Wednesday 26 September 2018

Bible Book:
2 Timothy

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. (v. 16-17)

2 Timothy 3:10-17 Wednesday 26 September 2018

Psalm: Psalm 24


In the previous part of this chapter Paul has painted a sombre picture of how, in the difficult times for Christians that will mark the last days, many will become demoralised both in character and conduct. In contrast Paul now states his confidence that Timothy will remain true to what Paul has modelled for him, yet renews his exhortation to do so in the face of the suffering that threatens.

 Paul refers to sufferings he endured on his first mission journey, hustled out of Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:50), then fleeing Iconium to avoid stoning (Acts 14:5-6) only to be stoned at Lystra and, presumed dead, dragged out of town (Acts 14:19). Although there were more recent persecutions that Paul and Timothy endured together it was presumably the stories of those which happened shortly before Paul met Timothy that had had a profound effect on the young man’s decision to join Paul. The memory causes Paul both to ejaculate, “The Lord rescued me from all of them”, and to state categorically that all who want to live a godly Christian life will be persecuted. But whereas we might expect the next sentence to say that the wicked and imposters (those who pretend to be Christians) will have it easy in comparison, Paul actually states that they will be the more pitiable ultimately.

The remedy against charlatans is adherence to the faith Timothy has received, which has a two-fold basis: tradition handed on to him – “from whom” is plural and includes his family upbringing as well as Paul’s teaching – and the “sacred writings”, meaning what we call the Old Testament, and Paul then calls “Scripture” (v. 16). There has been much debate about the correct wording of that final sentence of the passage, which is quoted above these notes. Is it “All Scripture…” or “Every Scripture…”? Is it correct to assume the verb “is” refers to both Scripture’s inspiration and usefulness, or just the latter? Does “inspired” mean God breathed into Scripture or breathed out Scripture? These questions are beyond this short note, but it is generally mistaken to read more into a verse of the Bible than what is clear and unambiguous about its sense. What is certain here is that Paul wants to affirm the thorough practical usefulness of Scripture to those who want to live a complete and effective Christian life.


To Ponder

  • Is persecution inevitable for anybody living an authentic Christian life as v. 12 claims? What forms does it take in the contexts with which you are familiar today?
  • You have chosen today to read Word in Time, hopefully alongside the Bible passage that the background notes explain. How does reading the Bible equip you?
  • What questions do you continue to wrestle with regarding the nature of Scripture? What might help you to resolve them?
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