The Origin, Purpose, and Effectiveness of the Scriptures (2 Timothy Sermon 7 of 9)
November 22, 1998 | Andrew Davis
The Doctrine of Scripture
I. Introduction: The Bible Triumphs Over all Challenges
Please turn in your Bibles to 2 Timothy chapter 3. We're going to be looking at Verses 14-17. It's hard to tell you the joy I have in my heart this morning as I get to preach, not just from the Bible, but about the Bible today, because these four verses contain some of the most incredible truths in all of scripture about the origin and the purpose and effectiveness of the Word of God, which I love so much. And so it's going to be a privilege and I've come at it a lot of different ways. When I first looked through this sermon, my sermon is about 55 minutes long, so I've worked on it and we've got it down a little shorter. There's an awful lot that the scripture says about this.
And as I look with an eye of a trained church historian, over the last 2000 years, remember last week, we discussed that we are now, presently, in the last days, in the final days now, and that through that 2000 years of development, there has been a struggle, the advance of the Gospel powerfully, but also a resistance against the Gospel, powerfully. And we've seen that that advance of the Gospel has been irresistible. Nothing can stop it, but one of the main battle grounds in that advance has been this book, which we call the Bible. Is this book a human book, a book written by people about their experiences about God, their feelings about God, or is this what scripture says it is, the God-breathed scripture, the word of God, which comes down to challenge and to test and to strengthen us and to give us eternal life? Well, you already know what I believe. But it's fascinating to see how Satan has opposed this book and how vigorously, like a lion, he has sought to destroy it. But he's broken his fangs against this rock and there's nothing he can do about it.
In the mid 1700s, Voltaire, who was a French atheist, rationalist, felt that we had come so far in our understanding of truth, in our ability to reason things out that we would no longer need religion, and we would no longer need the Bible. And he said, within 100 years, no one will read the Bible. It will be obsolete. That means by 1850 or so, the Bible should have been obsolete, and yet here we are, reading the Scripture, wanting to know what it has to say. The irony of the whole thing is that God sovereignly orchestrated it that a group called the Geneva Bible Society bought Voltaire's house 50 years after he died. And do you know what they did from his house? They published the Scriptures in the French language and distributed them. Isn't that marvelous? God has an amazing sense of humor about those kind of thing, to establish His word powerfully. Voltaire is in his grave and the Word of God lives.
If it had been the first time it ever happened in history, we would just dismiss it perhaps as an anomaly. But in the year 303 AD, an emperor, Diocletian, issued a similar kind of attitude, only he had power to put behind it. He said, "What we need to do is we've got to stop the spread of Christianity. It's just too powerful. It's advancing too quickly. We've got to destroy the churches and we've got to burn their scriptures." And so, that's what Diocletian sought to do. The irony about that is 25 years later, another emperor, Constantine, gave an edict that the Scripture should be published at the expense of the Roman government, and distributed to people, 25 years later. Diocletian in his grave, the Word of God continues to live.
But in the 20th Century, there's been a battle over the Scripture, and that battle has had its effect. 100 years ago, the strongest denominations in our country were the Baptists, the Presbyterians, and the Methodists. All of them growing about at the same rate, in different levels of vigorousness, but all of them preaching the Gospel and growing. Today, that's really only true with the Baptist denomination. Presbyterians and Methodists have seen a tremendous decline in numbers. They all say it. They don't know why, but I think we do. It's because they turn their back on the authority of Scripture. And in this 20th century, those churches have continued to shrink, they continued to diminish. Any church, any denomination which turns its back on the authority of the Word of God, turns its back on its own future. There is no future for a group that says that this is a human document, because God has said in Psalm 138:2, "I have exalted above all things my name and my word." And a church, like First Baptist, which exalts God's name and exalts His Word will continue to flourish and grow so it's a joy and a privilege to be able to do just that today.
