II Timothy 3:16-17 expresses the goal of the Bible: “All Scripture is [God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
These verses speak especially of the Christian minister. II Timothy was written to a minister (Timothy). He is addressed as “thou” (15) and called a “man of God” (17). The true minister is a “man of God” because he is shaped by and proclaims God-breathed Scripture. Yet it is evident that these verses also apply to all God’s children.
The argument of the text is easily grasped. First, Scripture teaches, reproves, corrects and disciplines us. Second, this makes us “perfect,” capable and complete. Third, the complete Christian is “thoroughly furnished” (totally equipped) unto all good works.
This teaches us the sufficiency of Scripture. All Scripture is profitable for four key things (doctrine, reproof, correction, discipline) making Christians complete and thoroughly equipped unto all good works. The sufficiency of Scripture does not mean that it is sufficient as a history of Britain or a recipe book, though this does not mean that the Bible is in some way deficient. It is sufficient for the task for which God has appointed it. The Bible’s purpose is to “make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (15) and to teach, reprove, correct and discipline us in righteous living. Thus it enables us to do all good works so that we bring glory to God. As Westminster Confession 1:6 states, “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture.”
This means, first, that the minister must preach nothing more and nothing less than the whole counsel of God set forth in sacred Scripture. Second, the people of God must want Scripture preached to them with the specific purposes and goals God assigns to it. It will not do to say, “I do not like doctrine,” or “I don’t want to be reproved in the preaching,” or “I don’t like the discipline of the Word.” God has given Scripture (and the preaching of Scripture) in order to teach, rebuke and discipline us. You must not only want to be taught and to be exhorted to live godly in Christ Jesus, but you must require that sound doctrine and the warnings of Scripture be proclaimed. Thus you must seek out a faithful church where the Word is explained and applied the way II Timothy 3:16-17 directs. Remember, it is as you are taught, rebuked, corrected and disciplined by the preaching of God-breathed Scripture that you are more and more fitted to all good works and experience God’s love, joy and peace.
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 20
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851