2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Scriptures are profitable both for doctrine and practice. This passage of Scripture is the most complete description of what the Bible is, and what the Bible is for. The Bible is the verbally inspired word of God. The Bible does not merely contain the word of God; the Bible is the word of God. The Bible is profitable for doctrine. The word “doctrine” means “teaching,” but the focus is teaching about God and the Christian life. The Bible is profitable for reproof. If you read it carefully, the Bible will reprove any shortcomings you happen to have. It is profitable for correction. If you are mistaken in your understanding of Bible doctrine or Christian living, the Bible will furnish you the needed correction–if you will read it diligently. This is the basis of my saying the Bible is a self-correcting Book. Most people are content to remain in their error and won’t give the Bible a chance in their lives. They spend more time on Facebook than they spend reading the Bible according to current news reports. They spend much more time and effort following sports than they do reading the Bible. Eternity will demonstrate with utter finality the foolishness of such wrong choices. The Bible is profitable for instruction in righteousness. It gives God’s declaration about how we ought to live. People, particularly non-believers, especially atheists and their Freedom from Religion Foundation in Wisconsin, are deathly afraid of the message of the Bible. Some of the “one true churches” are as afraid of the Bible as the atheists are. Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote a piece declaring there is no verse in the Bible that teaches the sufficiency of Scripture. By the “sufficiency of Scripture” is meant that the Bible contains all that is necessary to know to experience salvation and eternal life. Since Cardinal Newman denies this, that is good evidence he does not know how to read. Well, he’s dead now, or I’d offer him a chance to use my reading program. Clearly, 2 Timothy 3:17 declares the opposite of what Cardinal Newman stated, for God’s Word says the Bible is given so that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. That is an express statement asserting the sufficiency of Scripture. Any church or denomination that denies this truth is a false cult. The evil influence of Cardinal Newman continues today, long after his death. That is why I am so strident in my criticism of people like him that teach falsehood. His teaching directly led to the falling away from the truth of the Bible [or at least from his original Protestantism] of a personal acquaintance of mine, Mr. Dave Armstrong, who has subsequently become a major apologist for the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. Armstrong says several times in his books that he is thankful he is no longer a Protestant, because now he can go by the official teaching authority provided by his new-found faith in the Roman Catholic Church [without having to deal with conflicting positions of other authorities]. The problem I see with that is that such a stance directly violates what is taught by 1 Timothy 3:15-17.
[I have added material above in brackets and made corrections on 2-9-14 based on the input from Dave Armstrong’s comments which may be read below; I am thankful for his kindness in responding to this post almost immediately after it was posted!]
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1414 for 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on pages 1434-1435 or in Logos 5 Bible software for 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:
2 Timothy 3:16. All scripture. Each of the NT writings as we have them today were recognized as divinely inspired and authoritative by the original recipients; the canon of the NT did not await the decisions of the Council of Hippo, 393 AD and of Carthage, 397 AD. These Councils did not determine Canonicity but merely affirmed what had already been recognized since the last book, the Book of Revelation, was written. Thus the Roman Catholic Church did not give us either the Bible or the NT. 2 S *23:2. Ps 102:18. +*119:160. Mt 21:42. 22:31, 32, 43. 26:54, 56. Mk *12:24, 36. Jn *10:35. Ac 1:16. 28:25. Ro 3:2. +**15:4. Ga 3:8. 1 T **5:18. He 3:7. **4:12. Ja 2:23. 1 P 2:6. 2 P **+1:19-21. is. FS63B3, Ge +2:10. This grammatical construction involves two predicate adjectives connected by and. The Revised Version (1881) changes one of these predicate adjectives to an attributive position, which is incorrect. The Revisers do not misconstrue this construction in the other passages where it occurs. For the same grammatical construction see Ro 7:12. 1 C 11:30. 2 C 10:10. 1 T 1:15. 2:3. 