Today we are in Chapter 3 of Second Timothy. Paul continues his urging that Timothy to be faithful in his stewardship of the Church. Here we read one of the famous, oft quoted passages, that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching…” 2Ti 3:16
But did you ever notice what comes just before it?
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 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. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Again we see the point that Paul has made several times in this letter – from WHO you learned the faith is important. It must come from the source from those authorized to teach. Be careful here not to set up a false choice. All Christians can and should teach, evangelize and spread the Gospel but it is kept from corruption and error because Jesus entrusted the message to the Church into which he placed the Holy Spirit, which is his Body “the fullness of Him who is all in all” in this world and which is the Pillar and Foundation of truth.
Further, notice the famous verse says ALL scripture is breathed out by God and profitable … but it does not say ONLY scripture. We see here in 2nd Timothy that Jesus gave the Apostles authority to teach and Paul has passed that authority onto Timothy. We see in Matthew 18, that Jesus said that when there is a dispute you “go tell it to the Church”. But to do that in A.D. 300 or A.D. 600, after the Apostles have long ago died, there must still be a visible Church that retains authority to decide disputes.
Finally, notice the purpose of the scriptures, “and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” We are ordered unto good works. The faith and the Scripture make one righteous which allows us to do good works. Notice is says, “equipped for” this implies able to but not compelled to. When one is equipped it meant they can do something, not that they must do something. This implies that to do good works is our free choice.