The Importance of God’s Word!
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” — 2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV
The context of 2 Timothy 3:16–17 is about the salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Apostle Paul started a final charge to Timothy with his experience of a godly life in Jesus Christ, to show the importance of salvation through faith in Christ and reading the Holy Scriptures which is the Bible. However, Paul said, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12–13)
How many of us are abiding in Jesus Christ through the entire Bible? Old Testament demonstrates warnings of God and New Testament shows God who is “… compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8) through Jesus Christ. In my opinion, I think most of us often overlook Old Testament as an angry, nasty, and judgemental God, who destroys those who have not been living to a godly life. Hence, we think Old Testament is obsolete. We tend to focus only on New Testament to remind ourselves who God is.
Nevertheless, we have to read Old Testament in the same way we read New Testament. I think the warnings of God in Old Testament illustrates that God wants us to live a godly life and a life that is devoted to Him. He warns us ahead of time if we are living unrighteous ways of God. In other words, He does not want us to live according to our ways but wants us to live according to God’s purposes and to do everything for the glory of God. Isaiah 55:8–9 states, ‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ Apostle Paul declares, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) While I was doing ‘Kairos’ course a long time ago, I learnt that we cannot love God and are not able to be filled with God’s wisdom if we have not read the entire story of God. Steven C. Hawthorne proclaims, “God is not just loving people. He is transforming them to become people who can fully love Him.” During my theological studies this year, I learnt that Old Testament just prompts us to turn away from our sins but New Testament illustrates that we are able to turn towards God through faith in Jesus Christ.
However, we have to be careful to not to be mistaken that the Bible is not the way of righteous living. The main reason for this is that Jesus Christ is our righteousness because He has already paid our death penalty by crucifying Himself on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21) and God has given us His Spirit to make us perfect through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:14). In addition, Jesus Christ says, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39–40) When He was crucified, “… the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…” (Matthew 27:51) This demonstrates that the separation between us and God is ended. To be more specific, eternal life belongs to those who have believed in Jesus Christ until the end of the age. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:17–26)
Therefore, we have to consider the Bible as the best method to hear from God. 2 Timothy 3:16 begins with “All Scripture is God-breathed…” and ends with “… training in righteousness.” Furthermore, 2 Timothy 3:17 continues with the verse 16: “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:46–49)
In ‘The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms’ the definition of the gospel is ‘“good story”; the central message of the Christian church in the world, centered on God’s provision of salvation for the world in Jesus Christ.’ Thus, I think the core message in the Bible is known as the gospel. Apostle Paul declares, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”’ (Romans 1:16–17) Furthermore, he proclaims:
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved — and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. (Philippians 1:27–29)
I strongly believe reading the Bible helps us to stay connected with God. The Bible is a constant reminder of showing how to live as a devoted follower of Jesus. While I was studying theology, I had no time to read the Bible so I began to read New Testament in my meal time. I read Old Testament as well, if I have a spare time during the evening or night. I think I have to develop a habit in reading Old Testament every day of my life. I agree with the Psalmist when he said:
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1–3)