A. The three most famous Scriptures about the Scriptures are Ps.119, 2Timothy 3:14-17 and Ps.19:7-11. We talked about one last week. One this week. One in a few weeks.
B. Read 2Timothy 3:14-17 “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. 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.”
C. Apply this passage to this sermon
1. The purpose of a sermon is to present and apply the Scripture to the people.
2. So, if this sermon is faithful to Scripture, it will be profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
II. I’d like to point out some things in v.16-17:
A. Scripture: “All Scripture is breathed out by God.”
1. = the writings
2. This is the last epistle Paul wrote. He’s in prison awaiting a death sentence. He knows he’s about to die. He knows His apostolic ministry to the church is about to end.
3. And so what does he hold out to his young friend Timothy as his resource going forward?
4. Not the traditions, not the church, not the opinions of the people around, not the latest conclusions of science, but the Scriptures.
B. Second, THEOPNEUSTOS = God + breathe
1. This is a hard word to translate into English. Traditionally, it has been translated INSPIRED.
2. It is God’s word. It is from His mouth.
3. This means we must treat it differently than we treat other things.
4. If you don’t like a certain sermon you hear preached, you must ask first whether it is the teaching of the Bible you don’t like or whether it is the failure of the preacher to faithfully preach the word which is the problem. Don’t blame the messenger. Maybe your ruler is crooked.
C. Scripture is profitable for four things:
a. The fact is, we don’t know what to think.
b. Everybody’s got opinions, everybody has convictions. But opinions and convictions are cheap.
c. What we need is truth. And in His word God teaches us what is true.
2. “for reproof” It means rebuke.
a. Do you know that sometimes you need to be rebuked? We’re sinners, after all!
3. Scripture is useful “for correction”.
a. In contrast to reproof, which involves chastisement, correction involves showing a person the proper way to act or believe. Once again, this can only be done on the basis of God’s word.
b. The problem is, in English, we use the word “correct” in two different ways:
(1) Rebuke or Make correct (like telling someone they spelled a word wrong)
c. A rebuke is needed perhaps when we’ve done what we know is wrong, or when we’ve acted out of selfishness or greed or disdain for another person or something like that. A correction is needed when we make a mistake, an unconscious sin, or an unintentional insensitivity.
d. The Bible is our only standard for judging our behavior or our motivations.
e. The idea here is that Scripture adjusts us, corrects our direction or focus.
4. Scripture is useful “for training in righteousness.”
a. From the Greek word for child. It refers to the way a child is trained.
b. Part of growing mature in Christ is being trained in righteous living. We must train ourselves and we must train each other — to live righteous, obedient lives — on the basis of this book!!!
c. But the goal here is not obedience, but righteousness. We’re not talking about outward compliance, but righteousness which begins in the heart and is manifested in the life.
D. Two things which come about as a result of the Scripture’s use in teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness:
1. “that the man of God may be complete.”
a. Man? Don’t let this trouble you. This is the generic word for man, ANTHROPOS, not the word for male. This applies to females just as much as it does to males.
b. This means that we’re incomplete without the Scriptures.
c. We need the Scriptures to become who we’re supposed to be.
2. “that the man of God may be...equipped for every good work.”
a. Elsewhere Paul tells us that the Lord has prepared good works for us to perform (Eph.2:10).
b. But here we see that we’re not equipped to do those good works without the Scriptures.
(1) The Bible instructs us in what to do and in how to do it.
(2) But it’s much more than that. The Scriptures reveal Christ to us and this knowledge is transforming, giving us the will and the power to do good works.
E. And so we must ask ourselves: Is the Bible rebuking me? correcting me? teaching me? training me?
1. When I read the Bible do I experience these things? When I read my Bible, am I learning things about God and about myself and about the world I live in?
2. When’s the last time I read God’s world and recognized something wrong about my heart or life, and got very convicted?
F. And there’s one more thing to notice here. It’s the word ALL. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, etc.” All Scripture is breathed out by God. All Scripture is useful for all these things.
