Scripture Alone – 2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Sola Scriptura or Scripture alone, this is one of the foundational statements of the Protestant Reformation. It is the concept that Scripture is the ultimate authority on how a Christian should live and believe. The Bible is the measuring stick by which we are to measure all of our beliefs as well as what we are told. It is to be the final say in our moral compass directing our paths and actions. You see the reformers and even some of those that came before them such as Wycliffe and Huss saw a discrepancy between what Rome was saying and what the Bible stated and rather than side with the pope and the church they took the stance that the Bible should have the final say.

This verse explains precisely why the Bible is important. The first thing that Paul mentions in this verse is the importance of the source of Scripture. I know when writing research papers there are different types of sources, where the professors want you to use as many quality sources as possible, sources that are accurate and reliable as opposed to the random rants of someone on the internet. What he points out is that Scripture was inspired by God, or as we see in some translations that it was God breathed. What this means is that what we see in the Bible was in a way dictated to the authors by God; but in a way that was more in terms of thoughts and concepts, as God’s truth flowed through the minds, souls, hearts, emotions, and personalities of the various authors. This is seen by each writer having their own style and presentation; Paul uses a different vocabulary than James, and Luke writes to the Greek mind while Matthew speaks more to the Jews. It all however, is God’s truth breathed into the writers.

The next thing we see is that not only is the source of Scripture important, but the uses of Scripture is important. Paul gives a list of ways that the Bible is to be used by stating that in each of these areas Scripture is profitable, it brings about the best results. The four areas in which Paul lists Scripture as being profitable all work together in helping the believer grow. First is that of teaching or in fancy terms doctrine, it is learning what is right. That is followed up by reproof, or telling us what is not right. So with these first two aspects Scripture tells us what we should be doing and what we should not be doing; what our goals should be and what we should try to avoid. Then there comes correction, this is where Scripture helps to tell us how to get right; especially when we fail, as we all will do at one point or another. Finally Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness, or how we are to stay right. These last two go together because as we are shown how we have failed and how to get right with God, we then are shown how to remain that way. This is not a one time deal, it is a lifelong process that we must all endure; and that is what Paul is getting at with how Scripture is profitable to us. It brings us to salvation, to faith in Christ, but then leads us through maturing in our faith.

If you have any other questions about why Scripture alone remember that Scripture is the Word of God, and as John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

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