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The Power of the Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3:15-17

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 42:
“Be Thou an Example of the Believers”




In 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Paul comments on the role the scriptures have played in Timothy’s life and can play in ours as well. He says, beginning with verse 15

15 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.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The first interesting comment of Paul’s as I see it, is that Timothy has known the scriptures from his youth and they are capable of making him wise unto salvation. Surely the scriptures can do this for us in our day also, but if we want to understand closely what Paul meant, we first have to understand which scriptures he was talking about. The scriptures in Paul’s day, referred primarily to the Old Testament, as Wayment points out in his footnotes, this can also refer to other extant sacred writings, for example, in verse 8 of this same chapter, Paul references an encounter between Jannes and Jambres and Moses that is not found in our current Old Testament, but is alluded to in Pseudopigraphic and Apocryphal texts. So, at the very least, we should take away from this passage the profound respect that Paul had for the writings of the Hebrew Bible, and the fact that these were what Paul considered could make Timothy wise unto salvation, when read in light of faith in Christ.

Paul also notes that the scriptures are inspired, good for teaching truth, scolding things that need to be scolded (reproof means to express disapproval), correcting errors, and teaching righteousness. The perfect in the last verse, “That the man of God may be perfect,” should be understood in the sense of complete. “That the person of God should be complete,” as Wayment has it. The word perfect has baggage in our culture that the word Paul was using didn’t have and its important to realize that. The key takeaway though, is that the scriptures help us to be complete and ready to serve the Lord in whatever way he might want.

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