On the first day of training camp in 1961, the Green Bay Packers started a new season. The previous year, they had lost a heartbreaking championship game. Their coach, Vince Lombardi, gathered the weary team around him. “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a football high in the air . . . “This is a football.” Lombardi took the team back to the fundamentals of the game.
Paul had been warning Timothy about the trials he was sure to face in ministry. “Everyone,” he said, “who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (3:12). How should Timothy prepare for these difficulties? By going back to the fundamentals. Paul encouraged Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of” (v. 14). Most of all, he should rely on Scripture in all aspects of ministry (v. 15).
In verses 16–17 Paul clearly describes the nature and function of Scripture. “All Scripture,” Paul declares, “is God-breathed” (v. 16). Paul here refers specifically to the Old Testament, as the New Testament was in the process of being written. Paul clarifies that the Bible is not just a wonderful collection of human wisdom, but it has its source in God Himself. The word “God-breathed” is one Paul coined. The image comes from breathing, as God exhaled His Word. This image does not negate human involvement in the process, but it affirms that God is fully responsible for Scripture.
Scripture was given by God not to satisfy our curiosity or give us special, insider information. Scripture “is useful” for all aspects of ministry (v. 16). It is a gift God has given to equip us for the work He has called us to do (v. 17).
>> The Bible is a wonderful gift! We have “God-breathed” words to read, to meditate upon, and to guide our lives. Be sure to thank the Lord for the perfect gift of His Word. Reflect on how you can share this wonderful gift with others.
Paul instructs Timothy on how to persevere in the faith and the importance of Scripture. Let’s pray that we would accept this charge as ours, to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17).