Now, we've looked at 2 Timothy and we've seen how Paul was trying to get young Timothy ready for a position of leadership and authority in the Gospel ministry. Getting him ready, telling him, "Timothy, fan up that gift, that flame that's in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but a spirit of courage, of boldness, of advance, of power through the Holy Spirit." So don't be ashamed. Don't be ashamed of the Gospel. Don't be ashamed of Jesus, but preach it boldly. And then in Chapter 2, we saw that God has a structure, an organization. He's going to give us a multiplying ministry. He's going to show us that if we take new Christians and train them up in the faith, bring them to faith in Christ, train them up and send them out as evangelists, the church is going to accelerate and grow, and that's the very thing that's happened. So, in 2:15 he told him to give himself to becoming proficient at the scripture. That was a theme, a topic that he opened up but didn't fully develop. He develops it now in Chapter 3, Verses 14-17. So listen as I read these words.
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it and how from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
II. Charge to Timothy: Continue in the Faith (vs. 14-15)
It's just four verses. How in the world can you come up with 55 minutes worth of things to say in four verses? Well, you'd be amazed at what we can do. The marvel of these verses is it shows the divine origin and the purpose and the effectiveness of Scripture in such a short list of words. He begins by saying in Verse 13, "Evil men and impostors are going to go from bad to worse. Deceiving and being deceived." So the kind of a sinful evil progress being made by those who are false teachers, they're going to go from bad to worse. "But you, Timothy, you also have to make a progress in the other direction. You need to continue in what you have learned and become convinced of." Continue on. The Christian life is a life of continuing, it's not a life of a static nature, where we come into a faith in Christ, and just stay where we are. It's not like that at all.
When I was in high school, I ran cross-country. We used to go down to the New England sand and gravel pits. It was a place full of mounds of sand and stones, and we used to run up the sand hills, maybe 50 or 60 feet high. It was a great workout, very exhausting. You go up to the top and back down three or four times and you're done, you're finished, because of the energy it would take. But one thing we found is that if you didn't continue to keep your momentum up, if you slowed down or even stopped, you'd slide back down the hill. You had to keep moving up until you reached your goal. That's the way the Christian life is. You have to keep moving ahead. You have to keep making progress. You don't stay the same. If you stop, you slide back. You have to keep making progress.
"Timothy, continue in what you've learned." And why should he continue? It's because "you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you've known the Holy Scripture." So he brings up the issue of godly doctrine, which he got from the Scripture, and godly teachers, both. The Christian life is a joining together of lives of people who have learned the doctrine, pouring it out into the lives of others who haven't yet. "Timothy, you can trust your teachers. Not like these false teachers that we've seen, but trusted teachers, teachers you know well." Well, he says, "How from infancy, you have known the scripture." So who are the first teachers for Timothy?
Timothy’s First teachers: His Mother and Grandmother
Well, we already met them in Chapter one. If you look at 1:5, we are introduced to Lois and Eunice. Do you remember Lois and Eunice? They were Timothy's grandmother and mother. And so from infancy, Lois and Eunice trained Timothy in the Hebrew Scriptures. Well, where was Timothy's father? Why did he abdicate his position of training and responsibility? Well, he wasn't a believer. He turned his back on his family. He was in Greek, he wasn't even a Jew. And so he didn't take the scripture and teach Timothy, but Lois and Eunice, they did. They were faithful and they taught Timothy the Scripture, from infancy. Isn't that a marvelous thing?
I heard an illustration of this once, which is so powerful. It's the illustration of a young boy who saw a mystery on his grandfather's mantle above his fireplace. And you know what it was? It was a bottle with a narrow neck and a full grown apple inside of it. And that boy used to pick up that apple, or that bottle, and he'd look around. You know what he's looking for? A kind of a seam or something where the apple, or the bottle had been cut, and then rejoined. But he didn't find it. It was a perfect bottle with a full grown apple inside. There's no way the apple could have fit through that narrow neck. The grandfather would just look and smile and as he puzzled over it and he couldn't figure out how the apple got inside that bottle. He said, "Well, granddad, I don't know how. How did you do it?" He said, "Come with me." So he brought him out to an orchard nearby. And on the tree, it was early in the season, on the tree, there was a bottle with a twig stuck up inside the bottle. And the sunlight would come through that glass and the apple would grow up inside the bottom.
