The Holy Scriptures
(2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect (or mature), throughly furnished unto all good works.”
First and foremost in this list of things to profit is the Bible, the divinely inspired Word of God, concerning which Sir Walter Scott, perhaps quoting Byron, wrote:
“Within this sacred volume lies
The mystery of mysteries.
Happiest they of human race,
Of whom their God has given grace
To lift the latch and force the way,
To read, to learn, to watch, to pray.
But better had they ne’er been born
Who read to doubt, or read to scorn!”
We will state three reasons for the unestimable profit of this Book of Books.
1. It is Profitable Because of its Origin:
God is its Author. It came from Him, through the instrumentality of holy men of God who wrote under the absolute control of the Holy Spirit. We are definitely informed that, “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved (lit. borne along) by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21). In other words, the Spirit of God so energized and controlled certain specially selected men that what they wrote were the very words of God Himself.
The words, “by inspiration of God,” in 2 Timothy 3:16 is expressed by one word in the Greek, “Theopneustos” (From “Theos,” God, and “pneo,” breathe). Thus the Scriptures are declared to be the God-breathed record of the Divine revelation to man. As in creation God “formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul,” so God has taken the material of human language and breathed into these human words the breath of His life, and the Holy Scriptures have become a living book which, when received into the heart by faith, generates spiritual life in the believing soul. See Hebrews 4:12; Acts 7:38; 1 Peter 1:23. One has only to open the Bible to read very many times, such expressions as, “And God spake all these words,” “And God said,” “Thus saith the Lord,” etc. etc. Thus the Bible itself flatly states it is the revelation of God to man.
Someone has summed up beautifully the message of the Bible in these words: “This” Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practise it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment and be remembered for ever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor and condemns all who trifle with its sacred contents.”
Not only does the Bible claim to be the Word of God to man, but it can be demonstrated to the unbiassed reader that this claim is true in many ways. We will name but seven of these evidences: First, its fulfilled prophecies. These were given with meticulous detail hundreds of years before the event was fulfilled exactly as had been predicted. Second, its historical accuracy. Names, places and events are recorded which have been proved beyond a shadow of doubt to be true. Third, the unity of its revelation. Here are 66 different books written over a period of hundreds of years, and yet each book fits into each other book to present a complete exposition of the great truth of Redemption and the revelation of the glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Fourth, the exhaustless depth of its teaching yet conveyed in simple language. Thus profundity of thought is combined with simplicity of expression. Fifth, its indestructability. In spite of all the attacks on the part of its many enemies throughout the centuries, it has emerged scathless, and stands like a great mountain peak unmoved above the wrecks of time. Sixth, its influence for good in the lives of those who believe its truths and practise its precepts. A tree is known by the fruit it produces. Lastly, its many translations and vast circulation throughout the nations of the world. It has been translated into over 1200 different languages, and each year over 25 million copies are published throughout the world.
The Holy Scriptures are not only profitable because of their origin and Author, but they are essential to a knowledge of the true and living God of the universe, to whom alone belong omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and immutability, and who desires “all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). How thankful we should be for such a divine revelation concerning God, Christ, sin, redemption, the Holy Spirit, salvation and eternal blessedness.
2. It is Profitable Because of the Person it Reveals:
This Person is the eternal Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible exists for the purpose of revealing one Person, the Lord Jesus, and the exposition of one theme, redemption through His most precious blood. Christ is predicted in the Law and the Prophets; typified in the offerings of Leviticus and the tabernacle; presented in the four Gospels; preached in the Acts of the Apostles; expounded in the Epistles and described as glorified in the Revelation. The whole Book is redolent with the Son of God. If Christ were removed from the Bible only the covers of the Book would remain!
Notice the Saviour’s own testimony to this fact, “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me” (John 5:40). To the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, “He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Ere He ascended back to Heaven He declared, “These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44).
Speaking prophetically by the Spirit in the Psalms, our Lord declared hundreds of years before He came, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God” (Psalm 40:7-8; Heb. 10:7). Two things are here plainly affirmed; the Divine Person who was to come, and the Divine volume in which it was revealed, the Holy Bible.
The Old Testament was the only Scripture the early disciples had. From its pages they proved that all the prophecies concerning the Messiah of Israel had been fulfilled by the incarnation, life, ministry, miracles, teaching, death, resurrection and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter could say “To Him give all the prophets witness” (Acts 10:43).
Christ thus rides forth on the chariot of the Holy Scriptures, and is presented, in all His dignity as the essential and eternal Son of God who “through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God” as a substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of sinners, and thereby secured eternal salvation for all who will receive Him as Saviour and own Him as the Lord of their lives. See Hebrews 9:13-14; Romans 10:1-17.