As we finish out today and tomorrow our two week excursion into passages having to do with the Word of God, and our response to it, we are reminded that this Word is “God-breathed.” No, this does not mean that the Scripture fell down from heaven already written in a scroll. No, it does not mean that real human beings in the midst of very real life circumstances did not compose the Scripture using pen and ink, and their own minds, and their own writing styles. Much of it is written with tremendous care, with the care of a fine literary artist. Some of it is more sloppy from a literary point of view. Yes, some of it indeed does indeed include the direct words of God dictated as it were. But most of it is not that way. And so we understand the Scripture to be fully of man, and at the same time fully of God. It contains almost every kind of literary genre. It is diverse, multi-authored, spanning millennia, and yet unified, mutually interpreting, and useful and necessary for our growth as Christians. We have it for a reason, to learn of God, who he is and what he has done, and to learn about ourselves, who we are, and what we are to be and to do. And ultimately we have it to lay forth the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord, the Son of God and Savior of Sinners, to whom all that came before pointed, and in whom we have Life. The Scripture is to be used. It is useful. As the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God it is transformative and it equips us. The mutual encouragement and teaching of the Word is the primary equipping tool in the church. By it we are built up, made complete and mature and ready for every good work for which we have been prepared. Please do not neglect the Word. Pray that God will make it alive for you, or perhaps better yet, you alive for it. Pray that he will open your heart to it. The power of the Word does not depend on a snazzy spiffy Power Point presentation, nor on eloquent human speakers, nor upon great and deeply moving sermons, nor on deep intelligent Bible study teachers. There is a point where we each individually and as heads of household are responsible before God to be in the Word, to allow it to dwell richly in us, to be open to it. Pray for your brothers and sisters that they would be built up and encouraged in the Word. Pray for yourself. Pray that God will cause it to take deep root, and that you won’t be vulnerable to the babble of fools, or the ever changing fads of doctrine blowing about, or the deceptions of false teachers. And when you go through times of dryness, press on. Even the Scripture itself contains accounts of men and women who were parched of spirit, who were wandering in a spiritual desert, and who yet looked up to God to quench their thirst. Oh, and one final warning of sorts: we often think that if we are good little boys and girls and read our bibles regularly, that all will go well with us. But sometimes the more conformed we are to the Word, the more transformed by it we are, the more trouble will come to us. So please, don’t go reading your bibles as if it is like punching a ticket to get the good things from God that you want, as if God were Santa Claus and reading the Word was what determined that you were “naughty or nice” and thus the recipient of nice gifts. Oh yes, spend your life in the Word and you will get good things, and you will be blessed, but these good things may not be just what you expect. Oh no. They will far better indeed. As least that what the God-breathed Scripture says. 2 Timothy 3:10-16:
10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 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. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.