2 Timothy 3:14–17 (ESV) — 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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.
Paul warned young Timothy to hold onto that which he had learned as a child concerning the “sacred writings”. It was through these writings that wisdom for salvation in Christ comes. He goes on to say that all Scripture is “God inspired” and beneficial for teaching (instruction), reproof (warning), correction (adjustment) and training in righteousness (how to please God).
As I read this portion of Scripture this morning, I could not help but think of the way Scripture is viewed today. Is it viewed as “sacred”, as described by Paul to young Timothy? Or, is it viewed as “irrelevant and out of date and just old writings of the past”?
In a recent online article concerning Pastors and their teaching, George Barna is quoted as saying “when his researchers asked the pastors about the key political issues of our day, 90 percent of the pastors agreed that the Bible does speak to every one of these issues. But when the pastors were asked if they were teaching their people about what the Bible says about those issues, only 10 percent of the pastors said they were (or that they would do so)”. Also, in another research project by Barna, he concluded that only 50% of pastors have a Biblical worldview. Where does this leave those who depend upon the Pastors and teachers to give them Biblical truth. This is a strong reason that we should study the Scriptures for ourselves and allow the Pastors and Teachers to supplement our own searching of the Scriptures. Jesus equipped the church with pastors/teachers (Eph. 4:11), but this was never to substitute for our own pursuit of God’s Word.
Many years, ago as a young believer I was one that, even though I loved God’s Word and could not get enough reading, I would sometimes struggle with understanding the Scriptures and how they ‘seemed’ to contradict at times. My background was science and research and I wanted all the “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed and everything to be logical and sequential. But, I saw Deborah as the ruler of Israel in the OT and yet there were those Scriptures in the NT that eliminated women from leadership in the church. I saw how God often dealt with people in an almost brutal way in the OT and then saw the grace and love He extended at times in both the OT and NT. I saw where God declared Himself to be our Healer and then told Israel He would not put diseases on them as He had on their enemies. I began to pick and choose and then the Lord very clearly spoke to be and said “You’ve got to decide what you will believe”. I decided that I would believe the Word and wait on Holy Spirit to be my Teacher and Counselor. I put aside every other opinion other than the Word of God and amazingly things began to clear up. I looked to God to explain the seeming contradictions and He began to reveal His heart for life, holiness, grace and mercy.
What I learned was that as I became more familiar with the Scriptures as a whole, these seemingly troublesome “contradictions” were explained. I began to interpret the Scriptures in light of my relationship with God and not religious doctrine. I began to see that sometimes Scripture is presented in a cultural context and it is the principle of what is being said rather than the “rules” that many draws from it. The principle of Scripture is always in the context of God’s love for us and His heart of holiness and grace. It is the letter of the law that kills, but the Spirit that brings life. He is His Word according to John 1:1 and His Word is God and His Word is sacred because He is sacred. In relationship, we are led into all truth.
The Word of God is sacred and powerful. It heals, guides, instructs and corrects us. It is the source of Wisdom and Love, because His Word is God Himself.
It is easy to see what deviation from the truth of God’s Word can cause. Look at our government; our schools; our culture. We have chosen to eliminate God and His Word from the very institutions in our culture that need Him most and we are paying the price. We need to choose to believe the Word of God without failure.
Maybe we should take to heart the Word of God when it promises us in Deuteronomy 12:28 … Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.