"...from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness."2 Timothy 3 15-16
At the start of each term, university lecturers will give their class a list of set textbooks for study. The students can be sure that, if they fail to read these, they will not pass the course.
When it comes to the issues of life, there are many books to which people turn for advice. However, the Bible presents itself as the ultimate textbook. Through it we can know God's wisdom not only for everyday living but also for the world beyond.
When Paul wrote the above words to his friend Timothy, he reminded him of how vital the Bible is. It can give us wisdom that will lead to our eternal salvation. It insists that we cannot save our souls by being good, giving to charity or going to church. Salvation is found only through repenting of our sins and trusting the Lord Jesus who died for those sins, and rose from the dead on the third day. If you want to find this wisdom for salvation then you should read God’s word. If you've never read the Bible before, the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are a good place to start.
The Bible is also valuable for ‘teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’. For those who have trusted Christ and are saved it contains a wealth of wisdom and guidance on right living. Christians need to read it daily if they are to stay on the correct path and make the right choices in life.
Furthermore, Paul reminded Timothy that every part of the Bible is “God breathed”. This means that the individual words it contains are the very words of God. It provides clear instructions from our Maker about how life should be lived; more than this, it gives us the perfect example in the person of Christ. We ignore it at our peril.
The Bible’s claim to be the word of God is not without evidence; rather, it is backed up by the many fulfilled prophecies we find in it. Prophets predicted Christ's virgin birth, His humble birthplace, His amazing miracles, His rejection by His own people, the details of His crucifixion as well as His triumphant resurrection. All of this was clearly recorded over 700 years before Christ's birth and yet was fulfilled with precision, proving the Bible to be the word of God.
Given the Bible's source, it should be no surprise that those who obey it will gradually have their lives transformed. 2 Timothy 3:17 states that the Bible's teaching enables the person who belongs to God to be made complete and fully equipped for every good work. What a useful book!
The question is, are we reading it? We are sure to fail if we neglect life's ultimate textbook.