All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17
The greatest verse about biblical inspiration is also a great verse about biblical application. Second Timothy 3:16-17 not only tells us who gave us the Bible but also why it was given. God breathed out His Word for our benefit. Every part of it is profitable. Waiting in its pages is a wealth of blessings ready to teach, reprove, correct, and train us in righteousness.
We call the Bible “God’s Word” because it contains what He wants to say. He speaks into our lives through it. Each verse and every word accomplishes at least one of the purposes listed in today’s passage. No matter what our need, God has provided a response in His Word.
The Bible teaches us. The word used here has often been translated doctrine—meaning core teaching. Whatever we find in Scripture is truth that’s worth being taught. Every time we read it we should be asking, What is God teaching me in this passage?
God’s Word reproves us. It is the precision instrument of the Holy Spirit, often stopping us in our tracks through the conviction of sin. When the Lord says “Don’t” in Scripture, He always means, “Don’t hurt yourself.” He graciously reprimands us.
God’s Word also corrects us. It not only points out the wrong, it also provides the right response. The Bible straightens out our lives like nothing else. On our own we steer in wrong directions, but God consistently directs us in the way we should go.
Scripture trains us in righteousness. It is an unerring guide for the lifelong process of discipleship God wants to bring about. We will never outgrow our need for His guidance.
Truth, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness are all ways God brings light to our lives by His Word. When we need to see where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going, we have a trustworthy source of guidance in the book God wrote. This is the picture described in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
But there’s a catch in this great promise about the benefits found in Scripture. Note the last phrase in the verse: “. . . that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” All that God has for you in His Word may come to you if you dig into it. But if your Bible remains closed, though the benefits are all there, you have not accessed them.
Amazing things can happen when you open your Bible. Get familiar with it. Figure out how to find your way around. Ask for help. The spiritual maturity you long for will never be a reality until you practice regular, careful study of Scripture.
Becoming a competent disciple of Jesus—one who is equipped to carry out the tasks He places before you—will always involve His Word. When you are reading His inspired thoughts, the Lord is breathing into you His truth, loving reproofs, gracious correction, and the guidance you need.
Devotional by James McDonald