2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I believe the Bible is the very word of God given to bring humans into relationship with him. The Apostle Paul wrote to a young pastor saying; the Scriptures are from the very breath of God and have use for those who serve God. Paul lists several uses for the Scriptures.
First, teaching. I need taught about who God is, I need to learn about his holiness and love. But I also need to be taught about me. The Bible says, I am not like God so it teaches that all humans have sinned and fall short of God. Scripture says “God is love” and he demonstrates his love by sending Jesus to atone for sin, the thing that separates us from God.
Next, scripture is for rebuking. Sometimes I need a swift kick in the pants, a rebuke can be just that or it can be a gentle reminder that something’s wrong. As I read the scriptures they speak about my behaviors or attitudes in order to rebuke me and bring me to a place of correction. And that’s the third thing Paul mentions.
Correcting, like a ship that’s off-course needs correcting, so do I and Scripture does that well. We read about men and women who drifted off course with God and some never returned, but others got God’s correction and made adjustments to their lives. Often the success or failures of others speak to us about how God wants us to make a mid-course correction. Other times it’s the teachings of Jesus that show us what a righteous life looks like so the scriptures become the benchmark of our lives to correct us.
Finally, Paul says Scripture trains in righteousness. There is a righteous life that God lays out for everyone. Some think you obtain righteousness by doing or not doing certain things (certainly there are right and unrighteous behaviors laid out in Scripture). But the Bible says there is a righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus.
Galatians 2:21 reads, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Did you catch that? Righteousness comes by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. If you think you can earn your way to God, than your righteousness nullifies grace and Jesus went to the cross for no reason.
Paul finishes by saying why the Scriptures do those things. “To thoroughly equip God’s servant for every good work.” God has a “good work” for you, his first work that you believe in Jesus (John 6:29). Secondly, his work is that you might represent him here on earth (2Corinthians 5:20). Finally, the good work of God is that you might serve him in your lot of life. For the married, Scripture speaks of God’s plan in marriage, to the single it shows devotion you can have with God. To all, it’s God’s desire that none perish, but all come to know the love that God demonstrated for you (2 Peter 3:9).
Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.