Dressmakers, carpenters, tool-and-die makers and many others use patterns. An original design sets the standard, spells out the parameters and should be followed with care in the process of formation.
Spiritual truth is not only taught propositionally, it is spread relationally. Jesus called His first followers with the invitation, “Follow Me….” We all need someone to follow, someone to help us learn how to walk with Christ.
As Paul wrote his younger colleague Timothy, he exhorted him to imitate his mentor’s doctrine and practice. “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the ehelp of the Holy Spirit who loves in us.” 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Timothy had witnessed Paul in the preparation and presentation of truth. Gifted by the Holy Spirit, Paul served as an evangelist to unbelievers and as an pastor-teacher to believers. Timothy had seen Paul’s engagement with individuals and churches and the volume of correspondence exchanged regularly. Going forward, he too would have his full share of speaking and serving engagements.
Timothy did not invent truth, nor did Paul. He was to proclaim truth, truth revealed by the Spirit of God to those called to a foundation-layer role in this new construction, the church. Remember Acts 2:42 where the new believers committed themselves to the APOSTLES’ doctrine and Ephesians 2:20 where apostles are joined with prophets as they build the foundation for churches to rest upon, namely Scripture.
Praise God for patterns, designs of spiritually qualified and gifted leaders who model a correct handling of the truth. Learn all you can from godly mentors, engage in both formal and informal instruction so you may be fully equipped for all God has planned for you to accomplish. Pray for those who serve in teaching roles that God may enable them to provide a clear pattern of sound teaching, faith and love in Christ Jesus. With the Spirit’s help, guard all that has been entrusted to you.