2 Timothy 3:16-17

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Is the Bible sufficient for the training and instruction of a Christ follower?  There are  “scholars” and “prophets” who would say it is not.  However, shouldn’t the question start with what God has said on the matter? Consider 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” In order to capture the full essence of these verses it is necessary to break it down into some key components.  The Apostle Paul begins this verse by identifying the totality of his subject, “All of Scripture”.   The well respected theologian, Wayne Grudem, has demonstrated  that orthodox Christianity has always held that the corpus of Scripture was expanded with the addition of the New Testament, so Paul’s statement regarding all of Scripture most certainly includes the New Testament as well. We can have assurance of Paul’s claim not only because of his apostolic authority, but because verse 16 goes onto declare all of Scripture is set apart from all other writings as it has been inspired by God Himself..


 The Greek word that God the Spirit caused Paul to employ is, Theopneustos.  This transliterated word from the Greek literally means, God breathed.  However, it is important to make the distinction that although God superintended the men in their writing of Scripture, He did not compromise their individual personality and freedoms to do so. Kenneth Erisman, a Christian theologian, helps us to understand this term by stating the following:


The ideas in the Bible are not mere human ideas but God’s will and the expression of His character: ‘holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Pet. 2:21).  This means that God used humans to write the Bible, yet they were moved or guided by the Holy Spirit when they wrote it. This does not mean that God dictated his words to them or that God used people like a keyboard.  But the Holy Spirit superintended the production of Scripture.  He used their human personalities and styles of writing but so guided them that what they wrote is what he wanted!” (Erisman 2013, 80). 




Paul then continues to demonstrate to his readers that Scripture is not only profitable for, making us wise unto salvation, “but for teaching, rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.”  From this verse alone, it would seem that God’s intention for the efficaciousness of His word goes far beyond Salvation.  Notice that Paul goes unto say that the man of God can be complete, equipped for every good work.”  A quick search on a web engine of the word complete will lead the following definition: “having all the necessary or appropriate parts”.  This is exactly what Paul is stating. Scripture is not man’s wisdom but inspired by God. As such it has all the necessary an appropriate parts that are necessary to counsel God’s people in all aspects of life by making application of its precepts through teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.  Paul’s statement concerning the purpose and power of Scripture is both comprehensive and conclusive. As demonstrated from Paul’s writing in 2 Timothy, the Bible’s view of its own sufficiency is clear.  God has given no other systems outside of inspired Scripture that is used by the Holy Spirit to both instruct and sanctify His people. Theologian, Michael Horton, succinctly drives this point home by stating, “As means of grace, the Word (particularly, the Gospel) preached creates the church; as normative canon (Constitution), the Word as Scripture stands over the community. Through this Word, Christ not only creates a redeemed community but governs it as Prophet, Priest, and King. The Church is a recipient of God’s saving revelation, never a source.”

By Jared Clark