We cannot completely understand God. There is so much we do not and cannot understand about Him; yet he is completely knowable. When I personally think about God and who He is, I am overwhelmed with a sense of awe and wonder. God is eternal. He has no beginning or end and our small minds cannot comprehend this. God’s love is never ending and this blows my mind. His grace is unfathomable and yet we are completely dependent upon it. Everything about God is perfect…His love, power, and holiness etc. Everything we do know about God is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible is synonymous to God’s Word. It gives us a glimpse of God (his attributes, nature and works) and it, as we will see in a moment, is profitable to the believer in so many ways. One way specifically is that it points us in the direction of how we are to live as followers of Jesus Christ. Knowing the Bible is essential to knowing God and knowing God is essential to life.
Background of 2 Timothy
Paul’s second letter to Timothy (Paul is writing from prison in Rome) – He writes to encourage Timothy to persevere in the ongoing persecution and trials he is and will be facing because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Paul is Timothy’s mentor. Timothy was a young Pastor at the time of this writing and Paul has a special bond with Timothy. The purpose of this letter is to encourage Timothy to stand firm in the faith during the good and bad times. In some ways it is a farewell letter to a good friend and colleague. The time of Paul’s death is uncertain but it is looming.
Chapter 3 Overview
In Chapter 3 Paul writes about the rise in persecution and godlessness that will happen in the last days. He says people will love pleasure (money, sex, & self) more than they love God. These godless individuals will be rebellious towards God and toward one another (they will be proud, arrogant, and disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, and without self control). What is worse is these godless and rebellious men and women will give the outer appearance of being godly but they are in fact just the opposite. Timothy is commanded to stay away from such people. They are slanderers and rebels like the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres who opposed Moses (Exodus 7:8 – 13).
Those who love the truth and follow Jesus will inevitably be persecuted and evil will go from bad to worse. Timothy is commanded and encouraged to continue in the truth of what he has learned from childhood; the Sacred writings which are able to make one wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Vs. 14: “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it…” Paul has instructed and mentored the young Pastor Timothy. We also find that Timothy’s mother and grandmother (Lois & Eunice) were integral in raising Timothy as a believer in Jesus Christ.
The sacred writings Paul mentions makes one wise to salvation – Scripture as a whole (N.T. and O.T.) reveals Jesus and teaches us about him.
All Scripture is breathed out by God – This is a vivid illustration of the Scripture. All Sacred writings that Paul just mentioned are inspired and ordained by God’s authority over all other secular writings. The Bible, the Word of God was given by the Spirit of God to men throughout history and it is without error. It is trustworthy, dependable and divine. This is what Paul is saying to Timothy.
John Calvin writes, “This (authority of Scripture) is a principle which distinguishes our religion (Christianity) from all others, that we know that God (has) spoken to us, and are fully convinced that the prophets did not speak at their own suggestion, but that, being organs of the Holy Spirit, they only uttered what they have been commissioned from heaven to declare. Whoever then wishes to profit in the Scriptures, let him first of all, lay down this as a settled point, that the Law and the Prophets are not a doctrine delivered according to the will and pleasure of men, but dictated by the Holy Spirit.” Calvin basically says that as believer’s we need to establish the fact and be good with the truth that Scripture is God’s Word and not mans. It is in fact divine and commissioned by God.
The Apostle Peter confirms this in 2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 2:13 – “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
The Bible is God’s Word… This truth is essential to our Christian faith.
Scripture is Profitable for…
- Teaching – Giving insight to the nature of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A teaching that is sound because it comes from God.
- Reproof – Reprimand (exposing one’s sin).
- Correcting – Restoration from sin to an upright state.
- Training in righteousness – Discipleship, discipline (equipping the believer to be competent and able to do good works.)
- So the man of God may be complete – Perfect… brought to a suitable state of moral Christian action.
- Equipped for every good work – I like what John Piper writes, “Everything good that God expects us to do, the Scriptures equip us to do.”
Preach the word – Proclaim and herald the divine truth.
What am I called to preach? I am called to preach the Word. I am to preach the full word of God both the Old and New Testament because salvation in revealed in these Testaments.
Be ready in season and out – Be continually prepared to give an account for all God has said and done. The Christian (not just pastors) must continually be on duty in regards for giving account for our faith. It is important for us to know what we believe and why we believe it. We are to preach the word when it is convenient or inconvenient.
Reprove – Convict of errors
Rebuke – Correct
Exhort – Comfort
A time is coming when people will not receive or “endure” sound doctrine. In fact they will not only just dislike it they will despise or hate it. The truth will offend. In turn people will seek to hear words that make them feel good or validate the sinful lives they are living (make them feel good). My friends we are indeed living in this time. People do not want to hear about sin, conviction or holiness. They want to find preachers that will endorse their sinful ways. They will seek teachings that do not promote change or transformation for holiness sake. Paul exhorts Timothy because people will turn against him, ridicule, criticize and persecute him because He will preach the truth (Humanity is sinful and in need of a savior and that savior is Jesus). He will be persecuted because people will want to hear the teachings of teachers that are not true to the Word of God. So Timothy needs to remain faithful and continue to preach and not let anyone deter him.
The Word of God is powerful. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This weapon is not only used as a means of defense but also is used to strike back. The Word of God is powerful, when Jesus was tempted in the desert he used to Word of God to fend off the devil and it was sufficient. It is living, it is active, and it is transformational. Everything about the Word of God points us to Jesus and Jesus is the fulfillment of the Word of God (I John 1:1). If you are a believer you must cling to the Word of God; you must know it and love it, for in it is power, salvation and truth.