Summary: Scripture is the guidebook that provides the only reliable directions for spiritual formation.
Back To The Bible
2 Timothy 3:16, 17
Where do we go from here? Where do we get our directions?
On the Friday after Christmas, I had the opportunity to hang a garage-door opener. Before I did anything else, I opened up the manual.
On Tuesday, January 2, Timothy began the journey back to Groton, CT. He had never really driven a significant distance before. We gave him maps for each state he was driving through. We printed MapQuest instructions.
Restoration Movement call for restoring the primary authority of Scripture as our sole guide for faith and practice.
Scripture is the guidebook that provides the only reliable directions for spiritual formation.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16)
1. Scripture is the map that directs a Christian’s thoughts.
Key Issue – Truth
How did I come to truth as being a key issue here. The first two terms that Paul uses here to describe the usefulness of Scripture are terms that focus on our thought lives – the truth.
a. Teaching – gives me God’s directions.
Teaching is used to express the transmission of content from one person to another.
“This is a trustworthy saying.” Five times in the Pastoral Epistles.
“… he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” (Tit 3:5-8a)
“The whole Bible unfolds the divine scheme of salvation – man’s creation in God’s image, his fall through disobedience into sin and under judgment, God’s continuing love for him in spite of his rebellion, God’s eternal plan to save him through his covenant of grace with a chosen people, culminating in Christ; the coming of Christ as the Savior, who died to bear man’s sin, was raised from death, was exalted to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit; and man’s rescue from guilt and alienation, then from bondage, and finally from mortality in his progressive experience of the liberty of God’s children. None of this would be known apart from Biblical revelation.” (Stott)
b. Rebuking – tells me when I have strayed off course.
Rebuking expresses the correcting of a lie or misinformation. It is the finger-pointing that we feel when we confront our errors in Scripture.
“… always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” (2 Tim 3:7)
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 3:3-4)
In Search Of The Real Jesus. US News & World Report. December 18, 2006. Emphasis on the Gnostic portrayal of Jesus.
How do we know that the Gnostic understanding of Jesus is wrong? The Mormon? The Islamic?
“The distinctive mark of theology today is its dreadful ambiguity. The chaos of American theology today can be traced back to its roots in the rejection of biblical authority. Preaching is not the act of unfolding our personal convictions. It is the duty of informing people of all that God has spoken. To move off from the pages of Scripture is to enter into the wastelands of our own subjectivity. Scripture plays an important role in the salvation of men. The Bible is a divinely provided map of the spiritual order. It contains the directions and markings to guide a person into reconciliation with God.” (Clark Pinnock)
2. Scripture is the map that directs a Christian’s actions.
The emphasis in the last two terms is on a Christian’s actions. Thus the
Key Issue – Righteousness
Let’s spend a little bit of time breaking down these terms.
a. Correcting – gets me back on course.
Correcting emphasizes bringing someone back into proper behavior.
GPS navigational system in cars provides constant mapping. Miss your turn it immediately adjusts directions.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Tim 3:1-5a)
b. Training in righteousness – keeps my course true.
Training carries the connotation of molding and modeling the life of a child.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith … Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Heb 12:2a, 3-4)