That's the way it was with Timothy. At an early age, he was trained in the Scripture. It's the best way to do it. You get your children at an early age and you teach them the Bible. And that's what happened with Timothy. But then, at just the right time, along comes the Apostle Paul and he completes the young man's training. Timothy had been trained in Scripture, but He didn't know yet about the Messiah Jesus. And it was Paul, we believe, who led him to Christ. And it was Paul who placed his hands on him and gave him the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was Paul who nurtured and trained him and he said, "Come along with me and watch, and I'll train you." And it was Paul who completed that young man's training. He said, "You know those from whom you learned this doctrine. You know it. You know you can trust us. They are false teachers, but we are true." But better than that is the security that comes from knowing the fact that this doctrine comes from the sacred Scriptures. It says in Verse 15, "How from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures." It's a sacred writing, this a good way to translate it. It's referring to the Old Testament Scripture.
III. The Origin of Scripture
And that brings us right to the heart of the matter, the doctrine of Scripture. And Paul launches in, in Verse 16, and he says, "All Scripture is God-breathed." This is the origin of Scripture. Where does it come from? Where do we get this? Where's it come from? Don't you ever wonder that? And so, when you're a little child, you're always asking, "Where does that come from? What's this, Mommy?" Etcetera. You have a questioning heart and you want to know where something comes from. When you grow up, you know everything already. Well, no, you don't. That's when you stop learning, when you think you know everything. The question is, where does this come from, this Bible? Well, according to Paul, all Scripture is God-breathed, it comes from God. But we have to go back to the origin of the written Word of God. Do you know what the first written Scripture was? Think about it. What's the first written Scripture? It was the 10 Commandments. Do you remember?
And we believe Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, but when did he write it? He wrote it while I think he had time, while they're wandering in the desert. He had all this time on his hands, and he started writing Genesis. So the first Scripture happened before that, at Mount Sinai. You know who wrote it down? It was God himself who wrote it down. Exodus 31:18 says, "When the Lord had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the testimony." That's the 10 Commandments. "The tablets of stone, inscribed by the finger of God." Do you ever wonder what God's autograph would look like? How God made his letters? Well, there it was. The first written Scripture is written by the finger of God, The 10 Commandments. Do you remember what happened to that? Do we still have it as in a museum we can go see? Do you remember what happened? Moses took it and destroyed it, threw it down. Why? Because Israel was in idolatry. And just out of rage, he threw the tablets down. So God told Moses, make two more tables and you write it this time. And that right there, in a little picture, is what all the Scripture was about. God telling Moses what to write, Moses writing it down. And it went on from there.
The prophets came along later. Jeremiah 1:9, Jeremiah was one of those prophets. Jeremiah 1:9, it says, "The Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth, and said to me, 'Now, I have put my words in your mouth.'" That's what a prophet is, somebody whose words are put, God's words are put into his mouth and he speaks them. Well then, in Jeremiah 36:2, God gave him a job to do. He said, "Now, take a scroll and write down on the scroll all the words that I have spoken to you…" Jeremiah 36:2. All the words. It wasn't just that the word of God came, it was that the words of God came. God told Jeremiah everything to say. And Jeremiah said it, and he wrote it down. That's where we get the book of Jeremiah. And so, book by book, the Scripture got put together. All Scripture is God-breathed, it says.
Two Key Questions for 2 Timothy 3:16
Now, we have to ask two key questions about 2 Timothy 3:16, one of the most important verses in all the Bible about Scripture. First of all, what scripture are we talking about? And second of all, what is being said about it?
What was scripture to Timothy?
Well, you would think that there wouldn't be any question about what Scripture. It says all Scripture. But some of the versions have re-translated this verse. The Revised Standard Version, for example, gives you a little footnote and gives you an alternate translation. It says, "Every Scripture inspired by God is useful for teaching." Do you see the change in word order? English is a word order language. And if you change the word order a little bit, all of a sudden, you've changed the meaning. Every Scripture that is inspired or every inspired Scripture, is useful. Do you know what that implies? Some of this isn't inspired. Well, how do we know? What are we going to do? Are we going to go through and try to find out which ones are the inspired ones? The ones in red. Now, those are Jesus' words, for those of you with the red letter edition. But the inspired ones, how do we find it? How are we going to tell? What mechanism, what... Is there an institution that can tell us which ones are inspired and which ones aren't?
