For the second part of our study let us open our Bible to the second Timothy chapter 3: verse 16,
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16NIV)
New Living translation says “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
Napoleon, Emperor of the French said “The gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades everything that opposes its extension, behold! It is upon this table: This book, surpassing all others. I never omit to read it, and every day with some pleasure.”
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, said “I am busily engaged in the study of the Bible. I believe it is God’s word because it finds me where I am.”
How do you know that the Bible is really the inspired word of God? What is so special, so unique about the Bible that Christians believe it is literally the inspired word of God? The salvation of men and their eternal destiny in heaven or hell rests on question as to whether the Bible is the inspired, preserved and accurate word of God or not. There are three key ministries of the Holy Spirit and three critical concepts to understand in relationship to Scripture that is Revelation, Inspiration & Illumination. This sermon is focused to understand the significance of the above concepts. so that all who search for truth will be encouraged in their faith and all others will be challenged to investigate the Bible further—to read it, ponder it, and ultimately to know, understand, apply and practice it for what it is. my desire for the reader is expressed in the gratefulness of the apostle Paul to the Thessalonians: " we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe." (1 Thess. 2:13).
What is Revelation: From God to man (man hears what God wants written) Gods’ manifestation of Himself to particular persons at definite times and places, enabling those persons to enter into a redemptive relationship with Him. Revelation is a supernatural communication of divine truth presented to men of that which they otherwise would not know.
Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
What is Inspiration: From man to paper (man writes that which God wants written) God superintended the human authors of the Bible so that they composed and recorded without error His message to mankind in the words of their original writings. Inspiration is the term used to describe how the Scriptures were given by God, men supernaturally guided to express exactly what God intended (verbal-plenary), therefore that word spoken in old time by holy men of God is infallible, and preserved for us today.
2 Peter 1:19-21 “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
What is Illumination: From paper to heart (man receives that which God has written) the work of God’s Spirit as He aids us in appropriating the truth of the Scriptures which God has revealed. In other words Illumination refers to the Spirit enlightening the understanding of man whereby the meaning of Scripture is understood by the believer.
1 Corinthians 2:10-13 “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”
Paul said “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18 )
John 16:13 “ But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
Without revelation of truth, there can be no communicating of truth and so inspiration cannot exist without revelation. Without inspiration of revelation, there can be no composition without error of God’s revealed truth, no scripture. Without Scriptures to read, there can be no appropriating of the truth God revealed in them, and so no illumination. Without any one of these, man can not truly know what God has revealed in the past, so how would we know what He wants for us or from us? Without God, these are all meaningless terms. Only with God are these possible. Man is prone to mistakes. We tend to think about something and decide that if it makes sense, given the information we know then it must be true. We fool ourselves that our knowledge is complete. Only God has all knowledge. Only God knows what is actually true. Only He can reveal it to man in such a way so as to ensure we do not confuse it with our own musings. Once God has chosen to reveal it, only God can communicate it without error, be it verbally or in writing. And once communicated; only God can ensure the truth is understood without error.
GENERAL REVELATION AND SPECIAL REVELATION
General revelation and special revelation are the two ways God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity. General revelation refers to the general truths that can be known about God through nature. Special revelation refers to the more specific truths that can be known about God through the supernatural.
In regard to general revelation Psalm 19:1-4 says “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
According to this passage, God’s existence and power can be clearly seen through observing the universe. The order, intricacy, and wonder of creation speak to the existence of a powerful and glorious Creator.
General revelation is also taught in Romans 1:20; “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” It teaches that God’s eternal power and divine nature are “clearly seen” and “understood” from what has been made, and that there is no excuse for denying these facts. With these Scriptures in mind, perhaps a working definition of general revelation would be “the revelation of God to all people, at all times, and in all places that proves that God exists and that He is intelligent, powerful, and transcendent.”
General revelation is the knowledge of God, as well as the knowledge of right and wrong, that can be obtained through nature. This general revelation of God’s existence and basic morality is known by everyone.
General revelation does not provide sufficient information for the gospel message. The gospel, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, is found in the Bible. So, where general revelation deals with the existence of God and generic morality, special revelation, the Bible, and the person of Christ, give specifics regarding sin, salvation, heaven, hell, the nature of God, the Trinity, the incarnation, death, the Fall, redemption, etc.
Special revelation is the revelation of God that is mainly known as the Bible, which is the inspired word. But, special revelation is not limited to the Bible alone Special Revelation is how God has chosen to reveal Himself through miraculous means. Special revelation includes physical appearances of God, dreams, and visions, the written Word of God, and most importantly—Jesus Christ. The Bible records God appearing in physical form many times. This includes direct verbal communication such as Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall, God spoke through the prophets, law of God through Moses and God becoming man through Jesus Christ. In other words, what we learn about God is contained in The Bible. The Bible tells us much about God that natural revelation does not - who He is, what He has done and how He interacts with humans. While we may know of God’s existence through natural revelation, we can only be saved by what we learn through special revelation.
