Holy Scripture: Instructed in It, Teaching from It

[You can read a PDF of this post HERE.]

Text:
14You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASB)

Introduction
This passage is one of the most important and precious texts in all of Scripture on the nature and purpose of Scripture; yet, discussion is often limited to verse 16.  In this lesson I intend on expanding our view to the surrounding verses (vv. 14-17).  That being said, my approach to the text will be somewhat different than simply starting in verse 14 and progressing through to verse 17.  At the very heart of this text is the inspiration of the Scriptures (v. 16a), and therefore that will be my starting-point.  What precedes this point (vv. 14-15) is Timothy’s experience of being instructed in the Scriptures, and what the central focus of this instruction must consist of (i.e. the theological center.  What follows (vv. 16b-17) is the theological basis for teaching from the Scriptures in the ministry.  Although this text is first and foremost written to Timothy, a leader in the church, the truth of the passage is true at all times and for all believers.

I. Inspiration of the Scriptures (v. 16a)
Here we have the heart of the passage, which teaches us the Divine origin of the Scriptures.  As Paul says, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος).  It is well known that θεόπνευστος (here translated as “inspired”) is better translated as “breathed out by God” (ESV) or “God-breathed” (NIV).  It is believed to be coined by the apostle Paul himself, as it is found nowhere else in the Scriptures, nor in secular writings.  It consists of two parts: θεός (God) and πνέω (to breathe out).  In other words, all of Scripture is the product of God’s Divine breathe; it is truly His word.

The verb πνέω is of course related to the noun πνεῦμα (spirit; Spirit; breathe; wind).  So this immediately alerts us to the apostle Peter’s teaching on the “inspiration” of Scripture, where he emphasizes both its Divine and human origin: “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:20-21).  It is not my purpose here to get off track from Second Timothy by exegeting this text.  I simply make reference to Peter’s text in order to show the “dual origin” of Scripture: It is both of God and of man, with the Holy Spirit having worked in and through the human authors as they wrote (cf. Acts 2:25-31; Heb. 3:7-11; 10:15-17).[1]

OK, back to Second Timothy 3:16.  It is clearly Paul’s intention to leave Timothy, and anyone else who reads the letter, with a high view of the Scriptures—whatever is Scripture is God’s word in the truest sense of the word, not a mere product of man.  That is why the Bible is called the Holy Bible or Holy Scripture, because it is the holy word of the holy God!  O that we would be convinced of this ourselves, and guard this glorious truth from being diminished in any way.

This doctrine of the inspiration of the Bible is foundational for everything that follows.  Since God is its primary author, it is trustworthy and without error, and therefore we are to be instructed in it and teach from it.  It will instruct us in the truth and equip us to live a life to the glory of God.

Inspiration & the New Testament
It is often stated, “Well, Paul only had the Old Testament in mind here, as the New Testament was not yet complete at this time.”  Now, those who say this typically affirm the inspiration of the New Testament as well, thus applying Second Timothy 3:16 to the New Testament in principle: Whatever is Scripture is God-breathed; the New Testament is Scripture; therefore it is God-breathed.  This is certainly true.  However, I do not believe that we have to settle for such a principled application for the New Testament from this text.  In other words, I believe that Paul had New Testament Scriptures (those that had been written by that time) in mind when he wrote Second Timothy 3:16.  Here’s why I believe this (follow the train of thought).  (1) Second Timothy is Paul’s final letter, believed to be written during the period of A.D. 64-68, at least according to conservative scholars.  Paul wrote a total of thirteen epistles, including Second Timothy.[2]  (2) Second Peter is believed to be written between A.D. 67 and 68 (just before, at the same time, or just after Second Timothy).  In Second Peter 3:15-16 we read, “and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (emphasis added).  Peter seems to have been acquainted with all of Paul’s letters,[3] which he speaks of in relation to “the rest of the Scriptures,” obviously viewing Paul’s writings as Scripture (cf. 2 Pet. 1:20-21).  (3) Paul says in First Timothy 5:18, “For the Scripture says, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’”  The second quotation has allusions to Old Testament texts (e.g. Lv. 19:13; Dt. 24:15); however, it is nearly identical to a quotation of Jesus found in Luke’s Gospel account (Lk. 10:7),[4] which is believed to have been written in the early 60’s.  The only difference is the word “for” (not found in 1 Tim. 5:18); but this is easily understood by the context and flow of thought (it doesn’t require this conjunction).  Some have suggested that Paul could have been referring to an oral tradition when he quoted “The laborer is worthy of his wages;” however, he specifically says “the Scripture says,” which can only be understood as the written word of God.  Luke appears to be our only source for Paul’s quote, and he refers to it as Scripture.  (4) Finally, the early church clearly viewed the apostles as the God-ordained, authoritative teachers and eye-witnesses in the church (Acts 1; 2:42; Jn. 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:12-15; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Jn. 1:1-4).

