Background Considerations:

In 2 Timothy 3:14-17 Paul exposes to view how an inspired Bible is supposed to work. Both the process and the end product are laid out in plain view. By means of teaching (didaskalia), reproof (elegmos), correction (epanorthosis) and training (paideia) in righteousness, God’s person will be adequate (artios), equipped for every good work (vv. 15-16). Paul draws on the vocabulary of the Greek classroom to articulate the pedagogical power of the Bible. This picture of the Bible’s role as a teacher and shaper of character ideally begins, however, with a childhood exposure to the sacred writings which are able to impart the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (v. 15). Timothy, to whom Paul is writing was fortunate to grow up in a Christian home, taught by his mother and grandmother (1:5; 3:14). From a budding faith at the start to a well-rounded competency in leadership, the Bible is to place a central role. In this brief passage we see the interplay between the sacred text and the community of the faithful who mediate that text, and between the spoken word and personal faith in Christ. Ideally all the parts are present.

For Discussion?

  1. In 2 Timothy 3:16 by combining two Greek words Paul creates a brand new word, theopneustos, literally “God-breathed” Should this be taken literally? Or is “inspired” an adequate translation? If so, what do we mean when we say the Bible is “inspired”?
  2. Are paraphrases of the Bible like The Message and The Clear Word to be considered inspired?
  3. What does the Bible tell me that I could not know on my own?
  4. Someone says, “This is the book that understands me”. Does that make any sense?
  5. How do Christians come to have confidence in the Bible? Can the inspiration of the Bible be proved?
  6. A bumper sticker declares, “The Bible says it and I believe it”? Should I take the Bible at face value?
  7. How do I use my mind when reading the Bible? If I use my mind, am I allowing reason to rule revelation? * Is education a help or a hindrance in understanding the Bible?
  8. Is the Bible to be best read as (a) a letter from a dear Friend; (b) the illustrated history of God’s dealings with humanity, that is His-story; or (c) the distilled wisdom of successful living according to eternal principles?

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