Hold fast the pattern of sound words
Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast to the pattern of words, which he had heard (2 Timothy 1:13). A writer to The Bible Treasury: New Series (Volume 2 - 2 Timothy 1:13) writes on this verse:
Form is not limited to material things, but appertains to spiritual truth, and only when it degenerates into formality does it become offensive to God. It is true we must recollect that God's word is not a matter of gradual evolution. God speaks with authority, and it is for us to hear. Science may be, and is, laboriously built up; not so scripture, however slow our apprehension of its meaning, its unity being all the more marvellous, because it was written by so many different hands across a period of 1500 years.
Hence we find the apostle Paul bidding his son in the faith to "have an outline of sound words." No doubt error was already creeping in which made it all the more incumbent on Timothy to preach the truth in the most definite terms, learnt, as we read, from apostolic lips. For Christianity is no system of shadowy dreams. Such were the speculations of the Gnostics, even then starting into unhealthy life; who, while pretending to a more spiritual conception of truth, were really undermining and explaining away the truth itself. To them apparently such a form was naught: mystical reveries shrink from distinct and definite signification; though doubtless the same words possess implicitly a potency of meaning beyond what the most spiritual mind can fathom.
Such is divine revelation which, in its last and fullest form, comes to us embodied in language of transcendent precision. No doubt it was providentially ruled that its medium should be so copious, that it should be written in the most flexible, as it is the most beautiful, of human tongues. God of course could have moulded any language to His purpose, even that massive yet child language which embodied His law. But infinite Wisdom, "unresting, unhasting," ever has the right instrument at hand for the right work, be it the man or the tongue in which he speaks. May we esteem it a privilege so to be used, in however humble a service. R.B.