We will return to our study in Exodus, but this week we will look at the foundational doctrine of the Scriptures as the Word of God. This passage is well known for the Christian doctrines of the inspiration and sufficiency of Scripture. It is important we base our faith on what the Scriptures teach. It is also important we believe God has given us all we need for faith and practice in the Scriptures.

Paul, in this epistle, is writing from prison knowing his days are short. He is writing to Timothy, his beloved protégé who is also a minister of the gospel. He emphasizes to Timothy his responsibility to preach the gospel regardless of persecution, false teaching, or societal decline. God will always have a people, and he calls people to Christ through his word and keeps people in the faith through his word.

Paul reminds Timothy that Scripture is God-breathed, meaning the source is God himself, and what is in the Scriptures is what God has intended to be there. God’s word is what is useful for God’s people, so Timothy is to treat it as necessary and required by God for his glory and the good of souls. Here Paul gives Timothy four uses of Scripture. We will look at each.

First, it is “profitable for teaching.” Paul is instructing Timothy in the context of preaching the word, so there should be teaching in preaching. By teaching, Paul means explaining the Scriptures. People need to learn the meaning of Scripture; what God is revealing for faith and life. The word of God is a spring of living water, a treasure for the soul, but it must be taught.

The Lord Jesus Christ, after he was raised from the dead, met with his disciples and beginning with the books of Moses down through all the prophets he interpreted for them all that was written in God’s word about himself. The Lord points us to a right interpretation of the Scriptures being centered on the person and work of Christ.

The apostle Paul declared that his preaching ministry centered around Christ being crucified. We can think of this too narrowly. The truth of the cross has endless doctrinal truths connected to it, and all the Old Testament pointed toward the need of a sufficient sacrifice to make men right with God. The dedication of the Christian life, (if it is authentic) is built upon Christ died for me to give me life.

The cross teaches us the certainty of our sin deserving death, the certainty of God’s judgment, the certainty of our acceptance by God if we cling to Christ, the certainty of God having a people he redeemed for himself, the certainty of eternal life, the resurrection of the body, and we can go on and on. Preaching must be teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ for it to be profitable. We are all beggars and Scripture points us to the bread of life.

The second use of Scripture is “reproof.” The preaching of the word is needed for an ongoing conviction of sin. The gospel only makes sense in the context of a soul’s conviction of sin and death. We learn of sin rightly in the Scriptures. When God tells us to love him with all our heart, and love our neighbor as ourselves, he is first teaching sinners that this is impossible for them. We have an inbred enemy that needs to be destroyed.

Grace only can make us right with God. The poor in spirit are those who are convicted by the reproofs of God’s word, and are thankful for God’s reproofs. The Christian is to believe in the full and free forgiveness of sins in the death of the Christ, and kept in a sense of abasement if they would avoid living selfishly and vainly. The fruitfulness of the Christian life comes from loving him who died for the great weight of sin.

The third use of Scripture is “correction.” The translations of this word are a little misleading. This is a restorative word. It isn’t the same as reproof. It means consolation for the soul, like mending a broken leg by resetting it. Such is the balm of letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Scripture is the medicine with the cure for the worst ill.

The last use here is “training in righteousness.”  Paul elsewhere tells Christians to train themselves for godliness. We must grow, and desire to grow. The way of growth is the Holy Spirit working through the Scriptures.  All that Paul teaches here is predicated on staying immersed in the Scriptures. Therefore, the application is to stay immersed in the Scriptures, prayerfully and thoughtfully.