2 Timothy 3:10-17
Psalm 119:157, 160-161, 165-166, 168
There is something about 3.16. Everyone knows John 3.16: For God so loved the world…, but for some reason, and it must surely be a coincidence the sixteenth verse give or take of the third chapter of many of the books in the Bible is very important. Genesis is 3.15 is the first announcement of Christ, called the protoevangelion; Exodus 3.14 is where God tells Moses his Name: “I am who am.”; Matthew 3.16-17 is pretty important: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 3.16-19 has the names of the Twelve Apostles. Luke 3.16 is John’s announcement of the coming of the Lord and the Holy Spirit. Just those four 3.16’s from each Gospel pretty much sum up Christianity.
Now today we have another great 3.16 in front of us for the first reading: 2 Timothy 3.16: “Every Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for an education in righteousness.” This is a powerful statement that we cannot pass by. Every Scripture is inspired by God, literally it says “Godbreathed”. Every Scripture is like the breath of God out of his own mouth. The same breath that gave life to the clay man who became Adam. The same breath that the prophets heard, that Elijah heard as a still, small whisper. Every Scripture contains that breath. That means that it is alive.
And every Scripture is useful. That might be hard to believe if you have ever ready Leviticus or Numbers, but it is true. Useful how? St. Paul has four things, and they are not random but they form a progression. This is how Scripture changes us: first it teaches us something; then comes reproof, we see something in our lives which is contrary to what we have learned; then comes correction, we learn how to stop doing whatever sin or fault is contrary to Scripture. Last comes an education in righteousness, because Christianity is not just about “not being bad”, which would be really boring; Christianity and every Scripture is about who we could be.
Every Scripture is useful, if we will decide to use them. The 3.16’s perhaps more than the others, but every Scripture. We do not pick and choose our own collection of beliefs out of the Bible. We must not change the Scripture; we have to let the Scripture change us.