2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:16–17) ESV
Paul’s direction to Timothy was fresh off the claim of verses 14-15, ”14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Though stating firmly the sufficiency as well as authority of Scripture which agrees with all of Scripture (see 2 Peter 1:21, Romans 15:4, 2 Pet 3:15-16, Jn 5:37-5:39), Paul has mentioned this in a context that is very significant. Paul has developed the authority and sufficiency in between 2 strong warnings to Timothy as well as those who would read these verses in context. Paul has warned Timothy starting in chapter 3 about a terrible, difficult (the Greek- χαλεπός (chalepos),1. LN 22.29 troublous, difficult, harsh (2Ti 3:1+); 2. LN 20.2 fierce, violent (Mt 8:28+)) times. In developing these terrible times and what will be indicative in them, he explains about how many are led astray and are always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth (3:7). Then he sites some examples complete with how their game will play out…”so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men”(3:8b). Paul however makes a couple conjunctions in verse 10 and 14 that tie Timothy to a different fulfillment in light of God’s Word and teaching it. The contrast of “You, however, have followed” (3:10) and “But as for you , continue in what you have learned” (3:14) commits Timothy to the Word of God that is literally (Greek – θεόπνευστος (theopneustos), inspired of God, inspired (NEB, REB), God-breathed (NIV), (2Ti 3:16+)) breathed out by God. Yes He used human authors but it is God’s Own Word breathed out by Him. This is where the authority and sufficiency are Paul’s go-to defenses. What is to be Timothy’s response to God’ s Inerrant Word (in the original writings) “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (3:14) and “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (4:2)
Paul’s direction to Timothy was that God’s Word was sufficient, it was not only able to make you wise for salvation but it was profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness so the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (3:16-17)
The second warning I mentioned that Paul was instructing Timothy in was that there was going to come a time when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
As we have already learned in Hebrews 4:12 that God’s Word exposes the thoughts and intents of the heart, you can always tell where someone stands with God when you see where he stands with God’s Word. So this begs the question where do you stand with God’s Word. Do the warnings fit you or do Timothy’s practices reflect you? Do you read it? Is it more precious than pure gold as it was to the psalmist? Do you believe as Jesus stated that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Are you sanctified by it (Jn 17:17)? Are you proving to be a disciple by abiding in it and are you set free by the truth it proclaims (Jn 8:31b-8:32)? Good questions to contemplate.