In the times we live in, it seems that everyone has an opinion and everyone’s opinion is “correct.” Thoughts and views are being thrown around as facts and everyone has to be heard. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog post, people are speaking out, and as a result, others are listening. Views are being shaped by other’s opinions, while truth is slowly being muted out. We see more retweets of quotable pastoral references than actual scripture itself. As Christians, the issue within free speech does not lie in the act of sharing our opinion, the issue lies solely in who and what are we listening to and in whom and what we are speaking on.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “all Scripture is God-breathed, given by divine inspiration, and is profitable for instruction, for conviction of sin, for correction of error and restoration to obedience, for training in righteousness— learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately— behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work” (AMP).
God’s word is so important to our community, to our churches, and to our lives! When we dilute his message or skimp on his truths, we neglect to experience the trueness of His word. Let’s pull these verses apart and examine them as they demonstrate the purpose and outcome of Scripture:
“All Scripture is God-breathed,” meaning it was given by divine inspiration. God took every single word and rooted it in the minds of the authors of the Bible. As they penned the scriptures the Lord breathed life into them. Which is why we reference the Bible as “The Word of God.” If we ascribe perfection as one of God’s characteristics, then it is safe to assume that His word would be equally as perfect and able to be trusted. Therefore, scripture is true, valid, and perfect. For “[e]very word of God is flawless…[so] do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).
“It is profitable…” Profitable denotes that the Word of God is advantageous, beneficial, rewarding, and valuable! For us, this means that every word we read will add to our lives. Whether it is a simple command or an insightful proverb, scripture is worthwhile to our existence.
“for instruction, conviction of sin, for correction of error and restoration to obedience, for training in righteousness…” This specific portion defines scripture’s purpose; to instruct, convict, restore, and train. With God’s word we have an opportunity to learn and take in knowledge (Psalm 119:130). It can pierce our souls to expose where he wants us to change (Hebrews 4:12), while at the same, it can deliver peace, love, and redemption to our hearts (Psalm 70:20-21). But all in all, the Word of God prepares us for every good work so that we may be His servants in the world we live in (Ephesians 2:10).
“so that the man of God may be complete, and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The byproduct of scripture’s influence on our lives is a Godly lifestyle. God created his word as a guide on how to be more like Jesus! It is not a step by step process, as much as it is a connected relationship built on perfect principles, unending love, and satisfying truths. His word shapes our lives through salvation. It grows us into godly women and men who can stand up at any given time to proclaim and defend truth! His word gives us confidence, satisfaction, and a foundation to live on.
Therefore, scripture is not just some text that we can pick and choose what we like or dislike or what we teach on or skip over. We do not get to choose what is truth and what is a suggestion. The entirety of the Word of God is vital to our lives; not just 3 verses, but the entire chapter or book. As difficult as this may be to accept, it is an action we have to take to believe. Why? Because His thoughts are not like our own, his ways are not our ways. Instead they are perfect, fulfilling, and guiding; they do not return empty (Isaiah 55:9-11).
However, I want to be honest here. In the midst of me telling you how God’s word is perfect, my goal is for you read and truly know that His word is flawless! My heart’s desire is for you to go to the Word of God for guidance, to teach the Word as secure truth, to offer His scripture as solace and encouragement to those around you. Yet, I need you, as the reader to understand, that in order to view God’s word in that light, you might need to wrestle with some passages.
and that is totally OKAY!!
I have had to wrestle with God on a quite a few passages (*cough, cough* 1 Corinthians 14:34 *cough, cough*). There are times where I read his word and I question him, “are you serious, Lord?” or I ask, “did you really do that, God?” These questions grow and strengthen my faith in His word and character. In my opinion, if you do not question or doubt at times, you are blindly believing, which can lead to blindly following, and that can potentially lead to swaying from your “faith” in the end.
Ultimately, brothers and sisters, learn God’s word, recognize that it is the ultimate truth, and teach it vulnerably and honestly. Don’t aim for tweetable quotes or catchy phrases, just speak His word. We do not need to “help God’s word out” with our own opinions. Instead we need be proclaiming the entirety of His perfect message of love, peace, and restoration.
So, youth pastors, women’s ministry directors, pastors, and ministry leaders, use God’s word for all that it is. Preach His word, the whole word, because it will not return empty. God’s word promises to fulfill and satisfy!