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The Basics

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Lesson 2-1: The Manual—The Bible
The believer's manual is the Bible—the Word of God (HEB 4:12), the mind of Christ (1CO 2:16), the voice of the Spirit (HEB 3:7). Through the Bible alone come the instruction, training, strategy, and tactics to carry on the spiritual warfare that is the life of faith.
In John 17, Jesus prays that the Father will sanctify all believers in the truth. Sanctification is the process by which we are conformed to the image of Christ. But where will we find truth? Jesus Himself tells us: "Thy word is truth" (JOH 17:17).
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2TI 3:16-17)
The Greek word translated "inspired by God" is theopneustos, from theos, God, and pneuma, breath. "All Scripture is God-breathed."
Ancient rabbis taught that the Spirit of God rested on the Old Testament prophets and spoke through them, using them as human mouths to speak in God's place. We speak of "inspiration" as that power by which God the Holy Spirit supervised and superintended the authors of Scripture so that they recorded accurately and exactly what God had to say through them. God's inspiration extended to the very words—and all the words—of the original manuscripts written by those through whom God chose to speak.
When God chose a person through whom to communicate His Word, He used that person's perspective, vocabulary, and experience as His channel. This Is how 66 books written by more than 40 different authors, spanning 1,500 years can be so different from each other in style and yet be absolutely non-contradictory, absolutely consistent message.
The Bible declares itself to be the absolute, final, accurate, authoritative Word of God. It was given by God for the profit of man. When Paul says that all Scripture is profitable, he uses a word that means advantageous, beneficial. Then he lists four purposes for which Scripture Is beneficial:
1. For teaching. Didaskalia means "that which is taught, doctrine." The Bible gives us the body of truth—the doctrine—upon which we are to base our perspective and make our decisions in life.
2. For reproof. Elegchos means "to convict of error and to rebuke." The Holy Spirit uses the Word to show us where we have wandered off course.
3. For correction. Epanorthosis means "restoration to an upright or right state." Along with the conviction that we are going the wrong way, the Word always sheds light on the right way. If we are humble before God, from the reproof will come a change in our attitude, which will result in personal action that sets us on course again.
4. For training. Paideia means "instruction and discipline given with the goal of raising a child to maturity." The Bible is a guidebook to lead us from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity and beyond.
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. (2TI 2:1-2)
Throughout this last letter of Paul to Timothy, the seasoned apostle again and again stresses to the young pastor the importance of staying focused on the Word of God.
The strength Paul tells his spiritual son to stand in comes from one place: the study of the Word. Paul urges Timothy to teach others what has been taught to him, so that they—in turn—can teach still more. The word "entrust" means "to place on deposit something of great value."
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. (2TI 2:15)
If teaching is necessary, then accurate teaching is absolutely essential. So a few verses later Paul tells Timothy to spoudazo, "be diligent." From the noun spoude, which means "earnestness or zeal," the verb spoudazo means "to hasten to do a thing, to exert oneself, to give diligence." By using the active voice, Paul is saying that Timothy alone can supply the spiritual hunger and the inner motivation he will need to be unashamed before God. Diligence is the one thing we have to add to God's plan. No one else can give us spiritual hunger. We are responsible for choosing to be persistent, motivated, hungry for the study of the Word of God.
"Handling accurately" (rendered "rightly dividing" in the King James Version) is orthotomeo. The word is from orthos, meaning "straight" and femno, meaning "to cut or divide." It means "to cut straight, to divide accurately, to properly fit together."
Inherent in this directive is the assumption that Timothy understands and shares some common notion of what is the right way to handle Scripture. Peter declares in 2PE 1:20 that there is only one accurate interpretation of any passage of Scripture, and that is the Bible's own interpretation. Peter, too, assumes that his readers understand how to "rightly divide" Scripture. The reason both these apostles make this assumption is because there were at the time—and still are today—commonly known and accepted rules for the science of biblical interpretation.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God. (1P 1:22-23)
When Peter says that we have been born again from an eternal, imperishable seed of the Word of God, he is telling us that our salvation is just as eternal as the Word. Both are unchangeable and absolutely secure.
The Word is the basis of our salvation, our security, and our growth. In 1PE 2:2, Peter admonishes his readers to, be "like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation."
"Grow" is auxana, a word that refers to the normal healthy growth of a plant that brings it to the point of bearing fruit. The normal Christian life is to be a life of growth. God's plan is that believers will move from faith to faith (ROM 1:17), from infancy to maturity, from helplessness to the point at which they can say, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (PHI 4:13).
There is only one way we will be able to fulfill God's plan for our lives: by growing "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2PE 3:18). The first time He taught the multitudes, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (MAT 5:6). He promises blessing and satisfaction, but His promise has a condition. We have to supply spiritual hunger, inner motivation. We have to choose to look away from the distractions of the world and to the truth of the Word.


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