Subject: The Sufficiency of Scripture with emphasis on Biblical Authority
Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
This will be our fourth and final message on The Sufficiency of Scriptures in our rotation of speakers.
In the first message, we discussed the importance of Biblical authority. We found some key verses which form the basis of this doctrine, as follows:
Psalm 19:7-8: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
2 Peter1:16: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables (inventions of men), when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
2 Peter 1:20-21: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation: “(because) the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
2 Timothy 3:15-16 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
Our second message was an exposition of the last half of Psalm 19. Where we noted 5 things The Word of God does:
1. it turns us around; 2. it teaches us; 3. it enlightens us; 4. it causes us to reverence God; and, 5. it keeps us from presumptuous sins.
The third message was an exposition of 2 Peter 1:16-21. In true Spurgeonian fashion, I had three points.
I. Our Inspired Bible, 1) Is Not Man’s Invention; 2) Is Not Man’s Experience.
II. A More Sure Word of Prophecy, 1) when Scripture Interprets Scripture; 2) when Contextual Interpretation is followed; 3) when types are not overdone.
III. Inspiration is a Work of the Holy Spirit, 1) He is the author of all Scripture; 2) that same Holy Spirit also gives insight into the Word of God.
Today, our exposition is from 2 Timothy 3:14-17
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
This is the passage most used for a proof text; that is because the term “inspiration of God” is translated from two Greek words meaning God and to breathe. This is where we find the great importance of Truth
I. The Importance of Truth
The Apostle Paul is writing this epistle to Timothy. He says: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;”
He had already said to Timothy in the introduction:
“Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
We need to show respect to those who taught us. They sacrificed many comforts to bring the gospel to us. Not only that, but the building in which we meet is the product of great sacrifice and many hours of hard lor. It is God’s house; it is a place of worship. Please, respect that.
Paul said: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.” Holy scriptures - a recognition of something extraordinary. “…which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”
In our day, truth is in one’s own thought. But Jesus said in John 17:7: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." The entire Bible teaches this. The word truth appears 237 times in Scripture. I will give you a few verses:
Genesis 24:27 “Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth
Exodus 34:6: “The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”
Deuteronomy 32:4: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”
Psalm 25:5 “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”
Psalm 25:10: “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.”
Psalm 31:5: “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth”.
Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.”
Psalm 40:11: “let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.”
Psalm 86:11: “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth:”
Psalm 86:15: “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth”
Psalm 89:14: “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”
Psalm 91:4 “his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
Psalm 100:5: “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations
Psalm 117:2 “the truth of the LORD endureth for ever.”
Psalm 119:142, "thy law is truth."
Psalm 119:151: “Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.”
Proverbs 3:3 “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:”
Proverbs 16:6 “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged:”
Proverbs 23:23 “Buy the truth, and sell it not;”
Isaiah 25:1 “O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”
Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”
Daniel 10:21 “But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth:”
Zech.8:3: “Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth;”
John 1:14: “we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:17: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
John 4:23: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:”
John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
John 5:23: “Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.”
John 8:32: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
John 15:26: “the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”n 16:13: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:”
John 17:17: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Stop right there.
What does truth do? It sanctifies, cleanses, makes holy. The same word is translated “hallowed” “Our Father which art in heaven hallowed be thy name.” In Revelation 22:11 it is translated “holy. “…he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
“Sanctify them (make them holy) through thy truth, thy word is truth.” and able to make one “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
There is a remarkable comparison of that last phrase and the phrase we studied in 2 Peter 1: “for we have not followed cunningly devised fables.” Do you remember? The word for fables was σοφίζω so-fē'-zō, passive voice, meaning: to play the sophist or to be cunning. The word for wise in this verse is σοφίζω so-fē'-zō, but here it is middle voice, meaning to gain understanding.
Also, Genesis 3:6: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Wise here means: to have insight or perception, the same as 2 Timothy 3:15 Timothy became wise unto salvation through the truth of God’s Word.
Can one be saved without truth? Romans 10:17: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
What is truth? “Thy word is truth.”
II. The Importance of Inspiration
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The word profitable means the same thing all 3 times it appears in the Bible.
What does it profit? What does it yield?
It yields: 1) Doctrine or instruction. What do you think of when you hear the word instruction? Education; teaching; training; tutoring. The Word of God will yield this. Paul had told Timothy in the previous chapter, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” What is rightly dividing the word of truth? Correct understanding. How do we get it? STUDY.
It yields: 2) the means for spiritual reproof. This is NOT correction. That comes next. Reproof is a standard by which we are tested. I hear it all the time: “Well, I don’t do what Brother So-and-So does.” No! Brother So-and-So is not our standard. We are not to compare ourselves among ourselves. What does the Bible say? That sets our standard. Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence [standard] of things not seen.” Here, faith is the judge. Faith sets the standard by which we are tested.
It yields: 3) correction, or restoration to the upright state. The Word of God not only reveals our blemishes, it also corrects them. Remember Jeremiah 23:29? “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” He doesn’t mean that it destroys, but that it restores.
It yields: 4) instruction in righteousness. Is this the same as doctrine? How is it different? The goal of doctrine is to educate; get correct understanding. The goal of instruction in righteousness is to cultivate a person – it is our total molding through admonitions of chastisement.
III. The Importance of Equipping
“That the man of God may be perfect, [complete]” God’s Word furnishes every thing necessary for the man of God: correct understanding; a set standard; correction; cultivation. “throughly furnished” is one word in the Greek, literally: to fit out. The King James says throughly furnished. That is archaic for thoroughly furnished. ESV - “equipped” Whatever we do, we get fitted out for it. Wearing the proper gear for running, hiking, fishing; Getting the proper equipment for building, repairing. The Word of God fully equips us to completion.
We must not go into the battle and find that we have no weapon. But we are fitted out. We have our weapon – the Word of God! Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The child of God lacks nothing. He has at his disposal full equipment.
Conclusion: I am going back yet again to a statement I made in the first message on this subject:
If the Bible is not the Word of God, we have no revelation from God and therefore no authority from God. Every thing that matters to us as believers comes from the pages of God's divinely inspired Word. The book that was given to the church by Christ through his apostles must always be the source of our authority.
It is God’s eternal, unchanging Word; the only source of our revelation of God; the only source of our authority;
Isaac Watts wrote:
The heav’ns declare Thy glory, Lord, In every star Thy wisdom shines
But when our eyes behold Thy Word, We read Thy Name in fairer lines.
The rolling sun, the changing light, And nights and days, Thy power confess
But the blest volume Thou hast writ Reveals Thy justice and Thy grace.
Sun, moon, and stars convey Thy praise Round the whole earth, and never stand:
So when Thy truth begun its race, It touched and glanced on every land.
Nor shall Thy spreading Gospel rest Till through the world Thy truth has run,
Till Christ has all the nations blest That see the light or feel the sun.
Great Sun of Righteousness, arise, Bless the dark world with heav’nly light;
Thy Gospel makes the simple wise, Thy laws are pure, Thy judgments right.
Thy noblest wonders here we view In souls renewed and sins forgiv’n;
Lord, cleanse my sins, my soul renew, And make Thy Word my guide to Heaven.