2 Timothy 3:15-17 King James Version
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
I debated on splitting this up into more than one post because there is so much depth here. But it all fits together so well that I did not want to sacrifice the integrity of the scriptures together, so I will just try to be a little briefer.
It is once again mentioned that the teaching Lois and Eunice shared with young Timothy. Paul is well aware that they brough him up knowing the scriptures. This is probably once of the reasons Paul found him so useful to the ministry. He had a solid foundation of truth. I know that we endeavored to do all we could to raise our children in the ways of the Lord, but I never was able to instill the love of scripture in their hearts. They knew the word fairly well, having attended church from the time they were born until well into their teens, attended Sunday School and youth group regularly and went to summer camp. But I was not a very good priest in my home. I did not show them how much I loved the word and in some areas I was hypocritical to what I was saying and teaching them. I studied early in the morning so they did not see me in the word very often. Prayer was not around our table. I did not help at all to teach them to love the Lord. I am so glad they do in their later years, and they would tell you I set a good example, but I feel in many ways I failed. I know they have all professed their faith in Jesus Christ and I can only pray they will live it out in their lives.
The reason it is so important to raise our children knowing the scripture is so they can understand what it is to be saved. They can know that salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation does not come through works, or good deeds, or riches. You can’t buy it or earn it. It comes by faith. Not only our salvation, but our deliverance, our healing, our provision and protection. They all come by faith. This is the wisdom we gain when we know the Holy Scriptures. Our faith in Jesus Christ makes us heir to the promises of God and brings our adoption into the family of God. There is no greater thing that can happen in our life but the saving of our souls. We are no longer the same, but we become new creatures in Christ and our old man starts to pass away as we take in more of this wisdom that comes through the Scriptures. It is then that we begin to realizer the scripture is given for four things. It is there to doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness, Let’s look at these four things and see how they apply to each of us.
Doctrine is defined as “a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.” Doctrine is what guides churches on their journey to reach souls for Christ. Doctrine is what unites one church to another. Churches with like doctrine will be more likely to draw like-minded people. The Bible spells out doctrine in many ways, most of which are in Paul’s letters. Paul was a great teacher of doctrine. Peter, James, John and Luke also added their insight to what the proper doctrine should be. The trouble is that there are many different doctrines out here from the same scripture, and there is a boastful way individuals go about saying their doctrine is right and another is wrong. Can we truly know which is right and which is wrong when there are so many? Now, if a doctrine is clearly outside of scriptures reach, or if it is based on one scripture alone and is not backed up by others, we can be pretty sure it is a false doctrine. There are many verses in scripture that speak of avoiding false doctrine and we must take heed to these. How do we know? Well, first of all, do they claim Jesus Christ as Lord and King, or do they pronounce some other office to Him? Do they say they have fresh revelation that supersedes the scripture? Do they claim some of the scripture is only for the past and does not apply today? All of these things are signals you could be hearing false doctrine. It is rampant in our world today and we must be wise, just as Timothy had to be wise, to make sure we are following the scripture that makes us wise unto salvation through Jesus Christ alone.
Reproof is defined as “Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension.” If we have a fault against our brother or sister, it is our duty as Christians to go to them with that problem. Not their sister, or co-worker, or our spouse or boss. To them and only to them. As expressed here, blame should be to the face, not through text or voice mail or e-mail. Face to face. This is the only way reproof should be brought out. One of the big problems we have in our churches is that we do not handle offenses properly, and we do not bring reproof when we should. Instead, we take our problems to everyone else except the person we have the problem with. Then the people we talk to have to take one side or the other and it pits us against each other. The Bible is very clear about how to handle reproof, or offenses.
First, if we have offense with our brother, we should go to them and explain what the offense is. If they refuse to acknowledge said offense, we should bring someone else with us and go over it again. This would preferably be a pastor or deacon. If they still refuse to acknowledge the transgression, it should be brought before the whole church. The problem is that we often do this just the opposite. We tell everyone else before we go to the one that hurt us. It’s no wonder that the church is seen as a house of hypocrites by those on the outside. We gossip and murmur and complain with the best of them! This should not be so! Secondly, if we have offended someone else, or even if we think we have, we should go to them and ask their forgiveness. This is even more important than bringing your tithe and offering to the church! We should never hold onto an offense, whether to us or by us. It is our duty as followers of Christ to make sure that offense is cleared up because, if it is not, bitterness can set in, and that will separate people faster than anything.
Paul says that the word of God is given for reproof. This means that if we are going to someone as prescribed above, we should make sure that the offense we have is scripturally sound and that we have scripture to back up our forgiveness, or reason to forgive. Make sure that the word can be applied to the situation and that we are not flying off the handle for some earthly reason. If it is your flesh that is offended, remember that we are supposed to die to the flesh so that we may live in the Spirit. Offenses should flow off your back like water off a duck’s back. As Christians, we must be above offense. You never see Jesus getting offended because of fleshly reasons. He always had sound, scriptural reproof for anyone who came at Him with accusations, and we should be able to do the same.
The third use of scripture is for correction. This is fairly self-explanatory so I won’t spend too much time on it. You have all found times that people misuse or misquote scripture. They use the word to gratify their own desires rather than knowing the real meaning behind the text. For example, there are many who say to be a Christian we must love everyone and accept them exactly as they are without making judgment or asking them to change. They cite the truth that God is love, so we must echo that love. While this is true, the ;logic used is a bit off. We must love everyone – this is a command. But we cannot leave that person in there sin. They must leave that sin behind to gain access to heaven and eternal life with Christ. Jesus always told the sinner to go and sin now more, Paul tells us to lay aside every weight that so easily besets us. Jesus told us to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect. Repentance, which means turning away, is key to our salvation. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. We must use scripture to correct these misunderstandings of truth.
In the same way, we must use scripture to instruct people in righteousness. There are millions of self help books, spiritual books and other motivational books that can help us in life, but to learn righteousness, we must get into the word. There is no substitute. I can read every self-help book out there, but if it is not scripturally based, and does not use scripture to back up it’s points, it is useless in teaching me righteousness. Am I using the word to learn righteousness, or am I trying to learn it on my own from other sources? Make sure good book is your source for this type of instruction.
Once we have applied the scripture to our life in this manner, we will become more mature. The example used here is of a thoroughly furnished house. Picture a house with all the fixings. Every need met, every piece of furniture in the right place and no excess. All the curtains hung and the pictures straight. Things put in their proper place, all cleaned and ready to be lived in. Like those beautiful houses you see in living magazines. This is how you will look to God if you utilize the scripture the way He intended. And for what purpose? To do good works, of course. Scripture will bring that about if we utilize it properly. Let us all aim for this kind pf perfection!