The Profitableness of Scripture
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction…

The Scriptures are "profitable for reproof." The word here means conviction. The teaching has reference to the ignorance of men. the conviction refers to their errors and prejudices. The mental state presupposed here may be thus expressed: First, there is ignorance; secondly, error, wrong thoughts and beliefs; thirdly, prejudice in favour of the errors that are present, and against the truth that is absent. The declaration of the apostle is that the Word of God has power to convince those who are in this state; that it will destroy their errors and remove their prejudice. One great reason why there is so much prejudice in many minds with regard to religion is, that they do not study the sacred Scriptures. They read all sorts of books concerning the Bible, but the Divine book itself is neglected. They prefer the water that is brought to them through pipes and curious contrivances of men to the fountain of living water, pure, clear as crystal, which springs up from the primeval rocks close to their own door. They gaze upon the cold and spiritless engraving rather than examine the grand original picture. The honest and earnest study of the Bible would produce a mighty revolution in the minds and hearts of thousands, both Christians and others. Akin to this there is another thought that follows. The Scriptures are profitable for correction. Some read to criticise. They cannot admire the great opening poem of the Book of Genesis, in which the inspired muse sings the creative power of the Almighty in notes "harmonious with the morning stars," because it does not speak with scientific precision. It is quite right to point out whatever inaccuracies may be discovered in the history of the deliverance from Egypt and the sojourn in the Wilderness, but one cannot help remarking that that is a peculiar state of mind in which a man can read through the wonderful story without being once struck with its spirit, its grandeur, and its awfulness. Others turn the sacred pages to find supports for the systems they have formed. This is the same as if a man constructed a theory of nature, and afterwards went in search of the facts whereby its truth must be proved. Others, again, read for comfort. They have been disappointed by the world in which they placed too much trust; or death has broken in upon their charmed circle and filled their hearts with sorrow; or their health is failing, and there are indications that the end is not distant; or their sin has been a burden from which they seek rest. Well, let them read for comfort, for the Bible is the book for sorrowful people. Its deep expressions of Divine love, sympathy, and tenderness have in them a power to heal the broken heart. But we should also know that the Scriptures are given for our "correction." He is the wise reader of God's Word who tries his opinions, beliefs, principles, life, and character by the Divine standard, and is willing to have them corrected. This brings us to the high purpose for which the Scriptures were given to us, namely, to impart "instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect" — right in every respect, in thought, feeling, character, and therefore right in state and condition — right in himself, right in his relations to his fellows, and right before God. The aim of the husbandman in the plants he cultivates is to have fruit; but Nature is as careful of the blossoms and the foliage as of the fruit, for her purpose is a perfect tree. Men cultivate parts of their nature. Some educate and develop their physical nature, and not much else. Others pay attention to the sensuous soul — they love music, art, eloquence, and light literature. There are persons who are mere thinkers; the cultivation of the intellectual powers is the one important thing in their estimation. Some spend their lives in small activities — things that are good in themselves, but which become harmful when done to the neglect of more important duties. There is good in all of these; but none of them aim high enough. The Divine purpose is not physical perfection, nor intellectual strength, nor refinement of taste, not even morality and devotion, but the full development of the whole nature, "that the man of God may be perfect."

(T. Jones.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

WEB: Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,

The Principles of Scripture to be Applied
Top of Page
Top of Page