13
Apr
07

Understanding More of the Sole Authority for Life

Yesterday I provided an explanation as to why, after twenty years of using one translation, I changed to a different version of the Bible last January. Understanding the supreme nature of the Bible and why it should be handled so precisely is the motive of today’s blog. There is a decided profitability that comes from the study of God’s Word

In 2 Timothy we find one of the most succinct and sublime understandings of God’s Word. Paul wrote the following inspired words to Timothy, his protégé:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:14-15

Timothy’s relationship to the Bible is outlined in these verses. It began when he was a child and learned the Old Testament Scriptures from his mother and grandmother. Earlier Paul wrote:

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
2 Timothy 1:5

Lois and Eunice did not merely teach Timothy the facts of the Bible; they gave him a faith built on assurance and spiritual understanding. Timothy knew for himself the truth of the Word of God. Timothy did not depend on others to defend the Word for him. As with everyone who believes, the Word of God imparts faith to them and this faith in Christ brings us salvation. That is why the Bible says,

But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:14-17

Please make sure you get that last sentence—so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The next few verses from Second Timothy provide a great testimony to the divine origin and character of the Bible. Paul continues,

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All Scripture” means that every word of God is inspired. The words “breathed out by God” means “Godbreathed – filled with the breath of God.” When we speak of the “breath of God” we are speaking of the Spirit of God (see John 3:1-8; Ezekiel 37:1-14).

Some say, “The Bible only contains the word of God,” or “The Bible is inspired the way Shakespeare is inspired.” But Paul would not agree with these arguments. Let there be no mistake in its identity: the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is like no other book. The Word of God has no equal. While men like Shakespeare may have had literary inspiration of a high quality, they did not write the very words of God.

The Spirit of God enabled men of God to write the Word of God. That is why Peter wrote the following:

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:19-21

So, what is the purpose of the Bible? We can find two answers in our study of 2 Timothy 3.

Salvation is the first purpose of the Bible, as Paul notes:

…and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15

Christian maturity is another purpose of the Bible:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:16


Paul said the Word of God is profitable for teaching (doctrine), conviction (reproof), setting right (correction), and discipline (instruction).

And notice the result of the Word of God:

…that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:17


The Bible enables the child of God to become a man or woman of God, mature in the things of the Lord. The word “competent” means “mature.” And the word “equipped” means “fully equipped”.

So, the Bible transforms the child of verse 15 into a mature person in Christ of verse 17. The Bible calls us to be saved and equips us to be servants.

I think it is fine for us to read books about the Bible, to meet in small groups to discuss the Bible, to take study courses like Beth Moore and others, and to learn methods of ministry as we do through our CrossPoint University, but the best way for each of us to equip ourselves to serve God is to study and practice the Word of God. All the aforementioned tools tell us how, but the Bible gives us the motivation and power to live what we learn.

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