This week we will be looking at the way that God gave us His Word. The Bible was authored by approximately 40 human authors, but as the Scripture tells us it really has one Author that breathed the words into the people who gave us the Bible as we know it today. 2 Timothy 3:16a says “All Scripture is breathed out by God”. The word that Paul used in the Greek is theopneustos or literally God-breathed. Not just inspiration as some of our English translation poorly represent. Inspiration conveys the idea that the words of the authors came from themselves, only by some stimulation of some sort by God. No, the idea that we get from Scripture is that the Word of God came from Himself – the human authors, like Paul, were vessels in which God chose to reveal those words. He used their individual personalities and situations and geographies to work through them to speak His voice, His teaching, His Word to His people – to the world.
The passage in 2 Timothy also tells us why we need the Word of God.
3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”.
We often times just wish that we would be given just a simple list of dos and don’ts – A Christian’s Guide to a Perfect Life. But that is not what the Bible is. The Word of God is the story of God’s love for us unfolded from Creation, and then ends with what is to come in Revelation. It tells us of how we as man rejected His love, and then we see throughout the Bible God’s plan of redemption that comes as a babe in Jesus Christ. His perfect life is an example of how we should strive to live, and then He came to show us how to die and then live again. Paul’s writings point to Christ over and over, and give us practical ways to live a holy Christian life with Christ as our center. We can glean wisdom from Proverbs, learn how to pray and praise God from Psalms, we see the prophecies of Christ’s coming from the Prophets, take hold of so many promises of God in the Old Testament, and learn from the lives of all of the different people of all throughout the Bible. The Word of God is profitable for teaching.
Reproof or rebuke – not something we really like to think about that much, right? I don’t know about you, but I never really much liked when I got in trouble with my parents or a teacher at school, even when it was something minor like talking too loudly in class or whatever. Your errors are pointed out. But rebuke when it comes from God? Sounds a little more severe, doesn’t it? But Proverbs says otherwise 3:11-12 “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”. God disciplines us because He loves us.
I also had a thought about correction when I read this verse. We have a Husky named Juneau. If you don’t know anything about Huskies – know 2 things – they are extremely smart and extremely headstrong. At least ours is. We decided early on we wanted to do some obedience training with Juneau, because we knew that it might be a challenge to train her on our own. The trainer that we went to introduced us to the concept of a correction collar. It is chain collar that loops together and cinches around the neck when pulled taut. Some might call it a “choke” collar, but it doesn’t actually choke unless Juneau pulls against it too hard. The concept is that when you are giving a correction to the dog, you give a quick snap of the leash – the collar pulls tight around the neck as well as producing a metal on metal sound to catch the dog’s attention. We even pulled it tight quickly around our own arms to see what it would feel like. It didn’t hurt, but we did notice the quick snap, and I am sure the sound close to her ears would be a quick reminder that she was not doing what she was supposed to be. We chose this method because we knew that she being the breed she was, we would need some way to get her attention, especially if there was a situation in which she was in danger. We may not wear the Word of God around our neck, but we do wear it in our hearts (Ps. 119:11), so that we can avoid sinning. We can wear it as correction, not as a choking mechanism by not pulling against it at every turn.
We have it for training in righteousness. We can be headstrong thinking that we have the best recipe for holy living. But in reality, we have already been given the best instructions, and we have been given the Holy Spirit in order to determine how to carry out those instructions in our daily life to fulfill God’s will for our lives. God intends for us to grow in righteousness, and that is one reason why He gave us His Word. So that His headstrong little children would grow closer to Him.
When we are children, we are complete in Him – we get the concept from other passages also, not just this one (Col 2:10-15). But, knowing that we have the Holy Spirit within us, and the God-breathed Word behind us, does that not give you a new sense of power? This passage says “equipped for every good work”. This thought that the righteousness that can only come from God is going to filter down into our lives though the reading of His Word and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in our lives become the good that God needs us to do on this earth. He is not going to leave us ill-equipped. He would not leave us to do the things He needs done through our own meager resources. He is a Great God who does mighty things so that we know that it is He and only He that is accomplishing them.
Just look at our Bible today – a book that was written over a span of 1500 years, over 40 different authors, 66 books, different locations over 3 continents. We have more copies of manuscripts than books like the Iliad, and in most cases, those manuscripts have rare minor variants that do not affect the doctrine of Scripture or of our Christian faith. How else would our Bible come together without the intervention of a mighty God? And now so many of us have multiple copies in our homes or even apps on our phones that we can switch versions at the drop of a hat. But, just how much do you treasure the Word of God? Do you look forward to reading the Bible? Do you say like the Psalmist “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (119:103) Sometimes I think we may take for granted what the Bible is – the very Words of God given to us through people He chose to be His vessels to deliver His message to His people. Now we can be vessels to continue to deliver the message of the Gospel to the world we live in.
What better way to start but by sharing the Christmas story with someone – have you ever wondered why if one reason we celebrate Christmas is to have an excuse to witness to someone? The world needs to know that the Baby Jesus was the Gift given by God – because one day He became the Crucified Jesus and 3 days later He became the Risen Jesus. One day He will be the Returning Jesus. Are you ready? Is your family ready? (Part of our family just got ready, I am so happy for you Mike!! (a.k.a China Mike : ))) Are your friends ready? Is the cashier at Wal-Mart ready? I admit that I am just as lacking as the next person, but I am praying that God gives me the boldness to be better…He did say that He would equip us, right?