Trained by the Scriptures
By Alexander Samuels
One of my favorite Scriptures is 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Learning righteousness has been very difficult for me, especially when it comes to putting it into practice. I am comforted that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to me so that I may stand justified before my Father in heaven. I am also comforted by the fact that when I became a Christian . . . the Holy Spirit came to dwell within me to help me learn to be righteous in this world. I might wish sometimes it was all the Holy Spirit's work, but God has ordained that I must work along with the Holy Spirit in this process of becoming more righteous, or sanctified.
This is why I share 2 Timothy 3:16-17 with you. One of the primary teachings of these verses is that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for . . . training in righteousness." It is evident that the Word of God is to play an important role in our training in righteousness. I would like to briefly share with you four strategies for using the Scriptures to help you grow in this area of your life.
The first is "Hearing the Word of God." None of us ever reach such spiritual heights that we do not need to be taught the Scriptures by others. Whether we are listening to the pastor's sermon in church, the teacher in a Sunday school class or the leader of a Bible study group, all gifted teachers are blessed with the ability to open the Scriptures to us in such a way as to inspire us to live our lives more pleasing to God.
The second strategy is "Reading the Bible." By reading the Bible for ourselves we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us from each page. If you have read the whole Bible, you are in a small minority of people. Yet, isn't it amazing that almost all Americans are willing to give you an opinion on the Bible? To truly understand the Bible, I believe we must from time to time read the entire Bible from cover to cover. Doing so will certainly add to your training in Christian righteousness.
The third strategy is "Studying the Bible." You can read the Bible in a leisurely way, but study requires serious work and perseverance. Every Christian should be a student of the Bible. Another of my favorite Bible verses is Deuteronomy 6:4-9: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." The implication of these verses is that it is pleasing to God when his children take His Word seriously and study it diligently.
The final strategy I want to offer is "Meditation on God's Word." In a way, meditation means "talking to yourself." I remember that D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones often said, "We must preach to ourselves." When you take a verse or verses of Scripture and think about them and what they mean over and over, you are meditating on Scripture. Ask yourself how this verse applies to you. Think about the context in which you find the verse. This is meditating on Scripture.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." If you are a Christian, you will have that Holy Spirit-given desire to be trained in righteousness. You will desire more and more to live your life pleasing to Christ. We cannot achieve this, however, without the Word of God interacting in our lives.
Many people find the Bible difficult to study and understand. Because of this I would like to recommend a little book to you that I think will help you become a better student of the Bible. The book is Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul. It is only 125 pages long and full of the information you need to study the Bible correctly. Here is what J.I. Packer says about Knowing Scripture, "If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folks from digging into the Bible. . . . I should do all I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorns, hedges and mantraps. . . . But I should be very far from pleased to see this book by R.C. Sproul."
Alexander Samuels is a regular contributor to Carolina Christian Conservative.