2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God.—Although this rendering is grammatically possible, the more strictly accurate translation, and the one adopted by nearly all the oldest and most trustworthy versions (for example, the Syriac and the Vulgate), and by a great many of the principal expositors in all ages (for instance, by such teachers as Origen, Theodoret, Grotius, Luther, Meyer, Ellicott, and Alford), runs as follows: “Every scripture inspired by God is also profitable for doctrine, for reproof,” &c.

The rendering followed by the English version, and which is certainly grammatically possible, by making—“all Scripture” the subject, and “given by inspiration of God” the predicate, declares positively the inspiration of all the Old Testament Scriptures, for this is what the Apostle must have referred to, if we understand this verse as we have it rendered in the English version above. The New Testament at this period was certainly not all written; for instance, St. John’s Gospel, St. John’s Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Apocalypse, with several of the Catholic Epistles, probably were composed at a later date than that assigned to this letter to Timothy. St. Paul, massing together an evidently well-known number of writings under the term πᾶσα γραϕή, spoke of the Jewish Scriptures, the “canon” of which was then determined.

But such a declaration of the inspiration of these writings to Timothy and to those associated with him would seem unnecessary and uncalled for. Timothy and the trained Jew of the first century would never dream of doubting the divine origin of their most prized and sacred writings. There is nothing in the verses immediately preceding which would call out such a statement. It seems, therefore, on exegetical, as well as on grammatical, considerations best to follow the interpretation of those ancient and venerable witnesses the Syriac and Latin (Jerome’s) versions, and to understand St. Paul’s words here, as asserting that every inspired writing (this, it should be observed, does not exclude those recent sacred compositions which—Gospels or Epistles—he had seen or written himself, and the divine origin of which he well knew) is profitable for doctrine, &c. Thus he exhorted Timothy to show himself a contrast to the false teachers—ever shifting their ground and waxing worse and worse—by keeping steadily to the old teaching of doctrine and of life. He was not to change, not to advance, but was to remember that every inspired Scripture was profitable for doctrine and for life. It was by these writings, St. Paul would remind him, that he must test his teaching. On the way in which “inspiration of God” was understood in the Church of the first days, see Excursus at the end of this Epistle.

Inspiration of God.—This thought, perhaps, rather than these words, is admirably paraphrased by St. Peter: “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2Peter 1:21). The various uses of Holy Scripture in the training of the man of God are set forth in the enumeration which closes this verse. These sacred writings must, in all ages, St. Paul would urge, be the hand-book of the Christian teacher. From it he must prove the doctrines he professes; hence, too, he must draw his reproofs for the ignorant and erring. It must be the one source whence he derives those instructions which teach the Christian how to grow in grace.

EXCURSUS ON NOTES TO II. TIMOTHY.

ON THE WAY IN WHICH “INSPIRATION OF GOD” [2Timothy 3:16] WAS UNDERSTOOD IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

“See and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16.

THE question of “inspiration” is one that in the present day often is the subject of debate. In the hot and often angry controversies on this subject among us, it will be useful and interesting to see what were the opinions held by those learned and devoted men living, many of them, in the times immediately succeeding the first age of the Faith, when those walked on earth who had seen and conversed with the Lord Jesus. We wilt give the words of a few of the more distinguished of the early fathers of the Faith, selecting them from different centres of Christianity.

ROME.—Clement, Bishop of Rome, A.D. 70-96. Ad Cor Ep. i. 45. Ad Cor. Ep. i. 47.

Our quotations begin from the very days of the Apostles. Clement mentioned by St. Paul (Philippians 4:3), who, as history tells us, was the second Bishop of Rome, exhorts his readers “to look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit;” and in another place in the same writing he expressly refers to a well-known New Testament Epistle thus:—“Take up the Epistle of the blessed Paul the Apostle, what did he write to you in the beginning [that is, in the first days of the preaching] of the gospel? In truth, divinely inspired πνευματικῶς, divinitus inspiratus], he wrote to you Corinthians about himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because just then factions [party spirit] existed among you.”

ASIA MINOR.—Polycarp of Smyrna, A.D. 108. Ep. to Philippians, cap. iii.

Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, a disciple of St. John, in the one letter we possess of his, tells us “that neither he nor any like him is able to attain perfectly to the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who, when he was with you, before the men who were then living taught the word of truth perfectly and surely.”

SYRIA.—Ignatius of Antioch, A.D. 107. Ep. to Philad., cap. v. Ep. to Magn., cap. viii. Ep. to Romans, cap. iv.

“Let us love the prophets” (of the Old Testament), wrote Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, the pupil of St. John, to the congregations of Philadelphia, “because they proclaimed the gospel, and believed in Christ, and waited for His coming, and through their faith in Him were saved.” “These most divine prophets lived according to Jesus Christ,” he writes to the Church of Magnesia, “being inspired by His grace.” Again: “I do not command you [Romans] like Peter and Paul: they were Apostles; I am a condemned man.”

EGYPT.—Barnabas of Alexandria, probably A.D. 140-160. Ep. Barnabas, ix. Ep. Barnabas, x. and v.

Barnabas (probably not the friend of St. Paul, but a teacher of Alexandria who lived some seventy or eighty years after St. Paul’s martyrdom), in his well known letter, speaks there of the inspiration of the Old Testament writings. Writing of Ps. 17:45, “The Lord saith in the prophet;” and of Psalm 33:13, “The Spirit of the Lord prophesieth;” and in another place he tells us how “the prophets received their gift from Christ and spoke of Him;” also that “Moses spake in the Spirit.”

ROME & EPHESUS. Justin Martyr, A.D. 140-150. Cohortatio ad Gen tiles, 12. Apologia, i. 44. Apologia, i. 44, &c.; i. 40; i. 35. Apologia i. 36. Cohortatio ad Gentiles, 8.

This writer, several of whose works we still possess, was a scholar and thinker of no mean order. He wrote within half a century of St. John’s death. He in several places gives us his view of the inspiration of the divine writings. Referring to the Old Testament, he speaks of the history which Moses wrote by divine inspiration. while the Holy Spirit of Prophecy taught us through the instrumentality of Moses. Of David and of Isaiah he writes in similar terms (propheta Isaias divinitus afflatus a spiritu prophetico). His view, of the prophetic office is remarkable. “We must not suppose,” he writes, “that the expressions go forth from the men who are inspired, but from the divine word which moves them.” Speaking of the writers of the Old Testament, he calls them “holy men who required no eloquence, no skill in argumentative speaking, but who only needed to present themselves pure for the Divine Spirit to act upon, in order that the divine plectrum [an instrument, usually of gold or ivory, used for striking the lyre], coming down from heaven, acting on just men as a plectrum on a lyre or harp, might reveal to us the knowledge of divine and heavenly things.”

ATHENS.—Athenagoras, A.D. 160-180. Leg. pro Christ. 9.

This Athenian philosopher, who, while studying the Holy Scriptures with a view of refuting Christianity, was converted by the very writings he was endeavouring to bring into disrepute, writes (using the same strange, powerful metaphor which we found in the above quotation from Justin): “The prophets, while entranced . . . by the influence of the Divine Spirit, they gave utterance to what was wrought In them—the Spirit using them as instruments as a flute-player might blow a flute.”

LYONS.—Irenœus, A.D. 180. Contra Hœr, iii. 1. Contra Hær.iii. 5.

This famous writer and bishop of the early Church was connected in his early years with Polycarp, the pupil of St. John. He (to choose one out of many passages of his writings on this subject) thus writes of the Apostles:—“After that our Lord rose from the dead, and they [the Apostles] were clothed with the power of the Spirit from on high, they were filled with a perfect knowledge of all things.” “The Apostles, being the disciples of truth, are beyond all falsehood, though they speak according to the capacity of their hearers, talking blindly with the blind.”

Contra Hœr. ii. 28.

In another passage this Bishop of Lyons of the second century tells us, “The Scriptures are perfect, inasmuch as they were uttered by the Word of God and His Spirit.”

NORTH AFRICA: CARTHAGE.—Tertullian, A.D. 200. Apologia xxxi.

Tertullian, perhaps the ablest—and, had it not been for his unhappy choice in later life of a wild and perverted form of Christianity, the greatest—of the Latin fathers, calls the Holy Scriptures the “voices of God” (voces Dei). In another place he writes that “the four Gospels are built on the certain basis of apostolical authority, and so are inspired in a far different sense from the writings of the spiritual Christian. All the faithful, it is true, have the Spirit of God; but all are not Apostles.”

EGYPT: ALEXANDRIA.—Clement master of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, A.D. 199-200. pæd. i. 11. Protr. i. 5

Clement of Alexandria was master of the catechetical school of the most learned city of the world at the end of the second century, only 100 years after the death of St. John; and taught in famous school—as did well-nigh all the early fathers of Christianity—the doctrine of the plenary inspiration of Scripture. “It was by the masters of Israel,” wrote Clement, “that God led men properly to the Messiah—speaking to them in the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets . . . The word of God, disregarding the lifeless instruments, the lyre and the harp, reduces to harmony . . . man, and through that many-voiced instrument makes melody to God, and says to man, ‘Thou art my harp, my flute, my temple: my harp, from the harmony [of many notes]; my flute, from the Spirit that breatheth through thee; my temple, from the word that dwelleth in thee.’ Truly of man the Lord wrought a glorious living instrument, after the fashion of His own image—one which might give every harmony of God tuneful and holy.”

De Antichriitn 2. ROME.—Hippolytus of Portus, A.D. 218. De antichristo, 2.

Hippolytus, Bishop of Portus (one of the suburban districts of Rome), a most learned and distinguished writer of the Italian Church of the early part of the third century, a pupil of Irenæus of Lyons, in one of his treatises preserved to us, expresses himself very clearly and with singular force on this subject. Speaking of the Jewish prophets, he writes, “These blessed men . . . spake not only of the past, but also of the present and future, that they might be shown to be heralds of things to come, not for a time merely, but for all generations. . . . For these fathers, having been perfected by the Spirit of Prophecy, and worthily honoured by the Word Himself, were brought to an inner harmony like instruments; and having the Word within them to strike the notes, by Him they were moved, and announced that which God wrote. For they did not speak of their own power, be well assured, nor proclaim that which they wished themselves, but first they were rightly endowed with wisdom by the Word, and afterwards well foretaught of the future by visions, and then, when thus assured, spake that which was revealed to them by God.”

ALEXANDRIA.—Origen, A.D. 230. De Principiis, lib. i. Proœmium, 4. De Principiis, i. Proœmium, i. Contr.Celsum, vii. 4 Hom. in Jer. xxi. 2.

The Church, while condemning the errors into which the greathearted Origen fell, still reads in every age with reverence and admiration his marvellous and brilliant teaching. It will be well to close this short paper on a great subject with two or three extracts from this famous Alexandrian master, on the subject of inspiration: “The Holy Spirit inspired each of the Saints, Prophets, and Apostles. . . . The same Spirit was present in those of old times as in those who were inspired at the coming of Christ.” “Christ, the Word of God, was in Moses and the prophet and by His Spirit they sake and did all things.” Again, in his work against Celsus, he writes the following wise and beautiful words:—“The true God acted on the prophets to enlighten and strengthen them, and not to cloud or to confuse their natural powers . . . . for the divine messengers, by the contact of the Holy Spirit with their soul, so to speak, gained a deeper and a clearer intuition of spiritual truth, and they then became more perfect men as well as wise seers.” In one of his homilies Origen does not hesitate even to say that “there is nothing, whether in the Law or in the Prophets, in the Evangelists or in the Apostles, which does not descend from the fulness of the divine majesty.”

Hom. in Ex. xi. Hom. in Gen. xi. 3. De Principiis, iv. 16 Home. in Jos. xx.

This gifted teacher’s noble words on the way in which these God-inspired writings should be read deserve to be graven on the heart of every Christian believer: “We must read them with pure hearts, for no one can listen to the word of God . . . unless he be holy in body and spirit: . . . no one can enter into this feast with soiled garments. He who is a student of God’s oracles must place himself under the teaching of God; such a one must seek their meaning by inquiry, discussion, examination, and, which is greatest, by prayer. . . . Prayer is the most necessary qualification for the understanding of divine things. . . . If, then, we read the Bible with patience, prayer, and faith; if we ever strive after a more perfect knowledge, and yet remain content in some things to know only in part—even as prophets and apostles, saints and angels, attain not to an understanding of all things—our patience will be rewarded, our prayer answered, and our faith increased. So let us not be weary in reading the Scriptures which we do not understand, but let it be unto us according to our faith, by which we believe that all Scripture, being inspired by God, is profitable” (Origen, quoted by Westcott).

[For many other early patristic references on this subject of the teaching of the Church of the first days on the subject of the “Inspiration of the Scriptures,” see the exhaustive paper of the Religious Professor of Divinity (Cambridge), Canon Westcott, in his Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, Appendix C, pp. 383-423, upon which this short Excursus is mainly based.]

2 Timothy 3:16. All Scripture — Or the whole Scripture, received by the Jewish Church, θεοπνευστος, is inspired of God — Respecting the inspiration of the books of the Old Testament, I find two opinions, says Dr. Benson, on this passage: “1st, That the writers of the several books had all the thoughts, and even the very words, suggested to them by the Spirit of God: and that they were the penmen of the Spirit to commit to writing just what he dictated. 2d, Others think with more latitude; and allow, indeed, that Moses received the Law from God; and that the prophets were inspired by the Spirit to foretel future events, which lay out of the reach of human foresight; but that they were left to express themselves in their own words and phrases, in which they give a faithful account of what the Spirit dictated to them, 2 Peter 1:20-21. But as to what was handed down by authentic tradition, or the facts with which they themselves were thoroughly acquainted, they could, as faithful historians, commit them to writing, and that without any extraordinary inspiration. And their account, as far as our present copies are exact, may be depended upon as satisfactory and authentic.” He adds, “If the Spirit presided, strengthened their memories, and preserved them from mistakes, this last opinion may not be much amiss.” See Introduction to the New Testament, pp. 7, 8, where the subject of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures is more particularly considered. Is profitable for doctrine — All the great and important doctrines of religion necessary to be known in order to salvation, are there taught, and that more clearly and fully than elsewhere; and with an authority and influence to be found in no other writings. For reproof — Or conviction, as ελεγχον rather signifies; and that not only of error in judgment, but of sin in practice, and of condemnation and wrath due to us on account of sin; as also the depravity of our nature; of our weakness and inability to save ourselves, and of righteousness and salvation for us in Christ. For correction — Or amendment, as επανορθωσιν may be properly rendered; showing us clearly, 1st, What evils in temper, word, or work, are to be avoided: 2d, What graces and virtues must be possessed and practised; furnishing us, at the same time, with all proper and needful motives to holiness of heart and life, showing us where our strength lies. For instruction — Or training and building persons up, in righteousness — Leading them on from one degree of piety and virtue to another, with a progress which will continually advance in proportion to the regard they pay to these divine writings. For the Spirit of God not only once inspired those who endited them, but continually inspires and supernaturally assists those that read them in humility, simplicity, and faith, with earnest prayer to the Father of lights for a right understanding of them, and for inclination and power to reduce their contents to practice. That the man of God — Not only every Christian minister, or public teacher of religion, but every man devoted to the service of God; may be perfect — May come to the measure of the stature of Christ’s fulness, Ephesians 4:13, &c., where see the note, and on Colossians 1:28; or may stand complete in the whole will of God; thoroughly furnished unto all good works — Fitted for discharging every part of his duty. Thus we see that the apostle’s encomium on the Jewish Scriptures consists of two parts; their divine inspiration, and their usefulness for illustrating the gospel revelation; so that a Christian minister, who rightly understands them, is thereby fitted for every part of his work. Our Lord also, on various occasions, bare testimony to the Jewish Scriptures, and to their connection with the gospel. What then are we to think of those teachers who are at so much pains to disjoin the Christian revelation from the Jewish, as if the latter were not of divine original, and had no connection with the gospel; and, instead of illustrating and confirming the gospel, were rather an encumbrance to it? 3:14-17 Those who would learn the things of God, and be assured of them, must know the Holy Scriptures, for they are the Divine revelation. The age of children is the age to learn; and those who would get true learning, must get it out of the Scriptures. They must not lie by us neglected, seldom or never looked into. The Bible is a sure guide to eternal life. The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what they received of God, 2Pe 1:21. It is profitable for all purposes of the Christian life. It is of use to all, for all need to be taught, corrected, and reproved. There is something in the Scriptures suitable for every case. Oh that we may love our Bibles more, and keep closer to them! then shall we find benefit, and at last gain the happiness therein promised by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the main subject of both Testaments. We best oppose error by promoting a solid knowledge of the word of truth; and the greatest kindness we can do to children, is to make them early to know the Bible.All Scripture - This properly refers to the Old Testament, and should not be applied to any part of the New Testament, unless it can be shown that that part was then written, and was included under the general name of "the Scriptures;" compare 2 Peter 3:15-16. But it includes the whole of the Old Testament, and is the solemn testimony of Paul that it was all inspired. If now it can be proved that Paul himself was an inspired man, this settles the question as to the inspiration of the Old Testament.

Is given by inspiration of God - All this is expressed in the original by one word - Θεόπνευστος Theopneustos. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, God-inspired - from Θεός Theos, "God," and πνέω pneō, "to breathe, to breathe out." The idea of "breathing upon, or breathing into the soul," is that which the word naturally conveys. Thus, God breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life Genesis 2:7, and thus the Saviour breathed on his disciples, and said, "receive ye the Holy Ghost;" John 20:22. The idea seems to have been, that the life was in the breath, and that an intelligent spirit was communicated with the breath. The expression was used among the Greeks, and a similar one was employed by the Romans. Plutarch ed. R. 9:p. 583. 9. τοὺς ὀνείρους τοὺς θεοπνεύστους tous oneirous tous theopneustous. Phocylid. 121. τῆς δὲ θεοπνεύστου σοφίης λόγος ἐστὶν ἄριστος tēs de theopnoustou sophiēs logos estin aristos.

