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Back to the Word of God

Back to the Word of God

2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Goal of Discipleship

Paul J. Bucknell
_________________________

Living Commentary Series

Purpose

2 Timothy 3:16-17 shows the power and purpose that God has for His Word, the Bible, in our lives. This becomes the Goal of Discipleship for our lives.

The Goal of Discipleship

The goal of discipleship is to have God’s Word impact every aspect of our lives so that we might accomplish the purposes for which we were designed.

Every finely crafted tool is designed for a purpose. We might pride ourselves in possessing of a certain tool, but its true benefit is seen not in the possession of it but in the utilization of it. BFF DVDThe tool is able to do jobs that no other tool can do.

The glory of the tool in seeing it be used for its end purpose. Similarly, God’s people are looking for the power of God to work in their lives through His Word so that they might live for what they were made. The apostle in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 perfectly captures this aspect of Christian living.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for
teaching,
for reproof,
for correction,
for training in righteousness;
that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
(2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Source

"All Scripture"

All 66 books of the Bible are God’s special resources to provide instruction and empower us to live out God’s good will in our lives.

There are many sources of knowledge all about us. It increases day by day. If you have a Bible, however, no matter how old and worn it may be, it outshines all the other resources one might have.

Even if we do manage to gain other resources, never let your great trust in God’s Word diminish. The purpose of other books should be to allow God to speak clearer to us through His Word and the world.

The Means

"Inspired
by God"

We need a close relationship with God and help from the Holy Spirit to rightly discern and apply God’s reliable Word to our lives.

The proper use of God’s Word requires a proper relationship with God Himself. The Holy Spirit is the interpreter and illuminator of His Word. If we have hidden sin or deep resentment built up in our hearts against God or others, we cannot expect to find that stream of God’s grace through the power of His Word enter our minds. Our souls are not readied for it or even desire it at that point.

Origins of the Bible

God desires to fill us with all knowledge and power to do His mighty will. The Word of God belongs to Him and was especially give to us to accomplish His good and greater purposes in and through our lives.

Four Purposes

(1)
"for teaching"

Doctrinal truth. Right thinking about God, the world, man, etc.

We cannot understand God, God’s world and the things in the world apart from His instruction. General revelation, those things which we can observe with our senses, are wonderful in giving clues about God and the world He made, but they fall far short of giving us the necessary understanding of good, evil, spiritual matters, God’s person, etc. In order to live good and proper lives on earth.

We need God’s Word to give much greater understanding of His person, plans and purposes. By instructing us as to what exists and the purposes for which they exist, God gives us faith to have confidence in what we would otherwise possess. This faith becomes a basic framework by which we perceive God, others and the world. This teaching is essential and for this reason alone we should compel ourselves to send out teachers of God’s Word to everyone everywhere.

(2)
"for reproof"

Convicts us of our wrong thoughts and ways.

God’s Spirit not only teaches about what is but also helps us be aware when we have not properly responded to that truth (doctrine). For example, we might learn that man is made in the image of man. If we mistreat our wives, then we will sense the Holy Spirit making us aware of our pang of guilt. More than this, He tells us the reason we feel such a way when we have yelled at our wives. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8).

(3)
"for correction"

Straightens us up - back to the standard.

God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not only interested in telling us of our wrong actions and motivations. He is there to build us up. The Spirit again uses the Word of God to build us up back to where we should be. Here we can see the difference of the Spirit and the evil one. The evil one would keep us feeling guilty so that we give up while the Spirit of God encourages us through teachings about forgiveness and restoration how to find His peace. He then straightens out our perspective that we would not need to fall anymore.

Think of how Jesus encouraged Peter after his betrayal. This is the ministry of the Spirit of Christ to build us up so that He might fill and use us.

(4)
"for training"

Combines life events and instruction to actually bring about godly life changes.

The Spirit of God carefully uses the Word of God to train us to rightly live in relationship to others. God does not just teach us to know that we should have a good marriage but trains us to have a good one.

The word (paideia) used here for training is the same general word used for the way parents train their children. This word includes in it the sense of chastisement along with positive instruction.

 

Summary: "in righteousness"

All four aspects are used for one purpose: for righteousness.

They all (teaching, reproof, correction, and training) are used to help us live in a right relationship with God and others. Since each of these four have the same preposition in front of it, it seems conclusive that all four work together towards the same righteous goal. Without either the Word of God or the Holy Spirit active in our lives, we can not grow much in our Christian lives.

The evil one purposes either (1) to keep God’s Word away from us or (2) distracted by temptation and sin so that the Spirit cannot bring the Word of God deep into our lives.

This purpose of righteousness is important but not the end of the process. Anyone that understands righteousness will immediately recognize that righteous living enables a person to rightly live in relationship with God and others, but there are other purposes for our lives that are built upon our righteous lives. Righteous living, then is the foundation for effective ministries. This is discussed in the next section.

The Goals

"Adequate"

God’s Word is sufficient to help us be wise and godly people.

2 Timothy 3:17 begins with the word ‘that’ which introduces a purpose clause. As discussed above, the ‘man of God’ is a righteous man. He is the one that reflects God’s ways. The Spirit of God is able to work in and through these men of God. He uses two words to describe the way God further prepares these men of God for His work.

The task for which God has called us will regularly overwhelm us. At every crucial point of ministry, we will feel inadequate in and of ourselves. Note Paul’s difficulties. “For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within” (2 Corinthians 7:5).

God’s Spirit does not only equip us for righteous living but also for the spiritual battle that we are called to serve in. We are assaulted from each and every side, and yet the Spirit of God comes back and encourages us in the ministry of carrying out the works of Jesus through our lives.

"Equipped"

God’s Word equips us so that He can do His divine work through our lives.

While the word ‘adequate’ seems to speak more of our faith and emotional confidence toward God, the word ‘equipped’ addresses our competency.

Those ministering to any poor and needy person will find that he needs extra wisdom, endurance and faith. God equips us through His mighty Word. We need to be careful not to trust in ourselves and experiences but to diligently discern how the Spirit of God would equip us as He did for Jesus Christ during His life on earth (John 12:49).

Jesus warned His disciples not to plan ahead how they were to defend themselves in a time of persecution because the Spirit of God would help them in such a time (Matthew 10:19-20). How we need the Word of God to be deeply implanted in our lives!



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Click to continue on other Discipleship articles

Three Stages of Discipleship
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The Plan of Discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2)
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Discipling your sons: The why and way (8)
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Spiritual Warfare: General Principles
THE FLOW:
The whole process by which disciples grow as a church or individually.


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