Online Bible Commentary
The Bible is the Word of God
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)
The Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy, who is helping with the house churches in Ephesus. The house churches are being besieged by false teachers. In the previous verse (v. 13) Paul has written of how the false teachers go “from bad to worse”, “deceiving and being deceived” (literal Greek). Paul then instructs Timothy on what he should do differently than these false teachers, by beginning this passage with “But as for you” (v. 14a).
Paul’s first instruction to Timothy is to “continue in what you have learned” (v. 14b). This is a reference to all that Timothy had been taught of the Scriptures his whole life. His mother and grandmother brought him up in the Scriptures “from infancy” (v. 15a). He was instructed by elders in the church. He was discipled by Paul, as Paul became a father figure to him.
But, most of all, Timothy was instructed by God Himself, the Holy Spirit. Timothy had “become convinced” (v. 14c) of the truth of Scripture because of the godly instruction he had received throughout his life. He knew “those from whom you learned it” (v. 14d). He saw the godliness they exhibited, first hand, and He knew God, personally. He had received Christ as his Lord and Savior, and had been baptized. He had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Paul then turns from confirming Timothy’s foundation in his knowledge of the Scriptures, to the truthfulness of the Scriptures. He introduces the Scriptures as “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (v. 15b). This faith, or belief, is more than an acknowledgement that Jesus Christ existed. After all, that is a historical fact, which nobody can deny. This belief is a trust that is revealed by obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Bible itself. Salvation does not come from doing good things, or even baptism. It comes only from faith.
Paul then explains the divinity of the Scriptures. “All Scripture is God breathed” (v. 16a). “All Scripture” refers to all of the Old and New Testament. The only books of the Bible not available at the date of this writing were written by Paul (Hebrews, believed to have been his last writing before his death shortly before June, 68 A.D.) and John (1,2,and 3 John, written in the late 80’s A.D., and Revelation, possibly written as late as 81-96 A.D., during the reign of Domitian). Since the previous writings of Paul and John are already established as being “God breathed”, so also are their later writings.
The word translated “God breathed” is the Greek word “Theopneustos “. This is a compound word. “Theos” means “God”. “Pneustos” is derived from “pneo”, which means “to blow (of wind)”. To be “God breathed” is to come from the breath of God, the Holy Spirit. It is the inspired Word of God. The entirety of the Bible is inspired by God, God breathed, and, as such, is the infallible Word of God, without error.
Therefore, the Bible was not written by men. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 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” (2 Peter 20-21). The Bible was written by God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus.
Next, Paul instructs on the proper use of the Bible. The Bible is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (v. 16b). “Rebuking” means to point out sin. “Correcting” sets forth the way in which sin can be made right. “Training in righteousness” is to train us to live a godly life, so that Christians “may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (v. 17).
So, All scripture is God-breathed, inspired by God. The Bible is the Word of God. God is the author of the Bible. He used men to write down the words, just as God has always used men, good and bad, to accomplish His purposes. He used them to be His “ghostwriters”. It is God’s autobiography. The Old Testament tells of the creation, the history of God’s people, Israel, and of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. The New Testament tells of the ministry of Christ, the church age, and the establishment of God’s kingdom on the new earth.
But it is more than God’s autobiography. The Bible is our owner’s manual for life. It is written by our owner, our maker, Jesus Christ. We should be constantly reading the Bible, because we are constantly living life.