I know the quick answer. You probably know the quick answer, too. You may even be able to quote it:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB).
What makes Scripture inspired truth?
I ask the question again because I believe we miss a vital truth in this passage because we don't begin where Paul's message to Timothy begins:
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:14-15 NASB).
Scripture is God's truth, Paul tells Timothy, because of two reasons:
- He has seen it lived by people he loves and it has been proven true in their lives.
- God inspired the message and made it practical and useful for living a godly life.
To put it in cornbread English, Scripture is true because it both caught and taught as well as being inspired and useful. What I love about this biblical definition of Scripture is that it is imminently practical as well as biblical — tied to real life, real people, who pass on God's inspired message about how to live in the real world.
Today, I thought of a beloved friend, Bible scholar, teacher, and mentor. As I opened the Gospel of John, the smile of Neil Lightfoot flashed across my memory. As I read the story about the faith of the government official (John 4:43-54), I remember being in class as Dr. Lightfoot talked about the stages of genuine faith. The devotional thought tomorrow for aYearwithJesus.com comes from Neil as much as it comes from me. His life of faith — his prayers as much as his teaching and writing — helped forge my own faith.
I was immediately reminded of Paul's words to Timothy as I thought of Dr. Lightfoot's teaching and writing about faith. Neil's faith in Scripture is imprinted on my heart — not just because of his teaching it, but also because of his living it!
I am convicted and encouraged. The Bible is not meant to be revered and worshiped; it is to be taught and demonstrated in the lives of real people of faith so that it can be imprinted on another generation who will do the same for those who come behind them (2 Timothy 2:1-2). The power of Scripture's inspiration is that it comes from God and is displayed in the lives of God's people who invest themselves in the future generations of God's people. Call it disciple-making or mentoring or imprinting or whatever, God's word calls it inspired truth — inspired in the giving of it and inspired in the living of it!