It is “Back-to-School” time for youth all over this country. While they may not always admit it, students are excited to go back to school. They get to see their friends on a more regular basis and they get away from their parents! Parents, don’t lie, you are excited for more “me-time” as well.
As kids get ready to hit the books, I’m reminded of the importance of reading in the life of an adult. Reading allows one to travel to far-away places and visit different eras in history. Some of my favorite memories from childhood include solving mysteries with the Hardy boys or exploring the world with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
However, the most important book I read as a child is also the most important one for me to read as an adult, The Bible. Whether or not you agree with everything the Bible teaches, you cannot ignore the impact this Book has had in the course of history. For those who do agree with its principles, you cannot ignore the impact it has on the lives of those who do read it and obey.
The Apostle Paul teaches, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Paul saw teaching as more than the transfer of head knowledge. Teaching for Paul involved training in godliness (having a god-ward attitude) and holiness (purity of heart, moral goodness). In other words, head knowledge had a direct and visible impact on a person’s heart and what they did.
Rebuking and correcting are words for discipline. Discipline is more than punishment; it involves the idea of cultivating and improving something. Much like a farmer cultivates the land, seeking to improve the quality of the soil and therefore the quality of the crop, a person must be disciplined to improve the quality of their life. God’s Word has the ability to do just that. It disciplines us when it reveals our sin and lack of obedience.
Training in righteousness means someone comprehends holy principles, which include justice, honesty, and virtue. God’s Word teaches the truth about justice (receiving what you are due), honesty (upright disposition), and virtue (moral goodness), citing examples and telling stories of each.
My prayer for everyone during the “back-to-school” season is renewed interest in God’s Word, dedication to the principles it teaches, and submission to its authority. As the Bible says, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing souls and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
This first appeared in The Chappell Register on September 5, 2013. I have added some material since then.