In the books of First and Second Timothy and Titus, the Spirit uses the phrase, “This is a faithful saying” several times. I want us to look at each of those Scriptures and learn why they are so important and what we can learn from them. But first, I want to take a look at the word “faithful” and what a “faithful saying” is.
The word “faithful” generally means “to be trusted, reliable” (Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words). It is often applied to God and His servants. It is the opposite of untrustworthy or not worthy of confidence.
So, the Scriptures are saying that here is something faithful, absolutely trustworthy. We should have no hesitation about it. It should be what we admit, confess, and tell others. There is to be no doubt in our minds or faith about it. It is important that we remember these things and the strength of their trustworthiness.
It is interesting that the word “saying” is actually the word “word” – literally, “trustworthy is the word” or “a faithful word”. Obviously, it isn’t referring to literally just one word which is why “saying” is usually what the translators choose. It’s like we might say, “What’s the word?” when we want someone to tell us what’s going on. Or we might say, “Just say the word and I’ll be there.”
It is likely that a play on words is happening because Jesus is the Word (Jn 1:1) and He is faithful (He 3:2). Jesus is central to our faith (and faithfulness) and these sayings usually point to the center of our faith (and faithfulness).
So, the Spirit, through the apostle Paul, is telling us that here are statements and things that are absolutely trustworthy. They are certain and provide stability to our faith and motivate our obedience and service.
Why have faithful sayings?
Obviously, the whole New Testament is faithful and trustworthy. This isn’t implying that some parts are more trustworthy than other parts. So, why highlight some statements like these?
- Some statements are more fundamental to our faith. There are first principles (He 5:12) and milk of the word (He 5:12; 1 Co 3:2). Faithful sayings can bring us back to the roots of our faith.
- Some statements are said in a simple, straightforward way that makes it easy to understand, remember, and apply.
- With so much in the Scriptures to learn, it can be helpful to summarize and highlight important and fundamental points.
- When there is uncertainty in life, we sometimes need Scripture to say, “THIS IS CERTAIN!”
- When our faith and obedience is being challenged, we need the Spirit to remind us, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance” (1 Ti 4:9).
- Faithful sayings can be simple reminders about what life is really all about
- When deciding what is good and what isn’t, it can help us to have the Spirit say, “I’m telling you, THIS is a good work…” (1 Ti 3:1).
Next Week – The first faithful saying (1 Timothy 1:15).