Five Eternal Gifts from God - Scripture 6
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)
The Meaning of Sola Scriptura is seen in the first part of 2 Timothy 3:16.
“All Scripture.” All Scripture! Notice the universal positive statement by the apostle. There are no exceptions regarding a particular group of writings which are identified as being Scripture. Therefore, the Bible does not become the Word of God, neither is there only a portion of the Bible identified as God’s Word, but rather God declares all Scripture to be His inspired Word.
Scripture means writing. “The term “scripture” is derived from the Latin “scriptura”. Almost invariably this word occurs with the definite article “the” indicating the authoritative written matter of the Bible itself” (Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia 1537).
Paul used the Greek word graphe. Within this context, it refers to the Old Testament. However, as the canon of Scripture was completed, it also came to refer to this passage, along with the entire New Testament. The crucial factor in this text is the usage of the word “all.” The clearest understanding is that God inspired all and every separate part of Scripture.
Jesus indicated in Matthew 5:17-18 the extent of the adjective “all.” “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18 ESV). All words! Every single one!
Dr. Michael Horton writes, “Christianity is not spirituality, but a religion (of divine accomplishment rather than human achievement). Wade Clark Roof and other sociologists have pointed out that evangelicals today are indistinguishable from the general cultural trends, especially when it comes to preferring to think of their relationship to God more in terms of an experience than in terms of a relationship that is mediated through words. Ours is a visual or image-based society, much like the Middle Ages, and yet Christianity can only flourish through words, ideas, beliefs, announcements, arguments. There can be no communication with God apart from the written and living Word. Everything in the Christian faith depends on the spoken and written Word delivered by God to us through the prophets and apostles.”
“All Scripture is breathed out by God.”
The phrase “is given by inspiration of God” is a single word in the Greek; θεόπνευστος / theospneustos. It literally means God-breathed. One author defines biblical inspiration as “God’s superintendence of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs” (Ryrie 38).
It is important to note that inspiration applies only to the original autographs of Scripture, not the Bible writers; there are no inspired Scripture writers, only inspired Scripture. So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks (Romans 9:17; Galatians 3:8). Scripture is called “the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2; I Peter 4:11) and cannot be altered (John 10:35; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 6:17; Revelation 22:18-19). (MacArthur Study Bible 1879).
Paul is saying that Scripture is “expired” or “breathed out” by God. This is not a mere quibble. It is obvious that for inspiration to take place there must first be expiration. A breathing out must precede a breathing in. The point is that the work of divine inspiration is accomplished by divine expiration. Since Paul says that Scripture is breathed out by God, Scripture’s origin or source must be God himself. (Tabletalk 25: VIII)