4:4, 9. He 4:12, 13. In the Authorized Version text this “is” is given in italics, showing there is no word for it in the Greek, and it has therefore to be supplied. The Revised Version (1881) omits this “is,” and reads “Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable,” thus suggesting that some Scriptures are not inspired. The American Standard Version (1901) follows the Revised Version (1881); the New American Standard Version (1960) gives this rendering as a possibility in its margin. There are nine other passages which present exactly the same construction in Greek, and not one of these has been altered by the Revisers (of 1881). Had they done so in the same manner as they have done in this case, the result would have been as follows: Ro 7:12, The holy commandment is also just. 1 C 11:30, Many weak are also sickly. 2 C 10:10, His weighty letters are also powerful. Similarly with the other passages, which are 1 T 1:15 (the faithful saying is also worthy of all acceptation). 2:3 (this good thing is also acceptable). 4:4 (every good creature of God is also nothing to be refused), 9. He 4:12 (the living word of God is also active), 13 (all naked things are also opened). “It is true that the A.V. rendering is given in the margin of the R.V., but it is difficult to see why that should be disturbed” (Companion Bible). This is another instance where the Scripture’s own teaching about itself has been adversely affected in some modern translations (see Jn 5:39n and 8:31). Ps +*119:89. Jn 5:39. 8:31. given by inspiration of God. or, God-inbreathed. Gr. theopneustos (S#2315g, only here), divinely breathed in (Strong). The Scriptures found in the Bible alone are absolutely divinely inspired by God. T#40. Ex 20:1. Dt 4:8. *29:29. 2 S 23:1, 2. 2 K 17:13. 2 Ch 34:21. 36:21. Ne 9:30. Jb 32:8. 36:4. Is +**8:20n. Je 1:9. *36:1, 2. Ezk *1:3. Zp 1:1. Zc 7:12. Ml 4:4. Mt 1:22. Lk 1:70. 24:44. Jn 1:23. +*5:39. *10:34, 35. 14:26. 16:13. 19:36, 37. 20:9. Ac 1:16. 3:18. 7:38. 13:34. 28:25. Ro 1:2. 3:2. 4:23. 9:17. +*15:4. 1 C 2:4-10, 12, 13. 6:16. 9:10. 14:37. Ga 1:11, 12. 3:8, 16, 22. 4:30. 1 Th 1:5. **2:13. He 1:1, 2. 3:7. 9:8. 10:15. 2 P **1:18-21. 3:16. 1 J 4:6. Re 14:13. 22:19. and is profitable. or, useful. or, beneficial. FS52A2. Correspondence (Extended Alternation) F/S 372. Extended alternation when there are still only two series, but each series consists of more than two members. Here, four members may be discerned: The Word of God is profitable (statement) for (A) doctrine, (B) reproof, (C) correction, (D) instruction; therefore (consequence), (A) preach the word, (B) reprove, (C) rebuke, (D) exhort. This figure occurs frequently throughout Scripture, but since the format of the Treasury does not lend itself to the display of this structure, only this example is given. See the margins of the Companion Bible for additional examples. Passages cited as illustrating this figure in F/S 368-372 are Ps ch. 66, 72, 132. Ro 2:17-20. 1 Th 1:2-10 with 2:13-16. 4:13–5:11. T#1024, T#1111. Ps *19:7-11. +**119:97-104, 130. Je *23:22, 32. Mi +*2:7. Ac 20:20, *27. Ro 4:23. +**15:4. 1 C 12:7. Ep 4:11-16. 1 Th **+2:13. 1 T +4:8. for doctrine. or, teaching. The teaching we are to believe about Jesus Christ, God, the plan of salvation, all doctrinal teaching, is to be based upon the content God provides in the Bible. A natural corollary ought to be evident: we are not to believe any doctrine that does not correspond with the teaching of the Bible, and we are not to get our doctrine from any source but the Bible (1 Th 5:21n). See on ver. *10. Dt 6:4-9. Ps **+119:97-100. Is +*8:20n. 28:9. +**29:24. 1 C 14:6. 1 T **+4:6g, 13, 16. *5:17. T *2:12. for reproof. The original word bears the meaning “correction,” “censure,” “conviction.” 2 T *4:2. Ps 38:14. 39:11. +*141:5. Pr *6:23. 15:10, 31. Jn *3:20. 16:8-11. Ac 2:37, 38. 16:30, 31. Ep *5:11-13. 1 T 5:20. T 1:9, 13. 2:15. He 11:1g. for correction. The word literally means “restoration to an upright or a right state; hence correction and improvement” (Frank E. Gaebelein, The Christian Use of the Bible, p. 33). Ps **+119:9. Je *23:29. Da *12:3. Jn 21:15-17. Ga *6:1, 2. for instruction. Gr. paideia (S#3809g, Ep 6:4). FS41, Ge +10:1. Gaebelein cites Thayer (Lexicon, p. 473), “whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing passions; hence instruction which aims at “increase of virtue,” thus “education in righteousness” (The Christian Use of the Bible, p. 34). 2 T +*2:25. Dt 4:36. Ne 9:20. Ps **+119:7-11. Pr *4:10-13. Mt +*13:52. Ac 18:25. Ro 2:20. +**15:4. 2 C 10:3-6. T *2:11-14. in righteousness. Ex +*18:21. Le +**19:2-4, 9-18, 20, 26-37. Dt +*16:20. Ps +**15:2-5. Is +*66:4. Je +*10:2. 22:13, 16. +*48:10. Ezk +*16:49. Am +*8:5. Mi +**6:8. Ml +**3:5. Mt +*23:23. Lk +*16:10. Ac +*6:3. 1 C +**6:9-11. T **2:11-14. He *5:13. +*12:14. Ja 2:23. 1 J **2:15-17.
