2 Timothy 3:14–17 ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness… (v16)
The source of information is pretty important. You might be less inclined to trust a newspaper report than a university-peer- reviewed research paper.
Instructions on a tin of chemicals have rather more weight than a tweet from an annoyed football fan. We ask, ‘What authority do they have?’
The word ‘authority’ has author as its start. For Paul the ‘holy scriptures’, which were for him the books of the Old Testament, came from God – God has literally breathed them out.
Yes, they were written by human beings: some we know, many we don’t, but at the same time, Paul believed that the text we call the Old Testament was what the Almighty intended for us.
The word ‘useful’ (in the NIV) could be translated ‘profitable’ or ‘beneficial’, and is used for actions that Timothy might engage in teaching, rebuking, correcting and training.
The implication is that the Word of God (Scripture) is the one doing the work. Timothy does not have the sole authority himself but, inasmuch as he conveys the Scriptures, people can be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained.
If you have a chance to share your faith, you will hopefully do so as someone who has a lived experience of that faith, but you do so also as one who sits under its authority of Scripture.
You too need teaching, rebuking, correcting and training, even as you share with someone who has not yet started.
When a Christian departs from that authority, the potency is lost. Their opinions may have value and may even be persuasive, but they will dangerously get in the way of a God encounter with God’s Word, which for us all makes all the difference.
A Prayer To Make:
Thank You that You have given us an amazing library of books
to make Your ways known. Amen.
An Action To Take:
Next time you hear someone read the Bible, remind yourself that this is God speaking.
Scripture To Consider:
Josh. 3:9–17; Neh. 8:1–10; 2 Cor. 5:16–21; 1 Thess. 1:4–10