2 Timothy 3:16
Of all the millions of books that have been written, none is as prominent and powerful as the Bible.
Is spite of the fantastic increase in knowledge and technology, no one has written a book that can compare to God’s Word.
Damon E. Wyatt said,
“The Bible is the astonishment of the literary world. It is alive but never grows. It reached maturity at conception and has continued a changeless challenge to each new age.”
President Woodrow Wilson once wrote:
“Give men the Bible unadulterated unexplained, pure, unaltered, uncheapened; and then see it work its wholesome work through the whole nature.
It is very difficult indeed for a man or for a boy who knows the Scripture ever to get away from it. It haunts him like an old song. It follows him like the memory of his mother. It remains with him like the work of a revered teacher.”
The Bible – The Book – is different from all other books because it is The Word of God; and because it is the Word of God, it is the Word of authority.
Let us consider some of the ground truths concerning the Bible.
TRUTH CONCERNING THE BIBLE
1. The Indestructibility of the Word
When Paul wrote to Timothy about Scripture, he was talking about writings that had already existed, 1,400 years – for Moses wrote the Pentateuch after the Exodus.
For 1,400 years the O.T. guided individuals and nations to great and meaningful living.
But when the Book was neglected, people and nations fell to deplorable depths.
No wonder Satan has inspired fallen men to do all in their power to destroy the Word of God.
But though men have hammered away with their little hammers, the eternal anvil of God’s Word still stands unscarred after every attack.
As early as 696 B.C. wicked King Manasseh encouraged idolatry in Judah, going so far as to sacrifice children to Moloch, (2 Kings 21).
He probably destroyed all copies of the Law he could find; 70 years later under Josiah, a copy of the Book of the Law was rediscovered and a great revival resulted.
2 Kings 22:8-10
‘The high priest Hilkiah reported to Shaphan the royal secretary, “I’ve just found the Book of GOD’s Revelation, instructing us in GOD’s ways. I found it in The Temple!” He gave it to Shaphan and Shaphan read it…Then Shaphan the royal secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest gave me a book.” Shaphan proceeded to read it to the king.’
King Manasseh sought to destroy the Word of God, but the Word outlived him!
When Jeremiah began his ministry in 620 B.C., King Jehoiakim sent a servant to get a scroll of the law and allowed the servant to cut it with a penknife and throw it into the fire.
‘The officials went to the court of the palace to report to the king, having put the scroll for safekeeping in the office of Elishama the secretary of state. The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He brought it from the office of Elishama the secretary. Jehudi then read it to the king and the officials who were in the king’s service.
It was December. The king was sitting in his winter quarters in front of a charcoal fire. After Jehudi would read three or four columns, the king would cut them off the scroll with his pocketknife and throw them in the fire. He continued in this way until the entire scroll had been burned up in the fire.
Neither the king nor any of his officials showed the slightest twinge of conscience as they listened to the messages read. Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah tried to convince the king not to burn the scroll, but he brushed them off. He just plowed ahead and ordered Prince Jerahameel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Jeremiah the prophet and his secretary Baruch. But GOD had hidden them away.’
King Jehoiakim sought to destroy the Word of God, but the Word outlived him.
During the reign of the Syrians 175-163 B.C., God’s people suffered greatly.
The Temple was desecrated, with swine offered on the altar; copies of Scriptures were destroyed; people possessing Scripture were killed on the spot.
Within three or four years after the command to destroy the Scripture, Antiochus the King of the Syrians died in disgrace, but God’s Word lived on.
In A.D. 303 the Roman emperor Diocletian ordered that every Bible in the then known work, be destroyed, and every person who possessed a Bible be slain.
Large numbers of scrolls were burned; thousands of Christian were martyred.
But within a few years Diocletian committed suicide. The emperor was dead, but God’s Word lived on.
About 10 years later Constantine became emperor of Rome and made Christianity the basis of his reign.
These are but a few examples of sinful men’s effort to destroy the Word – and in each case the story is the same – the attackers of the Word pass away to their judgment, but the Eternal Word of God lives on.
How true are the words of Jesus:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
“Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”
All enemies of God will eventually learn that although His Word may be attacked, it can never be destroyed.
2. The Inspiration of The Word
“All Scriptures is given by inspiration of God.”
Inspiration = God-Breathed
This is what makes the great difference – God’s breath is in the Word.
The Bible is not a dead Book: it is living, it is inspired.
Erich Sauer said about inspiration:
“Biblical inspiration… is that.. activity of the Holy Spirit through which He mysteriously filled the human spirit of the Biblical writers and guided them and overruled them, so that there arose an infallible, Spirit–wrought writing, a sacred record, a Book of God, with which the Spirit of God evermore organically unites Himself.”
Today, as in every generation, God’s people need to place a new emphasis on this cardinal truth.
