2 Timothy 3:16-17, CWL, Scripture is authoritative and useful
Tod Kennedy, April 10, 2011
- By interpretation 2 Timothy is directed to the man of God—Timothy, who is Paul’s student, fellow worker in the ministry, and representative (Acts 16:1-3, Philippians 2:19-24). Paul reminds and challenges Timothy “to kindle afresh the gift of God in you” (1 Timothy 1:6) and to continue strong in the ministry. By application, this letter is for pastors and teachers, teachers, evangelists and missionaries—spiritual leaders, and then all believers because of the importance of Scripture.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches the authority of Scripture and the usefulness of Scripture.
- An amplified translation. All Scripture is God breathed (directly from God to the human author and therefore authoritative and accurate) and profitable (useful and beneficial) for teaching biblical doctrine to self and others, for rebuking, reproving, and pointing out sin and bad choices, for correcting the sin and bad choices, for training (by adding the teaching, reproof, and correction together) the man of God in righteous living, so that he (Timothy, pastors and teachers, teachers, evangelists, missionaries—spiritual leaders), because he has been made ready for service by the Scripture, may be capable and exactly fitted to do his God given job (every good work).
- Important words.
- All Scripture. πᾶσα γραφὴ pasa graphe. All can mean every or all. Context and grammar indicates which. Here means all. In context see 3:15, 16, & 4:2 where “preach the word” indicates all Scripture, not every Scripture that is God breathed. Also adjective-noun-adjective word order (GGBB, Wallace 314).
- God breathed (inspired by God). Θεόπνευστος theopneustos**. Adjective, predicate adjective to Scripture. A predicate adjective tells something about the noun. God gave Scripture to the writers.
- Profitable. ὠφέλιμος ophelimos**. Useful, beneficial, advantageous for someone or for something. Predicate adjective to Scripture. See 1 Timothy 4:8, Titus 3:8. Scripture is useful and beneficial.
- For teaching πρός pros + διδασκαλία didaskalia. Object of preposition. The preposition πρός expresses direction ‘on the side of’, ‘in the direction of’. With the genitive, ‘from’, dative ‘at’, or accusative (the most frequent usage in our literature) ‘to’. Teaching is the act of teaching or that which is taught. In context with other words the active sense is best. Instruction in the Scriptures, Teaching the Scripture. Pros + prepositional phrase with the sense of epexegetical (explains what for) purpose. 1 Timothy 4:13, 16, Romans 12:7, 15:4. Scripture is God breathed and profitable to be taught to people—the act of teaching-instructing in the Bible and biblical doctrine so that people understand it (know, believe, apply Romans 6). It tells us what is right.
- For reproof. πρός pros + ἐλεγμός elegmos**. Object of preposition. In NT an expression of strong disapproval, reproach, rebuke. Majority Text has ἔλεγχον elegchon, presenting evidence, charge of wrong doing, accusation. Meaning about the same. Scripture tells what is wrong. It says that we have sinned. It says that we have made the wrong choices. It tells us when we have deviated from God’s word. It tells us where we are not right.
- For correction. πρός pros + ἐπανόρθωσις epanorthosis**, correction, restoration in the sense of improvement. 1 Maccabees 14:34, The Bible instructs us in what is necessary for the restoration, setting right the wrong. Scripture gives us the answer that is needed to correct what is wrong. It restores us to God’s word. How to get right with God through his word.
- For training. πρός pros + Παιδεία paideia**, The act of providing guidance for responsible living, upbringing, training, instruction. This brings together the teaching or doctrine, the rebuke, and the correction. Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5, 8, 11.
- In righteousness. Δικαιοσύνη dikaiosune The quality of being upright, fairness, justice, righteousness, upright behavior. Dative after en, sphere or reference respect. Many verses. God’s word tells us how to stay right. It instructs us about God’s way of life for us. Instruction in righteousness means how to live the Christian life.
- That. ἵνα hina, purpose or why Scripture is profitable.
- The man of God. Man is subject. Timothy and those gifted men given to equip the church (Ephesians 4:11-12).
- May be adequate. The verb is present active subjunctive after hina. Adequate ἄρτιος artios,** well fitted, capable, proficient, complete, suitable, exactly fitted, predicate adjective to man. The purpose of Scripture is that the Bible communicator may be capable and proficient—exactly fitted to teach the church and to shepherd the church.
- Equipped. ἐξαρτίζω exartizo**, to bring something to an end, finish, complete; make ready for service, equip, furnish. Perfect passive participle, intensive perfect emphasizing existing results of an previous action; predicate adjective to “man.” See Acts 21:5 for the meaning of finish. He has been equipped and made ready for service so that he is proficient (adequate). For every good work. πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν pros+ pan ergon agathon
- Good. ἀγαθός agathos. Good, serviceable, morally good, benefit, blessing, good of intrinsic value. See 2 Corinthians 9:8, 1 Timothy 5:10, 2 Timothy 2:21.
- Work. ἔργον ergon. Deed, action, work, task. See Ephesians 2:9-10, Colossians 3:17, Titus 1:16 (ergon agathon) and many others. Here Christian life service.
- Applications, so what?
- What importance do I give Scripture in my life? Does it form my worldview? Does it direct my thinking, actions, and relationships? Is it the basis for and subject matter of my Christian service? Does the Bible govern my emotions, my thinking, my relations with people, my use of money, my home life, my work life, and my political thought?
- For teaching: Do I allow the Bible to teach me what I should know, believe, and apply? Is Bible doctrine important to me? Is the Bible the source of what I say and teach in my ministries? Do I know my way around in the Bible and can I relate themes, context, doctrines, and applications? Do I memorize Scripture?
- Reproof means that Scripture tells me when I am wrong. It is like a judge who evaluates my thoughts and actions. Scripture rebukes me. What is my response when Scripture rebukes me? Do I confess the sin? Am I willing to change?
- Correction. Scripture not only evaluates and convicts me, it also gives the correction. It states the right way for thinking and action. The correction that Scripture gives makes it possible to avoid the sin and also to live an abundant Christian life. Scripture corrects me on doctrine, on attitude, on viewpoint, on service and application. Do I learn from correction?
- Training in righteousness. Scripture, the Bible, is the source for training in the right kind of thinking and action. It trains for responsible living. All doctrine, all rebuke, all correction trains me for looking at life through God’s viewpoint, for making the right decisions, and pleasing God. Training in righteousness could be like a residency program in a specialty where everything taught is now utilized under real life conditions producing a well trained person.
- If I am a pastor and teacher, a teacher, a missionary or evangelist, or a Christian leader, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is especially for me. I should think through these verses and consistently put them into my life.
- If I am not one of the above, I am still in full time Christian service and should also incorporate the teaching into my life.
An amplified translation
All Scripture is God breathed (directly from God to the human author and therefore authoritative and accurate) and profitable (useful and beneficial) for teaching biblical doctrine to self and others, for rebuking, reproving, and pointing out sin and bad choices, for correcting the sin and bad choices, for training (by adding the teaching, reproof, and correction together) the man of God in righteous living, so that he (Timothy, pastors and teachers, teachers, evangelists, missionaries—spiritual leaders), because he has been made ready for service by the Scripture, may be capable and exactly fitted to do his God given job (every good work).