“All Scripture is God-breathed…so that…” Brad Jersak
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.
—2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Perhaps the question we should be asking isn’t, “Am I getting the Bible right?” but “What kind of life is our reading of the Bible producing.”
- —Jared Byas, Love Matters More
The first phrase of 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed” or “inspired” is a wonderful truth. Unfortunately, Paul’s assertion has primarily been used as a “gotcha verse” in debates about the nature of Scripture. But the question is NOT “What is the Bible?” but rather, “How does my Scripture-reading shape my life as a Jesus-follower?” In other words, read rightly, the Holy Spirit breathes through the Scriptures to transform us toward deeper Christlikeness.
- Jesus replied, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken—then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world?
- —John 10:34-35
Here we have another frequently-brandished clobber phrase—“Scripture cannot be broken”—an aside, pulled quite violently out of context in the long-running “Battle for the Bible.” Again, a beautiful statement, for the Scriptures are a trustworthy witness to the veracity of Christ, but that’s aside from Jesus’ point, which is much more difficult. In what sense are we ‘gods’? A provocative question (as it was then) that we may return to another day.
But for now, note WHY the Scriptures cannot be broken. Is it because every character and every narrator and every law represents the heart of God? Not according to Jesus, who specified that elements of the Torah, such as the regulations around divorce certificates, reflected humanity’s hardness of heart (Matthew 19:8). He will say, “You have heard it said,… but I say to you” (Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43). But Jesus can say, “the Scriptures cannot be broken because, through them, the faithfulness of God himself shines through, particularly in his covenant promises fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In other words, these key texts about the Bible are not doctrinal statements about the Bible so much as invitations to read the Scriptures in a particular way. Namely, to experience transformation as Jesus-followers and to highlight the faithfulness of God toward us.