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Guard The Deposit- 1 Timothy 6:20


Paul’s PS to Timothy.

Text: 1 Timothy 6: 20, KJV

Paul’s conclusion to his letter is a reiteration of his opening words. In his summary, Paul reminds Timothy of some of the main points of the letter, – helpful instruction so that Timothy can honour God in his life, his ministry and in the Christian assembly.


1. Keeping the Commitment! keep – that which is committed to thy trust (παραθηκην),

Timothy has a very high obligation placed upon him. Literally – this is simply, ‘guard the deposit.’   He MUST preserve that which has been committed to him – a business term – used by ‘bankers’ and those who used them. Now, this term has a profound meaning, which we would do well to explore.

  1. What was it that Timothy must preserve? Most commentators will agree that this sacred trust is not just the ministry that had been committed to him, or his own personal faith in God, but the body of doctrine which has been committed to the Christian church:- 1 Timothy 1:11 It is the GOSPEL which has been entrusted to him. 2 Timothy 1:13  Timothy has been entrusted with the Gospel, the doctrines of grace, and that is a very sacred trust indeed.
  2. What will this commitmentmean?
    1. It is to be guarded, It is to be CONTENDED FOR. Jude v3 You will find yourself under attack from atheists and liberals and ‘evangelicals’ who place their own personal feelings and impressions and experiences on a par with Scripture. Hold forth the Word of truth fearlessly.
    2. It is to be preserved. There is no room for Timothy to add anything to this body of truth, the Gospel. He is not required to invent anything, or make something up, he is to pass on the same message which he has received, and nothing else.
    3. It is to be passed on. What Timothy has learned from Paul, he is to teach to others; to faithful men, who would preach the truth of the Gospel, as Paul had preached it. 2 Timothy 2:1 That is how the apostolic message, and the apostolic doctrine is to be preserved, until the end of time itself. It is the pattern of teaching and discipline men for the ministry.
    4. It is to be accounted for. We will be called upon to give an account, to state what we have done with the Gospel message, the clear, Christian doctrine of sinful man and redemption in Jesus.
    5. It is an ongoing commitment. – it is such a sacred bond that has been placed in Timothy’s keeping, that it must be preserved intact, until the day when the Master returns.

So Timothy is to guard the deposit that has been entrusted to him. But why is this so important to Paul? Because this Gospel, this body of Gospel Truth, which is the message of salvation, is, and has been continuously under attack, and often from the most unexpected place, from within the visible church…


3. Avoiding Distractions!

Paul wants Timothy to Guard the Deposit for a very good reason indeed. There are false prophets and false disciples and false teachers in the church. But the Lord knows who is his. (2 Timothy 2:19). But the church that we see, the VISIBLE church is a different matter altogether. It is comprised of saints and sinners, of wheat and tares, who will grow together until judgement day. Matthew 8:24 The Savoy Declaration 26:1, Now, given that there will always be those within the VISIBLE church who are unregenerate, and in error, you can understand why Paul wants the deposit of Gospel Truth to be guarded. So, Timothy is to:

  1. Avoid being waylaid by worthless arguments. avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions (και αντιθεσεις) of science falsely so called: (της ψευδωνυμου γνωσεως). There are some really interesting Greek words lying behind this sentence.
    1. Profane and vain babblings! Preachers who use fancy language in the pulpit, thinking how cool and how hip it makes them sound.
    2. Pseudo-scientists. Oppositions of science, falsely so called… This false science, pseudo-gnosis, false knowledge, was a direct contradiction of the gospel. The Greek word used for oppositions here is αντιθεσεις. The antithesis of the Gospel, the direct opposite, for it was taking the Good News of free grace in Christ, and making it dependant upon human effort, and the human will.
  2. Avoid being dragged into error. 21Which some professing (επαγγελλομενοι) have erred concerning the faith. All these people would be mixing and mingling with the believers in the visible church. They might look like Christians, and talk like Christians, but they would be wolves in sheep’s clothing.


3. Getting Strength For the Task! Grace be with thee. Amen.

Finally, we must see that this task, this sacred trust, is a very onerous task indeed, and one that will require a great deal of dedication and endurance. How will a young man find the spiritual strength for such a task, and find that strength right throughout his life? Well, there’s one place he won’t find it, and that’s within himself, for if he were to rely on his own strength of character, he would fail, for his heart would deceive him, and he would become boastful and proud. Timothy will need much grace from God as he guards and keeps that which has been entrusted to him, – the Truth of the Gospel.


© Bob McEvoy

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