Love For The Word
God said to Abraham, I want you to leave your country and your family and go to a land that I will tell you about later. And, after you do that I’m going to make you a big nation and will bless you and give you a great name. And then God said something even more interesting to Abraham. He said to him, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” God was going to make every nation and culture blessed through Abraham. That’s a pretty big promise. But those are the words that he said to him. The whole world would be blessed through him.
So fast-forward a couple thousand years, and we get to the life of Jesus on this earth. He was a physical descendent of Abraham. And here’s what one of his followers, John, said about him. He said, “Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” Did you catch that? Through Jesus, the world would be saved. So Jesus is the answer to the promise God made to Abraham that all the nations of the world would be blessed through him.
The point is…God has always been faithful to his words. He binds himself to his words. When he promises something, there’s literally no doubt that it will come true. It may take awhile for us to see it, but He’s always faithful to his word. He’s the very definition of Faithfulness. So if we’re going to be faithful to God or to his cause or to his church or to each other, then we too have to be faithful to his Word.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 says “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This is telling us that everyone needs to be faithful to God’s Word. And why? I see two reasons here in the text that we need to be faithful to God’s word.
The Source Of God’s Word
This is the Apostle Paul writing to Timothy, a young pastor of a church and Paul’s close friend. And Paul here tells Timothy outright that he is to remain in what’s he been taught, continue in what he’s been taught.
But where did this teaching come from? Well, first, Paul shows us that his teaching came from his both his family and himself. Notice what Paul said in verse 14, “you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures.” Paul had spent years with Timothy, teaching him about living the Christian life. And not only that, as big a deal as that is to have the Apostle Paul as your teacher, we also know from earlier in the book that Timothy’s mom and grandma were both believers that taught him the Bible. He was the recipient of great grace through the people around him. God have sovereignly arranged that one of the first generation of Christian pastors be taught the Scriptures from his early childhood.
My son just turned 3 this passed summer, and I love teaching him things. My dad taught me how to fish—something I loved to do with him. And his dad taught him how to fish in the rivers and lakes of South Carolina. And now I’m passing on that skill to my son. Sure, it’s not a crucial life skill, but it’s something that I think he needs to be able to do. It teaches you how to get your hands dirty, be patient, keep trying, and how to have fun. Something he can do his whole life. I hope he passes it down to his kids, should God bless that way. But that’s nothing compared to the truth that was passed on to Timothy. Paul said he was taught the sacred writings, and that meant the Old Testament. Timothy’s mother and grandma took the responsibility to obey the command in Deuteronomy 6, teach their children the Word of God. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Of course, just the fact that his family taught him things isn’t reason enough for him for be faithful to them. Parents teach crazy things all the time to kids. It’s one thing to teach kids fun things, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. It’s another thing entirely to double-down on something and tell your kids to live their lives by it. The difference between what we should live by isn’t just who taught us. The difference is the source. And for Timothy’s teachers, that source was God himself.
Look at verse 16, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Or in other words, God breathed it out. And even in the verse before that he said that the sacred writings were able to make them wise to salvation. Scripture comes from God and that’s what gives it so much importance. That’s why the Psalmist said that the blessed man, the wise man delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it. That’s why the Old Testament prophets said that these words came from the mouth of God. That’s why one of Satan most effective tools is to make people doubt God’s words. Doubt the Bible. Or even just ignore it, as if it were just some cute stories.
But that’s not how God treats his word. That’s not how Paul told Timothy to treat his Word. And that’s certainly not how God wants us to treat his Word. He wants us to be faithful to it because of its source. God himself.
The Usefulness Of God’s Word
He said first that it can make us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
That’s huge. Whether we always acknowledge it or not, our biggest problem in this life isn’t financial or relational or physical. Our biggest problem is something much deeper than that. It’s our sin. It’s in the very core of our being. And it has a scary defining power…sin has the power to define you. Until you meet Jesus.
