by Mike Ratliff
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
I receive numerous comments on the posts on this blog from people that never see the light of day because those who post them either do not bother to follow the rules clearly posted, which are assiduously enforced, or they have failed to read them. Their error is that they they attack what is posted here from Sacred Scripture as truth, in context, clearly exposited and exegeted with innuendo, human philosophy, but never, I repeat, never do they go to God’s Word and make any attempt to show me where I have erred in my exegesis of the text. In fact, I can’t remember anyone ever doing that since this blog has been online, but I have had more attempts than I can remember to protest and derail the truth from God’s Word from the humanistic platform of outrage that God is Sovereign and they are not. One hot topic has always been the fact that Sacred Scripture is the inspired Word of God and that makes it infallible and inerrant, but what makes it so abhorrent to those who insist on protesting, it also means that the truths it presents are God’s truths and that our Sovereign God is going to hold all outside of the Body of Christ accountable to His Law and are, therefore, liable to His wrath. They, therefore, hate God’s truth and resist it as such hoping, I suppose, that this will somehow remove their liability.
Perhaps, the seeker movement’s watering down of God’s truth and the removal of the offense of the Cross and the removal of any mention of the Doctrine of Original Sin is part and parcel with this very same “outrage” and, therefore, they “edit” the gospel and God’s Word to make it “more palatable” to the “man on the street.” Well, I was listening to a recent Podcast from Dr. James White’s The Dividing Line the other day and he commented on a discussion he had heard on the Calvary Chapel Radio show in which the topic of the Doctrine of Original Sin was being discussed. One of the commentators said something like, “If we emphasize that it will be offensive to the man on the street…” Dr. White’s reaction was the same as mine, “Who cares!” He went on to say that he was of the opinion that God was obviously judging much of what is called “the visible church” in our time who had covered over the “offense of the cross” and gone after trying to appeal to people to come to their churches through entertaining them or some other means. This judgement from God blinded people to the truth that they could not see, hear, or believe the real Gospel through their man-centered means.
The only means whereby people are truly saved is when the foolishness of preaching the offense of the Cross is done as commanded in Sacred Scripture. That means the Law and the Gospel are preached. People must know that they are hopelessly lost sinners incapable of keeping God’s Law even though that is the only standard God will accept to becoming part of His Kingdom. Then the Good News of Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is preached showing how He died on that Cross paying the price of their sin. He also had perfectly kept God’s Law. He obeyed God perfectly and went to the Cross sinless. His substitutionary death on the Cross was the acceptable sacrifice. God imputed all of the sins of the elect to His account and His death on that Cross paid the penalty for them. All those who believe the Gospel in repentance by God’s grace through faith are imputed Christ’s perfect righteousness. This is the Doctrine of Justification by Faith. All of this is clearly taught in God’s Word, which is, as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (above) inspired by God and complete.
πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, πρὸς ἐλεγμόν, πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν, πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 GNT)
All Scripture God-breathed and helpful to teaching, to rebuking, to straightening, to instruction as a child the in rightness, that fit might be the of the God man, to all work good having been finished. (a personal translation of 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 from the Greek text to English)
The words translated as “All Scripture” are πᾶσα γραφὴ. This literally says, “All Holy Writ.” The word γραφὴ or graphē is used in the New Testament for the Holy Scriptures in Matthew 21:42, 22:29, Mark 12:10, 15:28, Romans 1:2, and, of course, here in 2 Timothy 3:16. In any case, we must remember context. Here is the entire passage in which Paul makes this statement.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:10-17 ESV)
From this it is clear that Paul is referring to all of what we call Sacred Scripture, the Old Testament and New Testament. Of course, when Paul wrote this the New Testament was still being written. In any case, from this context we see that Paul had a very high view of God’s Word and it was Sacred Scripture he was referring to here.
What does it mean that “All Scripture is breathed out by God”? I translated as “God-breathed”the Greek word θεόπνευστος or theopneustos, which is a compound word comprised of θεός or theos, “God,” and πνέω or pneō, “to breathe hard, or blow.” What does this tell us? The word πνέω speaks of of a conscious breathing, not something unintentional or done unconsciously, therefore, the fact that all of God’s Word, Sacred Scripture is God-Breathed means that it is inspired and the inspiration is the forceful and conscious exhaling of God into the Scripture writers. God used their minds, vocabularies, and experiences to produce His own perfect infallible, inerrant Word.
Paul tells us that since this is so, then it is, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” It also means that when it speaks in judgement that it is also right and those who refuse to listen, heed and repent are going to be held liable and they hate that. It also talks a lot about how we are to fear God and what I see in so many “antinomians” of all sorts is that they pooh-pooh that and say there is no need to fear God. I think the Word of God calls those people “fools.”
Soli Deo Gloria!