The ultimate form of special revelation is the Person of Jesus Christ. God became a human being summarizes it best, in Hebrews 1:1-3 “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
Jeremiah 1:9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. “The original writings of both Old and New Testaments were breathed out by God to prophets, apostles, and apostolic associates by means of the Spirit, who chose the words employed (that is, in the original documents) according to the personality and background of the human author, and that these writings were without error and are of supreme and final authority in the lives of believers in any age.”
As special revelation is God’s communication to man of the truth he must know in order to be properly related to God, so inspiration deals with the preservation of that revelation so that what was received from God was accurately transmitted to others beyond the original recipient. In revelation we have the vertical reception of God’s truth while in inspiration we have the horizontal communication of that revelation accurately to others. The question is how can we be sure the Bible is God’s revelation to man and not merely the product of human ingenuity or merely human opinion? If what God revealed has not been accurately recorded, then that record is subject to question. The doctrine of inspiration answers that question and guarantees the accuracy of the Bible as God’s special revelation.
All Scripture is God-breathed
All Scripture is God-breathed. God is the author of the Bible. In Genesis 2:7, God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. In the same way all Scripture is God-breathed. All Scripture is inspired by God and God used inspired people to reveal his plan of salvation to all men.
The Bible is not just one single book. Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures. These 66 books were written over a period of 1600 years by 40 different authors and they came from a variety of backgrounds and most of these authors never knew one another personally. In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; and these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. This is a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written. What’s more, this collection of books shares a common storyline- the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme- God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message- salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and commit to following God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. Taken together, the Bible presents a single, unified message of actions and attitudes by which man can live. This is an unprecedented feat. To have sixty six books written by about forty authors, from kings and nobles to fishermen and soldiers, in three languages and on three continents, be of the same mind is just not humanly possible. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, bears the mark of Divine inspiration.
When we speak of the Bible being inspired we refer to the fact that God divinely influenced the human authors is such a way that they write the Word of God. Inspiration does not extend to just the thoughts or oral pronouncements of prophets but to their very "words." Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.", (Exodus.24:4) and David confessed, "“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; his word was on my tongue". (2 Sam. 23:2) Jeremiah was told "“This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word.". (Jer.26:2) Repeatedly, the prophets prefaced their declarations with the authoritative phrase, "“This is what the Lord, the God says:"; (as in Judges 6 v.8; 2 Sam. 7 v.5; Isa. 7 v.7; Hag. 1 v.5; Zech. 1 v.3). Jesus defined Old Testament revelation saying “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Paul testified that he spoke words taught by the Spirit “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words “(1 Cor. 2:13).2 Tim. 3:16 refers to the supernatural guidance of the writers of Scripture by the Spirit of God, so that what they wrote was the divine Word of God, transcribed accurately, reliably, and without error in the original manuscripts ("autographs"). The word inspiration itself pictures God breathing out His Word to men.
The Prophecy of the Book
Another strong argument for the accuracy of the Bible is its 100% accuracy in predicting the future. These future predictions are called “prophecies.” The Old Testament was written between approximately 1450 BC and 430 BC. During that time, many predictions of the future were recorded in the Bible by God’s prophets. Of the events that were to have taken place by now, everyone happened just the way they predicted it would. No other “sacred writing” has such perfectly accurate predictions of the future. Unique among all books ever written, the Bible accurately foretells specific events-in detail-many years, sometimes centuries, before they occur. Approximately 2500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors. (The remaining 500 or so reach into the future and may be seen unfolding as days go by. Of these prophecies, the most striking examples are the predictions about an “anointed one” (“Messiah” in Hebrew) who was to arrive in the future. About 4 BC, a miraculous event occurred—a boy named Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary. You can read His story in the book of Luke. Starting at age 30, Jesus fulfilled more and more of these prophecies written about the Messiah. His fulfillment of these prophecies was very spectacular: Jesus gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, and cured those who had leprosy, gave the deaf hearing, and raised people from the dead! These miracles and others were done many times in front of thousands of witnesses for three years. About 30 AD, Jesus was crucified (a prophecy) and died (a prophecy). Three days later he rose from the dead (another prophecy), after which He was seen by over 500 witnesses. Since these prophecies were written down at least 400 years before they happened, there is no doubt that the Bible’s writers were inspired supernaturally—by God.
The influence of the Book
The Bible is very important to those who want to become true disciple of Christ. Being a child of God is not only being saved, escaping hell, and going to heaven. It is not only being kind and good. Instead being a child of God means having a strong desire and craving for the Word of God. Your eyes are opened to read the Bible. Your mind and thoughts are ready to receive what God is about to say to you. Your body is ready for action, and your mouth is prepared to speak and to share it to others. By saying that “all Scripture is God-breathed”, you can no longer live or exist in this life without the Bible. The Bible is essential in our lives and it was confirmed by Christ when he said in Matthew 4:4 “…man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
In the New Testament, the phrase “the word of God” appears over 300 times. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” This means that the Bible is divine and there is no fault. The Bible is the absolute word of God. What is the function of the Scripture? It is to make us have the right relationship with God. The Scripture has power to change any kinds of person through the functions of teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. When the word of God came to Abraham, he believed. When the word of God came to David, he repented his sins. No one can rebuke or correct others but the word of God can correct us when we make mistakes. Peter said in 1 Peter 1:23, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” The word of God enabled us to be born again. The word of God is sufficient to equip us to do every good work. We have to go back to the Scripture to do the work of God. God’s servant must dig out the word of God deeply. When people studied the word of God in the 18th century, many great spiritual awakenings came to America. When Martin Luther studied the Scripture, he found God’s righteousness. God changed play-boy like Augustine to become St. Augustine through the Scripture. There will be a spiritual revival in each fellowship when we study the word of God absolutely. Let’s go back to the Scripture and have a holy mission in our generation. May God bless your Genesis Bible study. Let’s read the key verse 3:16.
