Word for Today Archive


Pastoral Commentary for 2 Timothy 3
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie

When I get on my bike, I can ride in one of two ways. Most of the time I ride for fitness. That means I try to do at least 20 miles at no less than 15 miles per hour. I push hard and try to keep my heart rate up around 135 average for more than an hour. But sometimes I ride for a totally different reason. I ride for the pure pleasure of being on my bike. I slow down. I notice the scenery. I don't push myself. I stop when I feel like it. These occasional pleasure rides are a wonderful change of pace from the way I normally ride, and I enjoy them immensely. It's great to remember that my bike has more than one purpose.

In 2 Timothy 3, Paul tells us that the Bible has more than one purpose as well. "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:14-17)

As you read those verses you may think there are many, many purposes for Scripture mentioned by Paul, but there are basically only two. The first and most important purpose of God's Word is "to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The Bible was written to bring us to faith so that we can be saved by grace and have the free gift of eternal life. This is called justification, being made right with God through faith in Jesus.

The second purpose of God's Word is "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." God gives us His Word so that we can become like Christ, and do the good works that he prepared for us to do. This is called sanctification, becoming holy like Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us through God's Word.

Both of these purposes are vitally important to us. Without justification, we would be lost forever, condemned to spend eternity in hell apart from God. Without sanctification we would be helpless to serve God, love others, do God's will and bring Him glory. That's why the two always go together. If you are truly justified then you are in the process of being sanctified. And you can't be sanctified unless you have first been justified.

Why is the Bible able to accomplish both of these purposes? Because it is "God-breathed." God spoke His very Word into the hearts and minds of the prophets and apostles he used to write the Bible. He gave them the very words he wanted to communicate to us. That's why Scripture is alive and active, God's Holy Spirit always at work through it to both justify and sanctify.

So the next time you pick up your Bible remember that God wants to use it in two ways. To strengthen your faith in your Savior Jesus and to equip you to do His work. You will be blessed!


Pastoral Commentary for 2 Timothy 3
Author: Pastor Bill Tucker

Don't be afraid ... this is only a hypothetical question! Have you ever gone without coffee in the morning?How does it feel? Probably not so good!

The reason I ask is that I have been trying to reduce the amount of coffee I drink. I need to. A doctor once asked me how much coffee I drank each day, "2 or 3?" And I had to ask him if he was talking about cups or pots. I drank way too much coffee!

However, my efforts to reduce my coffee/caffeine intake were not fueled by my desire to comply with medical wisdom (I know, shame on me. I apologize to all my doctor friends). They were fueled by an experience that opened my eyes to a part of my consumption that wasn't so obvious ... at first.

It all began on a great morning out on a friend's ranch. I was invited out to this ranch with a group of men from the church. It was a great morning and everything was going well. We had our breakfast and an abundance of coffee and went out for the day.

The only little detail that was missing was the caffeine ... it was DECAF coffee. I didn't realize. I drank it when we got back to the house. I drank it while we were preparing dinner. I should have been "good to go!" Except ...

I guess I should have known sooner, but I have so many allergies since moving to SA that it is not uncommon for me to have a little headache during the day. I did. I took ibuprofen (thank goodness of spell-check) and went on my way. The headache, rudely, did not follow my example. Four hours later I took more ibuprofen ... no relief. But it wasn't too bad and we were having fun ... so I decided to just forget about it!

When I went to bed, the headache was worse, but I was sure it would be better by morning. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

I woke up at 2:05 am with my head about to explode. I have never had such a headache. The pain was incredible. I was in agony! I couldn't imagine what could be wrong with me ... when it hit me. Caffeine!

I had been poisoned ... or un-poisoned ... or whatever. I NEEDED CAFFEINE!

I went to the coffee pot ... just as I suspected. DECAF! I had no idea the treacherous nature of the people around me. Worse yet ... there was no regular coffee anywhere to be found. I was more than an hour from any sort of civilization ... I needed to come up with some caffeine.

That's when I remembered that even DECAF had a small amount of caffeine. Fortunately for me, there was a half pot still in the carafe. I drank it all in desperation and waited. NOTHING! The headache only got worse.

In my desperation I finally had an idea ... soda has caffeine. I don't drink it very often, but I remembered that there was a cooler full on the deck. I went out there and grabbed two bottles. I guzzled them down as quickly as I could. And I laid back down ... to die!

Guess what! I didn't die ... my head didn't explode ... the pain went away and I went to sleep! I had fulfilled my need ... my addiction and all was well. I just needed caffeine.

Well, that little experience started me down a path of wanting to reduce my need for caffeine.

Here is my point ... As I read 2 Timothy 3 today, especially verses 16 and 17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 I thought of a couple of other verses.

Consider these verses in light of 2 Timothy 3.

"... the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7

"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” 1 Peter 1:23-35

As I read these verses, I realized something. While God did not create me to have a "need" for caffeine, I was created to "NEED" the Word of God. And so were you! God breathed into us to give us life. We are God-breathed. And the Word is God-breathed. We need the "Living Word of God" to keep our souls healthy and our lives strong.

