Adequate. Paul also stressed the sufficiency of Scripture to lead one through the whole process of salvation. Scripture is “able to make you wise into salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Here we see the purpose, power, plan, procedure, and product of Holy Writ.
It presents the purpose of Scripture. The word, “wise” (Gk. sophisai) is an “active infinitive of sophizo,”168 which means, “to understand.”169 Paul’s use of the word in 2 Timothy 3:14-15 is similar to that in Psalm 19:7 and 119:98.170 Ps. 19:7 states that “The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7, ESV). Hence, Old Testament instruction gives Timothy wisdom that leads to salvation.
The verb form of, “to make wise,” is aorist infinitive active.171 It speaks of complete action, as a single whole, regardless of the parts or time involved.172 The action of Scripture to make one wise unto salvation is a complete whole. Scripture then is able to make one wise unto salvation completely. It is not a part and partial installment action. It gives wisdom entirely, which leads to salvation.
It stresses also the power of Scripture. Paul wrote, “Those [Scriptures] being able to make you wise unto salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15). [Emphasis added] The word “able” (Gk. dunamena) means, “to be able, capable, strong enough to do.”173 The verb form of “being able” is present middle/passive participle.174 It describes the action of the Scriptures, which is “to make one wise unto salvation.” The present middle/passive indicates the subject as continually acting upon or concerning itself. Thus, Paul describes the Scriptures as continually being able, capable, and powerful itself to give wisdom unto salvation.
Theologians call this the “animation of Scripture.” The Bible is not a dead book. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the dividing of both soul and spirit . . . and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). It is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). It effectually changes the hearts of men and women to live as children of God (Ps. 19:7-9; 1 Thess. 2:13).
Scripture also outlines the plan of salvation. It gives wisdom “into salvation . . . in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). God announced the Gospel in prototype form in Genesis 3:15—“He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (NKJV). It is a prophecy of the coming Seed of the Woman. It proclaims the Savior’s ultimate victory over Satan, by His death and resurrection. Conversely, it declares Satan’s total defeat.
God brought up this Gospel again with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. Paul explained, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’ So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Gal. 3:8-9, ESV; cf. Gen. 12:3). The wonderful themes of Seed (Gen. 3:15), Blessing (Gen. 12:1-3; Gal. 3:18, 22), and the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants (Gen. 12:1-3; 2 Sam. 7:11-16; 1 Chron. 17:10-14) are pivotal to the New Testament theme of Promise. Christ fulfilled this Promise (Gal. 3:7-29; Heb. 8, 10). The Old Testament, therefore, testifies continually about Christ (Luke 24:27, 44-47; John 5:39). Christ is the focus of both the Old and New Testaments (John 1:45; 5:39). He fulfills God’s redemptive purposes (John 14:7; 17:3; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7-14; Col. 1:14; Heb. 1; 9:12, 15).
There is also the procedure of Scripture to lead one into salvation. It is “through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15, MKJV). The only way by which Scripture gives wisdom unto salvation is faith in Christ Jesus. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8, RSV; cf. 2:1-5; John 6:63-65). God accomplished salvation on the cross and applies it through faith.175 It is solely the work of God (John 1:13; 6:44, 63-65; 8:44; Rom. 3:24-26; 12:3; Eph. 1:7; 2:1-8). The Holy Spirit effectually produces this faith in one’s heart by means of the Word (John 3:5, 6:63; 1 Cor. 2:11, 14; 2 Cor. 4:13). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17, KJV). Thus, Scripture facilitates faith in its hearers and understanding unto salvation (Acts 18:8).
Moreover, there is the product of Scripture. Scripture fits and equips men and women of God “for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). The Bible is therefore adequate to bring believers from spiritually infancy to full Christian maturity in the Lord—the whole gamut of salvation in Christ from election, predestination, regeneration, sanctification, and glorification (2 Pet. 1:3-4). It is not the theological training of the preacher, his speaking and leadership gifts, or the latest church growth program that will build the church, but the Word.176
Paul also taught the sufficiency of Scripture, not only for salvation, but also for guidance in every situation. The words he taught were words taught by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:12). Then he added, “But the spiritual man discerns all things” (1 Cor. 2:15). The verb, “discerns” (Gk. anakrinei), means, “to scrutinize, investigate, determine, [and] examine.”177 This means that by the knowledge of the Word of God, we can determine and evaluate the will of God in everything.178 The verb form is present indicative. Thus, Scripture enables the spiritual, Scripture-filled believer to make wise decisions in every circumstance.
Peter wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him” (2 Pet. 1:3, NIV; cf. Micah 2:7). How does one attain “life and godliness?” It is “through our knowledge of him.” Where can we know Him? Peter said that it is in the Scriptures (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18).
157 TATSD in Power Bible CD.
158 EBD in Power Bible CD.
159 Isidro, Annotated, 462.
160 Greg Herrick, “Bibliology: The Bible.” Cited __ Online: http://www.bible.org/page.asp? page_id=724.
161 Isidro, Annotated, 387.
162 E. J. Young, Thy Word is Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957), 113; in Keathley, “Bibliology.”
Cited __ Online: http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=695.
163 Herrick, “Bibliology,” http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=724.
164 Art Kohl, “Bibliology: The Doctrine of Word of God.” Cited __ Online: http://www.fbbc.com/pdf/doctrine/ Bibliology.pdf>
165 The Fourfold Gospel in Power Bible CD.
166 Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, JFBC in Power Bible CD.
167 Parker, ed., Bibliology, 52.
168 Robertson, Robertson’s Word Pictures in Power Bible CD.
169 TDNT, s. v. “sophizo” by U. Wilckens.
170 TDNT, s. v. “sophizo” by U. Wilckens.
171 Friberg and Friberg, Analytical in Bible Windows CD.
172 Isidro, “Greek I,” 19.
173 Liddel and Scott, An Intermediate in Bible Windows CD.
174 Friberg and Friberg, Analytical CD.
175 John Piper, A Godward Life (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 1997), 38.
176 Preus, “Chapel Sermon” Concordia, July 1996. Cited __ Online: http:/www.ctsfw.edu/library/files/pb/1208.
177 Strong, Strong’s Greek Dictionary in Power Bible CD.
178 John F. MacArthur, “The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 1.” Cited __ Online: http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/ 80-18.HTM>