“You Need the Bible!”
2 Timothy 3:16
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of 2 Timothy 3.16
2 Timothy 3. We’ve been preaching new years messages and I’d like to recover where we’ve been. Nathanael preached on following Jesus. And last week, I preached on being trained to do the work of the ministry.
To get into what we’re discussing today, you can’t follow Jesus without the Bible. And pastors and teachers can’t train Christians without the Bible.
The topic today is “You need the Bible!”
But I’m afraid we have false expectations when we come to the Bible.
It’s like the e-card I saw once… Here’s what it said… “I’m not bitter about Disney providing false expectations about Prince charming, I am upset that woodland creatures don’t gather when I sing.” … false expectations…
It’s kind of like the teenage years. You have high expectations for your life. A big group of friends, staying up late, crying on your best friend’s shoulder, going on adventures, getting out of your hometown, campfires, road trips, driving around, getting lost, endless laughter, the happiest years of your life.
But in reality, in your teenage years … you feel lonely, you stay in, late-night studying for a math test, waking up early, tired, school all day and homework all night, being stressed out, filling out college applications, trapped in your hometown, being bullied, keeping it all bottled up, crying by yourself, spending way too much time on the Internet, and waiting for better years to come.
And some of you ladies who have been on social media can relate to this I found on the web … “I’m convinced Pinterest could teach me to build my dream house, with nothing but foam wreaths, pop bottles, and a glue gun.” False expectations.
You might have hopes and dreams of increased income and bigger and better stuff thinking that will satisfy… false expectations….
You might have high hopes because of your new plans for yourself… Thinking that what you need is a change in your circumstances…. Surely that will satisfy… False expectations.
You might think you need something else, but this year you need the Bible! Paul writing to timothy…
2 Timothy 3:14–17 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
In this passage Paul is appealing to Timothy to continue in what he has learned from the Bible. Paul is reminding Timothy that he learned the Scripture from his childhood. We learn from other passages that it was his mother and his grandmother who taught him the sacred writings.
And those sacred writings, just like with Timothy, are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
And of course, since the New Testament has not been completed yet at the time when Paul wrote this, Paul is saying that the Old Testament Scriptures have in them the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
It is the Old Testament that tells us about the death of the future Messiah, all the way back in Genesis 3:15. It is the Old Testament that tells us of his birthplace and the great details of his death, even that he would be pierced in his hands and his feet, in Ps. 22.
It is the Old Testament Scriptures that tell us that it is by faith alone that saves. All the way back in Genesis and the wife of Abraham we are told that, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
So indeed the Old Testament Scriptures have the wisdom that can lead to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
How much more light do we have in the New Testament of the great salvation we enjoy through faith in Jesus Christ?
Now, our main text is verses 16-17. And Paul is saying to Timothy, “you need the Bible!”
He’s telling him in verse 14 that you need to continue in the things that you’ve learned, continue in the Scripture.
You need the Bible!
I want to encourage you this new year with the same message: you need the Bible! First, you need the Bible because it is inspired by God.
You need the Bible: It’s Inspired by God! (Text)
2 Timothy 3:16 16 All Scripture is inspired by God
Literally this says every Scripture is inspired by God. Back in Bible times, if you were privileged enough to own a complete Bible, it would not have been in a complete book like we have it today. It would have been written down on separate scrolls, roles of parchment. 39 Old Testament books… 39 Old Testament scrolls. Every one of those scrolls is inspired by God. Every Scripture is inspired by God.
And so it is inspired. And so also is the New Testament inspired. Jesus said that through the Holy Spirit he would bring to remembrance to his apostles all things that He taught them.
What this means literally is that every book of the Bible is breathed out by God.
For example, over 3000 times we read that the writers of the Bible received their messages from God. They would say things like, “the LORD said to me.” Or, “the word of the Lord came to me saying…”
And then they would write it down. As they were writing, the Holy Spirit superintended the biblical authors, ensuring total accuracy and inerrancy of every word of the original writing.
And The Lord Jesus Christ himself testified to its inspiration when he quoted from all three sections of the Old Testament: the law, the prophets, and the wisdom literature. He testified that not one of the smallest pen strokes shall pass from the Old Testament until all is accomplished.
Somebody says, “how do we know that the Bible is inspired?” Well, we could first look at how we know the Bible is reliable.
For example, Isaiah wrote the book of Isaiah 700 years before Jesus. And then of course, people wanted a copy. Let’s say, Gary, wants a copy. Gary would get together with Isaiah and Isaiah would read it and Gary would write it down. And then Suzie wants a copy. So Susie gets with Gary and Gary reads it and Susie copies it down.
