Studying the Bible is one of the most critical aspects of our spiritual growth. Check out this verse from 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Second Timothy is a letter from Paul to Timothy. Paul wrote 13 of the letters in the New Testament, with two addressed to Timothy. Timothy was the head of the church in Ephesus, and Paul considered him a son in the faith. Paul had been arrested for his faith and was awaiting execution in Rome. He wanted to give Timothy some last instructions before his death, which is why some consider 2 Timothy to be Paul’s “last will and testament.”
The Bible is inspired by God
Paul shared with Timothy that God inspired all Scripture. Paul may have been strictly speaking of the Old Testament since that was their only Scripture. Still, the principle also applies to the New Testament. The entire Bible is inspired by God.
But the word “inspired” doesn’t mean to be a muse or to enlighten. The Greek word translated as “inspired” is θεόπνευστος. It’s the only time this phrase is used in the Bible and can literally be translated to “God breathed.” Some translations use “God breathed” (AMP, NIV) or “breathed out by God” (ESV), but most translations use “inspired” to emphasize that the Bible was given to humankind by God’s divine inspiration.
Paul emphasized God’s inspiration to Timothy because many false teachers in the church in Ephesus led people astray with their wrong teachings and immoral actions. In fact, Paul wrote a previous letter to Timothy (1 Timothy) about the false teachers. He said,
When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. 1 Timothy 1:3-4
God breathed His Word so we would know how to live a life of faith in God. But just like Timothy and those of the early church, we must be vigilant when listening to pastors and speakers or reading commentaries and blogs. Let us be like the noble Bereans and take what we hear about God directly to Him and His inspired Word!
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11
The Bible is useful
Paul explained how the Bible was not only inspired by God, but reading and applying it to our lives has a significant advantage, that is, we can know how to live a life of faith in God through its teaching, convicting, correcting, and training.
The Bible teaches us what is true. It helps us know and understand truth from the source of truth itself (God). We can know for ourselves the truth through reading God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Other resources (like commentaries, preaching and teaching, and even this blog) can be helpful to illuminate the truth of God’s Word, but the Bible should be our ultimate source of truth.
The Bible makes us realize what is wrong in our lives. It exposes false teachings and wrong thinking. It convicts us of our sins. Once we know the truth of God’s Word, we are exposed to God’s holiness and our sinfulness. We understand that we are dead in our sins without God’s intervention.
The Bible corrects us when we are wrong. God doesn’t just leave us in our sins. He desires to restore us to a right relationship with Him. This idea of correction isn’t just about being told what we’ve done wrong but helping us understand how we can turn our lives around from disobedience to godly living.
The Bible teaches us to do what is right. The concept of teaching here is more like practical training, which seeks to help us understand how to practically live the life God intended for us. This training from the Bible helps us to be right with God in our everyday lives through correcting thinking, feeling, and acting.
God uses the Bible to equip us
The purpose of the Bible is to prepare and equip us for everything God has for us. This journey starts with knowing and understanding the truth. Then, as we grow deeper in our relationship with God, we seek to remain in a right relationship with Him. We strive daily to live for Him and grow spiritually through studying His Word.
My prayer for you (and me) is the same as that of Paul for the church in Colosse.
“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” 1 Colossians 1:9-10
Watch the LIVE REPLAY of our discussion on this breakdown of 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Join us LIVE every Monday at 3 p.m. ET on @GodGivesCourage Instagram for our Spiritual Growth Series, and check back here on Tuesdays for the companion blog post.