All Scripture is inspired… are you sure?Posted: August 24, 2015
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.