August 2008

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work."
—Genesis 5:3, NLT2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT

Have you ever received a timely letter from someone who cared for you? The Scripture above is from just such a letter, addressed to a young evangelist named Timothy. It is from his spiritual father, the apostle Paul.

Paul had sent Timothy to Ephesus to address serious problems in the Ephesian church. Factions and false teachings abounded and threatened to upset the very foundation of this flagship church.

After assessing the situation there, Timothy sent Paul a less than desirable report. In reply, Paul wrote a letter to his son in the faith to steer him back to the Word of God--the mainstay of truth as well as his source of strength and encouragement.

The message of Paul to Timothy is a message for us today: Get back to the Word of God.

Paul reminds Timothy of the power of God’s Word by using the Greek term graphe, which is translated "Scripture." This word is used more than 53 times in the Bible and refers to what is called "the ancient writings."

Originally, graphe meant "to draw or to paint." The implication is that God’s Word affects our thinking, painting pictures in our minds. The canvas of the mind is refreshed by studying the Word of God.

Paul also reminds Timothy that all Scripture is inspired by God. He emphasizes his point by using the Greek word theopneustos, which literally means "breathed out from God." In this hour when many good and noble books are being published, we would do well to remember that there is still only one God-breathed book.

Paul goes on to say that the Scriptures teach us what is right and wrong. The Greek word is didaskalia--translated as "teaching or doctrine." The Word of God is to play a huge role in determining our manner of life and behavior.

Paul concludes his message by reminding Timothy that the Word of God is the instrument used to expose, convict, correct and train. The standard still remains, 2,000 years later. That standard is the Word of God.

Maybe we should take Paul’s instruction, too, and return to the eternal foundations in the Word of God. It could be that a timely letter from a trusted friend is simply waiting to be opened.


John Chasteen is the assistant dean of Southwestern Christian University Graduate School in Bethany, Oklahoma. He writes a weekly blog at


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