Perhaps, however, this is not an expression of Phocylides, but of the pseudo Phocylides. So it is understood by Bloomfield. Cicero, pro Arch. 8. "poetam - quasi divino quodam spiritu inflari." The word does not occur in the Septuagint, but is found in Josephus, Contra Apion, i. 7. "The Scripture of the prophets who were taught according to the inspiration of God - κατὰ τὴν ἐπίπνοιαν τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ kata tēn epipnoian tēn apo tou Theou. In regard to the manner of inspiration, and to the various questions which have been started as to its nature, nothing can be learned from the use of this word. It asserts a fact - that the Old Testament was composed under a divine influence, which might be represented by "breathing on one," and so imparting life. But the language must be figurative; for God does not breathe, though the fair inference is, that those Scriptures are as much the production of God, or are as much to be traced to him, as life is; compare Matthew 22:43; 2 Peter 1:21. The question as to the degree of inspiration, and whether it extends to the words of Scripture, and how far the sacred writers were left to the exercise of their own faculties, is foreign to the design of these notes. All that is necessary to be held is, that the sacred writers were kept from error on those subjects which were matters of their own observation, or which pertained to memory; and that there were truths imparted to them directly by the Spirit of God, which they could never have arrived at by the unaided exercise of their own minds. Compare the introduction to Isaiah and Job.

And is profitable. - It is useful; it is adapted to give instruction, to administer reproof, etc. If "all" Scripture is thus valuable, then we are to esteem no part of the Old Testament as worthless. There is no portion of it, even now, which may not be fitted, in certain circumstances, to furnish us valuable lessons, and, consequently, no part of it which could be spared from the sacred canon. There is no part of the human body which is not useful in its place, and no part of it which can be spared without sensible loss.

For doctrine - For teaching or communicating instruction; compare the notes on 1 Timothy 4:16.

For reproof - On the meaning of the word here rendered "reproof" - ἐλέγγμος elengmos - see the notes on Hebrews 11:1. It here means, probably, for "convincing;" that is, convincing a man of his sins, of the truth and claims of religion, etc.; see the notes on John 16:8.

For correction - The word here used - ἐπανόρθωσις epanorthōsis - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, "a setting to rights, reparation, restoration," (from ἐπανορθόω epanorthoō, to right up again, to restore); and here means, the leading to a correction or amendment of life - "a reformation." The meaning is, that the Scriptures are a powerful means of reformation, or of putting men into the proper condition in regard to morals. After all the means which have been employed to reform mankind; all the appeals which are made to them on the score of health, happiness, respectability, property, and long life, the word of God is still the most powerful and the most effectual means of recovering those who have fallen into vice. No reformation can be permanent which is not based on the principles of the word of God.

For instruction in righteousness - Instruction in regard to the principles of justice, or what is right. Man needs not only to be made acquainted with truth, to be convinced of his error, and to be reformed; but he needs to be taught what is right, or what is required of him, in order that he may lead a holy life. Every reformed and regenerated man needs instruction, and should not be left merely with the evidence that he is "reformed, or converted." He should be followed with the principles of the word of God, to show him how he may lead an upright life. The Scriptures furnish the rules of holy living in abundance, and thus they are adapted to the whole work of recovering man, and of guiding him to heaven.

16. All scripture—Greek, "Every Scripture," that is, Scripture in its every part. However, English Version is sustained, though the Greek article be wanting, by the technical use of the term "Scripture" being so well known as not to need the article (compare Greek, Eph 3:15; 2:21). The Greek is never used of writings in general, but only of the sacred Scriptures. The position of the two Greek adjectives closely united by "and," forbids our taking the one as an epithet, the other as predicated and translated as Alford and Ellicott. "Every Scripture given by inspiration of God is also profitable." Vulgate and the best manuscripts, favor English Version. Clearly the adjectives are so closely connected that as surely as one is a predicate, the other must be so too. Alford admits his translation to be harsh, though legitimate. It is better with English Version to take it in a construction legitimate, and at the same time not harsh. The Greek, "God-inspired," is found nowhere else. Most of the New Testament books were written when Paul wrote this his latest Epistle: so he includes in the clause "All Scripture is God-inspired," not only the Old Testament, in which alone Timothy was taught when a child (2Ti 3:15), but the New Testament books according as they were recognized in the churches which had men gifted with "discerning of spirits," and so able to distinguish really inspired utterances, persons, and so their writings from spurious. Paul means, "All Scripture is God-inspired and therefore useful"; because we see no utility in any words or portion of it, it does not follow it is not God-inspired. It is useful, because God-inspired; not God-inspired, because useful. One reason for the article not being before the Greek, "Scripture," may be that, if it had, it might be supposed that it limited the sense to the hiera grammata, "Holy Scriptures" (2Ti 3:15) of the Old Testament, whereas here the assertion is more general: "all Scripture" (compare Greek, 2Pe 1:20). The translation, "all Scripture that is God-inspired is also useful," would imply that there is some Scripture which is not God-inspired. But this would exclude the appropriated sense of the word "Scripture"; and who would need to be told that "all divine Scripture is useful ('profitable')?" Heb 4:13 would, in Alford's view, have to be rendered, "All naked things are also open to the eyes of Him," &c.: so also 1Ti 4:4, which would be absurd [Tregelles, Remarks on the Prophetic Visions of the Book of Daniel]. Knapp well defines inspiration, "An extraordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught how and what they should speak or write" (compare 2Sa 23:1; Ac 4:25; 2Pe 1:21). The inspiration gives the divine sanction to all the words of Scripture, though those words be the utterances of the individual writer, and only in special cases revealed directly by God (1Co 2:13). Inspiration is here predicated of the writings, "all Scripture," not of the persons. The question is not how God has done it; it is as to the word, not the men who wrote it. What we must believe is that He has done it, and that all the sacred writings are every where inspired, though not all alike matter of special revelation: and that even the very words are stamped with divine sanction, as Jesus used them (for example in the temptation and Joh 10:34, 35), for deciding all questions of doctrine and practice. There are degrees of revelation in Scripture, but not of inspiration. The sacred writers did not even always know the full significancy of their own God-inspired words (1Pe 1:10, 11, 12). Verbal inspiration does not mean mechanical dictation, but all "Scripture is (so) inspired by God," that everything in it, its narratives, prophecies, citations, the whole—ideas, phrases, and words—are such as He saw fit to be there. The present condition of the text is no ground for concluding against the original text being inspired, but is a reason why we should use all critical diligence to restore the original inspired text. Again, inspiration may be accompanied by revelation or not, but it is as much needed for writing known doctrines or facts authoritatively, as for communicating new truths [Tregelles]. The omission here of the substantive verb is,' I think, designed to mark that, not only the Scripture then existing, but what was still to be written till the canon should be completed, is included as God-inspired. The Old Testament law was the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; so it is appropriately said to be "able to make wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ": the term wisdom being appropriated to a knowledge of the relations between the Old and New Testaments, and opposed to the pretended wisdom of the false teachers (1Ti 1:7, 8).

doctrine—Greek, "teaching," that is, teaching the ignorant dogmatic truths which they cannot otherwise know. He so uses the Old Testament, Ro 1:17.

reproof—"refutation," convicting the erring of their error. Including polemical divinity. As an example of this use of the Old Testament, compare Ga 3:6, 13, 16. "Doctrine and reproof" comprehend the speculative parts of divinity. Next follow the practical: Scripture is profitable for: (1) correction (Greek, "setting one right"; compare an example, 1Co 10:1-10) and instruction (Greek, "disciplining," as a father does his child, see on [2504]2Ti 2:25; Eph 6:4; Heb 12:5, 11, or "training" by instruction, warning, example, kindnesses, promises, and chastisements; compare an example, 1Co 5:13). Thus the whole science of theology is complete in Scripture. Since Paul is speaking of Scripture in general and in the notion of it, the only general reason why, in order to perfecting the godly (2Ti 3:17), it should extend to every department of revealed truth, must be that it was intended to be the complete and sufficient rule in all things touching perfection. See Article VI, Common Prayer Book.

in—Greek, "instruction which is in righteousness," as contrasted with the "instruction" in worldly rudiments (Col 2:20, 22).

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God: Scripture signifies no more than writing; some therefore translate this text thus: All Scripture which is inspired of God; not all writings, but all the books of the Old Testament, is yeopneustov. This is expounded by Peter, 2 Peter 1:21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And is profitable for doctrine; and it is profitable to instruct us in all propositions of truth which we need believe in order to salvation.

For reproof; elegcon, to convince us either of any truth, that we may believe it without any hesitation, or of any sin, that we may be humbled for it, without any extenuation.

For correction; for reproof, or correction, or reformation, to reprove us in what we are to be reproved, to correct us in any error, to show us the way to bring us to rights and to reform us.

For instruction in righteousness; to instruct us in the true righteousness, in which we must appear before God; for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, Romans 1:17. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,.... That is, all holy Scripture; for of that only the apostle is speaking; and he means the whole of it; not only the books of the Old Testament, but of the New, the greatest part of which was now written; for this second epistle to Timothy is by some thought to be the last of Paul's epistles; and this also will hold good of what was to be written; for all is inspired by God, or breathed by him: the Scriptures are the breath of God, the word of God and not men; they are "written by the Spirit", as the Syriac version renders it; or "by the Spirit of God", as the Ethiopic version. The Scriptures are here commended, from the divine authority of them; and which is attested and confirmed by various arguments; as the majesty and loftiness of their style, which in many places is inimitable by men; the sublimity of the matter contained in them, which transcends all human understanding and capacity ever to have attained unto and discovered; as the trinity of persons in the Godhead, the incarnation of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, &c. The purity and holiness of them before observed, show them to be the word of him that is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; as also their harmony and agreement, though wrote by different persons, in different places, and ages, and at sundry times, and in divers manners; what seeming inconsistencies are observed in them may, with labour and industry, by divine assistance, be reconciled. The predictions of future events in them, as particularly concerning Josiah and Cyrus, by name, long before they were born, and especially concerning Jesus Christ, and which have had their accomplishment, and many others in the New Testament both by Christ and his apostles, are a proof that they could not be the writings of men, but must have the omniscient God for their author; the impartiality of the writers of them, in not concealing the mean extract of some of them, the sins of others before conversion, and even their sins and failings afterwards, as well as those of their nearest relations and dearest friends, strengthens the proof of their divine authority; to which may be added, the wonderful preservation of them, through all the changes and declensions of the Jewish church and state, to whom the books of the Old Testament were committed; and notwithstanding the violence and malice of Heathen persecutors, particularly Dioclesian, who sought to destroy every copy of the Scriptures, and published an edict for that purpose, and notwithstanding the numbers of heretics, and who have been in power, as also the apostasy of the church of Rome; and yet these writings have been preserved, and kept pure and incorrupt, which is not the case of other writings; nor are there any of such antiquity as the oldest of these: to which may be subjoined the testimony of God himself; his outward testimony by miracles, wrought by Moses and the prophets, concerned in the writings of the Old Testament, and by the apostles in the New; and his internal testimony, which is the efficacy of these Scriptures on the hearts of men; the reading and hearing of which, having been owned for the conversion, comfort and edification of thousands and thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand: and

is profitable for doctrine; for the discovering, illustrating, and confirming any doctrine concerning God, the being, persons, and perfections of God; concerning the creation and fall of man; concerning the person and offices of Christ, redemption by him, justification by his righteousness, pardon by his blood, reconciliation and atonement by his sacrifice, and eternal life through him, with many others. The Scripture is profitable for ministers to fetch doctrine from, and establish it by; and for hearers to try and prove it by:

for reproof; of errors and heresies; this is the sword of the Spirit, which cuts all down. There never was, nor is, nor can be any error or heresy broached in the world, but there is a sufficient refutation of it in the Scriptures; which may be profitably used for that purpose, as it often has been by Christ and his apostles, and others since in all ages:

for correction; of vice; there being no sin, but the evil nature of it is shown, its wicked tendency is exposed, and the sad effects and consequences of it are pointed out in these writings: for instruction in righteousness; in every branch of duty incumbent upon men; whether with respect to God, or one another; for there is no duty men are obliged unto, but the nature, use, and excellency of it, are here shown: the Scriptures are a perfect rule of faith and practice; and thus they are commended from the usefulness and profitableness of them.

{5} All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

(5) The eighth admonition which is most precious: a pastor must be wise by the word of God alone: in which we have perfectly delivered to us, whatever pertains to discerning, knowing and establishing true opinions, and to prove which opinions are false: and furthermore, to correct evil manners, and to establish good.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Timothy 3:16. Reason given for the last thought.

πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος πρὸς κ.τ.λ.] πᾶσα γραφή, not: “the whole of Scripture” (Beza: tota scriptura, i. e. Canon Hebraeorum), but “every Scripture;” or, still better, “all Scripture.”

θεόπνευστος] ἅπ. λεγ.; the explanation of this word, which also in classic Greek is applied to seers and poets, is specially aided by the passage in 2 Peter 1:21 : ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν οἱ ἅγιοι Θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι.

In various old versions (Syr. Vulg.; so also in Clement, Origen, Tertullian, etc.) καί is wanting; and Luther did not express it in his translation; in that case θεόπν. is clearly an attribute belonging to the subject; Luther: “all Scripture inspired by God is.” With the correct reading, however, θεόπν. may be a predicate; so Bengel: est haec pars non subjecti (quam enim scripturam dicat Paulus, per se patet), sed praedicati; so, too, Matthies, de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and others. Other expositors, again, such as Grotius, Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, Plitt, Hofmann, take θεόπνευστος as an attribute of the subject, even with this reading, and explain καί as “also.” This construction is the right one. On the one hand, it is ungrammatical to explain πᾶσα γραφή by “the whole of Scripture.” Wiesinger argues against this by appealing to Ephesians 2:21 and to Hebrews 3:3; see Meyer on the one passage and Delitzsch on the other, where, too, Lünemann translates: “every house.”[55] Wiesinger argues also that γραφή is regarded as a proper name, which he tries to prove by 2 Peter 1:20 and John 7:15; but, though a substantive is used once without an article, it does not follow that it has the signification of a proper name (on John 7:15, comp. Meyer). On the other hand, this sentence does not properly give a reason for the preceding thought (Wiesinger), but rather confirms it, and hence there was no reason for directing attention to the fact that the whole of Scripture is θεόπνευστος. There was no doubt on that point (viz. that the whole of Scripture and not a part of it was inspired by God), but on the point whether the Scriptures as θεόπνευστοι are also (καί serves to confirm) ὠφέλιμοι. There is no ground for asserting that, with this view, there could not have been an ellipse of ἐστιν (Wiesinger).

πρὸς διδασκαλίαν κ.τ.λ.] Heydenreich thinks that the apostle is not speaking here of the profitableness of Scripture in general and for all Christians, but of its utility to teachers of religion. So also Hofmann: “The sentence does not say of what service Holy Scripture is to him who reads it, but what use can be made of it by him who teaches.” This view, however, is wrong; neither in 2 Timothy 3:14 nor 2 Timothy 3:15 is there anything said regarding Timothy’s work in teaching; the apostle does not pass on to this point till the next chapter, 2 Timothy 3:17 notwithstanding.

πρὸς διδασκ.; Holy Scripture is profitable for teaching by advancing us in knowledge; πρὸς ἔλεγχον (or ἐλεγμόν), by convincing us of sin and rebuking us on account of sin. Theodoret: ἐλέγχει γὰρ ἡμῶν τὸν παράνομον βίον. Chrysostom understands it only of the conviction of error; so, too, Bengel: convincit etiam in errore et praejudicio versantes; Heydenreich, too, refers it, like διδασκαλία, only to what is theoretical. Ἐλέγχειν certainly does occur in this sense, Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13, but it is more frequently used of what is practical, 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 2:15.

πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν] by working amendment in us. Theodoret: παρακαλεῖ καὶ τοὺς παρατραπέντας ἐπανελθεῖν εἰς τὴν εὐθείαν ὁδόν;

ἐπανορθ. (ἅπ. λεγ.) is synonymous with νουθεσία, 1 Corinthians 10:11.

πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ] by advancing us in the further development of the Christian life. Luther is not wrong in translating παιδεία by “correction,” inasmuch as in N. T. usage it is applied to the education which not only developes the existing good, but also counteracts existing evil. δικαιοσύνη: “the Christian life of piety.”

Theodoret: ἐκπαιδεύει ἡμᾶς τὰ εἴδη τῆς ἀρετῆς.

There is an obvious climax in the series of these thoughts.

[55] Not less inappropriate is van Oosterzee’s appeal to Ephesians 3:15 (comp. Meyer on the passage, and Winer, pp. 105 f. [E. T. pp. 137 f.]) and to 1 Peter 1:15.2 Timothy 3:16. In the absence of any extant Greek MS. authority for the omission of καί before ὠφέλιμος, we may assume that the early writers who ignored it did so from carelessness. The sentence then is best taken as a repetition and expansion of that which has just preceded; θεόπνευστος corresponding to ἱερά, and ὠφέλιμος, κ.τ.λ., to σοφίσαι, κ.τ.λ.: Every writing which is inspired by God is also profitable. γραφή of course has exclusive reference to the definite collection of writings which St. Paul usually designates as ἡ γραφή or αἱ γραφαί; but it is used here in a partitive, not in a collective sense. A parallel case is John 19:36-37, ἡ γραφήἑτέρα γραφή. Hence the rendering writing or passage is less free from ambiguity than scripture (R.V.). The nearest parallel to this ascensive use of καί, as Ellicott terms it, is Galatians 4:7, εἰ δὲ νἱός, καὶ κληρονόμος. See also Luke 1:36, Acts 26:26; Acts 28:28, Romans 8:29.

