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)
If you pay close attention to the enemies of the truth, apostates, heretics, and pagans, they all attack the doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture. In yesterdays post, The Inspiration of Scripture, we looked closely at this. In this post we will take a closer look at the five things that, since Scripture is Inspired, for which it is profitable or useful or helpful. Of course, the enemies of God’s truth reject all of this because they insist on things being man-centered while the deeper we dig into these truths there is no way we can come away from what we find without the understanding that God is Sovereign and those who belong to Him do so for His glory not theirs.
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 word the ESV translates as “profitable” and I as “helpful” from the above text is ὠφέλιμος or ōphelimos, “useful, beneficial, advantageous.” Paul then tells us that the inspiration of God’s Word makes it ὠφέλιμος for what?
The first benefit is that it is ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν or ōphelimos pros didaskalia, that is, helpful for teaching. Notice that the source of the teaching of this “doctrine” is the Word of God, not philosophy or some other man’s book or what men want to hear. None of those are even close to ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν. Why? They come from uninspired sources while the Word of God comes from God Himself. I heard a sermon at church today based on Matthew 24:29-32 and most of it was built around the contrast of the reactions of the elect to the non-elect at Jesus’ return. The elect will be gathered to Him by His angels to be with Him forever and it will be glorious, but the non-elect will mourn. The sermon was both encouraging and sobering. In any case, that is an example of this.
The second benefit is that it is ὠφέλιμος πρὸς ἐλεγμόν or ōphelimos pros elegmon, that is, helpful for reproof or instruction. Human psychology, Oprah, Dr.Phil, Your Best Life Now doesn’t cut it. No, none of those are inspired because they are all sourced in man. They may be popular. Those behind them may make a lot of money and sell a lot of books, but what they are selling is not ὠφέλιμος πρὸς ἐλεγμόν as the inspired Word of God is. The reason God’s Word is is that the Holy Spirit is behind it. When it is read and used properly for this, the Holy Spirit inhabits it and works in the hearts and minds of people to work and bring repentance. No man can do this.
The third benefit is that it is ὠφέλιμος πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν or ōphelimos pros epanorthōsin, that is, helpful for correction. The word ἐπανόρθωσιν is the Accusative, Singular form of ἐπανόρθωσις or epanorthōsis, which actually consists of three words. The root ὀρθῶς or orthōs means “upright, straight, correct” and is where we derive such English words as orthodontist, orthopedics and orthodox. The orthodontist corrects and straightens teeth. The orthopedic surgeon corrects bone injuries and deformities, et cetera. The word Orthodox, despite the negative connotation some have given it in our time, refers to conforming to correct doctrine or belief. Add to this the prefix ἐπί or epi, “to” or “upon” and the prefix ἀνά or ana, denoting repetition (as in the word “again”), and we have the word ἐπανόρθωσις, which means “to set upright again, to straighten again” and we have the action of putting things back the way they should be. When Biblical correction is done that is indeed what happens because it is done with the goal of restoration. Sin is first exposed, rebuked, and punished, and then comes restoration. That is what the Word of God does. It sets things right, improves, restores, and brings us back to where we are supposed to be.
The fourth benefit is that it is ὠφέλιμος πρὸς παιδείαν or ōphelimos pros paideia. This Word, παιδείαν refers to “tutorage, that is, education or training; by implication disciplinary correction: – chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.” The rest of the sentence above refers to this training or nurturing being “in righteousness.” Why? Notice that once again that since the Word of God is inspired we have this benefit. Without that, the best we would have would be flawed, man-based stuff. Since the Word of God is inspired and if we use it correctly for this purpose then godly results will be the product.
The fifth and final benefit of the inspiration of the Word of God is that it makes us “throughly furnished.” The word we are talking about here is the last word in v17, ἐξηρτισμένος, which the ESV translates as “equipped” and I as “finished.” This word emphasizes completeness in the sense of being capable and fit or perfected. However, it also focuses on the necessity of what it takes to bring this about, which is our being “fitted out, altogether fitted or fully fitted.” Think of the preacher of the Word of God who rightly handles Word of Truth. When he preaches, God is glorified, the Body of Christ is edified and it is just amazing. It is the exact opposite from listening to one of these seeker-movement “showmen” who are building their kingdoms and can move their crowds with manipulations, emotions, et cetera. No, when the man of God who handles God’s Word correctly preaches, it is nothing like that at all. I can tell the difference immediately. First, the Word of God is central to that man and his focus is to bring glory to God and open the text to God’s people for their edification. It is not self-glory. It is never self-glory. It isn’t about building huge ministries or big churches. It is only about obeying God and being that fitted out servant of God that has been prepared by God to do this very thing. I think I heard the Gospel in one form or another preached at least 5 times at church today including during the Baptism we witnessed. None of it pointed to us, our church, or anything we do, but only to what Christ had done.
Oh, but the preacher did talk about how everyone will meet Jesus face to face one day either as a reunion with their Saviour or as their judge. There was no third group. I defy anyone to find that sort of preaching in those seeker-movement churches.
Soli Deo Gloria!