DUNCAN/The Bible tells me so
Please turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. In 2 Timothy 3:10-15, we learned from the Apostle Paul what it looks like to be a faithful disciple by living according to Scripture. Paul continues this same theme in verses 16-17. Specifically, in this passage, Paul explains why we are to live according to Scripture. Specifically, Paul gives us three reasons why we should live our lives according to the Bible. First, Paul says that we are to live by the Bible because it is the Word of God. Paul reminds us that the words in the Bible are breathed out from the heart and mouth of God. Secondly, he says that we are to live according to Scripture because the Bible is the most practical book in the world. It is not some speculative, theoretical, idealistic, unhelpful treatise; instead, it is the most profitable book in the world. Thirdly, Paul says that the Bible tells us how to live life with God both here and hereafter. So Paul is giving us a triple assertion about the nature and qualities and usefulness of the Word of God.
I. The Bible is Inspired.
In verse 16, Paul first says, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Now, it is important to note here that Scripture is not inspired because it inspires the reader. That is not what Paul means here. Instead, Paul is telling us that the words of Scripture are God-breathed. The Apostle Paul is affirming here that all Scripture, and not just some Scripture, is God-breathed. It is not just that God moved by the Holy Spirit in holy men, though He did; it is that He caused them to write in various means and ways precisely His message to His people. The Bible is inspired, and the reason that we believe that God’s Word is inerrant and without error, and authoritative, is because it is the Word of God. However, Paul does not just want us to have a theoretically high view of Scripture. The Pharisees had a theoretically high view of Scripture. But Jesus said that they made that Scripture void by teaching the doctrines and commandments of men. And my friends, we have the same challenges today. We can say that we have a high view of the Bible, and by our choices, by our attitudes, by our lives we can show that we do not have a high view of Scripture. Paul is calling Timothy, the Ephesian Christians, and you and me not just to say that we have a high view of Scripture, but to live by the Bible. If you believe that Scripture is the inspired Word of God, then live by the Bible. Live by the Bible where it makes you uncomfortable, and live by the Bible where you struggle to understand and grasp the truth of Scripture. All of us have certain inclinations that are out of accord with the Bible. And when we come to Scripture, we must ask ourselves, “Do we try to make the Bible fit our inclinations or, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, are our inclinations changed, and our obedience brought into accord with Scripture?” The first lesson that Paul is teaching us here is that we should believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and live accordingly.
II. The Bible is Profitable.
In verse 16, Paul also says, “All Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” In other words, the Apostle Paul is telling us that Scripture is not only God’s very Word, but that it is useful and beneficial. There are people who will say that it is the job of the preacher today to make the Bible relevant. In response, the Apostle Paul says, “No. It is not the job of the preacher to make the Bible relevant because it already is relevant. It is the job of the preacher to make sure that he doesn’t make the Bible irrelevant. The Bible is already relevant. It’s already helpful. It’s already useful. It’s already profitable.”
And Paul says it’s practical for teaching, for instruction, and for imparting the truth. He says that it’s practical for reproof or admonition; for warning us against the errors to which we are liable. Scripture is also practical for correction, for redirecting us, and for rectification of wrong beliefs and wrong conduct. It is also practical for training in righteousness. Thus, it is useful for discipline and discipling and preparing the believer in godliness. The Bible is practical inherently; and the only reason we don’t always think the Bible is practical is because sometimes we’re interested more in other things than what God is telling us about in His Word. So when we think of the Bible as impractical, we need to have a quick heart-check, because the Bible is never impractical. Therefore, the second thing that Paul is teaching us is that the Bible is always practical about the first and most important things of life.
III. The Bible is Sufficient.
And then finally, notice that the Bible is not only inspired and profitable, it is sufficient to prepare us for life and godliness. In verse 17, Paul says, “…that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” In other words, this teaching of which we are to have a high view is designed not simply so that we will know facts about our Bibles or simply that we will assent to the doctrines that are taught in the Bible. This teaching of God’s Word is designed to equip us for holiness. Remember Jesus’ words in John 17:17 where He says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Jesus is saying there, “Make them holy in truth; grow them up in godliness, in Your truth.” God’s truth is for the purpose of leading to holy living and to growing in grace. And we really don’t have a high view of Scripture until we love and cherish that Scripture and obey and live that Scripture. As believers, we pray for the day when every professing disciple does not simply assent to the truth that this is the inspired Word of God, but is fully committed in reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit to living out that truth. May God enable us to believe His truth, transform us by His truth, direct us by His truth, and empower us to live out His truth.