θεόπνευστος: If there is any polemical force in this adj., it is in reference to heretical writings, the contents of which were merely intellectual, not edifying. In any case, the greatest stress is laid on ὠφέλιμος. St. Paul would imply that the best test of a γραφή being θεόπνενστος would be its proved serviceableness for the moral and spiritual needs of man. See Romans 15:4, 2 Peter 1:20-21. This, the R.V. explanation of the passage, is that given by Origen, Chrys., Thdrt., syrr., the Clementine Vulg., Omnis scriptura divinitus inspirata utilis est ad docendum etc. [The true Vulg. text, however, is insp. div. et utilis ad doc.] The other view (A.V., R.V.m.), which takes καὶ as a simple copula, Every Scripture is inspired and profitable, is open to the objection that neither in the antecedent nor in the following context is there any suggestion that the inspiration of Scripture was being called in question; the theme of the passage being the moral equipment of the man of God. For this view are cited Greg. Naz., Ath. It is to be added that it is possible to render πᾶσα γραφή, the whole of Scripture, on the analogy of Matthew 2:3, πᾶσα Ἰερόσολυμα (Ephesians 2:21 cannot be safely adduced as a case in point); but it is unnecessary and unnatural.

διδασκαλίαν (see notes on 1 Timothy 1:10) and ἐλεγμόν represent respectively positive and negative teaching. Similarly ἐπανόρθωσιν and παιδείαν have relation respectively to “the raising up of them that fall,” and the disciplining the unruly; ad corrigendum, ad erudiendum (Vulg.).

τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ: a παιδεία which is exercised in righteousness. Compare the dissertation on the παιδεία Κυρίου, Hebrews 12:5 sqq. παιδεία in reff. is used in relation to children only.16. All scripture] The word for ‘Scripture’ occurs fifty-one times in N.T., always, except 2 Peter 3:16, of the recognised Old Testament Scriptures, the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, or of one or more of them; in 2 Peter 3:16 the reference is to St Paul’s epistles and to ‘the other Scriptures.’ The A.V. of a.d. 1611 is therefore not wrong (though many printed copies have altered it) in rendering the word as ‘Scripture’ with a capital S; for it is by itself the recognised technical term.

We should translate Every Scripture probably, as is the proper rendering when there is no article. The word ‘Scripture’ is without the article also in John 19:37; 1 Peter 2:6; 2 Peter 1:20. Those who retain the rendering ‘All Scripture’ with A.V. would lay stress on the technical use of the word shewn above, so that it may be treated as a proper name, comparing Acts 2:36, ‘all (the) house of Israel.’ But this is unnecessary, especially as the three places where the word occurs without the article in the singular have the meaning ‘a Book or passage of Scripture’ and they are in date as late as or later than this Epistle.

given by inspiration of God] One word in the original, a passive verbal, occurring only here in N.T., and meaning ‘filled with the breath of God’ so as to be ‘living oracles,’ Acts 7:38. Cf. 2 Peter 1:21, ‘holy men of God moved by the Holy Spirit.’ Compare also the following passage written about a.d. 95, at the same time as the last N.T. book, St John’s Gospel: ‘Search the Scriptures, the true Scriptures, the Scriptures of the Holy Ghost: ye know that there is nothing unrighteous, nothing counterfeit written in them.’ Clem. Rom. ad Cor. c. 45.

There are two ways of taking this adjective, either as an attribute (so R.V.) or a predicate (so A.V.); either ‘Every Scripture, inasmuch as it is inspired of God, is also useful &c.’ or ‘Every Scripture is inspired and is profitable &c.’ In the latter case the second predicate comes in tamely. In the one case inspiration is assumed, in the other it is asserted.

profitable for doctrine] For teaching.

for reproof] The noun occurs only Hebrews 11:1, ‘the proving of things not seen.’ The corresponding verb is used five times by St Paul in these epistles, e.g. 2 Timothy 4:2.

correction] Only here in N.T. though a good classical word, cf. Dem. c. Timocr. 707, 7 ‘they shall lose their promotion to the Areopagus for putting down the amendment of the laws.’

for instruction in righteousness] Lit. discipline which is in righteousness; the verb ‘disciplining’ has occurred, 1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:25, where see notes. It occurs with ‘reprove’ in the letter to the church at Laodicea, Revelation 3:19, where R.V. ‘chasten.’ ‘Which is in righteousness’ just as ‘faith which is in Christ Jesus’ above; the definite article indicates the definite sphere of exercise for the discipline and the faith. See note on 1 Timothy 1:2, where without the article the preposition and its case are shewn to be very nearly equivalent to an adjective. Ellicott well sums up the meaning ‘that Holy Scripture teaches the ignorant, convicts the evil and prejudiced, corrects the fallen and erring, and trains in righteousness all men, especially those that need bringing to fuller measures of perfection.’2 Timothy 3:16. Πᾶσα γραφὴ, all Scripture) The sacred Scripture, in all its parts. All the latest epistles of Paul as much as possible recommend the Scripture.—θεόπνευστος, given by inspiration o God) This is a part, not of the subject (for what Scripture or class of writings [as Scripture means] Paul intends, is evident in itself, as elsewhere, so in this passage), but of the predicate. It was divinely inspired, not merely while it was written, God breathing through the writers; but also, whilst it is being read, God breathing through the Scripture, and the Scripture breathing Him [He being their very breath]. Hence it is so profitable.—πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, for doctrine) Doctrine instructs the ignorant; reproof convinces also those who are labouring under error and under prejudice; correction recalls a man from wrong (obliquity) to right (rectitude): training [‘eruditio,’ Engl. Vers. instruction] in righteousness positively instructs; ch. 2 Timothy 2:24; Sir 18:13.Verse 16. - Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable for all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable, A.V.; teaching for doctrine, A.V.; which is in for in, A.V. Every Scripture, etc. There are two ways of construing this important passage: (A) As in the A.V., in which θεόπνευστος is part of the predicate coupled by καὶ with the following ὠφέλιμος; (B) as in the R.V., where θεόπνευστος ισ part of the subject (as πᾶ῀ν ἔργον ἀγαθόν, "every good work," 2 Corinthians 9:8, and elsewhere); and the following καὶ is ascensive, and to be rendered "is also." Commentators are pretty equally divided, though the older ones (as Origen, Jerome (Vulgate), the versions) mostly adopt (B). In favour of (A), however, it may be said

(1) that such a sentence as that which arises from (B) necessarily implies that there are some γραφαὶ which are not θεόπνευστοι, just as Πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν implies that there are some works which are not good; πᾶσα εὐλογία πνευματική (Ephesians 1:3), that there are some blessings which are not spiritual; πᾶν ἔργον πονηρόν (2 Timothy 4:18), that there are some works which are not evil; and so on. But as γραφή is invariably used in the New Testament for "Scripture," and not for any profane writing: it is not in accordance with biblical language to say, "every inspired Scripture," because every Scripture is inspired.

(2) The sentence, taken according to (B), is an extremely awkward, and, as Alford admits. harsh construction, net supported in its entirety by one single parallel usage in the whole New Testament.

(3) The sentence, taken according to (A), is a perfectly simple one, and is exactly parallel with 1 Timothy 4:4, Πᾶν κτίσμα Θεοῦ καλόν καὶ οὐδὲν ἀπόβλητον, "Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused."

(4) It is in perfect harmony with the context. Having in the preceding verse stated the excellence of the sacred writings, he accounts for that excellence by referring to their origin and source. They are inspired of God, and hence their wide use and great power.

(5) This interpretation is supported by high authority: Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, etc., among the ancients (Alford); and Bengel, Wiesinger, De Wette, etc., among modern. The advocates of (B), as Bishop Ellicott, Dean Alford, etc., speak very doubtfully. With regard to the rendering of πᾶσα γραφή, no doubt, strict grammar, in the absence of the article, favours the rendering in the R.V., "every Scripture," rather than that of the A.V., "all Scripture." But Alford's remark on Matthew 1:20 applies with full force here: "When a word or an expression came to bear a technical conventional meaning, it was also common to use it without the article, as if it were a proper name, e.g., Θεός νόμος υἱὸς Θεοῦ," etc. Therefore, just as πᾶσα Ἱεροσόλυμα (Matthew 2:3) means "all Jerusalem," not "every Jerusalem," so here πᾶσα γραφή means "all Scripture." What follows of the various uses of Holy Scripture is not true of "every Scripture." One Scripture is profitable for doctrine, another for reproof, and so on. Examples of γραφή without the article are 2 Peter 1:20 and Romans 1:2; and of πᾶς not followed by the article, and yet meaning "all," are in Ephesians 2:21 and Ephesians 3:15. Inspired of God, etc. (θεόπνευστος); here only in the New Testament or LXX., but occasionally in classical Greek, as Plutarch. For teaching, etc. The particular uses for which Scripture is said to be profitable present no difficulty. Teaching, of which Holy Scripture is the only infallible source. Reproof (ἔλεγχον or ἐλεγμόν); only here and Hebrews 11:1; but in classical Greek it means "a proof," specially for the purpose of "refutation" of a false statement or argument. Here in the same sense for the "conviction" or "refutation" of false teachers (comp. Titus 1:9, 13), but probably including errors in living (compare in the 'Ordering of Priests,' "That there be no place left among you, either for error in religion or for viciousness in life"). Correction (ἐπανόρθωσιν); only here in the New Testament, but occasionally in the LXX., and frequently in classical Greek, as Aristotle, Plato, etc., in the sense of "correction," i.e. setting a person or thing straight, "revisal," "improvement," "amendment," or the like. It may be applied equally to opinions and to morals, or way of life. Instruction which is in righteousness. There is no advantage in this awkward phraseology. "Instruction in righteousness" exactly expresses the meaning. The Greek, τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνη, merely limits the παιδεία to the sphere of righteousness or Christian virtue. By the use of Holy Scripture the Christian is being continually more perfectly instructed in holy living. All Scripture (πᾶσα γραφὴ)

Better, every Scripture, that is, every passage of Scripture. Scripture as a whole is as αἱ γραφαί or αἱ γραφαί ἅγιαι. Ἱερά is never used with γραφὴ. Γραφὴ is the single passage, usually defined by this, or that, or the, or which saith.

Is given by inspiration of God (θεόπνευστος)

N.T.o. olxx. From θεὸς God and πνεῖν to breathe. God-breathed. The word tells us nothing of the peculiar character or limits of inspiration beyond the fact that it proceeds from God. In construction omit is, and rend. as attributive of γραφὴ every divinely-inspired Scripture.

And is profitable (καὶ ὠφέλιμος)

According to A.V., καὶ and is merely the copula between two predicates of γραφὴ. It is divinely inspired and is profitable. According to the interpretation given above, καὶ has the force of also. Every divinely-inspired Scripture is, besides being so inspired and for that reason, also profitable, etc. Ὡφέλιμος profitable, Pasto. See on 1 Timothy 4:8.

For doctrine (πρὸς διδασκαλίαν)

Better, teaching. Comp. to make thee wise, 2 Timothy 3:15.

Reproof (ἐλεγμόν)

Better, conviction. N.T.o. oClass. Comparatively frequent in lxx, mostly in the sense of rebuke: sometimes curse, punishment. See Ps. of Solomon 10:1, but the reading is disputed with ἐλέγχῳ. See on the verb ἐλέγχειν, John 3:20.

Correction (ἐπανόρθωσιν)

N.T.o. Twice in lxx. Restoring to an upright state (ὀρθός erect); setting right.

Instruction (παιδείαν)

Better, chastisement or discipline. See on Ephesians 6:4. In lxx mostly correction or discipline, sometimes admonition. Specially of God's chastisement by means of sorrow and evil.

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