Trustworthy (Faithful, True) Sayings to Timothy

By Leonard Lauriault

Much taught in the Christian sector today is useless for salvation (promoting sincere faith, a clear conscience, and a pure heart (Timothy 1: 3-7) It should be avoided because it promotes controversy, turning people away from the faith (Titus 3: 9; 2 Timothy 2: 14-16, 23; 1 Timothy 1: 18, 19; 6: 11, 12, 20, 21). God reveals his will through the gospel (1 Corinthians 15: 1-8; Romans 1: 16, 17; 2 Timothy 1: 8-11). All the church’s teaching in any age must conform to that gospel. Otherwise, it’s not sound — not useful for salvation (1 Timothy 1: 10, 11; 2 Timothy 3: 14-17; 1 Timothy 4: 6-8).
Sound doctrine is trustworthy for salvation because its foundation is the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3: 10, 11; Ephesians 4: 19-22).

In his letters to Timothy, Paul mentions four trustworthy (NIV; faithful/true in NKJV) sayings deserving full acceptance (1 Timothy 1: 15; 3: 14-16). They’re trustworthy, worth laboring, and even suffering for (1 Timothy 4: 8-10; 2 Timothy 2: 8-10), because they’re from God (1 Corinthians 1: 9; Hebrews 10: 23; 11: 11; 1 Thessalonians 5: 23, 24) and have value for eternal life.

Although extremely important, one of the trustworthy sayings will not be discussed in this article because it concerns church leaders — those responsible for maintaining sound doctrine (1 Timothy 3: 1-13; Titus 1: 5-9).

First, we can believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1: 15, 16). Nobody’s excluded from this opportunity no matter how bad they think they’ve been because the worst of sinners has already been saved (1 Timothy 1: 13, 14). All sin is the same to God (James 2: 8-11). He wants to save everyone (1 Timothy 2: 3-6; 2 Peter 3: 9; Acts 17: 30), no matter what they‘ve done (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11).

One trustworthy saying is 2 Timothy 2: 11-13. This passage, preceded by the good news about Jesus’ death, resurrection, and sovereignty (vs. 8; 1 Timothy 6: 15, 16), tells how we can take advantage of that good news. Remember, trustworthy refers to something to be believed. “Saying” indicates oral presentation that must be complete for people to know about the good news and how to respond (Romans 10: 14; Acts 8: 30, 31).

Each verse of 2 Timothy 2: 11-13 begins with, “If,” indicating our response determines the outcome. “If we died with him, we will also live with him,” implies that if we don’t die with him, we won’t live with him. Jesus said if we don’t take up our cross and follow him, we can’t be his disciples (Luke 14: 27; Romans 6: 5-7).

The beginning of 2 Timothy 2: 12 introduces the rest of the passage. Our faith must continue throughout our lives (Revelation 2: 10). We must claim Jesus by oral confession (Matthew 10: 32, 33; Romans 10: 9, 10; 1 Timothy 6: 12, 13) proven by our lifestyle (2 Timothy 2: 19-21; 3: 1-5; Titus 1: 15, 16). Turning away from evil is repentance that begins when we realize the trustworthiness of God’s word and includes turning toward God (Acts 3: 19, 20).

If we don’t follow God’s plan in sincere faith, sin isn’t removed (Acts 2: 36-39), our consciences aren’t cleared (2 Corinthians 7: 10; 1 Peter 3: 18-21), and our hearts cannot become purified. God will be faithful to his word (1 Timothy 2: 13). If we are faithful to him, he also will be faithful to us (2 Timothy 4: 16-18).