Sunday, December 27, 2009

What About 2 Tim 3:16?

A brief word at the beginning of each post will help keep the purpose of these posts in mind as this blog goes forward. If you haven’t read the introductory post, I suggest that you take the time to do it before reading on. I am keeping the posts short so that they can be quickly read and digested. It is my hope that you will reflect on these articles and put them to the test. When you encounter something that seems counter to everything you have been taught or know to be true…remember the assignment….smile…be a Berean

In the last post we looked at what Jesus taught his followers about the scriptures and concluded that he taught them a strictly Christ centered interpretation. It was different than the Pharisees Christ centered interpretation because he showed them that he was the Messiah. In other words, it was a redemptive focus with him as the redeemer of Israel. Interestingly, the Pharisees with their Christ centered lens could not see him as the Messiah.

Often, you hear someone quote 2 Tim 3:16 all by itself. This strips it of its contextual meaning. The verse has to be read with three verses together to understand it in context. It is posted below:

2Tim 3:15-17  and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  (16)  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  (17)  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In this passage, Paul is speaking to Timothy and telling him how well he knew the scripture because of his upbringing. His mother and grandmother had made sure that he knew the scriptures well. Paul is reminding him of this. Notice in verse 15 that Paul states he purpose of scripture for Timothy. He says they will make one wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. So, you see first off the redemptive purpose. They are there for salvation, redemption.

He goes on in verse 16 to state that all scripture is given by inspiration from God. He also states that all scripture is profitable for doctrine (teaching), reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. Many evangelicals single this one verse out from the other two to suggest that the scripture by itself is profitable for doctrine and the rest. This is not true. It is only profitable from a redemptive position and, it is only profitable when interpreted in the same way Jesus taught them to interpret it.

The Jews who rejected Jesus had the scripture and, they had an extensive knowledge of the scripture. They had all of the interpretation that was in the Talmud, though not written down until later, they had extensive knowledge of the oral tradition which later became the Talmud. However, the scripture was not profitable for them. It did not bring salvation, it did not reprove them, it did not correct their erroneous doctrine, and it did not instruct them in the righteousness of God (Rom 10:1-4). Their temple was destroyed, their city fell and, many of them were killed. They were scripture experts and missed redemption. Redemption alone must be the focus. That means that every sermon must be a gospel sermon. The scriptures will not change lives. The gospel and Jesus changes lives when given a chance.

I have to wonder why so many evangelicals use the scripture for non redemptive purposes?

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions.

1 comment:

  1. That is a very good question; "why so many evangelicals use the scripture for non redemptive purposes?" It is my belief that they want to be popular with the cool crowd and not be in the nerd group. In other words, they want to speak on what they believe the people want to hear and not on what they need to hear. They want to tickle their ears, and not feed them the truth. The book "Where Have All The Prophets Gone" by Marvin McMickle talks about this very thing; a very good book.


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