As Western Civilization begins to collapse, we can sympathize with the Word of the LORD to the prophet Amos: “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11). In North America, there is a famine in the land for the preaching and hearing of the Word of God. Many would rather listen to TedTalk speeches than sit under the sound and searching proclamation of the Word of God. This famine in the land is not new. We have seen famines in Church history before. During the German Reformation, there was a famine of the hearing of the Word of God. Then, suddenly, by the mercy and grace of our Lord, the famine was removed. Speaking of this, Martin Luther writes: “I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing. And then, while I slept the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing: the Word did it all.

Beloved, nothing is new under the sun. After you read this article, I hope that you are thoroughly convinced that when we unleash the Word of God into all of life, the Word of God always does the work of God by the Spirit of God for the glory of God. Consider Paul’s charge to Timothy in 2 Timothy. Like the church in the West, Timothy ministered in “times of difficulty” (2 Timothy 3:1). The encouraging thing is that Timothy did not have to invent anything new for ministry. He did not have to consult a “ministry guru.” He simply had to continue in what he has learned and firmly believed in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14). Timothy was required to be content with what has been handed down to him. God is after a Word-centered, Christ-exalting ministry at whatever cost. The Word of God will either soften hearts or harden hearts. We must simply be faithful to handling the Word (2 Timothy 2:15) and proclaiming the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). There will only be two types of “hearers” of the Word in these difficult days: (1) those who sit under the sound preaching of the Word (2 Timothy 4:2); and (2) those who will not endure sound teaching (2 Timothy 4:3). Now, in 2 Timothy 3:15-17, the apostle Paul gives us several reasons as to why we must continue in our Word-centered, Christ-exalting ministry. I want to touch on two reasons in this article.

First, you must continue in the Word because of the Divine Nature of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16).

In 2 Timothy 3:16, the apostle Paul speaks about the Divine nature of all Scripture: “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” It is important to note the word “all.” It is not some of the Bible. It is not two-thirds of the Bible. No. It is all Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, that is “breathed out by God.” Every page you turn, every word you read has been “breathed out by God.” 

Now, what does it mean to say that “All Scripture is breathed out by God”? The Old Princeton Theologian, B. B. Warfield, defines it as the following:

“This compound word (Θεόπνευστος) does not mean “inspired of God.”… What it says of Scripture is not that it is “breathed into by God” or is the product of the Divine “inbreathing” of human authors, … but that it is breathed out by God, “God-breathed,” the product of the creative breath of God.” Dr. John Murray further defined v. 16 as the following: “All Scripture is God’s speech, God’s voice invested with all the authority and power belonging to His utterance. Every word in Scripture is God’s Word. Therefore, to disbelieve or disobey any word in Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”

Beloved, do you see yet why you must continue in the ministry of the Word at all costs? It is the Bible alone that sets before us the Savior who is rich in pardoning mercies (2 Timothy 3:15). Thank the Lord for the Bible! Have you considered the doctrine of the necessity of Scripture? Christian, have you stopped this day to thank God from the bottom of your heart for the greatest book? Read it. Cling to it. Dive deep into it. Swim in it. Pray through it. Eat it.

Second, you must continue in the Word because you must live in the Word! (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Bible was not designed to simply sit in the pew. The Bible is food for your soul. It was said of John Bunyan, that you could “prick him anywhere, and he would bleed out the Bible.” Would that be said of you if someone came along and pricked you? When you enter a difficult trial, do biblical texts flood your mind and comfort your soul? What catechizes your mind? The world? Or, the Word? In 2 Timothy 3:16, we see that since “all Scripture is breathed out by God,” it is “profitable” for the Christian life.

Dr. Murray writes: “We depend upon the message of Scripture for every tenet of our faith, for every ray of redemptive light that illumines our minds, and for every ray of hope against the issues of time and eternity.” In 2 Timothy 3:16, four prepositions are given to show us how the scriptures are profitable. The two focus on sound doctrine and focus on sound living.

Firstly, the Word of God is useful for “teaching” and “reproof.” In other words, the Bible instructs us in sound doctrine and convicts us of false doctrine. It shows us what is true, and it shows us what is false. It tells us what we must embrace, and it tells us what we must reject. The Word of God is the only source of truth because it has been “breathed out” by the God of truth. In an age that seeks to “suppress truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18ff), we must uphold the truth. We must speak the truth. As it is often said, we must speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Secondly, the Word of God is useful for “correction” and for “training in righteousness.” When truth is rightly applied to all of life, by the grace of God, it will always lead to godliness. In 1 Timothy 6:3, Paul speaks of: “the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness.” The Bible corrects ungodly behavior and trains us in godly behavior. Do we let the Word of God search our hearts each morning? How can we do that? Well, one way is through Scripture memory and meditation. The psalmist says in Psalm 119:11: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

To conclude this article, I hope you are thoroughly convinced of your need to continue in the Bible. Do not live in a posture over it but live in a posture under it. Submit to it. Be mastered by it. You must continue in the Word because of its Divine Nature. You must continue in the Word because you must live in the Word. The goal of living in the Bible is, “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). May God help increase your hunger and thirst for the Word of God. May it be our earnest prayer that God would remove the famine in the land for the hearing of the Word of God and replace it with great desperation for the Word of God.

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