When I was in Middle School, we bought our first personal computer. I believe it was a Packard Bell. At the time I didn’t know much about computers. We had them at school and used them a little bit to play Oregon Trail, but I hadn’t taken a typing class or a class on how to use any of the programs yet.
I remember looking at the keyboard for the first time. I knew what the letters and numbers did. Delete and enter were self-explanatory, as was Caps Lock, but I had no idea what the other keys did, which meant they weren’t all that useful to me until I learned what they did and what they were for.
In a similar way, we may look at the Bible and ask: What is the Bible and what’s it for? Until we are able to answer that question, it is not going to be all that useful to us just like those other keys on the keyboard weren’t all that useful to me.
What is the Bible and What is it for?
(4) The Bible Can Tell Us How We, As the People of God, Can Live in God’s On-Going Story
As we immerse ourselves in Scripture our knowledge of ourselves and God will grow. In the process, we will be formed into the type of people God wants. That’s because, as Paul tells us in verses 16 and 17,
“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 complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Ti 3:16–17)
Now notice that Paul tells us it is “all scripture” that is inspired and profitable, which means we can’t just pick and choose to follow this text but not that one. Instead, we have to allow the whole Bible to influence how we live. When we do that, we will find that the Bible does a number of things.
- It Teaches us
- Reproves us
- Corrects us
- Trains us in righteousness.
First, It Teaches us
By this, Paul means that the Bible is able to teach us about God, His plan, His Savior, as well as it teaches us about ourselves, our church, our family, and the world in which we live. The Bible teaches us about all those things and more. Which is why I said earlier that if we want to know who we are we must look to the Bible instead of within or to our culture. The Bible tells us who we are as it teaches us all these different things.
Second, It Reproves us
It tells us if we have done, taught, or thought something wrong. As one commentator puts it,
“Scripture can show sinners their failures, clarify [their] mistakes, and lead them to a new sense of peace and wholeness.”
Third, It Corrects us
The Bible doesn’t just point out what we have done wrong, it goes a step further and directs us to the behavior, thinking, or teaching that’s inline with God’s will.
Lastly, It Trains us in righteousness
This phrase means that Scripture provides us with a system of teaching and discipline that develops Christian character so that over time we grow to be more like Christ.
The result of all this teaching, reproving, correcting, and training is that we are made complete or mature, and we are equipped for every good work. In other words, as we immerse ourselves in the Bible, and allow it to have influence over us, we will be taught how we are to live as God’s people within His story. So if we want to follow Jesus and live how He wants us to live, and we should if we are Christians, then must read His Word. By doing so, we will be taught how to live as God’s people within His story.
So that is what the Bible is and what it does:
- It’s a unified story that points us to Jesus.
- It tells us the real story of human history.
- It is a divine human word through which God’s Word is revealed to us.
- It tell us how we, as God’s people, can live in His ongoing story.
Since the Bible is and does all those things: It’s useful to us. It’s relevant. It’s a book worth spending our time and mental energy reading.
Question for Reflection
- Do you turn to the Bible to determine how you can live in God’s ongoing story?
Post adapted from my sermon: What is the Bible and What Does it Tell Us?