The Sanctity of Scripture Part II
Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Proposition: The sacred content of all that has been written in the Scripture has it’s origin in the mind of God as He inspired the writers to record it.
Introduction: Imagine if someone were to put you into a room that was 30 feet wide and there was nothing in there but you. They tell you to walk to the end of the room and back but first they are going to turn out the lights. You walk slowly in the dark, across the room and back and then the lights are turned on again. Now they come and put chairs, boxes, garden rakes, boards with nails sticking up and even small baskets of venomous snakes. The lights are turned off again and in total darkness you try to make your way across the room cluttered with obstacles, some of which can kill you. What you need desperately is some light, even just a little light and then you could see your path. This was the concern and praise of the Psalmist in Psalm 119:5 when he wrote, “ Thyword is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The Scripture is a light to help us find our way, to show the glory of God, to reveal hidden things, even things like pride, bitterness and jealousy that are sourced in our sin nature. When the darkness is so deep that you can’t see your hand if front of your face light becomes extremely critical. It slows the panic of being lost, it comforts the heart with the ability to see the next step. When Paul wrote his letters to Timothy he did so in part because the days were getting darker spiritually and the need for light was becoming more and more critical. The extent of this darkness is described as well as the light that is essential for walking through it in 2 Timothy 3, have a look at that with me.
I. Inspiration, God Breathing Into Man, Words.
The last we have heard of God breathing into man was at the creation of Adam and the breathing in process is what imparted the essence of life into mankind. Life was sacred because its origin was from the very breath as it were of God. Now in 2 Timothy 3:16 we hear that same kind of word being used again, we hear the word ‘inspiration’. It’s the Greek word ‘theopneustos’. You recognize the prefix ‘theo’ meaning God and the suffix ‘pnueutos’ meaning ‘to breathe upon’. This revelation and then inspiration was the work of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2: 9-11 says “But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” What it comes down to is this: Revelation – Inspiration – Illumination. Revelation is God revealing to man the absolutes of truth. Inspiration is the recording of that truth by the Holy Spirit directing the writers in all they wrote and even in the words they used so that all of Scripture, every word, is without error and authoritative. Its source is the very person of God. Illumination is when you and I read the word of God with the Holy Spirit resident within us because of faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit illumines or lights up the way of the Word for us. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” and by all Paul was referring to both the Old Testament and the New. In 1 Cor. 14:37 Paul writes, “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment.” In 2 Peter 3:16 Peter equates the writings of Paul as being Scripture, “ as also in all [Paul's] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” The Holy Spirit directed the writers of Scripture, from Moses to John, to write down the details of what the Father was revealing to them so that Light would accompany Light. It’s just as John was inspired to write in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This reference to the Person of Jesus Christ refers to Him as the One who reveals God, the Word. Accompanying the person of the Word is the written word of God which is described in a dynamic way in Hebrews 4 :12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The inspired Word of God, the Scripture is alive with the very truth of God and is activated by the Holy Spirit illuming it to our understanding. Think of it like this, what was the power of the spoken word of God in Genesis? It caused all Creation to exist to the glory of God. That same power is inherent in the written Word of God, it is extremely powerful, going right down to the division of soul and spirit in us, discerning for us and with us the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts. That’s why Paul now says what comes next.
II. Profitability, the Real Test For the Authentic Word of God.
The first thing Paul writes about the inspired word of God is that it is profitable and it’s profitable in four different ways. Before we get to those four different ways let’s just recognize that to be profitable means that it is able to be received and reinvested. That implies that all people can understand it, were meant to be able to read it in their own language and receive what it is saying and then invest the truth that comes from it making a gain in their lives by growing in an understanding of what it means to be righteous in the eyes of God. That quality is unique to the Bible, it comes from the very origin of righteousness, the Trinity of the Godhead and it stands alone as the directive of God for holiness. But the point I want to make is that the Bible is meant to be understood, from children to adults, from the uneducated to the teachers of universities. It is profitable for us because it is able to be received and read and understood and believed and obeyed as the Holy Spirit directs us. So what are the four areas it is profitable in?
1. In Doctrine - some translations use the word ‘teaching’ referring to teaching about God and the instruction of how we should relate to Him and to one another. The Scripture is profitable in knowing not just about God but in knowing God directly through the Person of Jesus Christ. It is why Jesus came, that it would be profitable eternally for you and I.
2. For Reproof - this term refers to result of being reproved. It is the conviction of Holy Spirit in us inviting us to confess or agree with God about His Doctrine or Teaching. It calls us to change but it is not a change to conform but rather a change of being transformed. The Bible is sacred because it enables us to “prove what isthat good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:1-2)
3.For Correction - the essence of this word means, ‘to restore to an upright point’. It’s like when you bumped your wife’s favorite vase and as it wobbled and was about to fall to the floor you grabbed it and set it firmly upright, safe, the way it was intended to be. The Psalmist once wrote, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” (Ps. 19:7) That’s what the Word of God can do as you agree with it, it restores, puts upright, puts your soul the way is was intended to be.
4. For Training in Righteousness - it refers to the way the Bible builds routines, patterns, habits, disciplines, like the way a soldier is trained in all the weapons he will need to use, in the terrain he will have to face, in the enemy that he needs to overcome. The effect of the training is a righteousness that rightly reflects the character and person of God.
The inspired Word of God accompanies the Incarnated Word, Jesus Christ. The combined goal of both the Lord and His Word is that we would be found to be complete. The NASB uses the term ‘adequate’, King James uses the word ‘perfect’, they both refer to you being made complete. Jesus Christ came that you would be made complete in Him, perfect in Him, adequate before the Father in Him. That completeness is what the Scripture is targeted to do, it will thoroughly equip you for every good work.
As we prepare for Communion I’d like you to reflect for a moment on how Jesus was thoroughly equipped to complete the plan of redemption. He was equipped with the perfection of deity, equipped with the mortality of humanity, equipped to learn obedience even though as God He is Omniscient. He was equipped to perfectly reveal the Person and glory of the Father to mankind because He knew the Father and was with the Father before the world was ever created. He was equipped to bear the sin of mankind, this Son of God who had only known sinlessness. He was equipped with a righteousness that could be imputed or put upon us, charged to our account as it were. He was equipped with love that manifested such mercy and grace as to see Him to the cross, past the tomb to glory.