It's what I call the supermarket view of the Scripture. You get your cart, and you wander down through the aisles and you take some of this, and a little of that, some Psalm 23, maybe Psalm 51 when you need it, some other verses, and you just fill your cart and then you go out and you buy it and you leave. That's the supermarket view of Scripture. Some of it's useful, helpful, inspired, some of it isn't. We just kind of pick and choose. Is that what Paul is saying here? Absolutely not. It's a bad translation from the Greek language, because it omits the word "kai" which we translate "and". There are two things being said about Scripture here, not just one, two things. All Scripture is inspired, or God-breathed is a better translation, and useful or profitable. Two things being said, not just one. All Scripture.
Alright. Well then, you say, "Okay well, let's be historical here." The New Testament wasn't even written yet, so Paul couldn't have been talking about the New Testament. Just the Old Testament. Well, Paul was talking about the Old Testament, but he knew that the doctrine that he was giving was straight from God, didn't he? Galatians 1, he said, "I want you to know, that the gospel I preach is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. Rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." And he knew that what he was teaching was the Word of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:13, he says, "We also thank God continually because when you receive the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of man, but as it actually is, the Word of God which is at work in you who believe." In other words, Paul's saying, in all those words, "Thessalonians, the things I taught you are the word of God." How much more when they were written down. New Testament, Old Testament, all Scripture is God-breathed. Now, what does God-breathed mean?
Inspired or Breathed-out by God?
Some of you have the word inspired, I actually prefer God-breathed. Inspired gives the sense that something's being breathed into. For example, in Genesis 2, that God formed Adam's body out of the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life. That's actually, I think, a faulty view of Scripture, as though the words are there and then God breathes into them and gives meaning to them. That's not the way it is at all. It says all Scripture is actually exhaled by God, breathed out. Paul coined a new word, and never been invented before, theopneustos. I'm not used to pronouncing Greek words to you but I'm going to give you this one. Theo is the word we get theology from. It means God. The pneustos, PN, is where we get pneumonia and all that, has to do with breathing, God breathed. All the words of Scripture are breathed out, exhaled by God. Exhaled. Isn't that powerful? It's a picture of God's creative activity. Well, how did it work? When a prophet like Paul would sit down to write, how would the Scripture work? How would it be exhaled by God?
On 2 Peter Chapter 1, Peter gives a very good illustration of this. Turn, if you would, to 2 Peter 1:20 and 21. In 2 Peter 1, whereas, 2 Timothy 3:16 does not tell us the mechanism whereby we get the scripture, 2 Peter 1 does. And this is a fascinating verse, as Peter has the same attitude as Paul. And he says, "First of all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture ever came about by the prophet's own interpretation, for prophesy never had its origin in the will of man. But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
If you're the kind of person who writes in your Bible, you should underline the word "carried along." If it's a pew Bible, don't do it. But if it's your own Bible, you can go ahead and do it. Carried along. The same Greek word is used in the Book of Acts by Luke, the historian. And he's talking about a shipwreck, in which Paul's ship was tossed and turned by a storm. And it says the same Greek word that the wind was too powerful and they struck the sails, they pulled up the sea anchor, and they let the ship be carried along by the wind. It was just too powerful. It's moving in one direction. They couldn't fight it. That's the way it was with the inspiration of the prophets as they wrote Scripture. The wind of the Spirit was carrying them along, moving them in a direction exactly where God wanted them to go. Mysterious process, but every word exhaled by God.
Christ’s Attitude Toward Scripture
Now, as I said, this has been a battle ground. People have battled over views of inspiration and all that sort of thing. I think the simplest thing is just to get to the heart of the matter. We're Christians, aren't we? We believe in Jesus Christ. We're disciples of Jesus. Let's just have the same attitude towards Scripture that Jesus does. So we agreed to do that. Let's come together as Christians. We're going to have the same attitude toward the Bible that Jesus does. Now, what attitude does Jesus have toward the Scripture? Well, in the Sermon on the Mount, he says, "Do not think that I've come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. I've not come to abolish them... " But to what? "Fulfill them." "I tell you the truth, until Heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen…" That's jot and tittle, for those of you with the King James. "Not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished." Very high view of Scripture Jesus had. We should have the same, don't you think?
