2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
How can I know for sure? A contemporary individual, immersed from birth in a postmodern culture, would answer that question unequivocally: you can’t! In fact, you can’t know anything for sure. The only reality is a combination of whatever is out there and my perception of it, so my reality and yours can never be the same. You might object, “Wait a minute. That may be the way secular professors, entertainers, politicians, and the media think, but Bible believers are different!” Don’t be too sure. How often from our own pulpits and in evangelical articles and books do we hear that the intuitive approach to reality is just as valid as, if not more valid than, the outmoded intellectual approach? Some Christian leaders think our guide shouldn’t be so much what we think but how we feel.
In this devotional we will take the Word of God as our text. I didn’t always see it that way. Raised in a Christian home, I felt called to ministry and enrolled in a leading evangelical seminary. It was there the problems in Scripture, endlessly spotlighted and analyzed by the critics, began to erode my faith. Finally, I slipped my moorings and bravely launched out into the dark sea of agnosticism. It was a lonely business, denying the validity of anything that lacked the credentials of scientific—that is, physical—evidence. It turned out that little of importance rests on that basis—things like human relationships, especially love.
In the end I began to return to faith. But still the shadows of doubt lurked around the fringes of my mind, sometimes with great insistence. Finally, I said to myself, “In or Out, McQuilkin. How can you teach a Book you’re not all that sure of?” So I took my Bible and tent, went to a lonely beach, and camped out with the intent to get the matter settled one way or the other before I left. I read the Gospels once, twice, three times. I still knew all of the problems, but as I read that old story again, the person of Jesus Christ loomed large—over me, over the critics, over history. I couldn’t explain Him on any naturalistic assumption. Finally, on the third day as I stood gazing out over the Pacific, it seemed there was a hand on my shoulder, and a strong, gentle voice said, “Little brother, are you smarter than I?”
In an instant all of the lights came on. “Oh no, no!” I cried. “I’m not smarter than You. And none of these critics are smarter than You!” From that moment as I embraced Jesus with my mind, He became my authority. Whatever He taught about the Bible, I accepted. I’m not smarter than Jesus, and He said not one letter of God’s Word will fail (see Matt. 5:18). Whatever He said about salvation, about heaven and hell, I believed.
Soon 2 Timothy 3:16-17 became a life theme for me: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” What to believe, what not to believe, how to behave, how not to behave—that covers just about everything! And if God breathed it out—the literal meaning of inspired—I’d better trust it. If He breathed it out, I’d better obey it. What about you? What do you believe? Is the Bible inspired by God and does Scripture equip us for Christian living? Does the Word will accomplish what God intends? Did the writers of Scripture speak from God as directed by the Holy Spirit?
How can we know for sure? Because God said it!