Summary: 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The doctrine of Scripture explained.
IT WILL STAND FOREVER
- What is the Bible? Why do we spend so much time talking about it, reading it, teaching it, etc? It’s quite apparent that if you were to simply walk up and down the streets of any city in America asking people what they thought about the Bible you would get many different answers.
- Some would say the Bible is the work of religious men; albeit very intelligent men. Some would say it is a good moral book; on par with other religious or holy books. Others would say it is old fashioned and outdated. So it is irrelevant. Those of a more intellectual sort my claim that it is poorly translated or lost in translation.
- There are a lot of opinions floating around out there as to what the Bible is and is not; but what is the truth? What is the truth about this thing we call “the word of God”? To put it as simply as we can state it: what is this book?
- I reviewed some surveys recently that are a bit dated but they get the point across. According to the Barna Research Group, 2 out of every 5 adults (38%) believe that the entire Bible was written several decades after Jesus’ death. 10% of adults believe that Noah’s wife was Joan of Arc. 49% agree that the Bible teaches that money is the root of all evil. And other surveys indicate that people don’t know even half of the Ten Commandments. They don’t know who preached the Sermon on the Mount. They don’t know the story of Jonah and the great fish is from the Bible; and they believe the expression “God helps those who help themselves.” is a direct quote from Scripture.
- Now don’t be offended if you didn’t know some of those things; particularly if you’ve only known Jesus as your Savior for a short time. But I want to ask the question: why is this? Why is our society so ignorant of the Bible? It is because we don’t, as a society, recognize what the Bible is. If we knew what the Bible is, we would approach it differently. One recent number is that 30% of polled Americans believe in the absolute truthfulness of all the words of the Bible.
- So is the Bible true? Can we trust it? Is it really from God? Have the original words been lost? What are we to make of this book we hold in our hands? Let’s answer some of those questions.
- We are going to work through a text in 2 Timothy chapter 3. Turn there in your Bible. As you are finding your place, let’s notice some background information. We won’t get too in depth, but a few things need to be mentioned.
- The author of 2 Timothy is the Apostle Paul. We have become quite familiar with him in our study of Philippians. He is writing around 66-67 A.D. - about 5 or 6 years after he wrote Philippians.
- He is undergoing a second imprisonment. He was presumably released from the house arrest he endured while penning Philippians and the other Prison Epistles, but now he is again incarcerated. This time the situation is worse. He is locked in a dungeon, awaiting almost certain execution.
- The letter is named for its recipient: Timothy, a disciple of the Apostle Paul and a young pastor. The purpose of the letter seems to be to encourage Timothy to stand strong in the faith. Apparently Timothy was struggling with some difficulties, and Paul’s concern about this causes him to write this letter to him. Paul knows his time is short, so he tells Timothy to hurry to Rome so that they can meet in person one last time. History does not tell us whether or not Timothy made it. So this is quite possibly the last correspondence between on of the great founders of the Christian church and his non-apostolic successor.
- In this letter of encouragement to Timothy, we find one of the clearest statements about Scripture in all of Scripture. Look at 2 Timothy 3 beginning at v.10.
Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17
- Now we are going to concentrate on vv.16-17. What do these verses tell us about Scripture? What claims is the Bible making for itself? Let’s start with the first, most fundamental truth about this book: it is breathed out by God. We call this:
INSPIRATION: THE BIBLE IS GOD-BREATHED
- The first part of v.16 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God. Now what do we mean by this term inspiration? It would be normal for us to hear someone say that they heard a song that inspired them. Or we see movies that were inspired by true events. We often hear inspiring stories. And, of course, we mean that the song aroused an emotional response within us. Or that the movie was based on actual events. Or that a story made us feel good or confident in ourselves. Is any of that what we mean when we say the Bible is inspired?