|Robert Houk Hitchcock|
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
God's Word is our only center of reference for truth. This is so because it IS God's Word. All scripture "God-breathed," He spoke it, and it is His Word.
This Word of God is profitable that we might live in fellowship with God (I John 1). The profit of the Word of God is directly stated: Doctrine, reproof, and correction which are instruction in righteousness. Simply, the Word of God (all scripture) is the standard by which all things are measured. The Word of God gives us doctrine- teaching. The Word of God gives us reproof- pointing out non-adherence to the doctrine. The Word of God gives us correction- restoration to the right doctrine. All of these- doctrine, reproof, and correction- are the believer's instruction in righteousness. All of these are our tutelage and education in living in fellowship with God.
It is evident that the doctrine, the right teaching, comes first in the order. Those that are ignorant of the doctrine must first be instructed. After one is instructed, then reproof and correction are brought forth when they are needed.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
II Timothy told us about the God-breathed doctrine. Here is another kind of doctrine. So, there is a choice in life which teaching one would like to follow: God's or man's. There really are no other alternatives to choose from. Although in the world it seems as though there are endless choices, there really are only two: God's and man's. Man just has so many variations of the same deviation from God's Word.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
The winds of doctrine, men's doctrine, are promulgated by men who purposefully deceive others. Is it then surprising that the "media" is not to be believed for accuracy? The Word of God tells us that the wind of doctrine cannot be trusted. Not only are men inaccurate so often, but they are also intentionally crafty and deceiving.
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
(Touch not; taste not; handle not;
Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
The world always has lots of rules. When you are in kindergarten through grammar school, there is the rule of the playground. In high school, there is the law of the "clique." In college, the law of the achievers. In business, the law of the jungle...and so on. There are Western rules and there are Eastern rules. Still, all of them are the doctrines of men. When believers walk God's Word, there is a noticeable difference between them and everyone else no matter where they are or how old they are. The Word and the world don't mix.
1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
The true origin of the doctrines of men is seen here: the devil. He is the father of lies. Men are groomed to promulgate and legitimize his lies. This began with the woman, to whom he said: "Thou shalt not surely die." She told her husband, Adam, all about this new doctrine, and although he was not deceived, he disobeyed anyway.
1 Timothy 4:6
If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
God's Word is the good doctrine (teaching) that all men need. We are to put the brethren in remembrance of these things.
1 Timothy 4:13-16
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Every elder in the church has to KNOW the Word of God. We give attendance to right teaching. We take heed unto ourselves and unto the doctrine and continue in them. How else will the church stay aright with all of the winds of doctrine blowing about? We need never tire in setting forth the right teaching of God's Word, and God's people need never tire in hearing the right teaching of God's Word.
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Some individuals will hear the right doctrine and believe the right doctrine, but eventually the world gets to them. When this occurs, they will no longer endure sound doctrine, but heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears for something "new." Well, there is nothing "new" about it: just another variation of the theme of men's doctrines sponsored by the god of this world.
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
After we have received the Word of God with meekness, we then must hold hast the faithful Word as we have been taught it. Thus, we are able to exhort and to convince (reprove) the gainsayers (the contradictors.)
Since a believer is unable to always walk in perfect fellowship with God, then reproof and corrections are obvious necessities. No one will walk without sin; the Word tells us this. But God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and our righteousness remains no matter what our walk brings forth. Reproof is the process of pointing out the wrong practice in our walk, and then correction brings us back to right believing. They are companions. Reproof is not intended by God to be a critical analysis of an individual, but rather to bring one into acute awareness that they are not walking the Word. That is love and that is the loving thing to do. How else could one get back to walking correctly?
This is the Greek word for reproof in 2 Timothy 3:16, and it is the only place in the Word that it is used: elegmos (el-eng-mos'); from 1651; found only in 2 Timothy 3:16: conviction (of a sinner), punishment, refutation of error, reproof.
