“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.”
– 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)
“It is the Bible and the Bible alone that furnishes us with the information we need for a correct understanding of the church. Tradition, history, the needs of men and women, and the ideas of men are simply irrelevant to the doctrine of the church. The Bible alone is the source of our information about the purpose and the organization of the church.”
2 Timothy 3 teaches us that “[T]he sacred writings … are able to make [one] wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The words of God are able to make one wise. Note well that this wisdom brings salvation. The wisdom that saves is belief in truth about the saving work of Jesus Christ. For, the Church must proclaim that God has saved His people from His wrath. Divine wrath is due to man for his evil, but by an act of sheer mercy salvation is obtained by the work of Jesus Christ alone on behalf of God’s people. All those who, by the irresistible work of the Holy Spirit, simply believe the promises of God in Jesus Christ will live forever with joy and holiness in the Kingdom of God.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy moves from one powerful eternal truth to another; “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” Remember that Titus 1:2 tells us that God cannot lie. If God cannot lie, and if all of Scripture is breathed out by God, then it necessarily follows that all of Scripture is true. As the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, Section 4 states:
“The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.”
Not only is all Scripture breathed out by God, but it is all “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.” Men in the church need to look to scripture because it is breathed out by God, and it is sufficient to make the man of God complete for every good work. The category “every good work” does include running and governing the church, for he who seeks an office in the church does, after all, desire a good work (1 Timothy 3:1).
Since the Scriptures are true and sufficient for our purpose, let us look to them alone to understand way the church ought to be.
We will be looking at 1 Corinthians 14:26-37 next week.