2 Timothy 3:16, 17
“There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the study of the Scriptures. No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible. If God’s Word were studied as it should be, men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose rarely seen in these times.” - Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, 90
The God who spoke to reveal Himself and His ways promised a Savior, a promise He fulfilled through Jesus Christ. As we submit our lives to Christ in repentance and faith for salvation, we also submit to the authority of God’s Word. We show our trust in God and His Word as we: (1) acknowledge that it is from Him; (2) allow God to transform our lives by it; and, (3) serve in His mission as He equips us to live our lives for His glory.
In this message, the focus is on a major event in the life of Stephen. In Acts 7, we see the fruit of the Word of God in Stephen’s life. He believed God’s Word. He allowed God’s Word to change him. And, he proclaimed God’s Word boldly. In our passage from 2 Timothy 3, we will see that God’s Word should cause the same effects in our lives.
I. WE CAN TRUST GOD’S WORD TO BE TRUE (VERSE 16A)
Paul uses the Greek word theopneustos
(“God-breathed” or “God-exhaled”) to describe
the nature of Scripture, God’s Word. God’s
Word, like God Himself, is unique. God is eternal,
and His Word stands forever (Is. 40:8). God
does not change, nor does His Word. Because
it comes from God (see 2 Pet. 1:20, 21), who
Himself is truth, the Word of God is true.
As stated in Seventh-day Adventists Believe:
“The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments,
are the written Word of God, given by
divine inspiration. The inspired authors spoke
and wrote as they were moved by the Holy
Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to humanity
the knowledge necessary for salvation.
The Holy Scriptures are the supreme, authoritative,
and infallible revelation of His will. They
are the standard of character, the test of experience,
the definitive revealer of doctrines, and the
trustworthy record of God’s acts in history (Ps.
119:105; Prov. 30:5, 6; Is. 8:20; John 17:17; 1
Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet.
Because we can trust the God of the Word
to be true, we can trust the Word of God to be
true as well. The words of men are just that—
the words of men. We can trust that God—and,
therefore, God’s Word—is true.
For every occurrence in our lives, big or
small, positive or negative, there is no shortage
of counsel available to us. Television hosts, radio
personalities, friends, and family members all weigh in, giving us their perspective on what we
should do or how we should respond. Do you
demonstrate your trust in God by trusting that
His Word is the one true source you can count
on to direct you according to His will and ways?
II. WE CAN TRUST GOD’S WORD TO AFFECT
OUR LIVES (VERSE 16B)
Paul says that God’s Word is not only trustworthy
but also “profitable.” What kind of profit
does God’s Word bring? As Bible teacher and
commentator Warren Wiersbe puts it, “[God’s
Word is] profitable for doctrine [what is right], for
reproof [what is not right], for correction [how
to get right], and for instruction in righteousness
[how to stay right].”
It is not just part of the Word of God that
is profitable but all of it. We tend to focus only
on the parts of Scripture that are familiar and/or
comfortable to us. This passage should compel
us to give ourselves to studying the entire God’s
Word, knowing that God will use it to accomplish
these objectives (doctrine, reproof, correction,
instruction in righteousness) in our lives.
Ultimately, we know that God is working by the
power of His Spirit, through His Word, to further
conform us into the image of His Son.
Do you read the Word of God simply for
information or do you read it for life transformation,
allowing God to use it to teach, correct, reprove,
and instruct you? Is God’s Word affecting
your life? If not, would you ask God to help you
read His Word toward that end?
III. WE CAN TRUST GOD’S WORD TO PREPARE
US FOR MISSION (VERSE 17)
Paul says that the Word of God bringing
about this “profit” in our lives serves a purpose.
That purpose is to ensure that the “man of God”
(and, by extension, the people of God) is both
“complete” (some translations say “perfect”)
and “equipped.” Both of these words, “complete”
and “equipped” (meaning “lacking nothing
that is needed”), carry the idea of being prepared
for service or action (i.e., “every good work”).
Perhaps our greatest “good work” for which
God equips us as His followers is to obey the
command of Christ to “make disciples of all
nations” (Matt. 28:18-20). This command encompasses
everything from growing in our own
walk with Christ to proclaiming the message of
Christ in our own communities and to the ends
of the earth. We seek to live as growing disciples ourselves as we make disciples of others, including
sharing the gospel and, for those who
trust Christ, baptizing them and teaching them
to observe all that Christ commanded. Because
we trust God and believe that His Word is true,
we not only allow His Word to work in our lives;
we also take that Word to the ends of the earth,
calling for others likewise to hear the Word of
God and to submit to the God of the Word in repentance
and faith in Christ.
Wiersbe says, “The ultimate purpose [of the
Word of God] is the equipping of the believers
who read it. It is the Word of God that equips
God’s people to do the work of God.” Have you
simply been asking God to teach you from His
Word, or are you asking God to equip you by His
Word so that you can more effectively serve Him
in His mission for His glory?
If you have never repented of your sin and
trusted Christ as the only Savior and Lord, that
is your greatest need. You will never fully submit
to the Word of God if you do not first repent and
trust the God of the Word. If you are a follower
of Christ, will you today demonstrate your trust
in God and His Word, not simply saying that you
believe it is true but also allowing God to transform
your life by it, fully equipping you for serving
faithfully in His mission for His glory?