Now you say, is that just Law and Prophets, Old Testament? No. He said the same thing about his own words. "Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words... " Plural. "My words will never disappear." Where are his words recorded? Right here, New Testament. It's still going to be here when heaven and earth disappear, still be here. Isn't that powerful? We need to have the same attitude of Scripture, the origin of Scripture that Jesus did. Jesus was tempted out in the desert. Do you remember? The tempter came to him, and had been fasting 40 days and 40 nights. And what did he say? The temper came to him and said, "If you're the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." And Jesus, what did he do? He said, "No, I'm not going to do that." No, he didn't say that. He answered with what? With Scripture. He was teaching us how to deal with temptation. And he said, "It is written, 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God." Do you see how in concert Paul and Jesus are? Let's have the same attitude as Paul and Jesus. Every word of Scripture comes out of the mouth of God. This is not the word of man. This is the Word of God, written down for us to read. That is the origin of Scripture.
IV. The Purpose of Scripture
But what is the purpose of scripture? In verses 15-17, we see clearly the purpose. Now, what is Timothy's purpose? You remember Paul is committing to Timothy a ministry, isn't he? He's giving him a job to do. And what is that job? It is to make disciples for Jesus Chris. To take people who are lost, bring them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and build them up to spiritual maturity. That is the exact same purpose of Scripture. That's why the Scripture was given. Look at verse 15. "How from infancy you've known the Holy Scriptures... " Which are what? "Able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The scriptures are given to make us wise for salvation. No one comes to faith in Christ, apart from the written word of God. The Scripture produces disciples for Christ.
Wise for Salvation…Through Faith in Jesus Christ
Now, what does it mean, wise for salvation? What it means or it implies that we are naturally what? Fools. And we really are. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, the Proverbs says. Any of you who have children, you know what I mean. It's the Scripture that trains us out of our foolishness and brings us to a saving knowledge of Christ. It teaches us wisdom about God. Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." It teaches us to fear the Lord, the Scripture does. It teaches us also wisdom about ourselves. We come to know ourselves through the Scripture. Psalm 51, that great confession psalm by King David. After he committed adultery with that Bathsheba, do you remember what he said? "Surely, I was sinful at birth. I was sinful from the time my mother conceived me." And listen to this, "Surely, you desire truth in the inner parts, you teach me wisdom in the inner place." Where does that wisdom come from about our sinfulness? It comes from Scripture.
It teaches us also about the future. Well, what is the future? The future is an end, judgment. The wrath of God is coming, it says in Ephesians 5:5. Don't believe me, look it up. Ephesians 5:5, "Because of these things [the sinfulness of humanity] the wrath of God is coming." Well, the scripture teaches us wisdom about that wrath. Get ready. Prepare. Listen to this. Proverbs 22:3. I just found this one. This is great. "The wise man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple or the fool keeps going and suffers for it." The Scripture warns us that a judgment day is coming, and it gives us a refuge. And that's the ultimate wisdom of all. What is the refuge from the wrath of God? There's only one. There's only one Ark when the flood comes. There's only one place of safety. It's Jesus Christ. That is the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1 says so. "We preach Christ crucified, Christ nailed to the cross, a stumbling block to Jews, foolishness to the Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God."
The Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Well, what does that last phrase mean, "Through faith in Christ Jesus"? What it means is, if you don't have faith in Christ, you can't understand this message. There's millions of Bibles up on shelves today that have never been read. And if they were, they wouldn't be understood. And why? Because you need faith in Christ to understand the message. It's a faith and only the Holy Spirit can give. Perfect example of that, it was Jesus' enemies, the Pharisees. He said, "You diligently study the Scriptures, because you think that by the Scriptures, you possess eternal life." Just because you have the Scripture, you think have eternal life. "These scriptures that testify about me." Said Jesus. "The Bible is about me." You're going to get to know Jesus when you read the Bible, and he's going to save your soul if you have faith in Him.
We could say that the purpose of Scripture is the salvation of souls. I was at a Baptist convention recently and a speaker got up, did a great job, but he said one thing that I wondered about. And he said, "The greatest tool for evangelism is love." That's not true. It isn't. There's lots of people who can be loving. A Hindu can be loving, a Muslim can be loving. I think it's important that Christians be loving to one another. They'll know we are Christians by our love. This is the greatest tool for evangelism. This is the sword that's sharp enough to cut away our sin, living and active. This is the tool for evangelism. That's what produces souls for Christ. But the purpose of Scripture is not just to make converts, but to make mature disciples. It says in verse 17, "That the man of God may be complete, or thoroughly equipped for every good work." The idea is maturity. We're not supposed to be babes. We're supposed to know the Bible. We're supposed to know it well. We're supposed to be mature, keep growing, like that sand pit. You're supposed to keep going higher and higher. If you don't, you slide back. It's the Scripture that's given to accomplish that maturity. You might be very old in years, but immature because you don't know the Scripture. You might be young in years, but more mature because you do. It all has to do with the knowledge of the Scripture. It's just that simple. It's not a matter of chronological years. It's a matter of knowing the Bible.
