1. As Paul prepared the Ephesian elders for the time when he would be gone
a. He commended them to the word of God's grace - Acts 20:29-32
b. Which was able to build them up, and give them their inheritance - Acts 20:32
2. With Timothy, Paul did the same when writing his last letter
a. He admonished Timothy to continue in the things he had learned - 2 Timothy 3:14
b. He first referenced the Holy Scriptures known since his childhood - 2 Timothy 3:15
1) When Timothy was a child, the only scriptures available was the Old Testament
2) So Paul clearly had the Old Testament scriptures in view
c. He then spoke of the value of "all Scripture" - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
1) That which was inspired of God
2) That which had the ability to make the man of God "complete"
A. IT DEVELOPS WISDOM
1. The OT makes one wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus - 2 Timothy 3:15
2. How? The OT provides information regarding:
a. The fall of man and the rise of sin
b. The background and development of God's scheme of redemption
c. Messianic prophecies which describe what to expect when He comes
3. One cannot hope to fully understand such books of the New Testament like:
a. Hebrews, without a knowledge of the Levitical priesthood
b. Revelation, without a familiarity of OT prophecy and apocalyptic literature
4. If one desires to be wise concerning their salvation, study the Old Testament!
B. IT OFFERS HOPE
1. Note carefully what Paul wrote - Romans 15:3-4
a. He appealed to a passage in the Old Testament
b. The things "written before" were "written for our learning"
c. The OT was written and preserved especially for the Christians' benefit!
d. The OT provides "patience and comfort", that we "might have hope"!
2. How? The OT provides a record of God's faithfulness, how He kept His promises:
a. To Abraham and the nation of Israel
b. To judge the wicked and avenge the righteous
c. To forgive the penitent, and protect the humble
3. As we read this history of God's dealings with Israel, it gives us hope that God will keep His promises to us!
C. IT PROVIDES ADMONITION
1. Consider what Paul wrote - 1 Corinthians 10:11
a. He had just reviewed the fall of Israel in the wilderness - 1 Corinthians 10:1-10
b. The events described may have happened to Israel
c. "They were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages has come"
d. The OT was written and preserved especially for the benefit of Christians!
2. Thus the NT writers often appealed to the OT to admonish Christians
a. As did Paul, writing to the Corinthians
b. As did the writer of Hebrews, exhorting Christians to remain steadfast - Hebrews 3:12-19
c. As did James, encouraging Christians to be patient in their suffering - James 5:7-11
d. As did Peter, warning of false teachers and scoffers - 2 Peter 2:3
3. As we read the Old Testament, we should learn from what happened to Israel!
4. Though we do not live under the Old Covenant, the Old Testament is of great value to the Christian. Together with all Scripture from God, it provides everything we need.
A. THEY ARE INSPIRED
1. All Scripture is "given by the inspiration of God" (NKJV) - 2 Timothy 3:16
a. Literally, "God breathed" (theopneustos)
b. "All Scripture is breathed out by God" (ESV)
2. The writers of Scripture were moved along by the Spirit of God - 2 Peter 1:21
3. The Spirit gave them their very words (i.e., verbal and plenary inspiration) - 1 Corinthians 2:13
4. The Scriptures are not the words or thoughts of mere men, but of Spirit-guided men who spoke and wrote the very Word of God! - John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 2:13
B. THEY ARE PROFITABLE
1. For doctrine - 2 Timothy 3:16
2. For reproof - 2 Timothy 3:16
3. For correction - 2 Timothy 3:16
4. For instruction in righteousness - 2 Timothy 3:16
5. The Scriptures are truly "profitable", as extolled by David - Psalm 19:7-11
C. THEY MAKE ONE COMPLETE
1. Thoroughly equipped for every good work - 2 Timothy 3:17
2. Regarding life and godliness - 2 Peter 1:3
1. Do you truly desire to:
a. Be wise concerning the salvation by faith in Christ?
b. Have hope in the promises of God?
c. Learn from the mistakes of those in the past?
d. Be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work?
2. Then take up the admonition of Paul to both the elders and the young preacher
a. Continue in the things learned from the Holy Scriptures!
b. Let the inspired Scriptures be your guide in life through its doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness!
3. Give yourself to diligent study of the Word of God, which is:
a. "able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus"
b. "able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified"
c. "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.' - 1 Thessalonians 2:13
4. Could Paul have written the same about us...? Would he write that you are saved?
-- Don Treadway, May 2011 --