After learning of Paul and his missionary journeys in the book of Acts, we can read the letters he wrote to the Gentile churches – many of which he started while on those missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts. When we study these letters, we begin to recognize a pattern that develops. This pattern is revealed in an important verse found in Second Timothy. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Look at this verse more in depth by using the following definitions to help in the understanding of it:
- Scripture means “every part of the whole and all of it together; that which has been written once and for all and constitutes the final authority of God’s revelation.”
- Given by inspiration of God means “prompted by God; divinely inspired; appears only in 2 Timothy 3:16.”
- Profitable means “to be useful, profitable, or advantageous.”
- Doctrine means “teaching or instruction with the meaning of warning.”
- Reproof means “to convict; in the sense of refutation of adversaries; not merely the charge on the basis of which one is convicted, but the manifestation of the truth of that charge and the results to be reaped; the acknowledgement of its truth on the part of the accused.”
- Correction means “to set right again; to correct or make straight.”
- Instruction means “to instruct; rectification; including discipline.”
Recognize that this verse cites the four benefits (profitableness) of the Word of God: doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction. The different parts of this verse reveal that each of these components are interdependent and are all necessary in the process of sanctification of a Christian’s life. First, the Word of God is presented as doctrine or instruction as in authoritative teaching. Then as truth, which is ethically persuasive, convincing one of error. Next, it places that person in a correct moral position, which allows one to be brought to the final place where that one can be provided the discipline, chastisement, or training needed to bring about righteousness. This verse summarizes the third division of the New Testament: Romans – 2 Thessalonians. It is with this insight that Paul spent much of his time writing to the new churches, so that they would know how to become righteous.
Remember theses letters of Paul that are important for each Christian to study:
- Romans: the teaching of doctrine,
- 1 and 2 Corinthians: reproof for failure to live right,
- Galatians: correction, rectifying wrong doctrine that had permeated the church,
- Ephesians: the revealing of deeper doctrinal truths intended for growing Christians,
- Philippians: reproof for wrong living, the rectifying of a potential problem,
- Colossians: correction to rectify wrong doctrine,
- 1 and 2 Thessalonians: the teaching of doctrine and instructions.
Did you notice the pattern of how these books, or letters, can be used as doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction? As we read about the churches as they received these letters from Paul, some of them immediately put into practice what was taught therein. When that happened, we read that Paul received encouraging words about the growth of the churches. After reading theses letters (books), can you recognize the different stages of implementation each one was designed to teach? Remember, that these books (letters) are for Christians to use even today. Remember what the very next verse in Second Timothy says. “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:17). The words throughly furnished means “to equip fully; completely.” This is the purpose of God’s Word. To equip Christians completely to be able to do what God wants us to do.
Do you read understanding that all Scripture, when it is implemented into one’s life, will furnish you unto all good works?