V. The Effectiveness of the Bible
Now, how does this discipleship, this completion project, how does it work? Well, the Scripture is profitable or useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. That's how. It tells us how it works. Four things. Two of them positive, we could say, and two of them negative. The positive are the first and fourth. Teaching and training in righteousness. The middle two are what we would call negative. Rebuking, and correcting. But all of it is necessary for maturity. The teaching part is how the Scripture gives us what to think about every topic. About prayer, about God, about salvation, heaven and hell, about time, about everything. That's the doctrine. The training and righteousness is a whole lifetime of training that brings us up from immaturity, to full maturity in Christ. It's a beautiful word. Well, what about those negative ones? I think it's hard for us sometimes to receive a rebuke. It really is, but the Scripture has rebuked me more times than I can count. It's the Scripture that comes in and causes that sting. "You're living wrong, Andy. You're doing something wrong."
I like what Lewis Sperry Chafer said. He said, "The Bible is not such a book that man would write, if he could, or could write, if he would." In other words, we wouldn't write a Bible like this because it rebukes us too much. It's too honest about our sin. Well, what happens when that rebuke comes? Then comes the correction. I brought a little prop up here with me. I asked my son if I could borrow this. You know what this is, this little thing? If I spin it around, maybe you'll know. This is a gyroscope. Have you ever played with a gyroscope? I love these things. You pull them and then it goes up on a string and it just balances there. Well, when I went to MIT, I learned why. I'm not going to trouble you with all that but it has to do with rotational inertia. But the fact is, the neat thing about a gyroscope is it spins on its axis and it stays true to the axis no matter what's going on around it. And it turns out that this man, Elmer Sperry, you probably never heard of Elmer Sperry, have you? But you probably heard of the Sperry Rand Corporation. Well, he started Sperry Company and it was a gyroscope company.
And what he said is, you can use a gyroscope for lots of things. Navigation, you can use it like a compass. But one thing I like, as I was reading through what gyroscopes can do, is that big ships use this. And they are arranged in such a way that if the ship leans too much, the gyroscope tells a computer and it sticks out these fins which right the ship back up. That's what Scripture does in a healthy Christian life. If you're leaning too much in one direction, the Scripture comes and corrects you back up. Isn't that beautiful? That's what it does for a church too. If a church is starting to lean in the wrong way, it's the Scripture that gets it back right up again. If the Scripture is not there at the heart of the church, though, it'll capsize and it'll sink because it all has to do with obedience to the Word of God.
Well, so far, we've looked at the origin of Scripture, it's God-breathed, from the very mouth of God. We've looked at the purpose of Scripture. It's to make disciples and to bring them to maturity, through teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness. Is it effective? Does the Bible work? Does it produce what it seeks to produce? Absolutely. Yes, it does. Verse 15, it says that the Scripture is powerful, or able to make us wise for salvation, would be a good translation. Verse 16 says that the Scripture is profitable. It produces the outcome it seeks. I found in all Scripture, no better verse for this than Isaiah 55. "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word which goes out from my mouth." Isn't that powerful? It goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish the purpose for which I sent it forth.
The scripture is effective. It produces changes in lives. It's my prayer and my hope that there's someone here today who's never given their life to Jesus. The Scripture comes and warns you of a wrath that's coming and a judgment. Don't stand on Judgment Day with sin, but flee to Christ and trust in him. Let the Scripture today make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ. That maybe that there are some others who already believed in Jesus, but you've neglected your Bibles. You haven't given yourself to careful study of them, and so you haven't continued to make progress in your Christian life. Come back to the Scripture. Immerse your mind in it. Read it every day. These are not idle words for you, these are your life. Give yourself to study the Scripture.