Those copies are called manuscripts. We do not have the original writings, but we have ancient copies called manuscripts.
When you compare the ancient copies of say, the book of Isaiah, what you find is that they are exactly the same except for simple errors or variations in spelling. That’s because ancient copiers of the OT were called scribes and they were trained and paid to copy the Bible.
In other words, we can be confident that we have what the originals said in our laps this morning.
And with the New Testament as we compare the wealth of the copies from ancient translations different geographical regions and different time periods, some of the copies dating within 100 years, scientists conclude that we are certain about what each passage of the New Testament said in 99.5% of the passages. Very few passages are difficult to determine exactly what the original would’ve said. No doctrine is different and the wording that’s difficult to determine doesn’t really change much of the passage.
The New Testament is reliable.
The Bible is reliable historically also. For example, the Hittite civilization existed during the time of Abraham. It is mentioned first in Genesis 15:20. Before archaeological discoveries, really smart scoffers scoffed at this supposed make believe people that is written about in the Bible. However, toward the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, archaeology demonstrated the trustworthiness of the Old Testament. And today you can watch whole documentaries about the Hittite people. Before the archaeological discoveries, that civilization was found in the Bible. You can trust the Bible.
Regarding Jesus’ life, there is ancient corroboration about the life of Jesus outside of the Bible. Ancient historians like Josephus, parts of the Jewish Talmud, Pliny, Mara Bar Serapion, Tacitus, Thallus, Sue-ton-ius, Lucian, and others, would agree that Jesus lived at the same time as Pontius Pilate (26-36 A.D.). He was crucified. His followers believed they saw him risen from the dead and that he was the Jewish Messiah. They began to sing hymns to him as if he were God. All those ancient historians would agree to that.
So the Bible is reliable.
But the Bible is inspired by God. For this, you have specific fulfilled prophecy. For example Jeremiah predicted that God’s people would be held captive in Babylon for 70 years. And as Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy, he realized that the captivity was coming to an end. Indeed it did, under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah they returned to the land… you guessed it, after 70 years of captivity.
Isaiah predicted 150 years in advance that a man named Cyrus would commission Israel to rebuild Jerusalem. The proof of that fulfillment is found in 2 Chronicles as well as the book of Ezra.
And we can talk about science and how Job knew thousands of years ago that God had hung the earth upon nothing (Job 26:7) … and how did the psalmist know that there were paths in the seas, which statement lead Matthew Fontaine Maury to begin to search for and discover the currents in the ocean.
Another from science … if people were to wash their hands as the Old Testament described, under running water, that would’ve saved thousands upon thousands of lives after it was written in Leviticus 14 and 15 over 3,000 years ago, well before knowledge of those little germs were seen under a microscope. Running water, not a basin.
The Bible is reliable and the Bible is inspired. You need the Bible!
TRANS: Because it is inspired, second this morning you need the Bible, because it is profitable. You need the Bible this year because it is profitable. To say “it’ll do you a lot of good” is an understatement.
You need the Bible: It’s profitable (Text)
2 Timothy 3:16 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
Every book of the Bible is profitable, it is beneficial or advantageous, first of all, for … what does it say there…the Bible is profitable for …. teaching. This is doctrine. Each book can give you the right information concerning who God is and what he requires of you. Every book of the Bible is also beneficial to you… to convict you of your sin, that is, reproof. Every book of the Bible can be used by God to convict you that you are a sinner and that such and such is indeed a sin.
The Bible doesn’t leave it there. It will also inform you how to correct that wrong behavior .. to make it good, as it says there… correction. It’ll tell you what was wrong and it will tell you how to make it right.
But that’s not all. You will also get training about how to keep it right. You will get training in righteousness. So the Bible is profitable to instruct you concerning doctrine, by telling you where you’re wrong, telling you how to make it right, and also telling you how to keep it right, which is training in righteousness.
ILL: This word for training at the end of verse 16 was used in the ancient world to refer to what parents do for their children as they grow up. We give them child training. We use various means and methods in order to guide them down the path of righteousness.
We use discipline, we use constant verbal instruction, we use praise, we use motivation in order to give our children rigorous discipline and training in the path of righteousness.
And this is very fitting terminology to use for Timothy, considering that Paul has just alluded to Timothy’s childhood in vv. 14-15. This is again a further remembrance for Timothy to recall his childhood training as he sat at the feet of his grandmother and his mother to learn the Old Testament.
