2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction…
1. The subject of this text is our own precious Bible.
2. And, assuredly, of the very deepest interest must such a subject be to the sort of person to whom in the text the Spirit, by Paul, addresses Himself, on the Divine inspiration, and authority, and profitableness of the Bible. For it is to "the man of God" the apostle here speaks in commendation of the Word of God. It is to one he writes who (vers. 14, 15) had "learned" and "been assured" of "the things" revealed in "the Holy Scriptures," which "from a child he had known" — who had experimentally proved them to be "able to make him wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." To that sort of person no theme could be more attractive of the deepest interest, than the incalculable preciousness of the Holy Bible (Psalm 19:7-11). One thing only could enhance such a man's estimate of their infinite value, and that one thing was the character of "the times" in which, as peculiarly threatening of dangerous assaults on the Christian faith, the apostle commended the profitableness of the Scriptures and exhorted the man of God to continue to confide in the profitableness of "all Scripture" as "given by inspiration of God."
3. And yet, though thus employed as the means of enforcing his exhortation to Timothy to "continue in the things which he had learned," the "perilous" controversies of "the times" are not suffered by any insinuation on the part of the apostle to disturb the certainty in which his young disciple had "been assured" of "the things which he had learned."
4. Are we "men of God," "taught of God" to know Him, and with profoundest reverence to acknowledge His authority speaking in His own Word? Then we are of those who spiritually see. To our renewed hearts, as to open healthy eyes, the light of Holy Scripture has come and entered in, carrying with it its own evidence of its Divine authority, and with a power that is irresistible.
I. WHENCE HAVE WE THE BIBLE? It is "of God" — its authority is Divine. When God speaks the highest exercise of man's reason surely is, in silent submission, to believe and obey, simply because it is the Word of God that is spoken. It is the exercise of a prerogative the noblest birthright of man, to believe God's truth. In that submission of human reason to the authority of Divine truth, man escapes into freedom! The truth as nothing else can do, emancipates the mind from the debasing slavery to the opinions of men. It puts man as to unseen things in immediate and direct communication alone with God. No creature is allowed to intervene as the Lord of the conscience, when, for the authority of God speaking in it, the word in Holy Scripture is believed. God is then by His Word and Spirit in actual contact with your soul, for your enjoying the most ennobling fellowship with Himself, in the light of truth, and in the perfect freedom of a willing obedience of the truth.
II. IN WHAT MANNER IS IT GIVEN US BY GOD? — "It is given by INSPIRATION OF GOD! "The text here, you observe, does not point to such a mode of communication with man as was used in the Garden of Eden, when, in the cool of the day, the voice of God was heard by Adam talking with him. Nor yet does the text here refer to such a mode of writing down what the voice of God had uttered in man's hearing, as was once and again practised, when, on two tables of stone, the ten words of the Holy Moral Law were engraven by the immediate finger of God. The text does plainly testify to the Word of God being written, but observe, to that result being attained by what is called "inspiration." It is God-breathed. That, what is written in the Bible is the Word of God, results from the inspiration by God of men employed by Him to write it. The Word in Holy Scripture results from that miraculous operation of the Spirit of God, whereby He did so communicate Himself to the writers of these Scriptures for the revelation of His will to man, as to secure the infallible truth and Divine authority of what is written in the Bible. Of the manner of that miraculous operation of the Spirit of God we know nothing.
III. TO WHAT EXTENT IS THE BIBLE INSPIRED? — "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." It is thus that the Divine Author of the book Himself declares to what extent it is inspired. In whatever manner the Divine influence that "gave the Word" worked — by whatever means, by means of however many varied manuscripts, as by many different compilers — the result we have in this Bible is throughout Divinely inspired.
IV. WITH WHAT DESIGN HAS IT BEEN GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD? It was given to be profitable, in order "that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works," and for that end profitable in a way manifold and many-sided.
1. The Bible is "profitable for doctrine." By its revelation of truth as an objective reality, it really gives man truth to love. It thus stands in the boldest contrast to the utterly unsatisfying vanity of modern rationalism, which gives you nothing but the question whether there be revealed truth at all.
2. The Bible is "profitable, too, for reproof." By its deep and searching spirituality the Bible deals with man's state as a sinner before God. It reveals the truth as to man lost. It reaches the deepest needs of his condition. It thus utterly dispels all the delusive fancies of modern rationalism, whereby man is tempted to think well of himself; and so to count that a gain to him which, if ever lie be saved, he must be content to count as loss for Christ.
3. The Bible is profitable, besides, "for correction" of every such groundless hope in man. By the revelation of grace to us as fallen, and of deliverance from the guilt and power of our sin by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Bible gives a Divine contradiction to every rationalistic theory of human progress, by which redemption is attempted to be explained without the cross and the sacrifice of the Redeemer.
4. The Bible is profitable, finally, for instruction (or discipline) in the life and walk of righteousness. In direct opposition to the wild ravings of modern rationalism about "emancipation from the external law of revealed truth" — for the solemn rebuke of that delusive licence which is sought in following the light within us, rather than the Word of God without us — the Bible plainly asserts that, "under the law to Christ," this is the love of the new life in Christ, that we keep His commandments — a life of obedience of "the law of liberty" — even as Christ Himself "kept His Father's commandments and abode in His love."
(R. H. Muir.)
Parallel VersesKJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: