If we were to break that down into outline form we could say that Scripture is:
1. Breathed out (inspired) by God and given to man
2. Profitable for:
- Reproof (proof or conviction)
- Training in righteousness
3. So that:
- The man of God may be complete
- The man of God is fully equipped for every good work
Rather straightforward and easily understood, is it not? Scripture contains everything anyone might need to live a godly life and faithfully serve our God.
While I was serving in the Army, there were several stages to becoming ‘fully’ equipped. The first stage was at the reception station when I enlisted. Once assigned to a Special Forces unit after initial training (basic & advanced), stage 2 kicked in and there was another set of equipment given to all new members of the unit. Then, after being assigned to a specific operational detachment (‘A Team), another set of specialized equipment was issued, depending on the specific mission of the Team (mountain, scuba, HALO, Special Wpns, etc.), and the specific position to be manned on the Team (medical, demolitions, communications, weapons, etc.).
I’m sure you could discover the same ‘equipping for performance’ principal exists for most jobs, for every sort of occupation, in every labor sector. Do you see the glaring comparison between Scripture’s sufficiency for equipping the man of God for every good work in the Kingdom and what’s be needed for earthy vocations? What a blessing God has provided his children!
Another point to be made here is that our passages tells us that being fully equipped for Christian service is connected in some way to all of scripture. That statement brings to mind the Apostle Paul’s assurance the Ephesian Christians that he had preached to them the whole counsel of God.
“. . .for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:2, ESV)
One Bible teacher suggests that what Paul meant was “ I told you all the important things that God has revealed that you must know for your salvation and service to Him.” We are not told everything there is about God or in the mind of God – we are finite and he is infinite. There is no way we could handle everything about God or all of his thoughts!
So what? How can we best apply what that passage teaches us? There are two things that present themselves to this old soldiers ‘brain housing group’, especially as we look around and thoughtfully consider today’s evangelical landscape.
Concerning Scripture itself, while other sources can help us tremendously in our Christian walk in this life, if all we had was the Bible, it would be enough. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook page is literally filled with links to and offers for every kind of Christian source imaginable. We’re talking about churches (local and otherwise), Christian discipleship material, along with concerts and events, not to mention Christian apparel and all sorts of trinkets.
Concerning all of Scripture and the whole counsel of God, It grieves me to see so many memes and images of Bible passages ripped completely out of context that, while they might give us ‘warm fuzzies’, complete miss the fuller meaning that the author intended. Then there is contemporary Christian music (CCM). It tends to mostly be about the positive aspects of Christian life, either focused on blessings, what God purposes to give us as his main reason for being, omitting topics which might not be very popular, like sin, wrath, and judgment. If you doubt that, compare a few classic hymns of the church to CCM. Feel free to challenge me.
Lastly, there’s the content of much of what is presented from pulpits and stages from ‘sea to shining sea’ these days. While there some church leaders who preach and teach in an expository manner from the pages of Scripture, they are in the minority these days. Additionally, much of what we hear these days, whether topical or focused on teaching the text at hand (expository) seems to be man-focused than God centered.
Please note that I am not being intentionally critical, but personal observations. I don’t intend to be argumentative, but like I already mentioned, certain things grieve me, or should I say grieve the spirit living me.
If there are any lessons to be learned from what is written here, they are two-fold.
First, spend more time reading and studying your own Bible than every other source that comes your way promising to teach you the ‘real deal’ concerning Scripture.
Secondly, be selective concerning your preferred sources of preaching and teaching. That also includes Christian music. After all, music both preaches and teaches.
Not only do we want to receive all of what God has to say to us, we want what God offers to us to fill our hearts and minds.