In writing to Christians this week, I ask the question, “Why do we have the Bible?”
I asked a group of about sixty people that question some time ago, the two basic answers I received boiled down to this: it tells us about God, and it gives us comfort.
Since the Bible provides us with the answers to the questions of life, it seemed logical the Scriptures would have an answer to this issue as well.
John tells us the purpose the Bible was written, is to enable people to “know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:12). In another passage, Paul tells Timothy, “All scripture is given … that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
These two reasons follow a logical progression. The Bible was written to lead people to the Saviour, giving them an assurance of salvation. Then once a person is a child of God the Scriptures will guide a person to be the person God wants them to be, accomplishing the will God has for their lives.
How does God do this? How does God mold us into what we can be in Him and get us ready for the work He placed us here to accomplish?
The answer is within the dot, dot, dot, above. Here is all of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
The Word of God that God has given us gives us four things that will mold us into the Christians God wants us to be – doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.
I once talked to a man that told me, “I don’t want any doctrine; all I want is Jesus.”
That statement may sound good on the surface, but consider this – he does not want the number one thing God says he needs to be “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” Not having any doctrine will keep him from realizing his full potential as a child of God.
Doctrine is what we believe as Christians. God gave us the Word to study and live by (2 Timothy 2:15). If you claim to be a Christian can you explain what the Bible says about salvation, baptism, the Lord’s table, sin, marriage, parenting, personal finances and other matters of faith and life?
Reproof is something nobody likes. Reproof is being told you are wrong. However, the good side of being told you are wrong is the possibility to fix the problem. Sometimes we do things we should not do; sometimes we do not do what we should; the Bible will inform us of both. This is reproof.
Reproof tells us what is wrong; correction tells us how to fix it. Jesus dictated seven letters to John (Revelation 2-3). One letter each to seven churches. Five of the churches Jesus rebukes them for one thing or another, but with each reproof, He tells them how to correct it. Throughout the Scripture, the Bible does tell us of our sins, but it will always show us the alternative; what we should be doing right.
Instruction In Righteousness.
This may sound like correction, but this is deeper. Instruction in righteousness is everyday living; having a heart and character that is similar to Jesus. It is the in-depth study of the Scriptures, believing what it says, ceasing from arguing with it, and applying it to your heart. Once it is the heart, it will come out in our words and actions. We become more in tune with what God wants in our lives and therefore, fulfill HIs will.
All four of these, doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness will make the Christian complete and able to accomplish God’s will for his or her life.
Why do we have the Bible? To bring us to faith (Romans 10:17; 1 John 5:12) and so God can work through you (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Visit his website, [email protected] All scripture KJV.