November 4

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Jewish religion divides up what we refer to as the Old Testament into levels of inspiration. The books of Moses are the most revered. They are said to come from the mouth of God. Paul knew this as well as anyone. He is flying in the face of their tradition when he declares that it is all God-breathed. Peter declared that Paul's letters are a part of Scripture (2Peter 3:15-16). Certainly the Gospels are also God-breathed. Our entire Bible is the breath of the Spirit through godly men. We have the words of communication that God chose to speak to mankind. All of it is useful! We sometimes ignore some of the more mysterious or historical references, but it is all useful. Paul tells us that it is to be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

We have so many other teaching materials. We need to use the Word of God to teach. Most churches readily accept teaching, but are offended if anyone is rebuked or corrected. "How dare you think you are so spiritual that you can say what applies to me!" Very few elders will love enough to rebuke and correct. It is an act of love because it risks rejection and ridicule for the spiritual growth and equipping of the flock. Most modern church attendees will leave and go to another fellowship rather than to face the correction of elders. The response is often to find fault in the elders rather than to receive correction. When the Word rebukes and corrects, there is always the hope of restoration. However, if it is from a personal or political motivation, it is always out of desire to dominate.

All the uses of the Word lead to one purpose, equipping the man of God for every good work. Whatever our calling, we need to be equipped for it by the Word of God. The God-breathed Scriptures will show us how, correct our errors, rebuke our failings, and correct and train us in righteousness.

Consider: We go to the Word for comfort and encouragement, even training, but let it also rebuke and correct us. Let it equip us for every good work.