Open to Rebuke

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Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D., has a diverse background as a biblical scholar, worship leader, and pastor. He served as Christian Union’s first Teaching Fellow at Princeton University and later directed its ministry in New York City. Chuck earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently pastors Bethesda Grace Church in Manhattan.

I want to invite you to take just a moment with me to think about something you may not have thought about very much. And that is, that one of the primary purposes of the Bible is to rebuke us. That we need to be people who are open to correction. Let me read to you 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Paul writes to Timothy, "All scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

Here, Paul is telling Timothy why he needs to be devoted to Scripture, in his own personal absorption of it, as well as his teaching of it. And, right here in the heart of this verse, twice Paul references that the point of Scripture—the reason why Timothy needs to be tethered to the Word of God—is because the Bible will keep him on track. The Bible will highlight his sin. The Bible will call him to repent. The Bible will challenge him to live a holy life, to become more like Jesus Christ.

That's what the Bible is here for ... one of the primary purposes, not the only thing. But it seems sometimes, as we listen to the Bible, as we read the Bible, as we talk about the Bible in American Christianity, sometimes it can feel more like we look to the Bible simply for self-help, simply for how can the Bible make me feel better when I'm down. Or, how can the Bible even explain difficulties in life? And those are legitimate purposes of the Bible.

Yes, they minister to us when we're hurting, when we're brokenhearted, when we're sick, when we're sad. Absolutely, 100%, I would never want to take away any of that. And yes, the Bible is our guide for our minds and understanding the complexities of life, and the character of God, and all these sorts of things. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

But also, we need to remember that the Bible is here to rebuke us. And sometimes when we talk about the Scripture, think about the Scripture, hear the Scripture in our current cultural Christian context, these things seem like they're avoided. As Paul goes on to encourage Timothy, "Hey, don't just tickle people's ears. Don't just tell them what they want to hear. Tell them what they need to hear." And sometimes we need to hear. And many times, since it's so prominent in this verse, many times we need to hear words of correction, words of how we need to get our lives back on track, how we need to stay fervent for Christ, why we need to keep sharing the Gospel, why we need to be people devoted to prayer, and on and on.

So, be a person who is open to rebuke, and you will become more complete. You will be equipped for every good work. God bless you.

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