This passage, which begins and ends with Paul’s suffering, centres on Scripture. It contains the verse which in Evangelical circles is probably the second best known (after John 3:16) Bible reference of all (more rightly it should be two verses, since one cannot understand 2 Tim 3:16 without the purpose declared in 2 Tim 3:17).
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture … is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that those who belong to God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Missed out the debated word “theopneustos”. This is a hapax legomenon ((a word that only occurs once in Scripture)) though it does occur occasionally outside Scripture, so the Greek-speaking Jewish writer Josephus around this time says of Scripture: talks of the prophets who wrote the 22 sacred books ((the Hebrew Bible our Old Testament)) who wrote according to theopneustia that comes from God.
It is quite clear he means “divine inspiration” he did not think theopneustos meant “God breathed” because “according to the God breathed quality that comes from God” is a daft thing to say, and Josephus wasn’t daft!
So in 2 Tim 3:16-17 Paul tells us Scripture is inspired by God, and then tells us how we can know that it is, and how we can use it rightly: 16 “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness“, and in v.17 tells us its purpose: “so that those who belong to God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work“.
Take-aways from this passage:
- Scripture is inspired (by God, no less!) so it is useful to teach, reprove and correct, and train us – in short in these ways it equips us to belong to God and to work for him.
- Scripture is good: anyone who makes it achieve other results fear, isolation, oppression… is misusing it!