Bible is the single most important book ever written. When we speak of the Bible as inspired, we are referring to the fact that God divinely influenced the human authors of the Scriptures in such a way that what they wrote was the very Word of God. In the context of the Scriptures, the word “inspiration” simply means “God-breathed.” Inspiration means the Bible truly is the Word of God and makes the Bible unique among all other books. The extent of inspiration can be clearly seen in the Bible. It contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. CHRIST is its grand subject, our good the design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. So Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. Because the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, we can conclude that they are also inerrant and authoritative. A correct view of God will lead us to a correct view of His Word. Because God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and completely perfect, His Word will by its very nature have the same characteristics. The same verses that establish the inspiration of the Scriptures also establish that it is both inerrant and authoritative. Without a doubt the Bible is what it claims to be—the undeniable, authoritative, Word of God to humanity.
All the wisdom of God which is necessary for salvation is contained within His Word. This word is able, of itself, to effect salvation if man will allow it work within his/her life. The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy in his second Epistle says “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim 3:14-15)
The Purpose of the Book
In our text According to Paul, those who study the Scripture can be thoroughly equipped for "every good work." Scripture is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Those who read and study the Bible discover that the Scripture provide everything necessary to understand the plan of God and live a godly life. So what is amazing about the Word of God? Why is it so important and powerful? Here are four life-changing revelations from 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
The Bible provides complete teaching on how we should live our lives. It serves as our manual in life. It teaches us how to operate according to God’s standard. It reveals who God is and who we are in His sight. "Teaching" "doctrine” refers to "the act of teaching, teaching, instruction. Scripture is vital for basic instruction of people in the truths of salvation and Christian living.
The truth that we will learn from the Bible leads to salvation. It will help us discover wonderful things about Jesus Christ and how to submit to Him. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and teaches us to do what is right.”
"Rebuking" "reproof" refers to an "expression of strong disapproval, reproach, rebuke, reproof." There are times when unrighteousness and false doctrine must be confronted with the Word and rebuked, even if the individuals are unrepentant. What makes the Bible beautiful is that it will rebuke you and reveal to you your mistakes and all the wrong things in your life. One thing leads to another. One sin leads to another, but the Bible will boldly confront you of the things that you need to let go of. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. Bondages and secret sins hinder us in our journey with God. The Bible will expose these things so that it will be forgiven if you ask for repentance.
The main purpose of the Scripture is to keep you pure and blameless for you to live a holy life. Sin must be rebuked so that we may be free from its sting and power. Holiness and a godly life will become evident in you and God will be praised by men through you.
"Correcting/correction" refers to "restoration," here "improvement." When people have strayed and need to return to the truth of the Lord and appropriate conduct, the Word can bring them back and make them stable in Christ once again.
One of the goals of the Bible is to correct us from our former ways of life. The Bible corrects our behavior, our character, and our mind-set. It will point out what is wrong and it will also help us get rid of it. Its goal is to help us completely realize our wrong deeds and to start doing what is right and be given the opportunity to start living a Christ-like life.
4. Training in Righteousness
"Training" or "instruction" is "the act of providing guidance for responsible living, upbringing, training, instruction," in our literature chiefly as it is attained by "discipline, correction." The word refers particularly to the kind of training and discipline that parents give children to train them to be strong, upstanding adults when they grow up. In the case of children, sometimes this involves verbal instructions; sometimes it involves physical punishment to enforce discipline. The idea here is raising up baby Christians to maturity.
Every little thing in the world involves training. The Bible provides training that will help you acquire skills so that you will be effective in any work that He wants you to do. It teaches that everything that humankind needs to know about God and ourselves has been revealed in the Bible. These truths should be studied. In fact, believers are commanded to study the Bible for themselves. God has given believers all things necessary to understand the Scriptures. As one studies the Bible the truths about God and His plan becomes more and more clear. Peter wrote. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness “(2 Peter 1:3).
Dear friends Bible contain a message at its very core. It is a message to all people everywhere, in every time period, relevant to their everyday lives. It is for you to decide whether to believe the message of this book and apply it to your own life.
If you now know nothing about God, you will know a great deal about God after reading this book. If you believe you know much about God, you will know even more about him after you read this book. You may even decide to re-evaluate your knowledge of God after reading it.
God Bless you
To be continued…………