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Understanding the Profitability of Scripture

Divine Inspiration and Its Purpose


The Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy contains a pivotal passage that speaks directly to the profitability of Scripture. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul writes, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." This verse outlines four specific ways in which Scripture serves its divine purpose in the life of a believer. Understanding each of these is crucial for a holistic grasp of how the Bible functions as a transformative tool.


Profitable for Teaching


The first role of Scripture is its use for teaching. The Greek word used here, "didaskalia," refers to doctrine or what is taught. This encompasses the fundamental truths about Jehovah, the nature of man, sin, redemption, and the kingdom of God. Teaching is foundational because it establishes the bedrock of truth upon which believers can build their lives. For example, the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God, Jehovah is one. Love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength," serves as a fundamental teaching on the nature of God and our relationship to Him.


Profitable for Reproof


The second utility of Scripture is for reproof. This term comes from the Greek "elenchos," meaning to convict or expose. Reproof involves the exposure of wrong beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. It is the diagnostic feature of Scripture, revealing where we fall short of God’s standards. In cases like King David’s sin with Bathsheba, Nathan the prophet’s use of a parable led David to self-conviction under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (2 Samuel 12:1-14). In the life of a believer, Scripture plays this role, showing us our sins and leading us to repentance.


Profitable for Correction


Correction, the third aspect, follows naturally from reproof. Once error has been exposed, Scripture provides the means to correct course. The Greek term "epanorthosis" implies restoration to an upright state, adjustment of life and doctrine. Correction is about realignment to the divine path from which one has deviated. Paul’s letters often served this function, guiding early Christians back to the truth when they erred, as seen in his corrective guidance to the Corinthian church regarding their misuse of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14).


Profitable for Training in Righteousness


Finally, Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness. This involves not merely the negative aspect of pointing out wrong but the positive training in what is right. The word for training, "paideia," includes the idea of education and nurture. This aspect of Scripture’s profitability is about forming character that reflects Jehovah’s own, as seen in the fruits of the Spirit detailed in Galatians 5:22-23. Through continuous engagement with Scripture, believers are equipped to live out their faith in practical ways, growing more like Christ.


Application in the Life of a Believer


In practice, these four functions of Scripture interconnect fluidly within the life of the believer. As one engages with the Word of God, they are taught what is true, reproved of sin, corrected back onto the path of righteousness, and trained to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. This process is vital for spiritual growth and maturity, enabling the believer to fulfill the Great Commission and live out the kingdom principles here on earth.


Scripture’s profitability extends beyond personal transformation to impact the community of believers collectively. As each member of the body of Christ grows in understanding and righteousness, the entire community strengthens, better reflecting the kingdom of Jehovah in a world that desperately needs His truth and grace. Through these functions, Scripture fulfills its divine purpose, proving itself not only relevant but essential to the life of every believer.


About the Author

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is the CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored more than 220 books and is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).


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