Summary: Introduction: Our text speaks of salvation as comprehensive and exhaustive, rather than being limited to the initial experience that occurs when a person receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Ours is truly a great salvation.
The Scriptures and Our Great Salvation
Text: "But as for you, 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 faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 3:14-15 NIV).
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Our text speaks of salvation as comprehensive and exhaustive, rather than being limited to the initial experience that occurs when a person receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Ours is truly a great salvation. It includes salvation from the penalty of sin, which, for believers, is a past work of God in their lives. It includes salvation from the presence of sin, which is a future experience for all Christians. Salvation from the presence of sin comes at the consummation of the ages when Jesus Christ returns to fully redeem believers from their human sinful state (Phil. 3:19-20; Heb. 9:27-28).
Our text speaks of our great salvation as a present experience and the Bible’s role in helping each believer experience this great salvation. We first come to know Jesus through the good news of God’s Word. Through this same Word we learn about our heavenly home beyond this life. But God has given us the Bible so we can experience deliverance from the tyranny and destructiveness of sin in the present.
There is absolutely no way by which believers can experience the fullness of God’s salvation in the present if they ignore God’s Word. The writer of Hebrews addressed himself to believers. He warned them against the peril of ignoring the messages that teach us how to experience this whole redemption in every area of life (cf. Heb. 2:1-3). Paul was speaking in this direction and with this emphasis when he said to the believers in Rome, "Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom. 15:4 NIV). Giving careful attention to the teachings in the Bible makes it possible for us to live a life that will glorify God (Rom. 15:5-6).
It is both interesting and profitable for Christians to discover how Jesus used the Scriptures during the great crises of his life (Matt. 4:1 - 11). Jesus was guided by the great truths in the Bible and used them to gain strength when pressured to swerve from God’s will. He also used the Scriptures when defining his purpose for being (Luke 4:16-21). If our Lord found it necessary to rely on the great truths of God’s Word, we should do likewise.
The rest of this message deals with some practical suggestions regarding our use of the Bible.
I. The function of the Bible.
A. The Bible reveals God’s nature and the way of salvation (2 Tim. 3:14-16).
C. The Bible serves as milk that nourishes God’s infants following their conversion experience (1 Peter 2:1-3).
D. The Bible provides authoritative guidance for conduct that both pleases God and brings satisfaction to the believer (2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture is:
1. Profitable for teaching.
2. Profitable for reproof.
3. Profitable for correction.
4. Profitable for instruction in righteousness.
E. The Bible is intended to equip receptive and responsive believers for fruitful service to God and others (2 Tim. 3:17).
II. How to read the Bible.
Everyone needs practical suggestions regarding how to read and study the Bible effectively.
A. Read the Bible regularly (Ps. 1:1-2). As we feed our body daily, so we should feed our spirit daily.
B. Read the Bible personally and subjectively. Put yourself into every situation. Put yourself right in the middle of each verse and let God speak to you.
C. Read the Bible intelligently.
1. Try to discover the historical situation behind the passage of Scripture you are reading. You need to know what the writer meant at the time the Scriptures were written to understand it to the fullest.
2. Discover the meaning of the words used in the passage. A good Bible dictionary can be very helpful at this point.
3. Be logical in your study of the Bible-that is, read it according to the correct interpretation of the language and the writer’s purpose. Do not treat the Bible in a magical or superstitious way. Is the writer speaking literally or poetically? Is he speaking in terms of a legalistic precept, or is he dealing with a great principle? You cannot interpret figurative language in a literal way and come to the right conclusion and vice versa.