Summary: God's Word helps us walk the path of righteousness.
Last time, we focused on the first phrase of verse 16, “All Scripture is God-breathed,” as we thought about how the Bible is inspired. We talked about how our Bible came to us as they are today and how the early church determined which writings were to be considered inspired by God and which ones are not by putting them to the Apostolic test: Is the testimony tied to the Apostles? Is the testimony endorsed by the Apostles? And Does the testimony reflect the message of the Apostles?
Today, I want us to look at the rest of verse 16 as we think together about how the Bible is useful. (READ TEXT) Paul tells us that All Scripture is useful for four things: Teaching, Rebuking, Correcting, and Training. The objective of these four uses of God’s Word is so that we might walk in righteousness. Being righteous refers to the state of being and doing right. Of course, this righteousness spoken of here has to do with our walk with God. So, Scripture is given to us to enable us to be right with God and do right for God.
“Guide my steps by your word.” - Psalm 119:133 (NLT)
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” - Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
So how does God’s Word work in our lives to keep us walking on the path of being right with God and doing right for God?
1. Teaching us what the path of righteousness is.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” - Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Our work through the Christian Women’s Job Corp is based quite a bit upon research done by Dr. Ruby Payne and her research as published in the book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. In that work, she speaks about the different way various
socio-economic classes think of things, and contends that if a person if going to move from one level to the next, they will need to learn how to think as a person in that social strata and have a mentor to coach and encourage them in moving from one
socio-economic level to the other.
Likewise, if we are going to learn how to live like Jesus - to be right with God and do right for God - we need to unlearn some of our ways of looking at things we developed as an unbeliever. That’s where the Word of God comes in. We also need mentors to coach and encourage us in the process. This is where the church comes in.
“The believers spent their time listening to the teaching of the apostles. They shared everything with each other. They ate together and prayed together.” - Acts 2:42 (Easy to Read)
Where do we find the teaching of the Apostles? In the Bible! How is it best for us to learn and apply the teaching of the Apostles? With other believers! Verse 46 of Acts 2 tells us the early church met to consider the teaching of the Apostles in both a large group setting (temple courts) and a small group setting (homes). This is the biblical pattern for believer gatherings.
In a large group, through preaching and teaching of God’s Word, we are helped with information and inspiration. In small group, through study and discussion of God’s Word, we are helped with application and transformation.
Isaiah 40:31 speaks of “soaring with wings as eagles.” Notice, if we are going to soar, we need two wings. I would suggest to you that those two wings are meeting with God’s people to consider God’s Word in both a large group and a small group. You can’t fly very high with only one wing.
2. Rebuking us when we get off the right path.
“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the
deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.” - Hebrews 4:12 (Amplified)
The word in Greek for “sword” could be translated “scalpel,” referring to the tool used by a surgeon to remove diseased parts from our bodies in the effort to bring us to healing and health. God uses His Word to get to the depth of our being and cull out those thoughts, those sins, those vices, those attitudes that we would be better off without. That same word also is used in the Bible to refer to the knife used by the priests to slit the throats of the sacrificial lambs. In other words, the Bible helps us to obey Romans 12:1: