“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I’ve been in church pretty much all my life, from the “cradle roll” (who remembers that?) to being a Bible teacher today. Other than a short stint of youthful rebellion, church has been part of my life all my life. I was taught all the Bible stories, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Baby Jesus and the Empty Tomb. As I got older I listened to my Sunday School teachers and Pastors tell me what the Bible said – and I took their word for it and went on my merry way. Until about ten years ago, when God began to stir something up in me – a deep thirst for His Word – and so began a journey that I will be on for the rest of my life, studying the Bible – for myself. Because, while my teachers and Pastors did their best, they couldn’t speak truth into my heart and life like the Word and the Spirit can.
Our key verse was the first Bible Drill verse I learned as a kid (who remembers that?). And it is a powerful word about the inspiration of the Scriptures, the whole counsel of the Word of God. The Bible is not a man-inspired construct, but is man-penned through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. It is truth, and it is true. I believe it is infallible, inerrant and as relevant today as the day the fresh ink hit the papyrus.
I couldn’t always say that though, or at least not with the same conviction, because I didn’t know the Bible well enough. I took what had been spoon-fed to me all my life and that was enough for me. Until it wasn’t. I was like the people in the book of Hebrews, who were still drinking milk and refusing to sink their teeth into the meat of truth. The writer says, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn” (Hebrews 5:11). From our contemporary perspective, that seems to imply a learning disability, but in the original Greek text, the word “slow” is translated “lazy and undisciplined.” That just took my breath. Read the verse and explanation again. They could not understand the deeper truths of the faith because they were lazy and undisciplined. Today we could say they spent more time watching T.V. and playing video games and Candy Crush Saga than attending to their souls. They went for the snooze button rather than the Scriptures every morning. Yes, we all need down time to give our brains and bodies rest, but have we gotten that out of balance? Don’t our spirits need to be refreshed as well, if not more so? Look at verse 14: “Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (emphasis mine). Ask any talented musician how they play so beautifully and they will tell you – constant practice. Ask a pro athlete how he became so good and he will tell you – constant training. Do you want to be a more mature Christian? Get into a Spiritual training program –a Sunday School class, Bible study class or seek out a godly person to be your spiritual mentor. Put in the effort, and God will reward you with understanding and revelation and a deeper hunger than you ever imagined. Yes, understanding comes from the Spirit, but the Spirit ain’t gonna do all the work for you.
Let me show you one more thing I learned. As I said, I’ve heard this verse almost all my life, but I saw something very personal in it this morning. This is in the center of Paul’s charge to his young protégé Timothy, whom he has appointed as the Pastor and leader of the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3). From 2 Timothy 3:10 through 4:5, Paul exhorts the young Pastor in his calling. The passages in our key verse are a personal word of advice and instruction to Timothy. And that is what God spoke to me today (note: I am using my given name Dorcas, because God uses that name to speak to me): “Dorcas, all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching you Dorcas, rebuking you Dorcas, correcting you Dorcas, and training you Dorcas in righteousness, so that you Dorcas may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
This passage is not intended to be used to point to – or worse – point at others, especially non-Christians about the authority of the Bible. It is meant to be pointed at me. God is calling me to submit to the authority of His Word and to allow it to teach, rebuke, correct, train and equip me “to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Maybe you got that long ago, but it hit me with great force this morning. As a Bible teacher, I tend to read the Scriptures searching for the lesson I am to present. I often forget God wants the lessons to apply to me first. As important that it is to know the inspiration of God’s Word it is even more important for me to know its authority over my own life.
God of the Word, please stir in me a hunger and thirst for Your Word; that passion for the Scriptures will press me closer and closer to you. Amen.