Scripture: To a Young Leader (3)

. 4 min read

2 Timothy 3.10-17, with Psalm 19 as a prayer

My friend: “JP, can I meet with you in your
professional capacity?”
The past couple weeks we’ve been looking at 2 Timothy, and
today we conclude our focus on this letter, perhaps the final letter of the
apostle Paul before his execution.  We’ve
examined the theme of legacy.  We’ve
looked at Paul’s instruction on conflict for this young leader.  We hear in this section both of those themes
once more.
            Legacy: “Now
you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my
patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions….”  And, in a charge to continue in what he has
learned, Paul reminds Timothy, “[you know] from whom you learned it”.  From his mother and grandmother, from Paul
and other teachers in the first generation of leadership in the church.  And the mantle is being passed to Timothy and
others in his generation.
Paul’s persecutions.  “All who want to
live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (3.12).  And, in addition to persecution from powerful
outsiders, false teachers in the church itself, “progressing from bad to worse,
deceiving and being deceived” (3.13).
From this context, Paul introduces the theme of Scripture –
what Scripture is and what Scripture does. 
That’s our focus today.  You’ll
see in your note sheet a table for the two things Scripture is and the two
things Scripture does.  They correlate,
and we’ll look at how we make the move from “is” to “does” in our lives, how we
allow it to do its work so that it can be all God wants it to be in the
practicality of daily life.
1a.        What Scripture is (3.16): “God-breathed”
“inspired”, but an unusual word choice (Bassler, 168)
            echoes Genesis
, “breathed into the man the breath of life” (Bassler)
Psalm 104:29-30  When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.  30 When you send forth your
spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.
Not about the HOW, simply the IS.  Oden (25): The Christian community at prayer
trusts in inspired Scripture more than in theologians’ theories of how
Scripture is inspired.

1b.       What Scripture is (3.16): “Useful,
advantageous, profitable”
useful – utilitarian
– competitive
– wealth
meaning is about PRACTICAL usefulness for
rebuke, correction, training in righteousness
            Not only
information but also transformation
only interpret Scripture, let it interpret us
2a.        What Scripture does: “able to make you
wise for salvation” (3.15)
            dynamis –
ability as POWER
            Dad reading
Scripture on his search – reading as “means of grace”
2a.        What Scripture does: “qualifies and
equips you for every good work” (3.17)
EVERY – feeding the hungry, faithfulness in marriage,
setting prisoners free, healing the sick, living with integrity in the work
place, doing justice, witnessing to Jesus, controlling our anger and our speech
qualified? if not an expert?
Psalm 119:98-100  Your commandment makes me wiser than my
enemies, for it is always with me.  99
I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your decrees are my
meditation.  100 I understand
more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
Wesley (Oden 25): The Spirit
of God not only once inspired those who wrote it, but continually inspires,
supernaturally assists, those that read it with earnest prayer.
What Scripture IS/DOES (correlation):
– life giving
            Useful –
transformational (qualifies & equips)
Moving from IS to DOES in our lives:
            Read it!
            Digest it!
(You are what you eat!)
“When you words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15.16).
Thomas C. Oden. 1989. First and Second Timothy and Titus.
Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press.
Jouette M. Bassler. 1996. 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus.
Abingdon New Testament Commentaries. Nashville:
Abingdon Press.