But that’s why God’s word is called the Good News, the Gospel! It tells us about Jesus and about how he dealt with our biggest problem on the cross. It tells us how Jesus is a way better savior than I am a sinner. And that’s the best news ever. I want to keep digging into God’s word because that’s where I found the answer to my biggest problem, and that answer is Jesus Christ! It’s so wonderful to cast my sin on him and take his righteousness, his perfection, his goodness. That’s the heart of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Making people wise to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. As one famous theologian said, he is the design and sum of all the Bible. It all points to him.
There’s no other wisdom beside that. Paul said elsewhere that Jesus is our wisdom. And he commanded us to walk in wisdom. Over and over again, God tells us to be wise. Don’t be a fool. Wisdom isn’t just a cute way of life or a lecture to a teenage or something for old people. Wisdom is Jesus Christ crucified and raised to life for our sins. If you know that, you’re among the smartest people in the world, even if you’re a little kid or never went to school or whatever. If you want to be smart, get to know Jesus.
And if you don’t believe that yet, let me challenge you to start digging into God’s word and see why Paul said in Romans, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
Sometime we treat Jesus like an ingredient we add to things, don’t we. Like he’s the missing ingredient to our lives, and if we add just a little more Jesus, then my life will be easier or make sense. Like a cook tasting things and adding some more salt or some more shoyu. But honestly, that’s not how the Bible talks about Jesus. He’s not something we get to add when we think it’s good. The Bible talks about Jesus like he’s the master cook and we’re the ingredients. He gets to choose how to combine ingredients, and he even changes the ingredients themselves to make them better. He takes ingredients—us—that need some serious help and makes them into something way better than we could have imagined.
And that’s what Paul tells us next about how useful God’s word is for us. Look at verses 16 and 17 again. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Here we learn that God’s word is useful for both equipping us and fixing us. Paul said it’s profitable for teaching, rebuking, for correcting and for training in righteousness. Two of those things are saying that God’s word builds us up, trains us, teaches us what we should know. Teaching and training. And the other two things are saying that God’s word fixes us where we’re broken. It rebukes us, corrects us.
This reminded me of how I’ve been called to be a parent. My 2 year old daughter is just a wild woman. I love her to do death and am so fascinated with her. But she can be pretty exhausting. So if you think about it, pray for my wife, Jess, as she’s home with them. But my daughter, Paisley, is a climber. So I regularly find her climbing on top of chairs and tables and counters and even ladders. And I have to correct her and get her down. I have to fix the situation.
But other times, I’m trying to train her to do something. I’m trying to teach her to do something that she doesn’t know how to do. At meal times, we’ve been taking the time to teach our kids a family prayer that thanks God and ask for his grace. It’s been so much fun to watch her mimic our words and shout “Amen” at the end. Now, I know some people call that brainwashing, but God’s word calls that teaching and training. And that’s what God’s word does for us. It builds us up and fixes us. Why? The end of verse 17, “so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Complete. Equipped. And the sense here is not just Timothy, but all of us.
Faithfulness; it’s all about loving God’s Word. He is always faithful to his word. And his word tell us we should be too.
When I first came to Hawaii a number of years ago, Justin took me to Barbers Point to teach me to surf. Now…Justin is an amazing surfer, but it took him hours to get me up on a long-board. Like I said, I’m just a little pasty white guy that’s not a natural at standing up on a board floating on top of massive waves. Not doubt sharks were around too. And during all those hours out there, I made a big mistake. I didn’t put on enough sunscreen. And let me tell you…I got burned. My pasty white skin turned into painful red skin. I looked like short little tomato. I had didn’t realize that the Hawaiian sun isn’t like the sun anywhere else. It was very obvious that I had staid in the sun for too long. I was red. And everyone could see that I was red. And they not only knew that I was a stupid tourist, they knew exactly how it happened. I was exposed to sun light. I was changed by the sun.
The parallel is obvious. When you’re exposed to the Bible, or as Paul says, when you continue in God’s Word, when you’re faithful to God’s Word, it affects you. It changes you. People around you know it. You start to get things fixed in your life, you start to become what God intended you to be. A complete person. Fully equipped…because God’s word makes you look like God’s Son.