2 Tim 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
This means that the Old Testament plus the New Testament (much of which would have been written when Paul wrote the 2nd letter to Timothy) has been given by God using men to write what He wanted them to write. The Scripture is therefore God’s word.
Being God’s word, it is a bit like a manual for life – an instruction book from the Creator for the created – although it is much more than this of course. It is necessary for us to use God’s word to guide our lives so we are following God and Jesus. God’s word is to be used for:
- training in righteousness
to enable us to serve God and our fellow man.
Some helpful verses in understanding the importance of God’s word:
- Titus 1:9 which shows the importance of Scripture in instruction and sound teaching
- 1 Timothy 4:16 showing that Scripture is involved in salvation
- Romans 15:4 – quite similar to 1 Timothy 4:16-17
- Hebrews 4:12 together with 2 Cor 10:4-5 demonstrate the power of God’s word
- Isa 55:10-11; Luke 8:11; 1 Thes 2:13; 1 Peter 1:23-25 show how the word of God grows in us
2 Pet 1:20-21
knowing this first, that every prophecy of Scripture did not come into being of its own interpretation; (21) for prophecy was not at any time borne by the will of man, but being borne along by the Holy Spirit, holy men of God spoke.
These verses mean that because prophecy comes from God not man, the interpretation does not depend on what man wants it to mean, but what God intends/decrees it to mean.
This highlights the importance of comparing Scripture with Scripture and not trying to impose our own ideas on Scripture, but to search for the meaning that God intends. Ways that we can do this are:
- Read the actual words in the text, not just what we think that they should mean.
- Observe the context. Like the adage says, “a text without a context is a pretext”.
- Compare what other scriptures say. It may be that we have an unbalanced view because we have not taken into account a range of scriptures.
If we are not careful in this way, then we are likely to miss the benefits given by God’s word, because we are following – not what God says and means – but what we would like to think.