Summary: Paul’s admonition to Timothy to place his full confidence in the authenticity and usefulness of Scripture.
In the year A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued a decree that he hoped would extinguish the spreading flames of Christianity. One of his primary objectives was the seizure and destruction of the Christian Scriptures. Later that year, officials enforced the decree in North Africa.
One of the targets was Felix, the Bishop of Tibjuca, a village near Carthage. The Roman authorities ordered Felix to hand over his Scriptures. Though some governors were willing to accept scraps of parchment, Felix refused to surrender the Word of God at the insistence of mere men. Resolutely, he resisted compromise before the proconsul at Carthage. Felix paid for his perseverance with his life. On July 15, he laid down his life - as the record puts it, "with pious obstinacy," rather than surrender his scriptures.
1. We’re at the halfway point of our series The Confident Christian. We’ve been looking over Timothy’s shoulder as he reads Paul’s letter, and so far, Paul seems focused on preparing Timothy and the others at Ephesus for the opposition and false teachings they will face. In fact, the church is already facing some of these problems. To prepare them…
2. Paul first encouraged Timothy to place his full confidence in Christ Jesus.
3. Then Paul shared his model for Christian development, encouraging his young protégé to remember the power he had in Christ, avoid meaningless arguments, and to present himself worthy of God’s approval through the deep study and application of God’s Word.
4. Paul’s emphasis on the scriptures (aka sacred writings) evokes a question; “Can one be confident in the authenticity and authority of the Bible?”
A. Timothy and the Ephesian believers must be able to defend the scriptures if they claim them as the foundation of their creed and conduct. The same is true for us; TWM to 2Tim 3, as we consider the veracity and value of the Bible.
II. PAUL’S EXPECTATION OF TIMOTHY (vv.14-15)
1. “Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through Jesus Christ.”
2. Jewish boys studied the scriptures from the age of five. Paul’s words from infancy, suggest that Lois and Eunice (Grandma and Mom) began before he was five!
3. Paul wants to ensure that Timothy stays the course; accepts no substitute; denies all claims not supported by scripture, and understands the purpose of scripture – to make one wise for salvation…
A. It’s interesting that Paul uses the phrase make you wise, considering most of the challenges at Ephesus are coming from the Gnostics (who claimed special wisdom).
4. Given this admonition, we turn our attention to the veracity of scripture
III. VERACITY OF SCRIPTURE: [i.e., how do we know the Bible is authentic?] (v.16a)
1. Three areas one must address when considering the veracity (authenticity) of scripture:
A. Inspiration: All scripture is God-breathed. God did not write the Bible himself; we have only one record of his writing – the Ten Commandments, which he wrote with his own finger in stone.
i. God inspired the Biblical writers with his message, while giving them some latitude to interject their perceptions, observations, reactions and historical data. This explains why some historical data seems to contradict others; not to worry – the messages do not change.
ii. We must also remember that historical data develops over time, and information available to later writers goes well beyond that of their earlier counterparts.
B. Authority: Christ quoted the scriptures extensively, seeing them as authoritative. “Have you not read/ do you not know/ you have heard it taught”, etc. are all indications of the authority of scripture.
i. When tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted scripture…As he traveled, he spent time in the temple; once he even read the lections!
ii. Biblical writers were eyewitnesses to the accounts they wrote about
iii. Historical writers validate the scriptures as the sacred writings (Jos. Ant. 10.210)
C. Inerrancy: Most of the argument here centers on the historical accuracy of scripture.
i. The Bible is not meant to be a history of the world. It is rather, a history of God interacting with his people in the world.
ii. The matters of significance are theological, not historical. In other words, we hold in our hands a book of 66 love letters that God wrote to his people – past, present and future.
(a) Academics, scientists, theologians and other intellectuals have spent millions of dollars and countless hours looking for errors in the Bible, and to date proven none of them.
(b) We have however, through archaeological finds and other methods proven thousands of details in the Bible to be true.