There is surely more that could be said.  However, what has been said should be enough to demonstrate that the early church recognized that Scripture was being written during the time of the apostles; that Paul’s own writings were recognized as Scripture; and therefore Paul would have also had in mind the writings of fellow apostles, and those close to them (e.g. Luke; Mark), that had already been written and were circulating to the churches, when he wrote “All Scripture is inspired by God….”  Therefore, I do not believe it is wholly accurate to say Second Timothy 3:16 only applies to the New Testament in principle, with Paul merely having the Old Testament in mind; rather, it directly pertains to all that was considered Scripture at that time, which included a large portion of the New Testament.  While it does apply in principle to any New Testament Scriptures that had not been written at that time, we must not fail to recognize that Paul would have certainly had New Testament writings in mind.

II. Instructed in the Scriptures (vv. 14-15)
In this section we will look at the central instruction of Holy Scripture, the importance of instructing and being instructed in the Scriptures, and what our disposition toward the Scriptures ought to be.

A. Christ, the Center
Paul tells Timothy that “the sacred writings” (i.e. the Scriptures) “are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 15b).  By stating this, Paul is essentially saying that the primary purpose of the Scriptures is to reveal Jesus Christ to us.  And for what purpose?  For the saving of our souls.  Let us look at this more closely.

What is the importance of wisdom with regard to salvation?  This has to do with the spiritual state of mankind prior to salvation.  According to Scripture, mankind suppresses the knowledge of God and is darkened in their understanding of God and His ways:

Romans 1:18, 21-23 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness….  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

Ephesians 4:17-19 “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”

The way of mankind is the very opposite of wisdom; it is foolishness, and it only leads to death.  (Just read the book of Proverbs!)  And what is (true) wisdom?  Wisdom is living according to a sound knowledge of God and His ways.  Therefore, he who possesses such wisdom is said to fear God:

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Where, then, do we find this wisdom that leads to salvation?  How do we appropriate it?  Simply put, it is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  This is what is meant when Paul says that this wisdom leading to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Col. 2:6-7).  The appropriation of it is by the gracious and sovereign work of the Holy Spirit working faith in us:

Colossians 2:3 “[Christ] in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

1 Corinthians 1:30 “But by [God’s] doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” (See 1:18-25)

1 Corinthians 2:10-16 “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.  But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised [or discerned].  But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one [i.e. natural man].  For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM?  But we have the mind of Christ.”

Now, let us remember that Paul here says that this wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is found in “the sacred writings” (Scripture).  It is more than likely that Paul specifically has the Old Testament in mind when he here says “the sacred writings”.  Why?  Because these are what Timothy has known “from childhood” (v. 15a).  Even though Timothy was a young man (1 Tim. 4:12), he was likely an infant (if yet born) around the time of Jesus Christ, and therefore he wouldn’t have been acquainted with the New Testament Scriptures at the time of his youth, as they would not have been written yet.  What is more, his mother was a Jewish believer (Acts 16:1), and therefore he was obviously instructed in the Law and Prophets as a youth.  In conclusion, therefore, this wisdom leading to salvation through Jesus Christ is likewise seen throughout the Old Testament:

Luke 24:44-47 “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ [Messiah] would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” (cf. 24:25-26; Rom. 1:1-6; 2 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 1:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:10-12)

The following is a small sampling of Old Testament texts that speak or prophecy of the person and redeeming work of the Messiah (e.g. Gen. 3:15, 21; Deut. 18:15-19; Ps. 2; 16; 22; 23; Isa. 9; 53; 59; 61).  What this means is that Christ (His person and work) is the theological center of Holy Scripture.  The gospel is present from start to finish, in both Old and New Testaments; and this is what we must keep in mind as we read and study all of Scripture – Christ, the center.

