In preparation for an upcoming sermon from Jeremiah 38, I went back to the following verse for focus and direction:
2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching, instruction), for reproof (a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested, conviction), for correction (a straightening up again), for instruction in righteousness (how to live right before God). [emphasis mine]
Whenever you are stumped, whenever you find yourself wondering “what is this passage telling me?”, understand that God does not lie, and ALL Scripture, properly exegeted, should be able to offer the following 4 things:
1. Doctrine. Simply put, there is something teachable from every passage of Scripture, even though sometimes the lesson might be difficult to determine.
2. Reproof. On what do you base your convictions? The Bible is what you use as the standard against which all things are tested. It is also what you fall back on when “proof” is what you need.
3. Correction. Too often the Bible is used as a tool with which to beat people over the head. As a “recovering legalist,” you might imagine that is not what I’m about. No, the word correction in this verse is a word that means “restoration to an upright or a right state; correction, improvement” (Strong’s). Some verses may be good for use as a “rod of correction,” but not all. However, ALL Scripture is profitable for instruction in putting someone upright. In other words, there is hope in every passage.
4. Instruction in Righteousness. Jeremiah 38 is a tragic story, but there are strong lessons to learn. There are lessons of bravery and compassion; lessons of hope in the midst of the most dire circumstances; and most of all, the lesson that we should listen to and obey God rather than rebel against His commands. Instruction in righteousness means, if nothing else, that all Scripture can teach us how to live right with God in a world that hates Him.
Whether you are preparing a sermon or just doing your daily Bible reading, use 2 Timothy 3:16 as a guide to help you understand what God is saying. With the help of the Holy Spirit learn, develop strong conviction, be encouraged and directed, and find guidance for the path ahead.
Sufficient is His Word.
10 responses to “What All Scripture Can Do”
REPROOF’, noun [from reprove.
1. Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension.
Those best can bear reproof who merit praise.
He that hateth reproof is brutish. Proverbs 12:1.
2. Blame cast; censure directed to a person.
STRONGS NT 1650: ἔλεγχος
ἔλεγχος, -ου, ὁ, (ἐλέγχω);
1. a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested, (τὸ πρᾶγμα τὸν ἔλεγχον δώσει, Demosthenes 44, 15 [i. e. in Phil. 1, 15]; τῆς εὐψυχίας, Euripides, Herc. fur. 162; ἐνθάδ’ ὁ ἔλεγχος τοῦ πράγματος, Epictetus diss. 3, 10, 11; others): τῶν [or rather, πραγμάτων] οὐ βλεπομένων, that by which invisible things are proved (and we are convinced of their reality), Hebrews 11:1 (Vulg. argumentum non apparentium [Tdf. rerum arg. non parentum]); [others take the word here (in accordance with the preceding ὑπόστασις, which see) of the inward result of proving viz. a conviction; see Lünem, at the passage].
2. conviction (Augustine, convictio): πρὸς ἔλεγχον, for convicting one of his sinfulness, 2 Timothy 3:16 R G. (Euripides, Plato, Demosthenes, others; Sept. chiefly for תּוכַחַת.)
See STRONGS NT 1650: ἐλεγμός
ἐλεγμός, οῦ, ὁ, (ἐλέγχω), correction, reproof, censure: 2 Tim 3:16 L T Tr WH for R G ἔλεγχον. (Sir 21:6; Sir 35:17(Sir 32:17)), etc.; for תּוכַחַת chastisement, punishment, 2 Kings 19:3; Psalm 149:7; [Isaiah 37:3; etc.]. Not found in secular writings).
Reproof is not re-proving something. It’s a correction, more akin to a rebuke, but not as strong, so to speak.
Get a Webster’s 1828. You’ll be so happy you did.
I have one 🙂
I am happy, though, that you are keeping my feet to the fire. And I would like to respond to any other comments you have this evening, but for tonight I am off to a fellow church member’s house to watch Georgia kill my home team (UT). So, any further discussion will have to be done after I recover from an unnecessary and humiliating defeat (unless there are angels in the end zone). Blessings to you, good Berean 😉
I would tell you a good Bill Battle story, but maybe next time. I do greatly enjoy your blog, I’m just usually in a hurry so I leave brief comments which I’m told make me seem caustic.
Not the case though in reality. :-).
2 Timothy 3:16 KJV – All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Hebrews 11:1 KJV – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
So, I understand that Scripture is certainly useful for taking someone to the woodshed, but at least from the sources I have just quoted (including these two verses where the word is used), there seems to be more than simply one usage, that of “censure.”
Jeremiah 38 is sort of the tale end of a huge story with many details, Big plans but it doesn’t get to the heart of why, why did God set these things in order. It sort of deals with the avoidance of the brunt of consequences but not the initial set of issues. Its sort of palliative care for a lung cancer patient when the real issue was the smoking.
to some degree there is a similarity that it is still the same stiff necked people. And still the issue of fighting over who is right, who is in charge, and if they will settle for less than what they think is the best. The willingness to risk it shows a bull hotheadedness. It also shows people willing to axe the guy who is not on board with them hashing out a different plan. These dynamics of power and control are found in construction, on wall st. In Politics, and right in the middle of church itself. But it still is not the core of the issue. The core issue was slavery. The mistreatment of of others for your own gain. It all comes from the same place a lack of concern for human rights, a lack of Love. Love being a good bent that makes someone do the law because it protects people or says to bad, I will do this anyways. It takes you right back to the garden of Eden. God says this but I rather take this route. the lack of trust and Loyalty and Empathy, Me first, Jack can lose out on this one.
So, while we now know the roots of the behaviour the story really isn’t told in Jeremiah 38. 38 is really the ugly and clumsy dealings of a bunch willing to axe a guy for speaking up. The Horse left the barn long before that.
Part of a larger story…absolutely. But my focus today will be on Ebed-Melech (the king’s Ethiopian servant) who believed God and took the initiative to rescue Jeremiah.