This is a study on a scripture commonly used to show the Bible’s value and scope of use….2 Timothy 3…Enjoy
As Paul shared about Jesus in synagogues like the one in Antioch, he was met with two responses. Those who accepted his message of Christ and those who rejected it. The majority were of the latter. They usually ejected him and sometimes threatened his life forcing him to flee.
Paul’s opponents knew the Old Testament well, but they rejected Christ. He called these men evildoers and impostors. They leaned on the Law of Moses, its trappings and traditions in a way that blinded them from seeing God correctly and hearing the One that was sent to them; Jesus.
Paul reminded Timothy of the true use of Scripture; to hold to Jesus in 2 Timothy 3:15;
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
The Word “Scripture” here refers to Moses and the Prophets. Timothy would have been exposed to these as a youth. Paul reminds Timothy of their true purpose; they make us aware of the Life to be found in Christ. As Jesus says “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me.” (Jn 6:45)
Paul’s next sentence in this letter:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Tim 3:16)
Again, this IS NOT referring to the New Testament (which wasn’t yet written).
The problem with the Jews of that day was that they were already “applying the law” to every aspect of life and burdening people with many requirements, but missing that the law pointed to Christ. Paul spoke against this in Galatians and in other letters, contrasting this with holding on to Christ. (Gal 3:2)
So how can we teach, rebuke, correct, and train with the Old Testament?
Who best knows how to do that?
Let’s look at His examples of doing this in Luke 4:16-30. (One of his earlier public appearances)
He opens by reading the following from the scroll of Isaiah (61)
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
As Jesus presented Isaiah 61, He was met with the same two responses encountered by Paul:
Most responded with a refusal to see Jesus as anything other than the hometown boy getting a little too zealous. This prevented them from seeing the offer of God. His offer to trade blindness for sight, captivity for freedom, ashes for beauty, joy for gloom, etc.
These Israelites did not share Christ’s view of themselves or Him. Jesus doesn’t let them off the hook, and they try to kill Him as a result.
He was “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training” as follows;
He was teaching those in the synagogue about who they are, and who He is. He read the scriptures and linked them to Himself and His deeds. His message was one of grace and good news, and was initially welcomed.
He was correcting them after they missed the point. Here he used examples of those who had faith and those who did not. He exposed and discredited what they were relying on. It was not about their piety, race or membership in the synagogue; it was about their view of Him.
He was training his disciples in these same things in an ongoing way. Training helps reinforce and cement things that are taught. The disciples needed this help because Jesus was shifting their entire outlook.
The rebuke was felt by those who missed the correction a second time, and their response was to seek his death.
We conclude from reviewing this that Jesus used the Old Testament to train them to view Him correctly. He wasn’t teaching lists of dos and don’ts. It was rather a training in how to think.
Consider the following scriptures :
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:14)
Please keep this in mind : THERE IS STILL NO NEW TESTAMENT at the time of those writings. Rather the apostles are sharing about Jesus and HIS view of the Old Testament scriptures, while inviting us to learn along with them. As a “disciple” matures, he is able to view the Old Testament as Jesus does since he can recall and apply what Jesus said from the testimony of the apostles. Part of this has been retained in what we now call “The New Testament”.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15)
As you think with Jesus, you walk with Jesus, are persuaded by Jesus and drawn to Jesus….Just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. This is a process where Jesus trains you directly. This is what being “in Christ” means.