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The Scriptures Inspired Of God (3:14-17)


As Paul prepared the Ephesian elders for the time when he would be gone...

He commended them to the word of God's grace - cf. Ac 20:29-32a

Which was able to build them up, and give them their inheritance - Ac 20:32b

With Timothy, Paul did the same when writing his last letter...

He admonished Timothy to continue in the things he had learned - 2Ti 3:14

He first referenced the Holy Scriptures known since his childhood - 2Ti 3:15

When Timothy was a child, the only scriptures available was the Old Testament

So Paul clearly had the Old Testament scriptures in view

He then spoke of the value of "all Scripture" - 2Ti 3:16-17

That which was inspired of God

That which had the ability to make the man of God "complete"

[If both the Ephesian elders and Timothy needed the word of God after Paul's departure, much more do we today! To fully appreciate why, consider what our text (2Ti 3:14-17) reveals about...]



The OT makes one "wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" - 2Ti 3:15

How? The OT provides information regarding:

The fall of man and the rise of sin

The background and development of God's scheme of redemption

Messianic prophecies which describe what to expect when He comes

One cannot hope to fully understand such books of the New Testament like:

Hebrews, without a knowledge of the Levitical priesthood

Revelation, without a familiarity of OT prophecy and apocalyptic literature

-- If one desires to be wise concerning their salvation, study the Old Testament!


Note carefully what Paul wrote in Ro 15:3-4

He appealed to a passage in the OT

The things "written before" (i.e., the OT) were "written for our learning"

The OT was written and preserved especially for the Christians' benefit!

The OT provides "patience and comfort", that we "might have hope"!

How? The OT provides a record of God's faithfulness, how He kept His promises:

To Abraham and the nation of Israel

To judge the wicked and avenge the righteous

To forgive the penitent, and protect the humble

-- As we read this history of God's dealings with Israel, it gives us hope that God will keep His promises to us!


Consider what Paul wrote in 1Co 10:11

He had just reviewed the fall of Israel in the wilderness - 1Co 10:1-10

The events described may have happened to Israel

"They were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages has come"

The OT was written and preserved especially for the benefit of Christians!

Thus the NT writers often appealed to the OT to admonish Christians

As did Paul, writing to the Corinthians

As did the writer of Hebrews, exhorting Christians to remain steadfast - He 3:12-19

As did James, encouraging Christians to be patient in their suffering - Jm 5:7-11

As did Peter, warning of false teachers and scoffers - 2 Pe 2:3

-- As we read the Old Testament, we should learn from what happened to Israel!

[Though we do not live under the Old Covenant, the Old Testament is of great value to the Christian. Together with all Scripture from God, it provides every thing we need. Indeed, Paul reveals...]



All Scripture is "given by the inspiration of God" (NKJV) - 2Ti 3:16

Literally, "God breathed" (theopneustos)

Cf. "All Scripture is breathed out by God" (ESV)

"The idea of 'breathing upon, or breathing into the soul,' is that which the word naturally conveys." - Barnes

The writers of Scripture were moved along by the Spirit of God - cf. 2Pe 1:21

The Spirit gave them their very words (i.e., verbal and plenary inspiration) - cf. 1Co 2:13

-- The Scriptures are not the words or thoughts of mere men, but of Spirit-guided men who spoke and wrote the very Word of God! - cf. Jn 16:13; 1Co 14:37; 1Th 2:13


For doctrine - 2Ti 3:16

Teaching, instruction - Thayer

Regarding all that God wants us to know regarding Himself and His will for us

For reproof - 2Ti 3:16

Proof, conviction - Strong

Convicting those in error of their wrong, showing them the need to change

For correction - 2Ti 3:16

Correction, improvement of life or character - Thayer

"the Scriptures are a powerful means of reformation, or of putting men into the proper condition in regard to morals." - Barnes

For instruction in righteousness - 2Ti 3:16

"Instruction in regard to the principles of justice, or what is right." - Barnes

"Man needs not only to be made acquainted with truth, to be convinced of his error, and to be reformed; but he needs to be taught what is right, or what is required of him, in order that he may lead a holy life." - ibid.

-- The Scriptures are truly "profitable" (helpful, advantageous), as extolled by David - cf. Ps 19:7-11


Thoroughly equipped for every good work - 2Ti 3:17

That is, completely furnished to do what is expected of him

Note well: equipped for every good work; not some, but all that God considers a good work

Regarding life and godliness - cf. 2Pe 1:3

We have been given "all things that pertain to life and godliness"

Not 'some' things, but 'all' that we need for spiritual life and godly living

Having been given once for all - cf. Jude 3

The faith has been delivered "once for all" to the saints

There is no need for 'modern day revelations', just as there is no more need of sacrifices for sins - cf. He 9:26-28; 1Pe 3:18

-- The inspired Scriptures alone are more than adequate to make the man of God "complete" (competent, ESV), to do everything God desires of Him for salvation


Dear friends and brethren, do we truly desire to...

Be wise concerning the salvation by faith in Christ?

Have hope in the promises of God?

Learn from the mistakes of those in the past?

Be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work?

Then take up the admonition of Paul to both the elders and the young preacher...

Continue in the things learned from the Holy Scriptures!

Let the inspired Scriptures be your guide in life through its doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness!

Give yourself to diligent study of the Word of God, which is...

"able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus"

"able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified"

"For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.' (1Th 2:13)

Could Paul have written the same about us...?








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