Turn to 2 Tim 3
Remember, the word training is γυμνάζω, meaning rigorous intentional training. It's something we do. The question is - So how do we train ourselves for godliness? The answer is - We do this through the Spiritual Disciplines - which is what this series is about.
Spiritual disciplines are the means in which we get to know God. God didn't say, "Hey, I want you to have a relationship with me, but I'm not going to tell you how. Not going to tell you how to talk to me ...." That would be cruel.
God gives us instructions, provides examples both in Scripture and throughout church history so we may know how to engage Him, to have a relationship with God as He intended - both personal and corporate.
Of course, today, we're talking about the Bible, the Word of God. When it comes to learning about who God is, His will etc., Whitney says this:
Whitney is correct - without a consistent diet of the Word of God, one's spiritual maturity, one's knowledge of God and one's effectiveness as a Christian will be stunted.
Most of us know we're supposed to read the Bible - everyday. But most of us don't. There are many excuses for not reading the Bible, but one reason is we don't know what the Bible is or how to read it and study. So this morning, let's talk about that.
In verses 1-15, Paul gives Timothy this description that in later times, the world is going to get bad. Morality and good will plummet. Godlessness will be rampant.
In verse 12, Paul encourages Timothy to stay firm in the faith, trusting in what he learned from the sacred writings - talking about the OT - which pointed toward Christ.
And then in verse 16, Paul writes this -
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 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 complete, equipped for every good work.
The ESV says, All Scripture is breathed out by God (other translations read God-breathed or Inspired). All means the same thing - but what does it mean?
What constitutes "All Scripture?" OT? NT? King James? NIV?
Let's keep a few things in mind:
The English Bible is not inspired - this is a translation of the copies of what was inspired.
However, the NT letters were already in circulation and accepted as inspired - with the exception of the writings of the Apostle John (and perhaps Peter) - which were soon to come. They are included as inspired because John and Peter were both disciples of Jesus So, when the Bible says the all Scripture is inspired, we take that to mean both Old and New Testament.
Let's talk briefly about the OT & NT for a moment before we get to inspiration.
66 Books of the Bible - 39 in the old, 27 in the new. The word testament means covenant. Old Covenant (Mosaic Law and Israel - it all points toward a coming Messiah, who is Jesus Christ).
New Covenant - is the fulfilment of the Old Covenant. And the fulfilment is who? Christ.
Here's one of the most phenomenal facts about Scripture - it has one central theme from beginning to end - that is God's redemption of humanity and the main subject of the entire Bible is the Messiah, Christ Jesus.
What makes that so phenomenal? The Bible was not written by one person, at one place in one location. The Bible was written by over 40 different authors, in 3 languages (H, A, G), over a period of about 1,600 years. If that isn't mind blowing - these authors all come from different backgrounds (farmers, kings, shepherds, fishermen, prisoners etc) and from different geographical areas. Again, it is consistent in its theme and content - Jesus Christ.
So let's talk inspiration.
Inspiration is that act of God whereby He "breathed" His words into a man so as to record precisely what God wanted without compromising the author’s personality. So the Bible is completely the work of God and completely the work of humans in its original writings, which is consistent with how God works. Who is Jesus? God and Man. Furthermore, God often works in partnership with people.
But God's partnership is always consistent - always working directly with the person. (This is one reason why we reject Mormonism and other religions - their origin of inspiration is inconsistent with how God works). God doesn't use mediums to write His word - special glasses, tea leaves, cauldron's of boiling herbs - God is direct.
Is it important to understand inspiration? Absolutely.
Because the Bible is Divinely inspired, I believe in the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. What does that mean?
This means that the Bible is fully trustworthy and reliable in all things. Has yet to be disproven in anything - history, archeology, science and morality.
Inspiration also means it is
Which means we submit to the Word of God, not the other way around. Why do we do this? Because Scripture is from God, God is truth and He speaks truth.
So what does all that mean?
All Scripture is ... profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3:16-17
What does all that mean. I'll close with the words of Warren Wiersbe.
You can apply this to any area of your life - Scripture is beneficial, trustworthy, applicable etc.