to understand the gift of God to us) and for moral guidance. Today's text ends with the classic declaration about the nature of our Holy Scriptures, "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work." This was repeated with approval in pope Pius XII's encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943) and more emphatically by Vatican II in the Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum (1964) which urges all the faithful, and especially those charged with a preaching ministry, to "hold fast to the Sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study. This so that none of them will become "an empty preacher of the word of God outwardly, who is not a listener to it inwardly," since they must share the wealth of the divine word with the faithful committed to them, especially in the sacred liturgy." All the Christian faithful are urged by the Council "to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ. "For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." (Saint Jerome).((D.V. 25) )
Our formation comes first from home and then from our circle of teachers and friends, reinforced by our worship in church. Paul refers to this background when writing to Timothy, "From your infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures." Earlier he praises the sincere faith of Timothy'e grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. A good start in the family prepared Timothy for his later apostolic ministry.
By contrast today's gospel, the predominant sense is of regret. Religion has been turned into a business, and the temple into a place for controversy. How easily this can happen if church people are more concerned with unanswerable questions such as the timing of the end of the world rather than on the basic virtues of love, patience, forgiveness, generosity, and prayer.