16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16
The words reprove and reproof, are not words that are in common use and language today. I wonder how many people today understand them?
What are we to understand The Apostle Paul is saying here?
I think we can say that the reading and preaching of Scripture has a negative and positive purpose.
Negatively it has the task of reproving and correcting. To reprove someone is to point out the wrong and mistakes in their lives, and if necessary rebuke and censure them and seek for reformation and restoration. In Christian practice this reproof is based on clear scripture teaching as to what God says is right and wrong and in accordance with what is pleasing to Him.
We see from this verse that reproval and correction go together.
Positively the Word teaches the ways of righteousness and Christ-like living.
We do not reprove merely to condemn but in order that wrong ideas and practices are cast aside and replaced by righteous Christ-pleasing belief and practice according to the Word’s teaching.
I feel that we do not hear this balanced use of the Scripture in much of today’s preaching; rather we are almost always fed a diet of sugar and no salt.
How little are we pulled up on our worldly attitudes and indifferent treatment of many sins? True we must not trowel on reproof with a shovel but we are neither to turn a blind eye on the sins which so easily beset us. The Minister and teacher must in faithfulness to the Word of God both correct and reprove in balance with comfort, up-building and edifying.
I think many teachers in the church have dropped the more confronting and unpopular side of faithful preaching. They need to return to scriptural emphasis and balance.
We are not all preachers and bible teachers, theirs is a special task. Yet in some way we can, with sensitivity and tact, be the means of turning others from the wrong path and point them to the path that leads to a closer walk with Christ and obedience to Him.
Riding the Beam!
The Lorenz beam system (invented by the Germans) used a single radio transmitter with three antennas to guide an aircraft in landing in poor visual conditions. If an aircraft was to the left of the glide-path the pilot would hear a stream of Morse dots and if he was veering to the right he would hear a stream of dashes. When the plane was centre-line he would hear a constant tone. Later an automatic cockpit indicator was added to save the pilot the need to hear the actual signal.
This was later adapted by the German for use in guiding bombers to targets in Britain.
In the Spiritual realm we have a guidance system as well. The Christian has the inscripturated Word of God to keep them on the correct path.
We have to avoid two perils in our dealing with the Bible. First we do not add to it, neither must we subtract from it.
The Scriptures need nothing added to them, they are inspired by God the Holy Spirit and sufficient for all spiritual teaching. We are also not to take away from scripture by neglecting or explaining away verses that do not please sinful man.
Sad to say that we see a great deal of “filing cabinet theology”. A church or minister may believe or say they believe the great doctrines of the Bible but seldom take the trouble to preach and teach them. If someone pulls them up on the lack of such preaching they say that they refer new believers to learning sheets they have filed away somewhere which deal with these doctrines.
The problem is we are not all on the same page. If the whole counsel of God is not preached there are going to be those who fall through the cracks and neglect and be ignorant of scripture truths.
Like the Lorenz system the Word is a safe guide no matter how dark or foggy the conditions we face. We must know the Word, submit to it and ask for the Spirit’s teaching and guidance.
We often see buildings which due to expansion and contraction of the earth beneath develop cracks in the walls and sinking foundations which put the floors out of square.
When I was searching for relatives graves at the cemetery I see memorials which have stood for decades sinking and collapsing.
This is exacerbated by mining and excavation.
We all tend to think of the earth beneath us as solid yet we know the continents are more like rafts on a molten sea.
Although it may not seem so neither the true Christian nor the true Church will ever subside or fall into a giant sinkhole or collapse into ruins.
They are based on the Great Rock of our Salvation and will stand for all time and all eternity it is only for us to take our stand upon it by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
How firm a foundation you saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!
What more can he say than to you he has said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled? George Keith