B. Godly & Faithful Mentors
Paul likewise reminded Timothy of the godly and faithful mentors in his life, those from whom he had received instruction in the Scriptures (vv. 14b-15a).  First, from his childhood he had learned the Scriptures from his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois (1:5).  The “sincere faith” that dwelt within these godly and faithful women had a powerful influence on young Timothy growing up.  And isn’t it true that those who clearly demonstrate a sincerity in their faith, truly believing what they say they believe, are those who have the greatest effect on others?  Note Paul’s words: “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them” (3:14).  Paul is no doubt pointing to the integrity or veracity of those that Timothy received instruction from.  Timothy had a family heritage of faith that was now entrusted to him to pass on.  We too have the privileged duty of passing on the faith to the generations that come after us.  Note the following Scriptures:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel!  The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”

Proverbs 6:20 “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.”

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

The apostle Paul likewise played a significant role in mentoring Timothy.  In fact, Paul and Timothy had such a close bond that Paul referred to Timothy as his “true child in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2) and “beloved son” (2 Tim. 1:2).  The things that Timothy had received from Paul, he was to entrust to other faithful men who would be able to teach others also (2:2).  Further, I again note the weighty influence of a mentor whose life and character demonstrates integrity in the things pertaining to God.  This is what Paul pointed to in reference to his own life and teaching, and then essentially encourages Timothy to do likewise: “Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!” (2 Tim. 3:10-11).  In his teaching, faith, and conduct, Paul demonstrated integrity and faithfulness.  No doubt, Paul’s endurance in the midst of trials and persecutions had a great impact on Timothy and his ministry

This is the same focus we are to have as mentors, whether we’re mentoring our children, friends, a congregation, ministers, etc.  It is a weighty matter to lead another, especially when we’re dealing with God’s word and God’s people (cf. 1 Tim. 4:16).

C. Solidified Faith
This final point in this section has to do with our response to the teachings of Scripture, especially with regard to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Here the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to “continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of….” (v. 14a).  We already saw who the primary teachers in Timothy’s life were and what the central teaching of the Scriptures is – “the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”.  However, how did Timothy respond to such teaching, and what should our response be as well?

Paul says that Timothy had “become convinced of” these things.  Unlike the ungodly and depraved, who are always learning but never come to the knowledge of the truth (vv. 1-9), Timothy had come to a true and living knowledge of the things spoken about in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He was convinced of it!  Such speaks of a solidified faith, a faith that does not waver, a faith that is not easily persuade in the way of falsehood and ungodliness.  This does not mean there are never moments of doubt, but that such doubt is rare, and fast-fleeting, being ever extinguished by “the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16).  He who has a solidified faith is not tossed to-and-fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).  This solidified faith is what should be true of all Christians, but especially of those who have been entrusted with the preaching and teaching of the word of God, such as Timothy was:

2 Timothy 1:13-14 “Retain [or hold] the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.  Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure [or good deposit] which has been entrusted to you.”

Titus 1:9 “[For the overseer must hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”

A minister of the word can’t faithfully administer his duties if he doesn’t have a firm hold on the Bible’s teaching; that is, he must know what it teaches and believe what it teaches.  Of course, the same is true of every Christian; we must all continually seek to grow in our knowledge of the Scriptures and submit our hearts, minds, and wills to that which it teaches.  This is, after all, what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

III. Teaching from the Scriptures (vv. 16b-17)
In this final main section we will look at the purpose of the Scriptures and the minister’s duty in teaching and preaching from the Scriptures, although these truths still apply to every Christian.

As a means of transitioning from what has come before to what we now give our attention to, note this well: He who desires to teach from the Scriptures, must first be thoroughly instructed in the Scriptures.

A. Rule of Faith & Life
The Bible is the rule of faith and life for God’s church – that is, the final authority for what we are to believe concerning God and how we are to live for His glory – and we find this in the following statement: “[The Bible is] profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”  This text presents to us four areas in which the Scriptures profit us.  First, let us give brief consideration to what is meant by “profitable” and then give consideration to the four areas in which the Scriptures benefit us.

Profitable: The profitableness of Scripture has to do with gain or benefit, as a result of studying the Scriptures.  However, we shouldn’t think of the profitableness of Scripture as unnecessary (i.e. it helps, but isn’t really necessary).  This is certainly not Paul’s intention, especially since he just got done saying “All Scripture is inspired by God” (i.e. the very word of God).  When God speaks we better listen up!  God’s word is to be revered, trusted, submitted to, believed, and lived out.  So, Paul is simply saying here that this is the way in which the God-breathed Scriptures benefits us as we whole-heartedly commit ourselves to learning from them.