No wonder we grow so spiritually weak when we are not "in the Word." No wonder we struggle to remain faithful to God and His will when we make no time to read the Bible. We have a "NEED" because of who we are and how we were created. We NEED the WORD of GOD!

Take in a big drink of God's Word today ... start in 2 Timothy 3 (it is a great chapter). Your soul will thank you!




Pastoral Commentary for 2 Timothy 3
Author: Pastor Josh

Cinco de Mayo
This holiday commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. While outnumbered, the Mexicans defeated a much better-equipped French army that had not been defeated for almost 50 years.

An unlikely victory, certainly a cause for celebration. Our reading today reminds me of a reason we can join the celebration.

While there will be terrible times in the last days (vs. 1) and while Paul says that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (vs. 12), out of love for us our Heavenly Father has not left us ill-equipped for the challenges we face.

Paul says:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (vs. 16-17)

While we are outmatched against sin, the devil, and his army of evil forces... that does not mean defeat is imminent. Paul says the Bible makes us "thoroughly equipped for every good work". The imagery behind that phrase is of a military unity going into battle having every piece of equipment needed for the task before them.

I love that imagery. It shows us a great picture of God's heart. Not only did God the Father send Jesus Christ suffer and die to reconcile us back to Himself, He also has given us something useful for everyday life, a weapon for the warfare we face - the Bible.

As you celebrate Cinco de Mayo - be refreshed by the victory Jesus has won for you through his death and resurrection, while at the same time celebrating the gift God has given us in His Word.

Not being left alone, we are able to stand victoriously in the strength of the Lord and His mighty power, wielding the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-13; 17)

To read of a great story from history with a Cinco de Mayo theme, check out 2 Samuel 17.


Pastoral Commentary for 2 Timothy 3
Author: Pastor Zach

Have you ever had one of those experiences where someone begins talking to you as if they're your long lost best friend and, although you know you should remember who they are, you're honestly clueless as to their identity? Once, I received a phone call from a number I did not know. In fact, it was from an area code I did not know. The caller began, "Zach?" "Yes," I responded. "Hey," the man on the other end of the line continued, "It's Rufus."


I have known a lot of people over the course of my life: Justins, Marks, Pauls, Joshs, Jamess, Josiahs, and even a couple of Jedidiahs. But I have never known a Rufus. But Rufus seemed to know me. So I played along. "Oh hi, Rufus," I said with a mixture of curiosity and nervousness in my voice. "What's up?" "I was wondering if you got that fax I sent you," Rufus continued. Rufus? A fax? I was totally lost. I finally cracked. "Who is this again?" I asked. "Rufus," the man replied. "And who are you?" "Zach," I said, "Zach McIntosh." "Oops," Rufus responded. "I was trying to get a hold of a Zach Allen. Sorry! Wrong number." And we both hung up the phone.


Honestly, at the end of our conversation, I breathed a sigh of relief. "So I'm not going crazy," I thought to myself. "I really don't know a Rufus." But then I read our text for today from 2 Timothy 3: "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth - men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected" (verse 8). Jannes and Jambres. Am I supposed to know these guys? I don't remember them from the story of the exodus. Thankfully, I shouldn't remember them. Because their names are not actually in the story of the exodus.


Paul, in naming Jannes and Jambres as men who oppose Moses, draws from an ancient Jewish tradition which names Pharaoh's magicians who compete against Moses and Aaron in Exodus 7:10-12:


Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.


Notice that in the original text of Exodus, Pharaoh's magicians remain nameless.


But now consider this text from the Targum of Jonathan, a second century commentary on this passage:


Moses and Aaron went unto Pharaoh, and did as the Lord had commanded. And Aaron threw down the rod before the sight of Pharaoh, and before the sight of his servants, and it became a snake. But Pharaoh called the diviners and magicians; and they also, Jannes and Jambres, magicians of Mizraim, did the same by their burnings of divination. Each man threw down his rod, and they became snakes; but were forthwith changed to be what they were at first; and the rod of Aaron swallowed up their rods.


Pharaoh's magicians now have names. And Paul quotes these names in today's reading.


Why is this important? Because it means that Paul was a man thoroughly familiar with his Scriptures and even with what other people had said about the Scriptures. He had read his Bible. He had consulted his commentaries. He had sat at the feet of great Bible teachers. That is why he knew even the lesser known names of Jannes and Jambres. Because he had so diligently studied theology. And Paul encourages us to do the same:


But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (verses 14-17)


Paul says, "Continue in what you have learned." Keep on studying the Scriptures. Keep on peering into God's book. Keep on discovering new things about the Bible. For the words of Scripture are the words of God. That's why Jannes and Jambres matter. Not because they're historically important. They're mere blips in the history of God's people, and godless blips at that. But Paul takes the time to remember and mention them because they relate to Scripture. And for Paul, there is nothing more precious, more life-giving, and more worthwhile than God's Word. Is the same true for you?





Read Today's Scripture and Commentary on the Concordia website.



2019-07-21 14:07:51