Summary: Our lifeline to God, the Bible, is that which is written Scripture, from Genesis through Revelation, and breathed by God as well as giving breath to us, adequate for all good works. But the key to understanding is the help of the Holy Spirit.
Do you recall the story “Robinson Crusoe” written by Daniel DeFoe? It’s one of those first survival stories … a man shipwrecked, alone, homeless, on a deserted island. What did he need more than anything else? Rescue! But one of the key things that happens in this story is that Crusoe discovers a crate with a Bible in it. And so he begins to read it and he opens to Psalm 50:15 in which God promises – “call on me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will glorify me.” Later he picks it up again and reads: “all these things have not brought you to repentance.” His deliverance was not to be from the island, from his situation, but from himself – his sins and his guilt. He was to be born again. Through this horrible experience, this lonely man discovers a relationship with God as his deliverer and the Bible as his lifeline to God.
It seems like for many of us, we’ve kind of set that lifeline aside and then we start to wonder why our spiritual life is so dry or meaningless or we feel so far from God. It’s almost like we need to have a Robinson Crusoe experience alone with the Bible on a desert island. How would that change you?
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we find this lifeline described in ways that reveal it’s importance and vitality to our lives. And as Paul is writing he reminds Timothy and us to get back to what really matters – get back to the Bible because the world is going to pull us away from it. It’s a battle!
Let’s read this text….
1. The first word that reveals the Bible as our lifeline to God is “Scripture.”
How does God speak to you? Now it’s true that God does speak to us through others and sometimes through dreams, visions, and experiences we have. But none of those ways speak with the authority and the infallibility of the Scripture. What I say to you in a sermon is not Scripture. What you experience in a dream is not Scripture. What you learn from your life experience is not Scripture. It does not have the authority of the Word of God.
What does the word Scripture mean? I think that we would all say: “the Bible.” True, but actually the word itself means something. “Scripture” means “that which is written down.” It may have at one time been spoken, preached, prophesied. But now it is written on paper. And it is the written word that has authority for us.
Why is this important for us? Because no one can come along and say that their words are the authoritative and inerrant word of God. What did the Lord say? Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.”
Of course both of these verses are from the Old Testament and speak of the Old Testament. What about the New Testament? How can we say that the written New Testament alone is the Word of God? Wasn’t that decided by a bunch of men in a church council in the 4th century?
Jesus said this in John 17:20 in his last prayer with his disciples: John 17:20 "I do not ask for these only,(the Apostles) but also for those who will believe in me through their word,” Jesus here is making it clear that the word of the apostles was the basis for faith in Jesus. And then Ephesians 2:19-20 says: “you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” The early church simply recognized that the books that we have in the New Testament were those written by the Apostles. At the end of the time of the Apostles, the written Word of God was closed and complete.
2. The second word that defines our lifeline to God is “ALL.”
It says that “ALL Scripture is inspired by God…” Why is this a crucial word for us? Because the temptation is to pick and choose what we think is the Word of God and what isn’t. No, we wouldn’t ever say that but for all practical purposes, that is how we often treat the Bible today.
For example, the Gospel of Mark might be considered more precious than the book of Numbers. Or… today, the book of Revelation speaks much more to us than Jeremiah. Acts seems better than 2 Kings. I’ve found people who simply will never read the Old Testament because they view it as the “old” news which was for the Jews and the New Testament is the Christian Bible.