Summary: What Scripture is, who is its Author, and what it is for.


2 Timothy 3:14-17

A. Three times Paul addresses Timothy with an emphatic “you therefore" (2 Timothy 2:1) or “but you” (2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Timothy 3:14). In the fist instance, this sets Timothy alongside those who refreshed Paul in his imprisonment (2 Timothy 1:16-18). Then it distinguishes him from those who ‘resist the truth’ (2 Timothy 3:8): ‘evil men and seducers who wax worse and worse’ (2 Timothy 3:13).

Timothy is encouraged to continue (to remain, to abide) in the things which he has learned: things about which he has “felt sure belief” (2 Timothy 3:14). After all, he knows from whom he has learned them. Paul speaks of the teaching as ‘my’ doctrine (2 Timothy 3:10), ‘my’ gospel (2 Timothy 2:8), the sound words which you have heard of ‘me’ (2 Timothy 1:13).

B. Furthermore, even before Paul came on the scene, Timothy had learned the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15) from his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it’ (Proverbs 22:6).

1. The Apostle Peter defines ‘Scripture’ as ‘holy men speaking as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’ (2 Peter 1:20-21).

2. The phrase, ‘Thus says the LORD,’ occurs over 400 times in the Old Testament.

3. The Epistle to the Hebrews adds the voice of ‘the Son’ to the voice of ‘the prophets’ (Hebrews 1:1-2).

4. Paul adds a quotation of Jesus (Luke 10:7) to a quotation from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 25:4) - and calls them both ‘Scripture’ (1 Timothy 5:18).

5. Jesus says, ‘But I say unto you…’ (Matthew 5:22, etc);

‘The words that I speak unto you…’ (John 6:63);

‘I have not spoken of myself… even as the Father said unto me, so I speak’ (John 12:49-50).

6. Paul claims to be speaking ‘words’ which come from the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 2:13). The Apostle refers to his own teaching as ‘the word of God’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

7. The Apostle Peter places the Epistles of Paul alongside ‘the other Scriptures’ (2 Peter 3:15-16).

C. Paul tells us THREE THINGS about Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

1. The sacred writings are able to make us wise unto salvation “through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). The risen Lord Jesus opened up to His disciples ‘in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself’ (Luke 24:27; Luke 2:45). Other things are taught in the Bible, but only incidentally. Its main purpose is to infuse us with ‘the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

So from Genesis through to Revelation, we see Jesus and His salvation:

In type and prophecy (Old Testament);

In His life and saving work (Gospels and Acts);

In proclamation and application (Epistles);

And in the consummation of our salvation in Christ Jesus (Revelation).

2. “ALL Scripture is out-breathed by God AND is profitable…” (2 Timothy 3:16).

There are two propositions here:

(a) That, without suspending the individuality of the human authors, THE Author is God Himself: ‘The mouth of the LORD has spoken it’ (Isaiah 1:20);

(b) AND it is useful for teaching truth, and for reproving error; for correcting wrong conduct, and for instruction in the right way (cf. Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).

3. The title “man of God” is occasionally used of prophets in the Old Testament. The expression has also been addressed to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:11). Here in 2 Timothy 3:17 it may signify Christian workers, but ultimately the ‘everyman’ of thorough-going Christianity: the man or woman who belongs to God.

None of us is going to reach our full potential in Christ Jesus unless we apply ourselves to the diligent study of Scripture. Only then will we be “complete, fully equipped” for whatever work the Lord has for us (2 Timothy 3:17).

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