Teaching: This could also be translated as “doctrine”.  Teaching or doctrine focuses on what we are to believe.  What are we to believe about God?  What are we to believe about Jesus?  What are we to believe about salvation?  What are we to believe about the church? etc.  The Bible instructs us in the truth of these things.  Doctrine is first and foremost, as it is foundational to the way in which we live our lives (e.g. Tit. 2:1-14).  Some people like to say “Deeds, not creeds [i.e. statements of belief].”  However, such a philosophy is meaningless and self-defeating, as it itself is a creedal statement.  Without doctrine, the way in which we live our life is without a foundation, and therefore arbitrary.  The Bible tells us what we are to believe so that we can live a life that honors God and glorifies His name (e.g. Rom. 12:1-2).

Reproof:  This can also be translated as “rebuke”.  To reprove or rebuke something (or someone) is to demonstrate its error.  The apostle Paul had to rebuke the apostle Peter for his hypocrisy toward the Gentile believers (Gal. 2:11-14).  This is what Scripture does to us; it reproves us of wrong belief, wrong thinking, wrong behavior, and wrong actions.  Such reproving is necessary for the salvation of souls and for the health of God’s church.

Correction: This is the necessary next step after reproving.  If we reprove someone for wrong believe, behavior, and/or action, we don’t want to leave them in that state of rebuke.  We want to help them to get back on the right path.  This is where correction comes in play.  When Paul rebuked Peter (noted above), he then took the time to correct the error of his way (Gal. 2:15-21).  Correction focuses on why something is wrong or in error, and what must be changed, so as to be realigned with the truth.

Training in Righteousness: This aspect of the profitableness of Scripture focuses on the positive instruction of the Bible’s teaching in order to strengthen, equip, and exhort us, so that we may live a godly, holy, and righteous life (e.g. Eph. 5).  In other words, having learned what we have, how are we to put it into practice and so glorify God in all that we do?

Hopefully you noticed the interrelation between these four benefits of the Scriptures.  When you read the Scriptures and/or prepare sermons, keep these things in mind.  It will be a useful aid in as you study the Scriptures.

An Example
We just looked at the profitableness of Scripture for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training in righteousness.  Let’s now look at an example of what this might look like.

Let’s take the doctrine of justification.  This is a fundamentally important teaching in the Scriptures, as it directly pertains to the gospel and salvation.  So, if I were teaching on justification, and if I were to utilize the four profitable areas of Scripture as discussed above, this is what my lesson/sermon might look like (briefly stated of course):

Teaching: The doctrine of justification speaks of how sinful man can have a right standing before or relationship with the holy God.  After all, we have all sinned, and sin deserves punishment.  Obedience to the Law won’t help us, as the Law convicts us of our sinfulness.  So, how can we be justified – declared righteous – in God’ site?  The answer is the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ under the Law, and His sacrifice on the cross in the place of sinners.  All we need to do is believe in this glorious truth of the gospel, and in so doing, God credits our faith as righteousness in His site. (see Rom. 3-5; 8:31-34; 10:3-4; Gal. 2:16; 3; 4:4-5).

Reproof: The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) disagrees with this biblical teaching of justification.  The RCC essentially mixes justification and sanctification.  Whereas the Bible teaches that justification is a one-time act of God’s grace, is by faith, and consists of a judicial declaration, the RCC believes that justification consists of an infusion of the grace of justification (i.e. an inward work), is brought about through baptism, progresses throughout the believer’s life, can be increased, and even lost and regained again.  While the RCC affirms that grace is necessary for justification, they do not believe it is sufficient; it likewise requires the merits of man.  What this view of justification does is diminish the work of Christ and present a false gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).

Correction:  Contrary to what Rome believes and teaches, justification is not by works at all, but by grace alone: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”  Further, Romans 8:31-34 clearly presents a law-court scenario, therefore clearly teaching justification to be a judicial declaration – “Not guilty!  Righteous!” – grounded in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  While works do indeed accompany those who are truly saved, and therefore truly justified (e.g. Eph. 2:8-10), such works are evidence of genuine, saving faith (e.g. Mt. 7:15-23; 12:33-37; Jm. 2:14-26).

