All Scripture is Profitable for...
One of the first passages of God's holy word that I put to memory was II Timothy 3:16,17 - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

This is one of the first places I turn to in the Bible to emphasize the overall importance of God's word in the life of a Christian. Paul tells Timothy (and us today) that every verse in the Bible is God-breathed (i.e., inspired). That should draw our attention. Although I understand that God no longer talks directly with us today as He did the patriarchs of old (cf. Heb. 1:1,2), just pretend for a minute that He still did. What would you do if God whispered some instructions into your ear? I know what I'd do. I immediately write down every word so as not to forget it! I'd treasure that revelation, carrying it always and proudly sharing it with others. I'd do everything within my power to obey whatever the Lord directed me to do. Wouldn't you do the same?

If so, then please reflect upon how you currently treat the Bible. Although it wasn't delivered directly from God's mouth to your ear, it is still His word nevertheless! It is just as important and valuable! Do you treat it as something special? He breathed life into it and gave it to mankind once for all time (cf. Jude 3). Only fools will disregard it and treat it trivially. Both the Old and New Testaments are important for they were given by God Himself.

"Alright Stephen, the Bible was given to us by God, but is it really relevant today? I mean, we live in the 21st century, not the 1st century--how much help can such an old book really be?" That's a fair question, and here's the answer: The Bible is just as relevant today as it was when first written. Our technology has changed, but the nature of mankind remains the same. We still struggle with temptation and wickedness. We still need to know what God expects of us and how we can be forgiven. We still need to learn our purpose on this planet and our ultimate destiny. The Bible has all these answers and more!

But, how does the Bible answer our questions and guide us? Paul affirms that there are four ways: doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction. What exactly do each of these entail?

That covers everything, doesn't it? The Bible is profitable to show us what to believe and practice and what we should not believe and practice.

Some might then wonder: "Does the Bible have an answer to every religious question we can think up?" No, it is not intended to do this. But, God's word does guide us and thoroughly equip us "for every good work" (II Tim. 3:17) via the four areas discussed above. It reveals to us everything that we need to know in order to live a godly life (cf. II Pet. 1:3). If we have a question we can't find an answer to (either explicitly or implicitly via principles), then the question is either not important or we're not searching the Scriptures diligently enough! Incidentally, if we cannot find an answer to a question (as it pertains to a belief or practice), we should realize that God's silence does not permit us to believe or practice whatever we like (cf. Col. 3:17). Lord willing, we will develop some lessons regarding God's silence in the coming months.