All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
When we use the term ‘scripture’ we are clear that we are referring to the Old and New Testaments. However, when Paul was writing, much of the New Testament had yet to be written. It wasn’t until AD 382 that the Council of Rome made a firm decision on which books should be included in the Bible.
So what did Paul mean when he referred to “all Scripture”? He certainly meant more than just the Old Testament. We know that because, in his first letter to Timothy, he brought together a verse from Deuteronomy and a saying of Jesus, referring to them both as being Scripture (1 Timothy 5:18). We can’t be sure of the form in which Paul had access to the sayings of Jesus, but he was clearly fully aware of Jesus’ ministry and teaching.
Today, we privileged to have both old and new testaments bound together in one volume, and we can confidently regard Paul’s words as applying to both. What I find interesting in these verses is that Paul makes it clear that scripture can have both a positive and a negative role. They shine a light on what is right, but also inform us of what is wrong.
Nobody enjoys being told that they are wrong, but God loves us so much that he doesn’t hold back from telling us when we need to be corrected. As the writer to the Hebrews put it: “The word of God is alive and active. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). It always gets to the point. And because it is so precisely powerful, it is able to equip us for every good work. Those who merely see the Bible as beautiful literature have missed the point.
The Bible equips us to live our lives to the full.
What are some of the positive and negative things that you have learnt from the Bible?
Loving God, I thank you that you speak so clearly to me from the Bible. Help me to listen with care to all that you have to say to me. Amen