All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness… – 2 Timothy 3:16

As we have seen this week, Paul tells Timothy that Scripture is breathed out by God for four distinct purposes and today we get to talk about the fourth purpose: training in righteousness. So we’re going to consider how this statement is true: “the God-breathed words of scripture are profitable for training in righteousness.” At first glance, you might think that this verse is a truism. In other words, you might think that this statement is obviously true and therefore not all that interesting. You might think, “Of course, scripture is useful or profitable for training in righteousness! What else would it be used for?”

My only response to that would be if this seems so true, why don’t more people live like it’s true. I definitely see people regularly using scripture for teaching (we do this every Sunday), often for reproof (discovering what you did wrong), and often for correction (trying to fix what you did wrong), but training? That’s something different. Training, as this word is used here, is a dedicated discipline so as to learn a new habit or trait. Training involves repetition and prolonged effort toward a goal of making the truth of scripture become second nature. If teaching is useful in making someone more knowledgeable (which is a good thing), then training is useful in making someone more virtuous (which I think is a better thing). To be virtuous is to do the right thing for the right reasons. In order to be virtuous, you have to know what the right thing is (teaching) and then practice it through a long process of reproof and correction until the right thing is the natural thing. This can take years, but when it happens you know that you are growing into a man or woman of God who is “complete, equipped for every good work.”

So, my question for you is, what do you need training in? What trait do you want to be more natural to you? Is it reading your Bible every day? Praying regularly? Is it responding in peace instead of anger? Or maybe it is stopping an activity or action that is bringing you down, like language, internet use, music, etc. Whatever it is, consider turning it into a training plan. Set a goal, make a list, find an accountability partner, and then make it costly. We do this all the time for other training plans. We know how much work it is to train for a race or to get in shape, why would we think training in righteousness would be any easier? Maybe it’s time to start training. What’s your plan going to be?

Josh Rose
Teaching Pastor

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