Sunday, November 16, 2008

2 Timothy 3:15-4:2 - The Importance of Scripture

English: Last expedition of Robert Falcon Scot...
Last expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. The image shows Oates, Scott and Wilson (standing); and Bowers and Evans (sitting) (Wikipedia)
It was 70 degrees below zero. A thin tent cloth was the only thing that broke the howling wind on the icy plain. For three days the men in the expedition had hoped against hope that they could make it to One Ton Depot, their supply station. Now they were trapped, starving and low on heating fuel in unimaginable cold, slapped down by a ferocious Antarctic blizzard for four days with only one hot meal and two cold meals left, a mere eleven miles from their relief depot. 

Captain Robert Scott knew their team probably wouldn’t make it. Oh, it had been an incredible mission. His famous British expedition had made it to the South Pole, trying to be the world’s first, only to find that a Norwegian party had beaten them by only a month. Now a blizzard had crippled their return. “Poor Titus Oates” had gone down only twenty miles from the depot, but the rest kept going, determined to make it to One Ton Depot. Now merely eleven miles from relief, Captain Scott fought the cold to hold a pencil to write a final letter to his wife.

English: Captain Robert Falcon Scott, leader o...

He began, “To my widow -- Dearest Darling - we are in a very tight corner and I have doubts of pulling through . . . if anything happens to me I shall like you to know how much you have meant to me and that pleasant recollections are with me as I depart . . . you know I have loved you, you know my thoughts must have constantly dwelt on you and oh dear me you must know that quite the worst aspect of this situation is the thought that I shall not see you again. . . we should have got through but have been held for four days by a frightful storm - I think the best chance has gone we have decided not to kill ourselves but to fight it to the last for that depot but in the fighting there is a painless end so don't worry. . . . You see I am anxious for you and the boy's future - make the boy interested in natural history if you can, it is better than games . . . try and make him believe in a God, it is comforting. Oh my dear my dear what dreams I have had of his future and yet oh my girl I know you will face it stoically - your portrait and the boy's will be found in my breast . . . There is a piece of the Union flag I put up at the South Pole in my private kit bag together with Amundsen's black flag and other trifles - give a small piece of the Union flag to the King and a small piece to Queen Alexandra and keep the rest a poor trophy for you! . . . oh but you'll put on a strong face for the world - only don't be too proud to accept help for the boys sake - he ought to have a fine career and do something in the world.”[1]

English: Cross on Observation Hill erected as ...
Cross on Observation Hill erected as memorial to Robert Falcon Scott and his South Pole Party (Wikipedia)
Contextual Notes: If you were writing what you expected to be your last letter to someone into whom you’d poured your life (2 Timothy 4:6), someone you had trained and mentored, someone you loved, respected, someone on whom the future of all your lifework rested, what would you say to them?
Second Timothy is such a letter by Paul to his younger leader protégé Timothy. Paul looks back on his life with satisfaction. He is finishing well. He is focused on Timothy carrying the Light to the next generation (2 Timothy 2:2). After all, when we think in light of eternity, only people and the word of God will last. Paul was passing the baton. He was soon to be beheaded under Nero’s Persecution.

Pray and Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8, focus on 3:15-4:2
Key Truth: Paul wrote 2 Timothy 3:15-4:2 to encourage Timothy to preach the Word because it is Christ-centered, divinely-inspired, promotes goodness, will endure.
Key Application: Today I want to show you why we can have confidence to proclaim God’s Word.
Sermon Points: 2 Timothy 3:15-4:2
  1. The Bible is Christ-centered (3:15b).
  2. The Bible is divinely inspired (3:16).
  3. The Bible promotes righteousness (3:16b-17).
  4. The Bible is enduring (4:1).
Exposition: Note well,
1. THE BIBLE IS CHRIST-CENTERED (2 Timothy 3:10-15b)
    1. Christ-like character of his teachers (3:10-15a)
      1. Character of his mentor Paul (3:10-11). With the character of a man who had endured so much for the gospel, then Timothy could endure as well. He knew Paul’s understanding of God’s Word which he gave in his farewell address to the Ephesian pastors at Miletus. Acts 20:32: 32"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
      1. Well taught by his Eunice mother and grandmother Lois (2 Tim 1:5). “From Infancy” – Jews begin teaching child Scripture at 5 years of age. 1 Peter 2:2: 2"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation." Timothy had known the Scriptures from his childhood thanks to these thorough teachers of God’s Word. They probably taught him Psalm 119:9: 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
    1. Christ-centered teaching of the Scriptures
      1. We are not Bibliolators, as some say, worshipping Scripture – Our worship is only in Christ. John 5:39: You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,”Romans 10:4;Acts 3:18;John 14:6; Luke 24:44-47
    1. APPLICATION: In church, children should be taught the Bible from a young age, not with a children’s ministry focused on fun and games, but on Scripture with fun and games to support it. In the last few years, when I asked teenagers in church what they wanted most in a youth program, they said they wanted to know what the Bible says, not just to go on ski trips. They want deep, apologetic Bible because college is coming, and they need to be prepared.
    2. If you are a leader in the church of any kind, especially a Sunday School teacher, a deacon or otherwise, is your character hampering your teaching of the Bible or your representation of Christ at your work or your school or in your community? If you have children or grandchildren, are you putting the priority in your home on Christ and His Word or on video games? On opportunities to talk about the Lord or does the TV entertain them? Are you teaching them the value of trusting the Lord in everyday things, or the value of trusting the Almighty dollar?
    1. The Bible -- 66 books written over a period of 1600 years by 40 authors, yet the message is inspired by the Holy Spirit (1 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is both divine and human, for while the words are inspired by the Holy Spirit, they were written down through the personality, culture, and world of the writers. It makes the Bible most fascinating. The revelation is divine; the expression is human (2 Peter 1:21). While written by many writers over much time, reading the text is convincing that it was produced by one Mind. The majority of believers worldwide, especially in the African and Asian churches instinctively trust the Bible as true. The default is to trust the Bible.
    1. The Bible is the world’s best-selling book. It has been translated into more languages than any other text in history. While other religions have sacred books, only the Bible claims to have been inspired by God Himself (1 Corinthians 2:9-10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). William Lyon Phelps, English professor and former president of Yale University, said, “I thoroughly believe in a university education for both men and women; but I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without the Bible.”
    1. Theopneustos – only occurrence in the Bible, meaning “God breathed”: In Acts 2, Peter quotes Psalm 2 as authored by God. Genesis 2:7; John 20:22; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23

APPLICATION: The Bible, being the product of God’s breath, has divine authority and you can trust it.

    1. Teaching / Doctrine – to point to Jesus and develop disciples of Him
    2. Rebuking / Reproof – to convince/confound unbelievers, to discipline/train believers
    3. Correction – Restore to right state those who have erred, those who need saved
    4. Instruction / training in righteousness – discipleship, spiritual training
    5. Psalm 119:105; Psalm 19:7-11;Job 23:12; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:15, 21
  1. THE BIBLE IS ENDURING (4:1); Acts 20:27; Romans 15:4; Psalm 119:160

[1] Scott’s final letters home, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University:;