Reading for Wednesday, Dec 26: 2 Timothy 3
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work,” (v16-17).
Paul has much to say about the Word of God here in this brief epistle. He writes of the enduring power of the Word in 2:9. Even though Paul himself is bound in chains, he boldly declares, “But the word of God is not bound!” Human effort cannot keep God’s Word from being spoken here on earth. Even the forces of darkness are incapable of thwarting God’s Kingdom as it forcibly advances through this sort of proclamation. In 2:15, Paul reminds us that the word of God is the “word of truth”, intended to be handled with great care and reverence. And now, in 3:16, we find one of the great declarations of God’s Word — it is breathed out from God Himself.
An interesting connection is found here as we study the languages of Scripture. In both Hebrew and Greek, the words for breath (“pneuma” in Greek; “ruach” in Hebrew) each carry the additional meaning of “wind” and “spirit”. We think of creation, formed as God’s Spirit moves over the waters of the deep, speaking everything into existence. We think of Adam, a lifeless lump of clay until God breathes into His nostrils. We think of the episode in John 20 where Jesus breathes His Holy Spirit out upon His disciples. And we think of Acts 2 as the Spirit appears with the sound of rushing wind to confer power upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. In each case, the Biblical languages are fluid and we see a deep connection between the Spirit of God and the breath / wind of God.
And now, we come to Paul’s landmark statement in 2 Timothy 3:16. When we read God’s Word, we open ourselves up to the same life-giving Spirit. We find this breath coming into us, animating us, reorienting our way of thinking. We find new worlds of divine possibility unfolding before our very eyes, new creation prompted by God’s powerful Word.
The great tragedy is that we rarely pause to think about the power God’s Word promises to us.
As we have been reading these texts this year, we have saturated our minds and hearts with inspiration — not mere human words, beautiful though they may be…but holy words, words breathed out by the same God who spoke our world into existence and breathed life into Adam and created a new covenant people to declare His goodness and glory even today.
This is the power of the Word of God.