2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction…
"Every Scripture inspired of God," is the declaration, "is profitable." Profitable for what? Well, "for teaching, for reproof, for correction." It is a good teaching-book. It is a good book out of which to get instruction, provided you seek the right sort of instruction — instruction in righteousness. What is righteousness? Right living. In the Old Testament and the New the ideal pattern is that of a man living right in himself, in his social and civic relations, in his whole orb of self. A man must have some ideal pattern before him, and he must live according to it. The Bible is said to be inspired — that part of it which is inspired. "Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." For what purpose? Why, "that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." There are two radical views of the function of sacred Scripture. First, it is held that it is a book proceeding directly from the mind of God, in the same sense in which Milton's poems proceeded from his mind, or in which Newton's discoveries proceeded from his mind, or in which any legislation proceeds from the minds of the legislators, and that it contains a substantial revelation of God's moral government, both in this life and in the other world. In part, it is such a book; but that is not the genius of the Bible. Such is not the grand end of this book. The second view is the Scriptural theory. It is contained in the text. The Bible is a book that under. takes to teach men how to live so that they shall live hereafter; and in regard to that aim and design of the Bible there is no divergence of opinion. All Scripture, then, is not inspired. Why should we suppose that the genealogies, and the land laws, or the laws of property, among the Jews, needed to be either inspired or revealed? Was it to supersede the natural operation of human reason that the Bible was given? If the division of property sprang up in the Hebrew commonwealth, and if there were many minute economies, all of which were of a nature such as that they could be born out of the human mind, and it was perfectly within the power of the human mind to write them down, what inspiration was needed for that purpose? No inspiration is necessary to record things that common human intelligence cannot miss, and cannot very well fail of recording. Proverbs and national songs, manners and customs, of the Hebrew commonwealth — all lay within the natural function of human reason; and when it is said, "All Scripture that is inspired," doubtless it was with the conception that many of these things were natural and not supernatural. The existence of God; a belief in the moral order of the universe, or supervising Divine Providence; conscience, or the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, and sensibility to that which is right as well as reaction from that which is wrong; the nature of things that are right and the nature of things that are wrong; sanctions for virtue, and sanctions also, penal, for vice, selfishness, wickedness, cruelty — all these things are constitutional, if I may say so, in the Bible. Here, then, is the life that you must not live, and here is the life that you must live. Was there ever a man that wanted to take anything away from that? The whole Bible is aa attempt to correct a man, and take him away from this under-passionate life of which we have been hearing the registration, and to persuade him to come out of it into the higher and spiritual life. The genius of the Bible is to lift men to righteousness, and to show the things to be avoided, and the things to be taken on. It is a book of instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished to every good work; and here are the work and the qualities. Now, I should like to know if there is any infidel in this world on that subject, or can be. A great many do not believe that God can exist in three persons; but is there anybody that ever doubted that love was beautiful, was true, was desirable? A great many men have had theories of the Atonement of Jesus Christ; there are some fifteen or twenty different theories or modifications on that subject; but did men ever have any difference of opinion as to love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, or any of these other qualities? About them there is absolute unity.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: