This article on 2 Timothy 3:16 is about the exalted character and the power of the Word of God

Source: Clarion, 2005. 2 pages.

2 Timothy 3:16 - All Scripture is God-Breathed

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...

2 Timothy 3:16

These words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy give us perspective as we begin a new season of organized Bible study.

In 2 Timothy the Apostle Paul was encouraging Timothy in his work of preaching the gospel in Ephesus. Paul warned Timothy that he would face opposition – false teachings and teachers, and immoral lifestyles, also in the midst of God’s people. In that context, Paul urged Timothy to continue preaching and teaching the Scriptures. Nothing must deter him.

In this text Paul explains why the Scriptures are so important. They have an exalted character, and are very powerful. Their exalted character is that they are God-breathed. The Bible was clearly written by people – for example, Moses, David, and Luke. That all Scripture is God-breathed means that the words these men wrote were written under the guidance of God. To give an example, David endured terrible suffering and anguish at the hands of Saul and other enemies. David wrote down how this treachery made him feel. But God was guiding the circumstances that David experienced and the way he wrote about those experiences, so that the Psalms we now have are the very words of God through David.

Therefore the Bible has absolute authority. Other books need to be read critically. Does the author do justice to the topic? Can I believe everything he wrote? But the Bible is what God has said – and He is the God who does not lie. His Word must be believed, accepted, and obeyed. Scripture is the final authority, because it is what the almighty, all-wise God has said.

It is useful for teaching. That means it is the Word of God which teaches God’s people true doctrine. Particularly because the world is full of heresies and false teachings it is so necessary that God’s people be taught sound doctrine. For then they are able to be on guard against the tempting heresies that attack the church.

The Scriptures are useful for rebuking. The word used here has the sense not only of rebuking but of actually being convincing in your rebuke. It is one thing to rebuke someone. The Lord Jesus Christ was often accused of sins, but those accusations did not convict his conscience or make Him feel guilty, because He had no sin. To be rebuked in the sense of our text means to be brought to genuine knowledge of your sins in such a way that you know the accusations are just. The powerful Word of God will reach into our hearts and convict us of sin.

The Scriptures are useful for correction. They are powerful to change us, exposing what is wrong in our doctrine and conduct and also directing us back to the right path. They point us to Jesus Christ, and direct our faith and life to Him.

Finally, the God-breathed Scriptures are useful for training in righteousness. God’s Word has the power to teach us about the lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord, about what are appropriate activities and habits and entertainment for the child of God and what are not.

This was important encouragement for Timothy in his work as an office bearer. No matter the opposition or the pressure to tone down the message, no matter the temptation to find other methods to work change among God’s people, Timothy had to remain steadfast in preaching and teaching the complete Word of God. That is how God’s people would be brought to repentance and daily increase in obedience.

It is for us to apply this truth also in our Bible study. For us to be servants of God fully equipped to serve Him in all good works (verse 17), we need to be instructed, rebuked, corrected, and trained by all parts of the Word of God.

This is a task that will often require hard work. One passage of God’s Word may seem more useful than another. But the promise of God’s Word is that all Scripture is God-breathed – a list of names in a genealogy, a historical account about David and Saul, a passage from a New Testament letter – and it is all useful. He is the all-wise God who knows all that we need to know. His Word will equip us to be faithful servants in the midst of all the challenges that will come our way. With this conviction in mind we can eagerly begin a new study season, as we saints assist each other in being equipped by the God-breathed Word for a life full of good works.

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