16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
You may be familiar with this passage of Scripture. This is part of the Apostle Paul’s final instructions to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy. Many Christians have memorized this verse and used it as the starting point for a defense of the authority of Scripture. Perhaps you have done the same. However, one important question must be answered, not just once, but daily and moment by moment; do you believe this verse is true?
Your initial reaction, like most people that are immersed in church culture is probably and emphatic or perhaps even a dismissive yes. The challenge will be for you to move beyond a simple intellectual answer to one that is reflective of the life that you lead. It is easy to verbally confess that the Bible is the inspired Word of the Living God, but it is another thing entirely to live that truth out.
As followers of Christ we not only believe the Bible to be true but we are defined by Scripture. All followers. Everywhere. This is not true only for the spiritual elite. It is true for Christians. If your life does not align with the Biblical description of a Christian, then you are not a Christian. Does that seem harsh? It certainly will to some in the increasingly pluralistic and “tolerant” world in which we live. However, it is just Biblical truth.
How would you respond if God spoke to you audibly? Would you do whatever He told you to do? Most people respond affirmatively. Why? The core reason is one of authority. People believe that if God spoke to them audibly they would need to listen. But God has spoken through His Word. Paul instructs Timothy that the Word is the very breath of God. He has spoken.
But it is not enough to simply listen to the Word of God. We are transformed by it. It is the very source of our life, at least it should be. We should turn to Scripture for instruction on financial matters, for direction in our career, for relationship advice, and for emotional stability. How often though, are believers turning to the world around them for such “wisdom”?
For many people entrenched in the church culture the Bible is just another book. Sure, they confess with their mouths that the Bible is their standard for life, but they live a completely different confession. Where do you fit in? What place does the Bible have in your heart? What would happen if God’s Word were removed from your life? Imagine that the government stepped in and burned all copies of the Scriptures. What would you do? How would you respond?
In the book of Hosea God is revealing His plans to judge the northern kingdom of Israel after many years of rebellion and false repentance. In the course of the book God begins to detail the nature of their punishment which would include: losing their status as a nation, being drug into captivity, loss of personal wealth, and ultimately God declaring that He would no longer be present among them.
That last punishment was more than Hosea could bear. In , Hosea begins to intercede for Israel. He begins to ask God to give them something and suddenly stops. In your translation there is most likely a long dash after that initial request. That is because Hosea realizes that there is nothing of value left to request.
He cries out: “Give them, O Lord…what will you give”. Hosea understood that if God was going to remove His presence from among the people and not speak to them, then there was nothing else that would ease their pain. So Hosea asks for the only thing that he can think of: death.
He asks God to give the people miscarrying wombs and dry breasts. If they could not have God’s presence or His voice then it would be better for them to simply die. Does that sound extreme? Perhaps a little melodramatic? Or maybe it sounds like the only logical response from someone that has just realized that they were going to lose the breath that gives life.
Perhaps the reason that this sounds like such an over-reaction to many is because for so many people in the church culture the Bible is just a book to leave in your car until Sunday. To them, it is not the awe inspiring, life transforming, soul sustaining connection to the One True God. And for that reason I fear they will simply remain a part of the modern church culture which is not the same as being a part of the Kingdom of God ().
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (ESV)
14 Give them, O Lord—
what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
and dry breasts. (ESV)
I Never Knew You
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (ESV)