It's such a simple couple of verses, really. The first verse makes a factual (if not altogether amazing) statement, the second verse expounds on the purpose of the first. Two verses.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.--2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
. . . Words of instruction written by an old guy who had seen it all, a grizzled veteran with the scars to prove it, to a promising young leader embarking on what could have very well been the highpoint of his ministry . . . What powerful words on the role that God's Word plays in our ministering to young people.
The question for us all is how well we are applying Paul's words. Do we, in fact, practically utilize Scripture in this way?
Let's take super-fast look at the specific parts of Paul's call in order to help us answer this question . . .
All Scripture is breathed out by God . . .
Paul showed-off a bit here. This phrase "breathed out" comes from the Greek word, theopneustos. Paul basically made this word up; it doesn't appear anywhere else in Scripture. It combines two words meaning "God" and "breathed." Paul basically states that the words of the Bible, the words we preach, and misquote, and teach, and misapply, and lift up, and bring low . . . these are God's words. The same God who spoke the world into existence speaks through us each time we read the Scripture.
Does the Bible (literally God's words) have the place of priority in our ministries that it should?
All Scripture is profitable for teaching . . .
When we see Jesus' manner of leading and developing His disciples, more often than not, we see Him teaching them. There is nothing as transformative as the Word. It is God's primary means for communicating all the wonderful things about Himself and His ways to His people. Teaching the Bible must be the basis of your discipleship efforts.
Think about this: What is your goal for your students regarding their knowledge and understanding of Scripture?
All Scripture is profitable for reproof . . .
William Barclay says about this phrase: "It is not meant that the Scriptures are valuable for finding fault; what is meant is that they are valuable for convincing people of the error of their ways and for pointing them on the right path." Hebrews 12:6 says, "the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." We must allow students to encounter the life-changing conviction (born out of love) the Bible brings. As those tasked with helping shape the spiritual lives of young people, we can't fail to let Scripture re-direct their lives.
Do you allow Scripture to be an honest and loving source of rebuke, reproof, and redirection in your students' lives?
All Scripture is profitable for correction . . .
How many messages do teenagers receive from the world regarding image, or truth, or their value, and so on, and so on . . . All of the theories and philosophies and messages of the world must be judged against Scripture. This is what is meant by correction.
Do you have an environment in your ministry where Scripture is upheld as the standard by which everything is measured and tested?
All Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness . . .
The Greek word we translate as "training" implies a comprehensive approach to building up the mind and character of a person. It is also translated "discipline" in other places in Scripture. The idea is that God's Word is singularly capable of creating complete disciples of Christ, enabling and empowering them to live righteous lives . . . to live as Christ calls us to live.
What is the purpose of all this? Simple . . . That the people of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Isn't this what we want for our students? Isn't our call to give of ourselves to do our part in making disciples, teenagers who are equipped to advance God's Kingdom here on this earth? Think of the most vibrant Christ-follower you know, the man or woman who most actively lives out their faith. The dynamic life-impact of people who are mature in their faith doesn't happen by accident. I would be willing to guess he or she has an excellent knowledge of God and His word. And while God does communicate with us in ways other than His Word, the Scriptures are the foundation for our knowledge of Him.
Let these verses be a reminder to us all today to devote our ministries to surrounding students with God's Word.