THE PURPOSE OF THE SCRIPTURES
Date: October 21
Category: Faith Expressed Through Actions
2 Timothy 3:16-17
"Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work."
This is a very significant passage. It says here that every Scripture is God-breathed. The direct translation of "God-breathed" in Greek is "theos pneustos," meaning God by His Holy Spirit blew the Scriptures into the prophets and apostles. He was the One who moved their hearts and spirits to write the Scriptures. Though he used the talents and abilities of the writers, the meaning, the purpose and the sense of the Scriptures came from God Himself.
For example, in the New Testament you will find four different gospels. All the writers of the gospels were apostles of Jesus (with the exception of Luke). They all lived and worked with Jesus and they all witnessed the experiences that happened around Him. Yet they all wrote different angles about those experiences. They recorded all the same stories from different views based on the aspects they wanted to emphasize. So all four gospels are composed differently because four people with different skills wrote them.
Also, when you examine the letters of Paul, John, Peter and the letter of James, you will notice that there is a different style of writing for each of them because all four apostles had different writing skills. When you examine the Old Testament, you'll find that some passages are poetic, some are narrative, some are written to convey the wisdom of God, some are written to convey the historical events of the time, etc. There are all different styles of writing throughout the Bible.
But even though all the Scriptures are differently crafted, they all serve the same purpose because they all come from the same source, which is the Holy Spirit. That purpose is found here in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. According to this passage there are four different purposes for the Scriptures. The first one is for instruction. In other words, the Word of God will show us what we should do in life if we don't know. We are given clear instructions about how to conduct our lives as believers in the Word of God.
Then it says that the Scriptures are for reproof and conviction of sin. So when we do things that are displeasing to God, the Word of God is here to convict our hearts of those sins so that we would repent from them and return to Him. In the Old Testament, the prophets urged the nation of Israel to turn from their wicked ways and turn back to God. The Apostles of the New Testament are doing the same thing. So every Scripture has been written for the conviction of sin.
Then it says that the Scriptures are for correction of error. So when we make a mistake or when we are about to, the Word of God will correct those errors. That includes our actions, our thoughts and our words. We need to allow God's Word to renew our minds and transform us to be more like Him (Romans 12:1-2). Also, we are to bring every thought into the subjection of the lordship of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). That's what it means to allow the Word of God to correct our errors.
Also, the Scriptures are to discipline us in obedience. In other words, God's Word will show us how to obey God. When you read the various stories in the Bible, you are reading about real people and real experiences that took place during that time. They were people of flesh and blood just like you and me. They too had their own struggles, difficulties, and errors. Yet, God guided and directed them into obedience to Him. As we read those stories, we too should be guided and directed to obey God.
Then it says that the Scriptures are for training in righteousness. A man or woman of righteousness is one who is in right standing with God and with people. The moment that we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, the righteousness of God was imputed within us, giving us the ability to be in right standing with Him. Now having that, the Scriptures are here to train us on how to live righteously by faith.
So the Scriptures are profitable for these four things: instruction, reproof and conviction of sin, correction of error, discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness. According to this passage those are the purposes that the Scriptures serve, but what is the ultimate purpose of all those things? Well in verse 17 it says, "So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work." So the ultimate purpose for every Scripture is so we would be complete in God and be equipped for every good work. Everything we do should be good works that are done for the blessing of others and for the glory of God. But we can do that when we have the Scriptures rooted within us. So today, let's make sure these God-breathed words from the Word of God are hidden within our hearts.