This is the root word from which elegmos is taken: 1651 elegcho-
1) to convict, to refute, to confute
a) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose
2) to find fault with, correct
a) by word:
1) to reprehend severely, to chide, to admonish, to reprove
2) to call to account, to show one his fault, to demand an explanation
b) by deed:
Since all scripture is God-breathed, we have no problem in insisting that our teaching be accurate with the scripture. We hold forth God's Word by using the scriptures, and not our own references and ideas. What about reproof and correction? We also must utilize all scripture in our reproof, not our own personal objections. We also must utilize all scripture in our correction, not our feelings about the situation.
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
If there is a problem in a relationship amongst the believers, there is a pattern to follow according to God's Word to correct the problem. The word trespass is "sin." God's Word doesn't address the modern term of "personality conflicts." It doesn't address "personal issues." It addresses sin.
If one has indeed sinned against me, then it must be obvious from all scripture that a sin has been committed. Since God's Word is clear about sin, then I can utilize the scripture to point out that sin (i.e. to reprove) to my fellow believer and thus I let the Word of God do the judging in the situation. The reproof would have nothing to do with my feelings, but everything to do with the Word.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
God's Word is light. All things (note: all things! ) that are reproved are reproved by the light, by the Word. In other words, the Word of God brings to light, sheds light, on sin. It points it out. It shows that it is contrary to the Word. We should be ready with the Word if we wish to help someone regain their fellowship and begin to walk the Word again in an area of life. We reprove only by using the Word of God.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
God's Word is the definition of life: it tells us how to live in fellowship with God and with one another. There are going to be problems in this life because we still live in this world. We still have weakness and inability in walking God's Word at times. These show up as problems and needs.
One of the great keys in helping someone with their need is to determine Biblically what that need is. At times problems may seem complex in people's lives, but God's Word simplifies them. Everything pertaining to life and godliness is set forth in God's Word, so I am sure that I can define any problem by utilizing the scripture. The key to recovering from the problem is to find out what the Word says and to do it! We all need help at times in recovering ourselves from error. The love of God encourages believing in ourselves and in others.
Some of life's problems and needs are due to our own sin; some are not. If I can correct my walk, some problems will be corrected immediately. Other needs are due to pressure and attacks from the world; these we cannot stop. However, God's Word does promise that we are more than conquerors in every situation. Greater is he that is in me (Christ in me) than he that is in the world. Whether my need is based on my inability to walk God's Word or based on the world's pressure, God's Word has a solution!
This is the Greek word for correction in 2
1) restoration to an upright or right state
2) correction, improvement of life or character
Again, this is the only occurance of this word in the New Testament. Simply, it is to restore us back to the right doctrine. It means to bring back to the right state (fellowship with God.)
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
This verse describes the process of applying doctrine, reproof and correction. If a fellow believer is overtaken in a fault (the word "sin"), we are to restore them in the spirit of meekness. This, of course, would involve reproof- pointing out the sin with the light of God's Word, and correction- which would restore them back to fellowship.
The word "restore" in this verse is the Greek word:
to render, that is, to fit, sound, complete
a) to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair, to complete
b) to fit out, to equip, to put in order, to arrange, to adjust to fit or frame for oneself, to prepare
c) ethically, to strengthen, to perfect, to complete, to make one what he ought to be
In restoring someone, our goal is to mend their fellowship with God. Our goal is to help them put in order that which is wrong. Our goal is to strengthen them and to perfect them in the Word of God.
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending (restore) their nets; and he called them.
In restoring a believer by using God's Word, we are mending them. We are helping them restore their fellowship with God and the fellow believers.
1 Thessalonians 3:10
Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect (restore, complete) that which is lacking in your faith?
All scripture was given by inspiration of God, it was
God-breathed, God spoke it. It is profitable to us that we can know
God and our redemption in Christ Jesus. It is profitable for doctrine-
right teaching, for reproof- bringing to light what is not right, and for
correction- restoring to fellowship. When we utilize all scripture
in our teaching and in helping one another in the Body of Christ, we are
on the right track to live and to move God's Word.
© Copyright September 2000