“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
We live in a day when the Bible is rejected as being the inspired and infallible word of God. Because of this many do not feel that it can be relied upon as the only source of divine authority. If it has no authority then there is no need for anyone to follow its guidance. Therefore the Bible should be assigned a place on a dusty shelf in a museum.
Because of this attitude, evident both in the church as well as the world, mankind automatically takes on the characteristics mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Man becomes his own god when he decides for himself what is right or wrong, but is unable to see that it is a result of spiritual deception, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).
As believers, having the conviction that the Scriptures are the very word of God, we know they are given to protect us from the godless theories of the world and false religion. The Bible is our only standard for things pertaining to faith and practice. It is by the Bible that everything must be judged.
Fact 1: It is the foundation for our lives
From early childhood Timothy was taught the Scriptures. The word “learned” in our text is derived from “disciple”, therefore discipleship ought to begin as soon as possible. This learning process lays a firm foundation in a young child’s life. This is the way it was meant to be from the beginning, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). This is how Mary and Joseph brought up the Lord Jesus Christ and as a result He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
The Scriptures are foundational to salvation, for it was they that made Timothy aware that he needed Christ as his Saviour. The Bible informs man that he is a sinner in need of a Saviour. It reveals that he cannot save himself through good works, morality or religious deeds. It states that God alone, through the precious blood of Christ, has made a way to be saved, and that it must be received by faith. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) … “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). Therefore Timothy’s wisdom grew out of being taught the truth and he knew that there was no other means of salvation apart from Christ. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Fact 2: The Bible is the infallible truth
When we say that the Scriptures are inspired of God, “God-breathed” in the Greek, we are stating that they were not the product of man’s mind, but that God is their author. We must notice that Paul uses the words “all scripture” to show that as whole, every book and chapter is inspired by God.
God chose to communicate His thoughts and instructions to man through the spoken and written word rather than by imagery. The words originated with God, but He used men, who themselves were inspired by Him, to write the words down for others to read and learn for themselves. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Because God is the Author we can rightly say that the Bible is the infallible word of God. Despite what Satan, science, or religion may say God’s word “is truth” (John 17:17).
Fact 3: It is profitable to read and study it
God gave us His Word to benefit us. A believer profits when he reads and studies God’s Word, but spiritually suffers when he does not. Paul mentions four areas in which the Bible is profitable.
(1) For doctrine: doctrine is important for it is the basis for all we believe and do. Doctrine is truth, unchanging and unchangeable, an absolute in a world that believes in relativism. (2) For reproof: reproof is a warning. The Bible not only tells us what is true and beneficial, but what is false and harmful, so that we can know how to obey God and avoid sin. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). (3) For correction: the Bible not only tells us when we are wrong, but it shows us the way to make things right. The Bible is not a book of condemnation as some think, but of restoration. God shows us our sin in order to deliver us from it and lead us back to Himself. (4) For instruction in righteousness: the Bible is a practical book. Like an owner’s manual, it provides detailed instructions on how to live a holy and blameless life.
Fact 4: It is essential for spiritual growth
The Word of God produces maturity in those who read and study its pages. The word “perfect” means complete, mature, prepared for the Lord’s use. Apart from the knowledge of, and obedience to the Bible, a Christian can never reach spiritual maturity. It is impossible to say that we are yielded to God’s work and conformed to His will, if we do not open up the pages of Scripture.
How can we be equipped for “every good work” if we do not allow the Lord to speak to us, guide and instruct us in the way of righteousness? How can we have knowledge of His will and purpose for us if we neglect His word? “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10). God’s word is the source from where we find the provision of wisdom needed to perform the task He has called us to undertake.
We are called to live a life that is well-pleasing to God. Everything we do, all that we say, wherever we go, and even our thoughts ought to bring glory and honour to the Lord. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). This is impossible unless we are dedicated to searching the Scriptures and applying them to our lives. The Bible contains everything necessary for a successful Christian life. Soon enough the “perilous times” mentioned by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1 will overtake us. We will have to know how to deal with our fears, trials and tribulations. Only God can give us the strength to face uncertain days, therefore it is foolish to abandon His word while we have relative peace.