Both the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter wrote divinely inspired second letters when they knew that their stay on this earth was nearing its end: namely, 2 Timothy and 2 Peter. In these Epistles, both wrote warnings against false teaching and apostasy. Not only did both write about the Scriptures a number of times in their last letters, but they were also specific on the importance of the then nearly completed Word of God for the benefit and lasting blessing of every believer.
In addition, John, who outlived these apostles, a little later wrote some vitally important matters on the subject of the Scriptures, both in his Gospel and in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. There can be no doubt about the immutability and all-sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, not only for the day of grace but afterwards for the day of the Lord.
In his last letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”, meaning “every Scripture is God-breathed”. 2 Tim. 3. 16. This marks the unique character and unequivocal importance of every Scripture. It was not that certain men had a communication from God or witnessed the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and subsequently recorded their impressions of what they heard, or wrote pleasant memories of the One whom they saw. The actual writings were God-breathed Luke was not with the Lord Jesus Christ during these 3’/2 years public ministry, but the beloved physician’s pen was used for God-breathed writings throughout his Gospel. Peter did not write his eye-witness account of the holy mount until his second letter. 2 Pet. 1. 16-18, while John did not write his Gospel revealing the Lord as the Son of God until he was old, when all the other writers had completed their contributions to the Scriptures
“Every scripture” means all the books of both the Old and New Testaments. As a child, Timothy knew only the Old Testament, for the New was not written at that time. But the purpose of both letters written to him was to remind him that every Scripture was able to make him “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”, and that he was to occupy himself in reading and teaching the Scriptures to others. Paul linked Luke’s Gospel, Luke 10. 7, with Moses’ book of Deuteronomy. Deut. 25. 4, each possessing equal importance as the Scripture, 1 Tim. 5. 18.
Luke, who was with the apostle Paul when the second letter to Timothy was written, was a Gentile New Testament prophet who had accurate understanding to write with method (or order) the certainty of the things believed, Luke 1. 1-3. He was the only one to describe in detail the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ at Bethlehem. Only Luke, as a Gospelwriter, with Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. 25, stated that the breaking of bread was to be in remembrance of the Lord He. a Gentile, ended his Gospel with the Lord’s words that all the Old Testament Scripture (in its three sections: the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms) concerning Him must be fulfilled, with the Lord opening the disciples’ understanding to understand those Scriptures, Luke 24. 44-45.
This apostle’s writings were especially associated with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word become flesh, whose giving His life voluntarily upon the cross was a fourfold confirmation of the Scriptures. Three of the prophecies quoted in John 19 concerning the cross were from the Psalms. 22. 18; 34. 20; 69. 21. whilst the other was from Zechariah 12. 10. In this Gospel, the Lord promised the Comforter; the Holy Spirit whom the Father would send in His Name would abide with “you”. He would bring to remembrance all things that the Lord had said (the Gospels); He would teach all things (Acts and the Epistles); He would guide into all the truth (Epistles), and He would tell of things to come (the Revelation). In Revelation, there was pronounced at the beginning a blessing on its being read, heard and carried out, and at the end a solemn warning to anyone who added to, or took away from this God-breathed book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
In 2 Peter 1. 21, the apostle explained how all the divinely inspired Scriptures were written: prophecy was never by the will of man, but holy men of God were borne along by, or spoke under, the power of the Holy Spirit. Though sometimes marked by fleshly failure, yet only holy men of God were used to write the Scriptures. Although the writers were often named, such as “Moses commanded”; “David said”; “Isaiah said”; “spoken of by Daniel the prophet”, there is no suggestion that it was just these men who said it, because elsewhere the same books are referred to as the Scripture. Peter elaborated on the Scriptures by differentiating between the holy commandments of Moses, prophecy and the Epistles, 2 Pet. 2. 21; 1. 19-20; 3. 14-16.
The holy commandment - the law of Moses - gave the record of man’s fall, and his subsequent continued evil that brought about the judgment by the flood. The rapid establishment and widespread practice of idolatry by the nations, which were the descendants of Noah, was followed by the calling out from them of Abraham “the father of them that believe”, and God’s promise to the fathers. Bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt, God gave them the law and brought them into Canaan. The following twelve historical books from Joshua onwards give their history, their blessings, their downfall and consequent judgments.
The prophets were raised up, as departure increased, not only to warn kings and people of their evil ways as well as the priests of their failure, but also to give assurances of God’s promises to the fathers. Indeed, all the Old Testament Scriptures were prophetic of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of what He would accomplish Peter reminded the believers that by the Lord’s first coming “we have also a more sure word of prophecy”, 2 Pet. 1. 19.
Peter went on to stir up pure minds by reference to the Lord and Saviour’s commandments by “us the apostles” in the Epistles, including those of the apostle Paul, 2 Pet. 3. 1, 15-16. He made reference to Paul having written to the Jewish believers (would this be the Epistle to the Hebrews?), and of some things hard to be understood, perhaps especially by Jewish believers. Though all Scriptures were, and are, wrested, yet Paul’s writings in particular would be especially subject to such treatment by the unlearned (that is, those who had not learned, or would not learn or be taught), and the unstable (those not fixed, being ill-established and without proper foundation). The word “wrest” means to twist as a winch turns. The words “unto their own destruction”, or ruin, refer to eternal perdition as far as unsaved people are concerned, and to the loss of spiritual well-being if unlearned and ill-established believers are unfortunately guilty of such things.
In contrast to this attitude, Paul urged Timothy to be a workman striving diligently to be approved of God, rightly dividing (or cutting in a straight line) the Word of truth.
The God-breathed Scriptures are profitable and completely sufficient for all teaching, whether considered as a whole, or in verse-detail. They reprove by exposing and bringing shame for wrong acts and thoughts. However, they not only convict for the wrong, but correct by setting upright again when they are accepted and believed. Another practical purpose mentioned in 2 Timothy 3. 16-17 is their continual disciplinary effect (as a child is in need of instruction and chastisement) to achieve uprightness before God. The practical result of being subject to the Scriptures is a “man of God” habitually walking with the Lord and witnessing to Christ Jesus. Such an instructed person will be exactly right and fully furnished unto every good work.
Teaching the Scriptures is vital, whether by reading, utterance or by preaching, as a permanent and complete equipment for every good work. Ignorance and twisting of the Scriptures brings devastation and destruction in every sphere. Acceptance of, and obedience to, the Holy Scriptures glorifies the Lord and leads to unlimited blessing to all.
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