2 Timothy has traditionally been viewed as a message from Paul to Timothy. Today, many scholars view it as a document written by followers of Paul about forty-years after he was executed by the Romans.
The first part of verse 3:16 has been used by Christian institutions as a “proof-text” to support doctrines about the “inerrancy and infallibility of the Christian Bible:”
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . .”
Biblical Heritage Explorers know that taking verses out of their immediate contexts can destroy the original meanings of the words.
Our first task is to establish the immediate context.
It is 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and we find important information about the meaning of “the Scripture” in those verses.
● You have known the Holy Scriptures from childhood.
● The Holy Scripture are able to make you wise for salvation.
● They are given by inspiration of God.
● They are profitable for doctrine.
● They are profitable for reproof
● They are profitable for correction.
● They are profitable for instruction in righteousness.
● They are given so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Those statements make the meaning of Holy Scripture important for Christians. I grew up seeing preachers hold their King James Version up as they quoted 2 Timothy 3:16a. I did it myself when I was a pastor! Needless to say, it came as a huge surprise for me to discover I was wrong.
“Holy Scripture” is a reference to “Jewish Scriptures.”
No New Testament existed when 2 Timothy was written!
With that information I knew I needed to re-examine my beliefs about “salvation, righteousness, and the importance of good work.” I decided to do two things:
● See what Jesus said about salvation, righteousness, and good work in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and identify verses from the Jewish Scriptures that he quoted.
● Make reading the Jewish Scriptures that Jesus read a top priority in my Bible reading schedule.
I would recommend that you consider doing those things too. In addition, read my articles on the canonization of the Tanakh (Jewish Scriptures) and differences between the Tanakh and Christian Old Testaments. Go to the Tours page on the BHC website – Click Here.
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