DEPOSIT (פִּקָּדוֹן, H7214, [Lev 6:2, 4]; παραθήκην [1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:12, 14]). An individual in the Biblical world left a deposit either as security or for safekeeping. Since there were no banks or security houses in the ancient world, it would not be uncommon for an individual to deposit valuables with a friend or neighbor if he were going on a trip.
Specific laws are spelled out in Exodus 22:7-13 and Leviticus 6:1-7 concerning the protection of deposits. The person to whom goods or money are entrusted, bears a heavy responsibility to watch over those goods. If it can be proven that he was negligent with that which he has been entrusted, then he is responsible to pay the owner in full.
In 2 Maccabees 3 Seleucus sends his emissary Heliodorus to confiscate the money in the Temple treasury. Onias, the high priest, attempts to discourage him by mentioning that many widows and orphans had deposits in the treasury, thus showing the practice in Jerusalem at this late period.
The deposit in the NT is primarily the Gospel which has been entrusted to the apostles and to the disciples in order that they would proclaim it and teach it faithfully. Paul attempts to impress Timothy with this fact (1 Tim 6:20).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(paratheke, 1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 1:12,14 the Revised Version, margin, paraphrased in both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) into "that which is committed" (see Commend)): The noun was used in the classical Greek, just as its English equivalents, for "that which is placed with another for safe keeping," a charge committed to another’s hands, consisting often of money or property; compare Ex 22:7; Le 6:2. This practice was common in days when there were no banks.
(1) In 1Ti 6:20; also 2Ti 1:14, the reference is to a deposit which God makes with man, and for which man is to give a reckoning. The context shows that this deposit is the Christian faith, "the pattern of sound words" (2Ti 1:13), that which is contrasted with the "oppositions of the knowledge which is falsely so called" (1Ti 6:20). "Keep the talent of the Christian faith safe and undiminished" (Vincentius Lirenensis).
(2) In 2Ti 1:12, the deposit is one which man makes with God. The key to the meaning of this expression is found probably in Ps 31:5: "Into thy hand I commend my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me," i.e. "All that I am, with all my interests, have been entrusted to Thy safe keeping, and, therefore, I have no anxieties with respect to the future. The day of reckoning, `that day,’ will show how faithful are the hands that hold this trust."