Now, let’s talk again about false expectations. When you go to the Bible, what do you expect? When you listen to a sermon that is explaining passages, what are you to expect?
Would you agree that this passage is telling you what you should expect from your Bible? You should expect things that you don’t normally consider as positive. You should expect teaching, that’s doctrine. You should expect reproof…. That doesn’t feel good. You should expect to be corrected. You should expect to be trained in righteousness.
Now, our world and our culture and our flesh says that none of these 4 things are pleasant.
It is difficult readying, studying, and listening to doctrine. But that’s what the Bible is here for. It is challenging to study from the Scripture reproof. Who wants to go to the Bible for correction and training?
A Christian does!
But frankly, a lot of Christians go to the Bible for “a pick me up.” They go to the Bible for a verse that will “get them through the day.” They go to the Bible for inspiration.
In this great foundational verse, Paul could have said that all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for pats on the back … “hey, we all make mistakes, it’s ok ….” Paul could have said that all Scripture is profitable for positive thinking, reassurance, and training in happiness” but it doesn’t say that. You could make a good case that the Bible has some of that in it, but those things aren’t the focus.
When we come here on the Lord’s day morning or we approach the Scripture throughout the week, we should expect and appreciate and praise God for the doctrine and the reproof and the correction and the training in righteousness, difficult though it may be.
ILL: Because it’s so easy for us to manufacture false expectations in our own minds, … listen, you need what God says you need! This is just like a slave. Paul calls himself a bondservant of Christ Jesus, a willing slave, in many of his epistles.
A slave does not have the right nor is it profitable for him to need what he thinks he needs. He could say to his slave owner, “I think I need a Jacuzzi, a car, and a fancy meal once a week,” but his thinking that he needs that will be quite unprofitable for him.
Similarly, we don’t need what we think we need. We need what God says that we need. Did you catch that? We don’t need what we think we need. We need what God says that we need.
And God says in our passage today what is profitable, what is it that will profit you?
Again, doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Are you convinced that is what you need?
Or are you coming to the Scripture with false expectations? If you are looking for the wrong things in the Scripture, your growth will be stunted.
People looking for the wrong things in Scripture don’t typically read in the book of Habakkuk or Nahum. People with false spiritual expectations haven’t done a detailed study on Obadiah, trying to determine what God is saying in that little book.
Somebody who wants what they want out of the Bible spends time in their favourite passages. They neglect parts of the Bible they don’t think are relevant to them.
ILL: It reminds me of a story about an aged pastor’s wife I knew. She read parts of the Bible and then prays, “Lord, why do you make me read this?” She got it right! God wants her to read it and so she reads it.
We need what God says that we need and He says we need doctrine reproof and the others. I need to learn to need that!
So how has your appetite for reproof been this past year? Have you been hungry for correction? Have you longed for the doctrine, the meat of God’s word? Have you longed for training in righteousness?
Dear people, I fear that many of us have had false expectations when coming to the Scripture. Perhaps this needs to be the year where you say, “I’m going to stop wanting what I want out of the Scripture and start wanting exactly what God says in that very passage.”
TRANS: Finally, you need the Bible because it is powerful.
You need the Bible: It’s Powerful!
The Scripture is profitable for a purpose. It is profitable again for four things the doctrine, the reprove, correction, and training… It is profitable with a purpose in verse 17 “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
The Scriptures purpose for the man of God is that he may be adequate. Adequacy is then further defined in the verse to refer to being “equipped for every good work.”
If the main preacher and teacher of an assembly subjects himself to the Scripture and gives the Scripture the opportunity to inform him of every one of those four things in verse 16, then he will be, verse 17 adequate, that is, equipped for every good work. He will then be able to work out what he has learned from the Scripture. So the clear goal of the Scripture is for each person in any assembly to be equipped for doing good works.
That is why I have emphasize so much Ephesians 4. The pastors and teachers of an assembly are given for the training of the saints that they might do the work of the ministry. Teachers and disciplers, by God’s design, are here to lay before you the teaching of the Bible. And in so doing, you will receive those 4 things in verse 16.
As the Holy Spirit uses these times that we have together in His Word, you will begin to be more and more equipped to work out righteous works. And that’s the purpose of the Scripture that you would be equipped for every good work. Unless…
Unless you have false expectations. You know we’re not here just to make you feel good each week! We’re here for the reasons that the Scripture says that we’re here: for teaching, reproof, correction, and training.
