Five Eternal Gifts from God - Scripture 8
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)
God reveals the Purpose for Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) in 2 Timothy 3:17.
What is the goal of these benefits from Scripture? The purpose is, “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” “Sola Scriptura” benefits a particular class of people, a unique kind of people: a man of God. The phrase “man of God” may refer to human beings, whether male or female, who belong to God. These then are the redeemed.
The phrase “may be” is the word εἰμί / eimi. It is a present subjunctive, meaning possibility and potentiality. It means to exist.
The word “complete” is from the Greek word ἄρτιος / artios meaning fit or given an aptitude for usefulness. Aptitude means ability, skill, capacity and fitness.
However, within this particular context, Paul is not only referring to himself, and not only to believers in general, but also to his young protégé, Timothy, as a pastor who handles the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). The man of God finds himself well equipped by the Word of God. Within the immediate preceding context (2 Timothy 3:10-15), the apostle instructed this young pastor about the importance of being completely faithful to the Word of God.
The context is crucial in this passage. The context is crucial in any passage of Scripture. It is especially true in this one. The context begins in 2 Timothy 3:10-15.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:10-15, ESV).
To be thoroughly equipped is actually one word, ἐξαρτίζω / exartizō, meaning adequately equipped or furnished. It is a work that God does on behalf of the “man of God” through the Word of God.
What is the “man of God” thoroughly equipped to do? The text says, “For every good work,” meaning all, any kind, or all kinds of items. In this case, it is all kinds of good work. Good means useful, excellent, and honorable. It modifies the work which is done by the man of God through the efficiency of the Word of God. Work means undertaking or enterprise. Therefore, the work the man of God does is not only good, but capable of being accomplished through God’s Word. Scripture alone provides the man of God all he needs to accomplish the task God has given him.
When God calls a man to this good work, the man of God must realize the singular importance God places on such a stewardship. The man of God’s commitment to Sola Scriptura must not waver or wane.