If you’re a follower of Jesus, you should let the Bible get the last word in your life. But consider these stats: 90 percent of people surveyed who go to church say that they desire to honor God in their everyday life, but only 45 percent say that they actually read their Bibles at least once a week. That’s crazy! But it’s the reality for so many Christians today. No one reads their Bible anymore. So let’s turn to Paul’s second letter to Timothy for a gut check.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
This timeless passage gives us three truths about the Word of God.
The Bible Is the Unique, Authoritative Word of God
When you read the Bible, you’re not just reading the words of wise men, priests, prophets, kings, and philosophers. They are God’s words. So it’s not that the Bible has some truth in it, or only conveys a sense of what God would want us to believe. No, all of the individual words that were originally written in the Bible were inspired by God himself. The Apostle Peter makes this clear:
2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
This is exactly how Jesus understood Scripture. Throughout his life, Jesus quoted or referred to the Old Testament. And he did so, claiming that it was the very word of God, even when it was clearly spoken by Moses (see Mark 7:9-13). And if Jesus believes it’s God’s word, so should we.
The Bible Corrects Our Wrong Thinking
The Bible doesn’t just teach us the truth about God, but it also helps us think the right way. Most of us are prone to thinking wrong thoughts, and it was no different in the first-century church. That’s why Paul wrote these words:
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
As in Timothy’s day, Christians today are plagued with a lot of bad ideas. The world tells us to follow our hearts and find our own truth. The Bible offers something more valuable: timeless truth that actually transforms our lives.
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The Bible Leads to a Good Life
The aim of God’s Word isn’t just to teach us a lot of trivia about the Bible and theology. You don’t get into heaven by passing a Bible quiz! Yet, based on the way some Christians read the Bible, you might think that’s the end goal. According to 2 Timothy, the Bible is meant to equip us for “good work” in real life and everyday actions,
2 Timothy 3:17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
This isn’t talking about a good life the way our culture defines. According to Jesus, a good life is about living on mission and making an impact in this world.
And you can only do that if you let the Bible get the last word.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- On average, how often do you read the Bible every week? What are the roadblocks that keep you from reading it more?
- Read 2 Timothy 3:16. What does it mean that the Bible is “inspired?”
- Give an example of how you allow the Bible to be authoritative in your life.
- Look at 2 Timothy 3:16 again. Share about a time when something from the Bible opened your eyes to right and wrong.
- Read 2 Timothy 3:17. Name a “good work” the Bible has equipped you to do. Have you been doing it? Why or why not?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.