The reason I put that title is because many professing Christians that know the New Testament fairly well will quote this verse to prove that God inspired the entire Bible as we know it today. Is that true? Well it is very likely–but is it true from this verse which Paul stated?
One of the big issues I had in challenging my own presuppositions over the past 3 years was that of historical context. I was doing better at thinking historically the more I studied, but I still had not applied it to many other areas of Scripture. I’m not saying I’ve “arrived” either, please don’t misunderstand me. But lets look a bit closer at this verse and put it into historical context, okay?
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, ESV
So, when Paul wrote this in his letter to Timothy—was he referring to what you often hold in hand today as a Bible that was a compiled OT and NT? Hopefully you would answer no, because it’s quite impossible for Paul to be writing this letter and this letter to obviously be IN the “Scripture” of the New Testament at that time. It’s also obvious through more study that we know the Bible we have today was not compiled until much later… and that it has gone through editing in the past centuries such as the removal of the Apocrypha. The point of this message is not to make an argument of when the entire Bible we have today was compiled though.
The point is, what is “all Scripture” which is inspired by God for teaching, rebuke, correction and training to live righteous? Well, I think the only possibility at that time would have been the Tanakh. That is the Torah, Prophets and Writings. Taken from wikipedia for a short explanation.
Tanakh is an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text’s three traditional subdivisions: Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”)—hence TaNaKh.
The Tanakh is all that existed at that time when Paul wrote that. Yes possibly some Gospels were being written and spread through the believers–but they weren’t en masse yet, and certainly weren’t compiled into a NT yet. Later on in the ante-nicene church writers begin to speak of the 4 main Gospels we have today as one unit and some of Paul’s letters.
Paul said the Old Testament is inspired by God for all those things in 2 Tim 3:16, which includes training in righteousness. Where would Paul get training for righteousness from anywhere other than mainly the Torah? If sin is against the Torah, and all sin is unrighteousness… then righteousness is known from the Torah, right?
So…is all Scripture as you know it today as a compiled New Testament and Old Testament inspired by God? Maybe, but 2 Tim 3:16 doesn’t prove it if you think about it in a historical context.
As I said, I want to continue updating as much as possible. I will hopefully make this into a short video also since I’m much more eloquent when I have my thoughts laid out in text.
One of the big studies that I had taken on around last summer 2014 was the idea of the Torah for new covenant believers and whether or not it is continuing for today for true followers of the Messiah. I ran into a fellow unitarian named Matthew Janzen and he challenged me to read his book on the topic. That book is actually available free in PDF format on his website(or was last I knew) called “Learning to Love His Law.” It can be seen here http://www.ministersnewcovenant.org/books.html
At that time, I knew after coming out of the trinity and even recently the idea of eternal torment through study–mostly of the OT and cross-referencing… that I wanted to give this a closer look. But at the same time, I thought I had studied the topic of the Torah in my past well enough that there was no room for budging in my views on this subject. Boy was I wrong. I had planned to be ready to read this book and look into the topic more at that time and correct every mis-use of text I could find in that book. Instead the book rocked me a bit and caused me to think about the subject much more. I continued to look into other ministries regarding the subject, but mainly saw videos from Psalm119 ministries.
It rocked me because this belief has serious consequences one way or the other in reality. I know today’s modern Christianity is a mess. But I’m also aware the Scripture is very cut and dry on certain topics. There’s really no wiggle room with some verses…. there’s no ambiguity.
So one of those verses that I knew very well especially from my open air preaching and conversing with sinners in public was 1 John 2:3-4.
1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
John wrote this, right? John was an Israelite, right? So what would John make of this verse in his views… what does “commandments” refer to in his views being raised on the Tanakh(OT)? I can only think it would mean the Torah the more I studied this subject.
But there are even more difficult verses than this one in the same epistle…
1 John3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
This one basically says if you keep on sinning you’ve not known him(Jesus). So if sin according to John refers to the Torah, I’ve been in continual sin since I rejected a continual learning of the Torah no matter how many things I’d stopped doing in the past.
There’s obviously a lot more to this topic than just these few verses, but the point is this has severe consequences one way or the other. And it rocked me, more than even coming out of the trinity. I hope to continue studying this, fleshing it out and questioning it. But I have a lot of questions as I am coming to believe this is likely the right view now. Mainly based on simplicity of the fact that following Jesus means having the same God as him, and doing what he did. Jesus kept the Torah, and did not sin. So if we follow him, should that not be the same for us now(except for the fact that we have all sinned)?
I know I’ve not been on here in a long time…. and I hope that will change. But the reason why is because our plans in large part were completely thrown off the course. How many times must “The best laid plans of mice and men…” come true in our lives?
In short, we had plans to go off grid on our purchased land in June 2015. We had hired a builder to make us an 850 sq. ft. Gambrel roofed 2 story barn that I was going to frame and finish the inside for our family to live in it. We hired him with half down in cash, and the other half to be paid after it was built. Without going into great detail—the builder went bankrupt literally the WEEK before he was supposed to build our place(and our lease was ending with our apartment). That left us with $4700 less in cash, and no building to show for it. We had to scramble to find another apartment in a short time so we wouldn’t be left homeless. We didn’t want to renew because the four of us(2 adults, 1 young child and 1 newborn infant) were all crammed into a tiny 1 bedroom apartment and we’d already told them we were moving out. So we had to find a 2 bedroom apartment really quickly.
Thankfully we did find one, even despite all it’s issues… but we had a place to live with now at least 2 bedrooms so we could put some space between us and our children. It was getting a bit crazy. I mean, we don’t mind living in a tight area—if we have to we can do it. But because we were in an apartment there wasn’t really anywhere to “go” to get away and get outside like there would be with our land.
So, in short.. here we are now. No home built, lost a good chunk of money, and now we’re trying to find out what to do with our land. We’re not sure if we wish to sell it and just go find another country house(with more debt) or just wait until next spring and get out of our lease here… and get a camper and just get onto our land so we can start actually saving more money. I really hate debt, that’s why I’d rather get on our land… I don’t want to be in debt for 10-15 years with a house. The option to get a camper and get on our land(even with power temporarily) is more ideal to me. But we’re still deliberating.
I hope that’s enough to update so far… and I hope to make more posts soon. Sorry but it’s just been crazy and that’s just one part of the entire story.