Training in Righteousness:  Now, with all that has been said on what justification is and is not, how then shall we live in light of this biblical teaching?  First of all, this glorious truth of justification by grace alone through faith alone should bring great comfort to our hearts, for we truly have peace with God, and do not come into judgment (Rom. 5:1; 8:1).  There’s absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:35-39).  Further, the doctrine of justification guards us against falling into a works righteous mentality.  Lastly, although justification and sanctification are related, they must remain distinct from each other.  Justification is foundational to sanctification, and sanctification flows from justification.  In other words, justification is a motivation for sanctification (e.g. Rom. 6-8).

B. Thoroughly Equipped
Since Scripture is the rule of faith and life, it is able to equip the leaders of the church in the work of the ministry: “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (v. 17).  Although this also applies to every believer, the focus is actually upon “the man of God,” (see also 1 Tim. 6:11) which refers to the minister of the word, which is what Timothy was (2 Tim. 2:2, 15; 4:1-5).  Further, this designation – man of God – is frequently used of the prophets (e.g. 1 Sam. 2:27; 1 Kings 12:22; 2 Kings 1:11-12).  So, while my focus is here upon church leaders (e.g. elders; missionaries), all Christians have the responsibility of grounding our teaching in the Scriptures (e.g. a father leading his family in a Bible study).

Paul says that the Scriptures will make the man of God adequate (complete; sufficient), so as to be quipped for every good work.  The minister lacks nothing when it comes to God’s word, for as we have seen, the Scriptures are “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”  A carpenter cannot work without his tools, nor can a minister work without the Scriptures.  The true knowledge of God, which pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), has been furnished to us in the Scriptures.  Therefore, the word of God has always been looked upon as the ultimate authority for God’s people:

Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony!  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”

Acts 17:11 “Now these [Bereans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

Acts 20:32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

All Christians, and especially ministers of the word – who will come under stricter judgment (Jm. 3:1) – must be convinced of this authority of the Scriptures, ever seeking to conform their beliefs and practices to its instruction.

Lastly, what is meant by “every good work”?  Well, again, we can certainly think of it in more of a general sense, in which case “every good work” would refer to any discipline and deed that is according to God’s will and brings Him glory.[5]  However, since the focus is upon the “man of God” (i.e. the minister of God’s word), it is likely that “every good work” has particular reference to the peculiarities of a minister’s work (cf. 1 Cor. 3:5-4:2).  In other words, we can think of “every good work” as pertaining to the preaching of the gospel, discipling, administering the ordinances/sacraments (i.e. baptism and the Lord’s supper), counseling, church discipline, etc.  The Holy Scripture is sufficient to equip God’s ministers in these ecclesiastical duties.  When ministers of the word stop relying on the word, or start equating traditions with the authority of the word, then error, falsehood, and even heresy starts to creep in.

With this in mind, I wish to conclude by quoting the passage immediate following our passage of focus in this lesson: Second Timothy 4:1-5.  Although this deserves particular, exegetical focus on its own, I will simply quote it here as a wonderful conclusion and exhortation to this final section:

2 Timothy 4:1-5 “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.  But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Conclusion

O that all ministers of God’s word would fulfill their ministry by preaching the word faithfully and regularly, and ever disciplining themselves to walk in a manner according to it.  O that all of God’s people would commit themselves to the reading, study, memorization, and application of the Holy Scripture.

The Bible is breathed out by God.  Therefore it is as authoritative as God Himself.  God speaks to us today through His Holy Scripture, and therefore we must listen and live accordingly.  Lastly, once we have been properly instructed in the Scriptures ourselves, let us then pass on this glorious heritage of the faith that is in Christ Jesus to others.

“…I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” – First Timothy 3:15


[1] Just as the living Word (Jesus Christ) is fully God and fully man, yet without sin, so the written word (the Holy Scripture) is fully of God and fully of man, yet without error.

[2] Fourteen epistles if you view Hebrews as Pauline.  There are certain aspects of Hebrews that leads me to think of it as being authored by Paul, but I cannot come to a firm conclusion on this, at least not at this time.

[3] Second Timothy would be the only exception if Paul had not yet written it at the time of Peter’s writing.

[4] 1 Timothy 5:18: “ἄξιος ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ.”  Luke 10:7: “ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ.”

[5] The book of Titus centers on doing good deeds as those who have been saved by God’s grace (e.g. Tit. 3:4-8).

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