2 Timothy 3:10-17
10 But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, 11 along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
These verses are words of encouragement, written from Paul to Timothy. From his own experience, Paul foresees some of the persecutions and doubts Timothy may face as he now begins his ministry. He challenges Timothy to remember and cling to the truth and the power of the Holy Scriptures, above all else.
If we have accepted the message of Christ in our hearts and have confessed it to be true, then knowing and clinging to the Scriptures will keep us bound to what we know and have confessed (v.14-15). We can take encouragement from Paul’s words to Timothy, but we also will find a challenge in them. The truths of God are written to us in His Word – but we must read His Word to know what those truths are. If we do not know the Scriptures, then their impact upon our lives will be very minimal – for how can we cling to truths we do not know?
Paul tells Timothy in verse 16 that all Scripture is God-breathed. It comes straight from God, to us. This fact lends it ultimate authority. Verse 16 also says that these God-breathed Scriptures are incredibly useful, and that they thoroughly equip us for every good work (NIV). Another word for ‘thoroughly equipped’ is the word ‘adequate,’ as is used in the New American Standard Translation of the Bible.
If we know and cling to the Scriptures of God as our ultimate authority on all things, then we are thoroughly equipped – we are adequate – for every situation, and prepared for anything that comes our way. Paul explained that remembering the truth of God’s message, the Word of God, would not only save Timothy, but also guarantee his ability to do and accomplish good work (v.17).
Because the first stories of the Bible came into existence thousands of years ago, many people may find it tempting to disregard or overlook them and their application to the current world we live in. But the message of Christ is never old-fashioned or obsolete, and the Scriptures are never subjective or impractical. They are always applicable, no matter the situation – and this is what Paul was urging Timothy to not lose sight of during difficult times.
The Scriptures are also always imperative. In verse 15, Paul says the Scriptures make us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. This means the Scriptures are the key to understanding both the message of Christ and how to actuate it in every situation of our lives.
I have experienced this in my own life. For example – many people may know that God commands us to love one another (1 John 4), but few people actually seem to do this well. We need direction. We crave practical ways to put this love into action. God’s Word provides those specifics we crave! It shows us that we can love one another by speaking kindly (Eph. 4:29), by serving one another (Matt. 10:42), by carrying each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and by praying for one another (1 Timothy 2). The specifics make our lives so much richer - but we must read the Scriptures in order to know them, and to see their power transform us.
I often read my Bible in the afternoon or evening, when I have time to focus on and study what I’m reading. My husband reads his Bible in the morning, before he starts his day. There is no right or wrong time to read the Bible – but I have found that reading it often is a must! I carry a small Bible with me in my purse, so if I have a few unexpected minutes of freedom in the busyness of my day, I can read a verse or two. My husband has an app on his phone that allows him to do the same thing.
Reading Scripture is a discipline that has changed me. It has guided and strengthened me when nothing else could. The Word of God will always uphold what is within the heart of God – and if I can get to know One, I will know the Other. This is a great encouragement. When we engage in the discipline of reading the Scriptures, we are allowing God to equip us for all that lies ahead. If we do this, we will be adequate to accomplish every good work He intends to set before us.
- In the past few days, think about each of the times you have been in difficult situations. How often did Scripture come to your mind during those times? If a specific Scripture verse came to mind, did it offer you encouragement? Direction? Confidence?
- When do you find it works best to read Scriptures? If you don’t have a routine, I would encourage you to consider trying one for a week – see what works best for you. Maybe wake up 10 minutes earlier than you normally do, and read some verses while you’re eating breakfast. Or download an app on your phone that will send you a Scripture verse each day. Get creative!
- I mentioned that God’s Word has richly impacted my life, and has transformed me. How has God’s Word impacted your life? When you read your Bible today, think about how it applies to you. How does it apply to your job? Your relationships?