But it only comes from the teaching of the Scripture! You must have the Scripture and you must have the teaching of the Bible in order to be sufficiently equipped in order to do good works.
ILL: Whenever there has been a reviving of God’s people, there has been a reviving of their attention toward the words of God. Whenever there is a revival, the Lord raises up people who are devoted to the studying and the teaching of the word of God.
For example you could turn to the book of Nehemiah chapter 8. The people are returning from Babylon to the land of Israel.
They are in the land of promise and all the people were gathered together that day to hear Ezra. They heard Ezra and they saw him stand up on a platform. There, Ezra proclaimed and read from God’s word. When he opened the book, the people instinctively stood up. All of the people were there. Every man, woman and anybody who could understand language were there.
And as Ezra read that day, the Levites were with the people explaining to them giving the understanding of the passages. And that was no short day. From [down, up] early in the morning until midday all of God’s people who had come back from the Babylonian captivity were there. A crowd of 42,360.
When the people heard the words of the Lord then they pronounced that day holy to the Lord. But the people began to weep when they heard the words of the law of the Lord! But, the leaders had to encourage them not to weep, but to rejoice! They were to celebrate and have a great festival.
So they did celebrate instead! Now, focus in on verse 12 …
Nehemiah 8:12 12 All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, [why? Why did they celebrate?] because they understood the words which had been made known to them.
And then, in Neh. 8:13, Ezra met with the fathers and they opened the book together.
Nehemiah 8:13 13 Then on the second day the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the scribe that they might gain insight into the words of the law.
Take note of that men, we need training, don’t we? And they read and gained insight into the words of the law and in the word that day they read about …how to be better dads and husbands? That’s what we would expect right? … No, they read in Deut. 16 a commandment that God’s people had not been practising for centuries. They were to be keeping the festival of the Feast of Booths.
So they went out to the hills and they brought back olive branches and myrtle branches and other branches and they made booths or “tents” and the people lived in them according to the word of the Lord. The entire assembly made those tents and lived in them for seven days to commemorate what God had done in the Exodus.
Now, that seems strange, doesn’t it? Was that what they needed? Do they really need to get sticks and make tents and live in them for seven days?
If they were thinking that day about what they needed when they came to God’s word and had false expectations, they would look at that passage and think, “We do not need to understand that. What good would that do?”
Well, Ezra read from the book of the law of God every day during the seven days of that festival and the Bible says in Nehemiah 8:15 that there was “great rejoicing.”
There is revival here with great passion, weeping, and rejoicing… And chapter 9 describes the confessions of sin and a great prayer about how God was graciously sovereign over the whole history of Israel.
And the people responded to God’s words through God’s qualified man who was personally and publicly passionate about God’s Words. Very simply, there is revival here because “a qualified man with a personal and public passion for God’s Words formed a channel for God who revived His people.”
And it was a revival of studying and discovering God’s words, attempting to understand the words of God as they are given.
Now, I believe that the grace of God is available to us for this! I believe that if we endeavored to focus in on the very words of God and to come to his word, not with our own expectations not with our own thoughts, not with our own desires, but coming to the word of God wanting exactly what that word says, that we’d be greatly blessed.
I believe that God’s grace is here available to us to empower us that the Holy Spirit is in our hearts waiting and willing to teach us and instruct us to help us to understand… His words and to give us an appetite, not for our false expectations, but to change our minds to give us an appetite for His words.
But if we come to the word of God and attempt to put into it our own thoughts and put into it our own desires, we will greatly lack. But if we come to it come to each passage that we read or that we preach and we desire, as the people in Ezra’s day, to understand the words which had been made known to us, if that is our focus that will be a reviving.
God’s abundant grace is available to us to change our minds and to help us to come to His word with His expectations not ours….CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of 2 Timothy 3.16…
So, come to word of God this year! You need it! It’s inspired, profitable, and powerful to change your life! Come to it desiring to understand God’s words with His emphases.
1. So read it! Everyday. One way or the other read it. Perhaps you need to read it through this year. Have you ever read the entire Bible? You should read the books you are unfamiliar with and study them. Seek to understand what God is saying.
2.When you listen to sermons this year, be ready to hear doctrine. Be ready to hear reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Not every sermon will have every one of those because not every passage has every one of those. But every book of the Bible has these.
You can’t get through Obadiah or 3 John without hearing those four things. Come to a sermon or to your Bible expecting those things because it is for these things that the Scripture is indeed profitable. This is what Paul the apostle would come to the Scripture eager to hear.
Are we convinced that we need the Bible? Let’s further that thought with Hymn #313