Back before interstate highways made it possible to drive from one side of America to the other side without seeing anything, there was another way of traveling that was quite popular- Route 66. Route 66 was the old way of traveling across America that was the scenic way, filled with many stops and small towns with many interesting places along the way. While we are journeying to our ultimate destination in heaven God has provided a roadmap for us in the 66 books that comprise our Holy Bible. Paul writes to his protégé Timothy and states, “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”, (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NIV). We have in the last couple of blogs been looking at our church’s mission statement which states, “Making Disciples, Teaching God’s Word, Glorifying God”. After having considered the importance of disciple-making in our last two blogs, I would like us to consider the importance of “Teaching God’s Word”.
Remember when Paul was writing this verse that he was primarily speaking about the Old Testament, as much of the New Testament had not been written yet. There are a number of things to note in this short little passage that demonstrates to us that the Word of God is the perfect standard to guide our steps and actions. First, we see that it’s important for us to recognize that God is the author of the Holy Scriptures – “All Scripture is God-breathed”. In the human realm of experience, there is no book anywhere that can compare to the Holy Scriptures. They answer an infinite variety of the scriptural content that adapts itself to different needs of the soul. Whenever you have a need you can find a word of comfort, encouragement, or challenge in the Word of God. When Paul talks about the Scriptures being “God-breathed” he is talking about the Holy Spirit superintending the writings of the Scriptures so that they are without error. The Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths or merely human ideas about God, nor is it a human book. It is a book that was written by God through human authorship through the Holy Spirit. Some teach that the Bible contains the word of God, and they pick and choose the parts that they say are the Word of God. Paul tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed”. The Bible does not contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God. The inspiration of the Word of God is by the extraordinary divine agency of the Holy Spirit who empowered those who were writing the Scriptures, what they should speak or write so that the Word of God would be profitable for the things that are mentioned in this passage.
Paul tells us that the Word of God is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. There is nothing more valuable in our lives than the Word of God and storing it in our hearts and applying it to our lives. Many people make great investments into their IRAs or 401(k)s, but the greatest investment we can make in our lives is to invest the Word of God into our hearts and lives. It is useful for teaching doctrine and instruction that is putting the Scriptures together with an overall understanding to help others understand the Word of God. It’s profitable for rebuking and correcting. Rebuking and correcting have to do with exposing the errors of false teachers and confronting errors that we see so prevalent in our society today. A correction has to do with setting one right so they can stand in a right state of relationship to the Lord God of the universe. “Training in righteousness” is a parenting term that refers to the necessity of parents for warning and discipline our children when they get off the path that they should be traveling. So, the Word of God is the manual for guiding believers in God’s ways.
The final part of this passage tells us “that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” through the Word of God. It is the Word of God that must provide spiritual direction into our daily lives. This is why it is so important that we spend time daily in the Word of God and allow God to speak to us through it. As Christians, it is our duty and responsibility to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and one of the most important vehicles that God has given us in order to do that is the Word of God. God has given us His Word to equip us to do good. Simple knowledge of God’s Word is useless unless we apply it in our daily lives to strengthen our faith and lead us into the wisdom that is available through the Word of God. We must be doers of the Word of God and not simply hearers (James 1:22-25). So, my closing questions for consideration are: Are you traveling on Route 66? Are you on Route 66? Is Route 66 in you?
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo