4 Functions of God’s Word

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“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

– 2 Timothy 3:16

Scripture Teaches

Every word of God is necessary for teaching us something about God or how to be more like Christ. It is “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). It is necessary to teach us or others sound doctrine (Titus 2:1), to teach us how to avoid living ungodly lives full of worldly passions (Titus 2:12), to teach us about the past so that we can learn from it (Rom. 15:4), to teach us to avoid false teachings (Heb. 13:9), and to equip us for what we are to do for God’s glory (2 Tim. 3:17).

Scripture Rebukes

God must have a sense of humor because He once used a donkey to rebuke Balaam (Num. 22:28; 2 Pet. 2:16), and today God uses His Word to rebuke or discipline us (Heb. 12:5), to keep the church sound in the faith (Titus 1:13), to teach and encourage the church in godly instruction (2 Tim. 4:2), to rebuke even His own disciples (Mark 8:33), but also to avoid rebuking our elders in public (1 Tim. 5:20). God rebukes those whom He loves (Rev. 3:19). Don’t you want that? I might not like it, but I surely need it!

Scripture Corrects

Second Timothy 4:2 says we should “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” Why? It’s because “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). I think that time is not coming anymore–it is already here!

Scripture Trains

There is a training process going on right now. We are in training to become more like Christ and to grow in righteousness and holiness, and this lifelong process is called sanctification. Jesus prayed to the Father to “sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). The Word not only cleanses us (Eph. 5:26), trains us in and about God’s righteousness (Titus 2:12), trains us to be more godly (1 Tim. 4:7), trains us to discern good from evil (Heb. 5:14) but also trains us to be more like our Master (Luke 6:40) and our Savior.

Conclusion

The Word of God cuts in order to heal. It can discern our thoughts and intents (Heb. 4:12), and it convicts us and cleanses us (Eph. 5:26). We need the Word of God so much in our daily lives. We can trust it because we know it’s from the very mouth of God and “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16), and speaking for myself, I really need all four of these.

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Jack is an author and pastor at the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane, Kansas. You can find more writing from Jack at WhatChristiansWantToKnow.com and FaithInTheNews.com.