November 9, 2014

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It is really very interesting that Paul was not directly aware that he was writing about his own letters here. By this point his letters had acquired quite a reputation, to the point that Peter places them on the same level as the Old Testament. (2 Peter 3:16) However, Paul was not bragging, he was stating simple fact. Indeed, this verse was doubtless used as the major criterion when the canon of the New Testament was settled. The thing is, the Bible is useful, it is beneficial. I have read books that I afterwards thought, “that was a waste of time,” but that is not how the Bible is at all. I have read letters that went on for pages and essentially said nothing, but that is the opposite of the Bible. There are many different descriptions of how people came to write the words that are in the Bible, and through the centuries people have gotten into arguments over those descriptions, but the fundamental fact is that the words of the Bible would not have been written without the Holy Spirit. The terminology in this verse indicates they were not dictated, so the personality of each writer comes through, but God’s truth is expressed, which is how people’s words become God’s Word. The level is not the same, but believers today should allow God to “breathe through them,” expressing what God is saying as the Holy Spirit directs, so that they may be God’s agents in their various circumstances, for His glory.

As steeped in the Bible as I have been from childhood, these verses have always clicked with me. I have always found the Bible to be a tremendous help in every way – when I have remembered to turn to it and yield myself to what it says! As a pastor, I regularly and often share the Bible with others, and that is a joy indeed. I certainly understand what Jesus said to His disciples after He had been talking with the Samaritan woman at Sychar, because there is nothing more satisfying than sharing God’s Word when it is really received. (John 4:32) It is an extreme privilege to serve God by sharing His Word, and it is incredibly fulfilling to see His will done in hearts and lives as I am faithful to do so. However, I must never think the Word is just “for them;” I’ve got to take it in and apply it myself. I regularly struggle with the difference between knowing Scripture in my head and applying it in my heart and life. That keeps me humble!

Father, thank You for Your perfect plan, not only sending Your Son as the Savior of the world, but also causing people down through the centuries to record what You were saying and doing, so as to give us the Bible. May I be a “workman who does not need to be ashamed” indeed, (2 Timothy 2:15) communicating Your Word accurately, faithfully, and effectively, so that it may have its full work in as many people as possible, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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