But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 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. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:14-18
These verses were recorded by Paul while he was imprisoned under Emperor Nero, being held in a dungeon and chained like a criminal. Despite the darkness of the circumstances in which these words were written, they invite us to reflect upon the life-giving beauty and power of all God-breathed Scripture.
Paul records in this letter that all Scripture is breathed out by God. This verse does not state “some” or “most” Scripture is breathed out by God. Let us not overlook the power of the word choice here. “All” means each and every Scripture. This word leaves no room for picking and choosing as we may like. It leaves no room for altering or updating as culture may dictate.
Secondly, “God-breathed” implies that all Scriptures came straight from the mouth of God, showing us that God himself is the primary source of the Bible. Primary source documents hold more power than secondary or tertiary sources. Why? Because they are the original. They are not someone’s interpretation of the original. When we study primary source texts, we get closer to the truth, character, and intention of the original speaker. So, regardless of which set of human hands God used to record his words-– whether Moses, David, Paul, or John-– we understand that “breathed out by God” indicates that what each man recorded was inspired by God alone.
Lastly, the phrase “profitable for teaching, correction, and training” shows, in part, the purpose of Scripture in our lives. Scripture is a means by which God works in us. Scripture is a means by which God ministers to us. When we open the pages of our Bible, we are inviting the Spirit of God to come meet us exactly where we are. Therefore, opening the Bible is unlike opening any other text. When we open the Bible, we are being acted upon by the sacred power of the Scriptures. “For the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) It is working to change us-– to transform us more into the image of Christ. God comes through Scripture to do a work in us, so that we may be sanctified. We are sanctified in order to be equipped for every good work God has for us to do in our sphere of influence.
This is why immersing ourselves in it day in and day out holds the power to transform our character and our lives. Consistent consumption of the Word of God is a spiritual discipline that renews our minds and transforms our lives, if we allow it. As we fast and pray-–as we seek the face of God together-–may we hunger more and more for the word of God, for “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
Heavenly Father, thank You for breathing out the words of Scripture for the purpose of breathing life into us. Lord, we pray today that You would minister to us through Your Word. We pray that Scripture will be a place we go when our bones are dry and we need refreshing. We pray Scripture will be a place we go when we need to make a decision and we do not know which direction to turn. We pray Your Word will be a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path. We pray that Scripture points us back to You– our first love, our source of life, comfort, joy, and rest. We pray that we would always allow Scripture to provide us with correction that leads to hope. Let us encounter You, Lord, through this Holy Book. And, Lord, when we do, let us never be the same. Let our character be formed by the sacred power of Your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Writer and Communications Associate, Christian Union
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