Monday, August 16, 2010

A Biblical Foundation Part 1: Scripture is Sufficient

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Paul told Timothy about the difficult days that he will face (3:1-9). Timothy will not have Paul personally present to lead and guide him (4:6-9). So what would Timothy have to guide him? Timothy would have the teaching Paul gave him, and the life which underscored that teaching (3:10-13). Timothy would have the grounding in Scripture that his believing grandmother and mother had given him from infancy (3:14-15). And that, Paul insists, would be sufficient to make him wise. He needed to lead the church and find others who would follow his lead and teach others (2 Timothy 1:13; 2:2. 7, 15; 4:1-2).

Then, in vs.16-17 Paul speaks of all Scripture. Now some might say that in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul was referring only to the OT, but that isn’t true, because most of the scriptures were already complete. Peter brings the OT and NT together by saying that words of the Apostles were also authoritative (2 Peter 3:2), specifically referring to Paul’s writings as scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul uses the term he used earlier in 1 Timothy 5:18, where he quotes Luke 10:7 (Deuteronomy 25:4), so the gospels are included. Timothy would have had access to these writings (2 Timothy 4:13). Paul is saying that the Word of God, including the Old Testament retrospectively and the New Testament prospectively, including his own writing (1 Thessalonians 2:13) represents the very words of God, and thus tells us everything we need to understand in order to know and serve God (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-4).

All scripture is God breathed so even the narrative portion are for our use (cf. Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5), although the way we are to use them depends on certain factors. For example, what about those seemingly endless genealogies in the OT books, what are they there for? To the Hebrews, their history and the names of their ancestors represented the salvation of God in their midst. The remembrance and rehearsal of their collective story was a constant reminder of God's promise to Abraham. To remember their past, in an important sense, was to realize that God was in their present, and was part of their future.

Coming out of the Babylonian exile, the reading of these names and the rehearsal of the national history marked the truth that God was still faithful to the covenant made with Abraham. This same emphasis is clear in the NT usages of genealogies. To continue to rehearse the history, and to show Christ as the culmination of it, was to argue that not only was God continuing to fulfill the divine promise made to Abraham, but moreover that God's promise was completed in the person and work of Christ.

So we can see that those lists are very important, but we don’t need to try and derive some deeper meaning from them. What the Bible doesn’t teach, and teaches against, is looking for esoteric things and clues like Bible codes. These are not mysteries to unlock they are mysteries that are now revealed. We do not need some other book as the “key” to provide a spiritualized meaning to an already clear text. God gave us scripture to reveal Himself, His works, and His plan and we are not supposed to go wandering off into myths and looking for secret knowledge (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-4, 4:7, 6:3-5, 11, 20 / 2 Timothy 2:16,23, 3:5, 7-8 / Titus 1:14, 3:9).

Here is the point: in essence, spiritually speaking, if the apostles didn’t teach it you don’t need it, and you definitely don’t want it (1 Corinthians 4:6 / Galatians 1:8-9 / 1 John 4:5-6). Since Paul says that Scripture thoroughly equips we can unequivocally conclude that another revelation can only be inferior.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

This is part of a basic training and membership class at our church. You can see all nine weeks in .pdf form on the front page at

Even So... said...

This series will have several parts...