When we begin to seek God’s wisdom through a deep study of His Word, it is good to remind ourselves of exactly what we are doing and how the Bible is unique from all other literature. It is more than the words of man, it is the very words of God. I know, for the skeptics, that statement seems presumptuous, maybe even arrogant. But it is nonetheless, true.
Let’s look at just two truths about the Scriptures that will begin to reveal to you the depth and character of His Word and the blessings that come from studying and applying it authoritatively to our lives. First, the nature of His Word.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
This statement about Scripture seems clear enough. But as you dig a bit deeper into the meaning of these words, you will find a treasure of truth hidden just beneath the surface. Let’s begin by defining a few Greek words.
All (pás – each, every, any, the whole, in totality without exception) Scripture is given by inspiration of God (theópneustos – to breathe or blow, to be divinely inspired), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Note, “all” (pás) means every bit of Scripture, from the list of names in Numbers to the judgments found in the Revelation. But at the time this was written, all primarily referred to the Old Testament.
Note also, the word translated “inspiration of God” (theópneustos) only occurs in this passage and gives the idea of God breathing His Word into human men who were moved or inspired to record what God said. It (theópneustos) is a compound word combining “God” and “to breathe.” That is why some translators use “God-breathed” (NIV) or “breathed out” (ESV). But in the end, the message is clear. All Scripture (the Old Testament in this passage and the New Testament in 1 Cor. 2:9-16) is breathed by God and divinely inspired according to His will. And, as such, it is flawless, perfect, infallible, unchangeable, true, and of immeasurable value, because it reflects the nature of its Author. It is the Word of God.
All Scripture, “is given” to us, as a gift from God, “by” or through the “inspiration of God.” Not the inspiration of man, but of God. But some may ask how this process takes place? What differentiates this inspiration from God from the inspiration Beethoven experienced, for example, when he composed his inspired symphonies?
Let’s see what Peter has to say about this important question.
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is (gínomai – to begin to be, comes into being or existence, originates, happens) of any private interpretation (or, it doesn’t originate in the mind of man), for prophecy never came by the will of man (or, it doesn’t originate in the volition of man), but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (phérō – to bring or carry along, to be continually carried) by the Holy Spirit – 2 Peter 1:20-21.
Look at the word, moved. In Acts, this word is used to describe how the wind blows a ship across the water from one place to another (Acts 27:15, 17). The imagery should not be lost on us. Peter is describing how the Holy Spirit fills the sails of men with the breath of His Word and gives them divine inspiration and revelation to record what He wanted them to write down. Sometimes God “breathed” His words into human writers in much the same way dictation is taken down. For example, to Jeremiah God said, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth” (Jer. 1:9). But we will look more into this at a later time.
Remember, the only One who knows the mind of God is the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). Therefore, only the Holy Spirit could have inspired the Scriptures. As the verse says, “but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by (who) the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The Scriptures did not come from the inspiration or the mind of gifted, even spiritual, men. No, the inspiration came from the Holy Spirit and was given to “holy men” who were moved or continually carried along as they wrote what was given to them to write.
This is the value of the Scriptures we hold in our hands. But there is more. There is a great benefit that comes to us by a study of God’s inspired Word.
And is profitable (ōphélimos – advantageous, helpful, useful, beneficial) for (1) doctrine, for (2) reproof, for (3) correction, for (4) instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:17.
Note the four-fold blessings: Doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. This is the path of sanctification, of living the Higher Christian Life. But there is one last blessing we want to uncover in this verse, and it is found in the word, complete. One of the goals of Scripture is that the “man of God may be complete, (how) thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The word translated “complete” (ártios) means “qualified, proficient, fitted, capable, furnished or equipped with every necessary component for a task or purpose.” Let that sink in for a moment. God has supplied all we need to be all He wants us to be, right in His Word. The key to experiencing intimacy with Him, to becoming His light among the darkness, to understanding the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:6), to be conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29), to realizing we are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10)— everything imaginable, is found in His Word. And it is given to us as a great blessing. One that only needs to be read to be received.
So let’s begin this journey together, shall we? Let’s look into God’s Word and see what of His wisdom we can claim for ourselves, what we can learn from Him as dearly beloved children, and how our faith in Him might grow as we see the day of His return approaching (Heb. 10:25).