1. The person who really wants to grow in God will want to hear EVERYTHING God has to say. He will eat all of God’s food - not just pick out the pizza and the potato chips and the ice cream and avoid the meat and vegetables.
III. Well, we’ve talked about what the passage says about the uses of the Bible. But let’s talk for a moment about the things it doesn’t say, the things the Bible is not to be used for, which are implied by what is said. Sometimes that’s just as important.
A. The Bible is not a magic object like a lucky charm. It’s not a magic pill which takes all your problems away and removes all the frustration and unhappiness from life. It’s not a book of incantations, that tells you how to magically make all your problems go away.
1. In many places in the world children learn the Koran in Arabic. In their minds they’re learning holy words in a holy language, and that somehow draws God’s favor, even though they don’t understand what it means, & even the teacher doesn’t know Arabic to know what the words mean.
2. That’s not the way it is with the Bible. The Bible is God speaking to us. Our job is to listen to it, pay close attention to it, learn it. The Bible is God’s tool of growth and change in our lives.
B. But there’s another way the Bible is misused, which is far more prevalent in our society.
1. Our society is so preoccupied with feeling good.
a. For most of mankind’s history, people have been preoccupied with getting enough to eat or clothing to wear or a place to sleep at night or being safe from danger.
b. But it seems like when those needs are met, we turn to wanting to be happy, wanting to feel good about ourselves and about our world. We view everything in our lives according to its potential effect on our happiness.
c. And so it’s easy for people in middle class America today to view the Bible that way. Does it make me feel better? And if it doesn’t, then I’ll leave it on the shelf. Do you know how many Christians never read their Bibles because they only look to it to help them feel better and the times they’ve read it, it hasn’t worked?
2. Now the Bible does make us feel good. How can we read about the love of Christ and not feel good? How can Psalm 46 not make believers feel good? Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
3. But if you come to it for the purpose of feeling better, it doesn’t work.
4. Why? Because that’s not what the Bible is for. The Bible is for a relationship with God. And sometimes that means encouragement, sometimes it means rebuke, sometimes it means corrections, sometimes it means being taught about Him and His ways, sometimes it means being trained. And when you come to the Bible, therefore, you can’t just be looking to feel better. You have to come to the Bible to meet God, to listen to Him, to interact with Him. That’s what it’s for.
5. Just like marriage: If you go into marriage in order to get happy, it’s not going to work. That attitude in marriage is all about you. Love isn’t all about getting. It’s about giving AND receiving.
a. Scenario: you come home grumbling about something which happened at work. You tell your wife about it. But she doesn’t take your side on it. After hearing the story, she thinks you were the one at fault. She thinks you wanted to do something slightly dishonest and your associate wouldn’t go along with it.
b. That’s the way marriage is supposed to be. It doesn’t mean your spouse will always think you’re right. It means that you love your spouse enough to tell him/her what you think he/she needs to hear. But it doesn’t always feel good, does it?
c. And so it is with God. Sometimes we come to God wanting Him to make us feel good, but what we really need is a rebuke. But we don’t FEEL like we need a rebuke. But when do we EVER feel like we need a rebuke?
6. Of course, many times when we come to God in His word, He does surround us with His great arms of comfort and reminds us that He’s got it all under control, and urges us to keep waiting and trusting, and in due time He will do it.
IV. 2Timothy 3:14-15 “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.”
A. The Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
B. They are not just a tool of refinement. They are a message of hope.
C. They don’t just tell us what’s wrong with us, they tell us about a savior who came to redeem us.
D. They don’t just teach us how to live righteously, they teach us about One who was perfectly righteous and whose perfect righteousness is given to us as a gift of grace, so we can stand clean before a holy God.
E. They also teach us that we are accepted by God not on the basis of our having been taught and trained in righteousness and equipped for every good work, but on the basis of faith in Christ Jesus.
F. First and foremost, the Bible is about Jesus. Because first and foremost, Jesus is what we need.