The enemy will try to deny, dilute, or pervert the meaning of inspiration.
There are two wrong positions taken in recent years:
The Liberals who say that the Bible contains the Word of God!
Liberals say: “The Bible contains the Word of God.”
Then they proceed to try to decide what is and what isn’t inspired and authoritative.
The there are the Neoorthodox who say that though the writers were inspired, it does not mean their writing are the Word of God. There is error in what they say. There may be historical, scientific and even theological error.
The Neoorthodox say: Writers were inspired but the Bible is not the word of God. There may be historical, scientific and even theological error in the Bible.
In both these positions an effort has been made to:
1) Call the Bible a human Book
2) Limit its authority
3) Deny its inerrancy
We believe with the early apostles that the Bible is inspired by God, therefore,
“The Bible is the Word of God, that every writer of the Bible was so moved upon, that every word – not just concepts and ideas – was inspired and free from error.”
Apostle Peter said,
2 Peter 1:21
“Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Eugene Petersen translation says,
‘The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.’
That is exactly what the apostle Paul said to Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:16,
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful.”
Eugene Peterson’s translations says,
‘Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.’
Dr. James M. Gray once told of a liberal theologian who ridiculed the idea of verbal inspiration.
The professor compared the Bible to a pair of torn trousers and said,
“It is a matter of small consequence whether the trousers were originally perfect if they are now torn.”
To this the witty David James Burrell replied,
“It might be of small consequence to the wearer of the trousers, but the tailor who made them would prefer to have it understood that they did not leave his shop that way.”
God has given us a Bible that is dependable, and we can trust it. We can state our salvation on it and order our lives by it.
3. The Purpose of The Word
Paul words to Timothy are will-spoken:
2 Timothy 3:16,
“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.”
This means the Bible provides the authoritative rule of faith and conduct, conviction of sin when we fail, what is needed to restore us to an upright state, and instruction in right living.
What we are taught affects the way we act.
Christ rebuked the Church at Pergamos for tolerating those who held “the doctrine of Balaam.” (Revelation 2:14)
He did so because He knew what terrible sin resulted from this wrong doctrine. (Numbers 31:15, 16)
In Numbers 25 we read about the people of God, the Israelites seduced by the Moabites women, were led astray. And it all happened under Balaam’s direction.
‘While Israel was camped… the men began to have sex with the Moabite women. It started when the women invited the men to their sex-and-religion worship. They ate together and then worshiped their gods. Israel ended up joining in the worship of the Baal of Peor. GOD was furious, his anger blazing out against Israel.’
When we reject the teaching of God’s Word, we drift into all kinds of ungodly positions.
Dr. Joseph F. Fletcher was the starter of what has come to be known as “situation ethics” – right or wrong is determined by the situations rather than by the Bible.
We cannot accept that, if we want the approval of God upon our lives, our doctrine must be built solidly on the eternal work of God.
The Word of God is powerful and is useful to
– teach us
– rebuke us
– correct us
– train us
in righteousness – right standing with God.
So that we can have the right character and behavior to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper that any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
‘God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.’
The Word of God does work.
The Word does changes lives!
Every great revival in Scripture and in church history has been related to an emphasis on the Word of God.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,… so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
We need to see the Word of God in its pristine purity.
We need to obey it, and we need to preach it.
Paul said to Timothy,
2 Timothy 4:3-5,
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5
‘You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.’
We are seeing so many today who are trusting their own judgment more than the Word of God.
‘A man was lost and the night was fast approaching, and it was a very cold winter day.
Suddenly he remembered he had a small compass for just such an emergency.
When he looked at the compass, it told him he was wrong; but he was sure he was right, so he decided there must be something wrong with the compass.
Sitting down on a rock he took the instrument to pieces.
Next morning a party of searchers found him frozen to death with the dismantled compass beside his body.’
The Bible says,
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Eugene Peterson’s translation says,
‘There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.’
Our God loves us.
He knows we are frails.
He knows we need guidance.
He has created us and knows what is best for us.
God has therefore given us a dependable compass – that compass is the Bible.
As the compass shows the way to the confused traveler, so the Word of God shows to us:
– the way to heaven
– the way to life
– the path to right living
The Bible is from God; therefore, like its Author and Master, it cannot lie.
The Bible is a sure, unerring guide.
By studying and obeying the directions it gives us we will not only have a better life down here on earth, but we will never lose our way bringing us to heaven.
This is why Paul urged Timothy,
2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.”
2 Timothy 4:2
‘I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.’
There is evil everywhere – Preach the Word!
There is unbelief – Preach the Word!
There is ungodliness – Preach the Word!
There is lethargy – Preach the Word!
As we believe the Word of God and allow it to work effectively in our lives, results will come.
Only as we take the Word of God and accept it as our authority can we be all that God wants us to be!