O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge," (1 Timothy 6:20 ESV)
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:13, 14 ESV)
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:1, 2 ESV)
There are basically two kinds of preaching, Topical and Expository;
1) Topical Preaching-This is the kind of preaching that the Southeast is most accustomed to. There are two subcategories under this type of preaching, Biblical and unbiblical.
Unbiblical Topical Preaching is characterized by the preacher selecting a topic, studying the topic, breaking out Strong's to find a prooftext, and imposing his opinion of the topic on that text.
Biblical Topical Preaching is characterized by the preacher studying a topic in light of Biblical Authority, and then explaining the relevant texts.
2) Expository Preaching- This is the kind of preaching that explains the Biblical text, line upon line, precept upon precept. With Expository preaching you get the whole counsel of God, not in one sitting, but over a steady diet of Bible preaching, verse by verse, so that everything gets covered. My favorite texts may have to wait a while as the other texts are explained. This is the favored mode of preaching by myself and most of the Reformed camp.
I would like to continue in explaining, not the different styles of preaching, but the mission of both valid styles of preaching (Biblical Topical and Expository) as Paul describes it to Timothy in these verses. Paul describes his preaching to Timothy as a deposit. And so I call this Depository Preaching. As we get started exploring what this means we should remember that all parties have responsibilities in this 'Deposit'. Paul entrusts Timothy with truth that he has guarded with his own life and Timothy must continue guarding this truth from error and pass it along to the next generation who are to guard it as well.
First, Paul tells Timothy that he has entrusted Timothy with something. He later in 2 Timothy calls this the 'pattern of sound words' and 'that which you have heard of me'. Timothy no doubt understands that Paul is referring to the Gospel that Paul had preached, not in private, but publicly before many witnesses.
Second, Paul charges Timothy with three tasks concerning this 'deposit'; Guard it, Follow it, and Entrust it.
When Paul says 'guard the deposit' he is speaking of preserving the truth from error. He tells Timothy to guard the truth from irreverent babble, or unholy and vain speech. It is unholy because it makes light of God's own revelation of Himself. As such it is useless, or vain. He also tells Timothy to guard the truth from 'false truth'. Or that which claims to be true but in reality is not. He adds in the following verse that some have missed the mark concerning their faith. They have missed the Gospel by following a false gospel.
Paul also tells Timothy to follow the truth. Literally, to hold it fast as a treasure that has been committed to him. Paul then gives an example of those who had deserted him as testimony to the fact that they had let go of truth. May we hold fast to the truth, not let it be torn from our grasp, or turn away from it ourselves.
Paul's final instruction to Timothy is to entrust the truth to other faithful men. This is the Gospel of God's salvation. It dare not die with Timothy. And so Paul commands Timothy, that as he grasps the truth firm and pure to pass it along to others who can also hold it firm and pure.
Finally, as the Gospel has been passed down to us through the writings of the Apostles, we are to guard it, follow after it, and train up others after us who will do the same. As Irenaus wrote in his treatise 'Against Heresies',
"We have learned the plan of our salvation from no one else other than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us. For they did at one time proclaim the gospel in public. And, at a later period, by the will of God, they handed the gospel down to us in the Scriptures-to be the 'ground and pillar of our faith.'"It follows then that we too should be about the preservation and proclamation of this truth of all truths, the Gospel.
Guard the Deposit, and Deposit it in others who follow behind us. Don't let the truth die. And we have this promise that even when Heaven and Earth pass away, this truth will stand. We also have the Holy Spirit through whom we have the power to guard, follow, stand in, and proclaim this truth, this Gospel, this salvation.
This is the mission of preaching. Guarding the truth, keeping it pure, and passing it along to others who will proclaim it faithfully.
Guard the Deposit.