“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
The Bible tells us all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God. This means that the Holy Bible is God-breathed. Every single word is from God. From Genesis to Revelation the 66 books of the Bible is the Word of God. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Bible teaches us that man is not the creator and not originates from mankind. However, man was involved in penning of God’s Word. Man was the tool God used to pen His Word. God did not need to use man, but He chose to do so.
Paul tells us four keys things about the Word of God in his letter to Timothy.
1) Firstly, “profitable for doctrine.” Scripture is useful for teaching godliness. We should only get our teaching from the Bible, not traditions, nor of man. The Bible is the only authority that is trustworthy and inspired by God. Someone once said that the Bible and the Bible alone is the religion of the protestants. During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century the reformers held to face key principles one of those was “Sola Scriptura” this latin phrase means Scripture alone in English. One of the main reasons why them held so strongly to this practice was to combat the abuses of power that the Roman Church used to control people. Sola Scriptura means Scripture is the supreme authority over the church. The Bible is the final authority of all matters concerning faith and practice. The Catholic Church taught tradition was of equal authority This view presence a problem to the Christian because the Scriptures are infallible as they are the Words of God’s. All other authorities are fallible and must submit to Scripture.
The Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths or the ideas of man. The Bible is not a man-made book. When we read the Bible, we read the actual words of the living God. In the MacArthur Commentary John MacArthur writes, “The Scripture provides the comprehensive and complete body of divine truth necessary for life and godliness.” Matthew Henry in his commentary on the Bible writes, “If we consult the Scriptures, which was given by inspiration of God, and follow its directions, we shall be made men of God, perfect, and thoroughly furnished to every good work.”
In the letter of James the Bible says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” It is clear to see that the Bible encourages us to be doers and not hearers only of the Word of God. Those who are only hear the Word of God and do not act upon what they are are deceiving themselves, the Bible says.
2) Secondly, the Bible is useful “for reproof.” Scripture is to be used for the practical purpose of rebuking those in sin and error. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Continuing in Ephesians 6: 17 which is another important verse regarding this second point. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Word of God will guard and protect our mind. The sword which is the Word of God will break through our sinful hearts and aid us in our battle against Satan. The sword is the only offensive weapon mention in Ephesians 6. We need to trust in the truth of God’s Word to fight against evil.
The Word of God is living, operative and has the power to reach and touch the heart of man. The Word of God pierces the depths of the soul and spirit of man. The Word of God never returns void. Reading from the Prophet Isaiah we learn, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (55:11).
Many times, during Christian life we come against those who wish to attack our doctrine and faith. The Word of God contains all the answers we need to defend our faith. The Bible provides us with the truth, so we can answer questions. The Apostle Peter told us to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you. Therefore, all believer should be students of the Bible. If you have the Bible in your native tongue then read it, study it, memories it and above all live it out.
3) Thirdly, for correction. The Word of God is useful for those in error. In the second point the Scriptures teach us about the way of rebuke. In the third point the Bible speaks of how to rebuke. We rebuke error by correction. The Bible is useful for correcting those who are wrong. For example, if we come across a person who thinks they are a Christian and does not believe they are a sinner before God, or believes that their good works merits salvation. We can use Scripture to show the error and to show the correct doctrine. When we use Scripture, we are not giving our view or opinion, but God’s view on the matter. It is very more important that we preach and teach God’s view and not what “I think.” Sadly in our world today we see a vast number for people believing in what appeals to them. I think it was St. Augustine that said, “If you believe the parts of the Bible you like and disregard those things you don’t like. It is not the Bible you believe, but yourself.”You see friends if we make ourselves the final authority we dethrone God and rob him of his divine authority.
It is very important that we believe what God has revealed to us in Holy Writ. If our doctrine, view or ideas are contrary to the clear teachings of the Holy Bible we are guilty of false doctrine. This is where many have gone wrong today. They have accepted certain viewpoints that are pleasing to the culture of the day and adopted and attitude of trying to please everyone. Sadly, many have been lead astray by this method. I hope you can say, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Now, I am not saying it is easy. Frankly it is not culturally acceptable today to take a biblical view of marriage, gender and the family, for example. However, the question we need to ponder and indeed answer is who do we seek to please, God or the world?
4) Fourthly, for instruction in righteousness the last point that Paul makes is that the Word of God is profitable for training in godliness. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We ought to study the Word of God and prepare ourself to defend our faith. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” This is why we ought to read and commit to memory the Holy Scriptures. The best weapon and defence against spiritual attack is the Word of God.
Paul tells us to be diligent students of Scripture. God’s Word was given for a purpose, which is to be read and acted upon. So, with this in mind, how do you study the Bible? The short answer is exactly how God tells us in our theme verse 2 Timothy 3: 16. Without the Bible all that you know about Christ would not be possible. You would not know the gospel, and we all know that no gospel means no salvation. No salvation means, no, forgiveness of sin and no heaven.
God’s will for each and every one of his people is grow in faithfulness, holiness and righteousness. Spiritual growth is God’s desire for His children. As we grow in Him our relationship with Him will deepen and this will be profitable for both us and the Lord.
I closing I would just like to offer some using thoughts for studying the Bible.
Read a book through
When you read a letter, you start at page 1 and end with the last page. You can only grasp the Bible if you read a whole book. This I suggest is the only way to obtain a truthful and godly understanding of the Bible. If you are new to reading the Bible, I suggest you start with the Gospel of John.
Do not read fast or too much
Contrary to popular believe the Christian does not have to read the whole Bible in one year. So take your time and take in what you read. Pray that God will grant you understand.
I recommend you read what you can manage to take in at a time. If you have the ability to take in 10 chapters a day then do so. If you can only take in 2 chapters a day then do so. Also do not read the Bible like a newspaper. Don’t scan over the passage, read it carefully and prayerfully. Study the passage also. Bible reading is not the same as Bible study. When we read the Bible we go through the text verse by verse and read. When we study the Bible we pause and ask questions. We ponder the text, we look the text up in commentaries and other research material.
Learn to feed your soul daily
Most people eat and drink every day. Food for our physical bodies is something we never forget to eat. We should have the attitude toward food for our souls. Our motto when we wake up should be, “No Bible, No Breakfast.” We also need to find the best time of day for reading our Bibles. For some it will be morning before the day starts, for others it will be evenings. For many evenings is the best time to relax and sit down with the Scriptures. Whenever we read our Bible, we should read it as often as we can.
Stick to one or two Bible versions. You will find it easier to remember verses and to know your Bible. Such as where a particular passage is.
- What does the text say
- How does the text apply to me
- What I am going to do with the text
Read a good commentary about the passage you have just read. There is a wealth of material on the Banner of Truth Website. Listen to a sermon on the topic you’re reading.
Write in your Bible
I have written a blog post on this point, so I will not no over this point fully now. Find a good wide margin Bible or a journal Bible. There are four key headers in my article. They are, a personal reflection of the text. A summary of the text. Answers to questions. Family Heirloom.