Monday, March 16, 2015

NTDS (72): God Breathed

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  NIV

This simple verse seems to have caused a lot of debate in the church over the years. Some ask, what does all scripture mean since the New Testament had not been completed at the time of this writing? Is it only referring to Old Testament writings or does it include the words of the apostles? Others like to parse the Greek word for “God breathed” (theopnuestos). Since it is only used on this occasion, how should it be interpreted? When Paul wrote his letters, did he believe they were “God breathed” and on the same level with the books of the Old Testament?

These are legitimate questions to ask. What you believe about the Bible and its’ authority is critical to how you live your life as a Christian. We will not settle that complete debate here, but we may be able to see with confidence that all of the Old Testament scripture and what came to be known as the “canon,” which completes our Bible is exactly what Paul was referring to in this passage.

In Acts 17:11, Luke tells us that the Bereans examined the Old Testament scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. They were commended for this. In verse 12, it says that many of them believed. What that tells us is, that they must have confirmed the truth of Paul's teaching. It was confirmed by their study of scripture, which was already accepted as God’s written word.

The apostle Peter says this, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16) He is saying this to assure his readers that He is speaking the truth of God. He follows with this statement, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Peter is indicating that the teaching of the apostles always confirmed what God had already spoken and revealed through the prophets, therefore, it was from God. It may have seemed new to the listeners, since many of their views had come from rabbinical interpretation, which was not led by the Holy Spirit and often incorrect. That is why Jesus often began his teaching with the phrase, “you have heard it said, but I tell you.” His teaching was authoritative because He was and is the authority.

The apostles’ doctrine is authoritative because it comes from Jesus, not man! Careful study of the New Testament will prove that. Look at Heb 2:3-4
“This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Not only were the apostles eyewitnesses of what Jesus said and did, they were given the power of the Holy Spirit to confirm their authority. The book of Acts verifies this.

We should be able then, to place complete confidence in the Bible and accept that what we have in our hands today,is the reliable, inerrant and infallible in its’ original text, Word of God. Therefore, we can agree with Paul that it is certainly useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Do you want to be equipped for every good work that God has for you? Study God’s word, allowing it to rebuke, correct and train you in righteousness. Sit under pastors who “rightly divide the word of truth” and be a Berean by thoroughly checking out what they teach.

Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in your study of His “God-breathed” Word. Then you will say, along with King David, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord;teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees;I will not neglect your word.”
(Ps 119:9-16)

God bless you

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