2 Timothy 3:17. the man of God. Dt 33:1. Jsh 14:6. Jg 13:6, 8. 1 S 2:27. 9:6-8, 10. 1 K 12:22. 13:1, 4-8, 11, 12, 14, 21, 26, 29, 31. 17:18, 24. 2 K 1:9-13. 4:7, 9, 16, 21, 22, 25, 27, 40, 42. 5:8, 14, 15, 20. 6:6, 9, 10, 15. 7:2, 17-19. 8:2, 4, 7, 8, 11. 13:19. 23:16, 17. 1 Ch 23:14. 2 Ch 8:14. 11:2. 25:7, 9. 30:16. Ezr 3:2. Ne 12:24, 36. Ps 90:title. See on Ps **119:98-100. Je 35:4. 1 T +6:11. 2 P 1:21. perfect. or, fitted. Gr. artios (S#739g, only here), fresh, that is, (by implication) complete (Strong). Jb 36:4. 2 C 13:9. Ph 3:15. Ja 1:4. throughly furnished. or, perfected. or, equipped. Gr. exartizō (S#1822g, only here and Ac 21:5), to finish out (time); figuratively to equip fully (a teacher) [Strong]. FS41, Ge +10:1. Holy Scripture is the only source of doctrinal and spiritual authority for the Christian. This passage teaches the sufficiency of Scripture: Scripture furnishes all that the Christian must know to be saved and to grow in grace, and tells us all we need to know to live a life which is well pleasing to God. No source of doctrine or revelation outside of Scripture is valid, for such a source would be adding to the written word of God, which is absolutely forbidden by Scripture (Re +*22:18). Cardinal John Henry Newman thinks otherwise. He states: “The Church would always be the living teacher. It is a mistake to limit ‘Christ’s word’ to the written word only or to suggest that all his teachings were reduced to writing. The Bible nowhere supports either notion.” And that is not what this text of Scripture claims. This text of Scripture teaches the Bible is sufficient to equip the man of God, and sufficient to bring a person to salvation. Cardinal John Henry Newman is attacking a “straw man” and himself asserting a false claim. This is an example of the heresy Paul warned us against (Ac 20:29, 30). The Church is not our teacher: the Bible is. That is not to say that a church may not teach about Jesus Christ, for genuine churches focus upon the balance of truth given us in the New Testament and Scripture as a whole, but we are to test the truthfulness of all teaching by checking it against what is written in the Bible. Cardinal Newman further states: “It is quite evident that this passage furnishes no argument whatever that the sacred Scripture, without Tradition, is the sole rule of faith; for, although sacred Scripture is profitable for these four ends, still IT IS NOT SAID TO BE SUFFICIENT.” (Newman, Inspiration, p. 131). Apparently, Cardinal Newman simply did not know how to read the Bible accurately. The very passage Cardinal Newman is discussing is the central Bible text which asserts THE ABSOLUTE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE! For him to flat-out deny the teaching of this text shows he simply had an axe to grind, and was not properly conveying the meaning and teaching of this Bible text. This is the chief text in the entire Bible on the subject of the sufficiency of Scripture. To deny this, as Cardinal Newman did, shows an inability to read the Scripture and take it for what it most plainly says. The claim of the Roman Catholic Church to possess additional teaching from Jesus Christ in the form of unwritten Tradition not found in the New Testament is not true (2 Th 2:15n). Such a claim by the Roman Catholic Church is heresy. It is also a lie. This very text of Scripture teaches we must go by Scripture alone. This is a position logically derived from the statements of the Bible itself, starting here (see also Ps 119:104, 105, 130. Is 8:20. Je 23:28. Mk 12:24. Jn 5:39. **20:31. Ac 17:11, 12. 1 Th 5:21n. 1 P 2:2. 2 P 1:19. 3:18). The Bible as we now have it is complete: there are no additional sources available today which contain genuine communications from Jesus, his original twelve disciples, or the Apostle Paul, that are essential and necessary for a person to have saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, words which legitimate scholarship agrees are genuine and from the time of Christ. All we have, and all we need, is contained in the 27 primary source documents of our New Testament, and the 39 books of the Old Testament, and nowhere else. T#1112. 2 T +*2:21. Ne 2:18. Ps **+119:104, 113, 128. Is +**8:20n. Je *23:28. Mt 13:52. Lk +6:40. Ep +*4:11-14. good works. 2 T +2:21. Ex 35:29. Mt 20:2. 26:10. Mk +14:6. Jn 15:16. Ac 9:36. Ro 12:2. 2 C *9:8. Ep **2:10. 1 T 5:10. T 1:16. **2:14. 3:1, 8. He *10:24. 1 J +**2:3n.