"All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).
God’s Word nourishes your spiritual life.
We conclude our study of the character and benefits of God's Word by focusing on the benefit that ties all the others together: training in righteousness. Everything the Word accomplishes in you through teaching, reproof, and correction is aimed at increasing your righteousness so you'll "be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17, NIV).
"Training" refers to training or educating a child. The New Testament also uses the term to speak of chastening, which is another important element in both child rearing and spiritual growth (Heb. 12:5-11). The idea is that from spiritual infancy to maturity, Scripture trains and educates believers in godly living.
Scripture is your spiritual nourishment. Jesus said, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Peter exhorted us to be like newborn babes, longing "for the pure milk of the word, that by it [we] may grow in respect to salvation" (1 Pet. 2:2).
You should crave the Word just like a baby craves milk. But Peter prefaced that statement with an exhortation to put "aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander" (v. 1). That's the prerequisite. James taught the same principle: "Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word" (James 1:21). Attempting to feast on Scripture without confessing your sin is like attempting to eat a meal while wearing a muzzle.
Either the Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Word. Deal with sin immediately so it doesn't spoil your appetite for God's Word. And even if you know the Bible well, be regularly refreshed by its power and reminded of its truths. That's the key to enjoying spiritual health and victory.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God for the nourishment His Word provides.
- Seek His wisdom and grace in dealing with personal sin. Don't ignore it, for it will diminish your desire for biblical truth.
For Further Study
Read Philippians 3:1 and 2 Peter 1:12-15.
- What did Paul and Peter say about the importance of being reminded of biblical truths you've already learned?
- Do you follow that advice?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.