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It is written:
1 Timothy 3:14-15-These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
I was blessed to be raised in the church of Christ. A lot of people in our world despise who the churches of Christ are. Granted, we are very imperfect people and often make mistakes and bad decisions. Yet that is not limited to the churches of Christ, but is a common human failing. I want to share with you in this short series of studies why I appreciate the churches of Christ.
The first thing I would share with you about what I appreciate about the church of Christ is that it honors the Bible. Some think that churches of Christ are worshipers of the Bible, but that is an incorrect assessment. Instead, we try to acknowledge the place that the Bible has in the life of the Christian, and of the church. The Bible is the Word of God (as numerous evidences document), and it claims to be fully self-sufficient in order to make us wise unto salvation.
2 Timothy 3:14-17-But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Some believe that Paul here is speaking only of the Old Testament Scriptures. Yet that is not the case, since Paul quotes from Luke 10:7 and calls it Scripture (1 Timothy 5:18). Furthermore, consider this from a former Roman Catholic who became a member of the church of Christ.
“He began slowly, lacking even a hint of combat, “So, a good part of the books of the New Testament had not yet been written in Timothy’s childhood? And that means the verse is not referring to the New Testament when it says the Scriptures make us perfect, and thereby the verse does not mean the New Testament is our only religious authority?” “That’s right,” I answered, glad to see he got my point. “I see you have your Catholic Bible,” he said, looking and nodding once toward it. “Does it have, at the beginning of each book, an introduction that includes the date of writing?” I flipped through the pages until I found the beginning of one of the books. “Yes.” “Let’s do this,” he said as he moved to the chair next to mine, “you take my pen and notebook; I’ll take your Bible and find in the introduction of each New Testament book the date it says it was written.” Again I detected his protection of my ego from embarrassment. In Catechism school we did not study the Bible very much, if at all. So I did not know where any of the New Testament books were located, and we did not have time for me to hunt page by page. He quickly found the introduction of every one of the 27 books and told me the date each was written. After I rewrote the list chronologically, it laid before me. No date given John; 1 John; 3 John 42-50 A.D. Matthew 51 1 Thessalonians 51 2 Thessalonians 54 Galatians 57 1 Corinthians 57 2 Corinthians 57-58 Romans Pre—60 Mark 60-62 Jude Pre—63 Luke 63 Acts 63 Hebrews 63 Ephesians 63 Philippians 63 Colossians 63 Philemon 63-64 1 Peter 65-66 Titus 65-66 1 Timothy 66-67 2 Timothy 66-67 2 Peter 90’ s 2 John 96 Apocalypse “Let’s see now,” he investigated with me, “when was 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 written?” “There.” I pointed the pen and tapped at its location “66 or 67 A.D.” “And, when was the Gospel of Matthew written?” he asked. I saw Matthew at the very top. “It was the very first one written, dated somewhere between 42 and 50 A.D.,” I answered, actually enjoying the research for myself. “Gary, this is simple. You need neither me nor the Catholic clergy to tell you what the answer is. Now think, since Matthew was written somewhere between 42 and 50 A.D. and 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 was written 66-67 A.D., then Matthew could have been written as much as twenty-five years before 2 Timothy was written. Now, since Timothy was a youth in 66-67 A.D. when Paul said Timothy knew the Scriptures, then would it be possible that Timothy, as a young boy, could have known the New Testament Scriptures of the Gospel of Matthew which had already been around for some 25 years?” “No, I don’t think so.” Stupid answer, but I couldn’t say “yes.” If I did, it would destroy the first point Mr. Clay bound me never to forget: Timothy only had the Old Testament Scriptures. “Why not?” Mr. Babbitt pushed me mentally like Coach Webb pushed me physically. Hard, but for my benefit. After a few moments dragged by, it became apparent. He was waiting for me to break the silence. He was not going to answer it for me. There were no other students to answer it. Mr. Clay was not there to answer it. But even if any of them were there they all would have to answer “yes,” if they were honest. Either I walked away without answering and thereby stopped being honest, or I answered him. “Yes, Timothy as a young boy could have known the Scriptures of the Gospel of Matthew,” I consented as I clutched onto Mr. Clay’s second point. He looked at me for a moment with eyes of sympathy, not moving so much as a lip. “Gary, I know that must have been difficult for you. And you are correct; he could have known the book of Matthew and even some of the other New Testament books. But, that which makes it certain he knew the New Testament Scriptures is found in the rest of that verse. Why don’t you read it for yourself?” The rest of the verse? Mr. Clay didn’t say anything about the rest of the verse. I read with interest: “For from thy infancy thou hast known the Sacred Writings, which are able to instruct thee into salvation by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” “Is it the Old Testament Scriptures,” Mr. Babbitt inquired, “that is able to instruct a person into salvation by faith which is in Jesus?” “Certainly not. Only the Scriptures of the New Testament can do that,” I replied with conviction. My thoughts began to click off in rapid succession. How easy was that to see! This verse, without question, refers to the New Testament Scriptures because these Scriptures are identified as those that instruct a person into salvation through Jesus. So, Timothy did know the New Testament Scriptures. What Mr. Clay said about the Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3: 15-16 being solely the Old Testament is not true! Then, in a mix of worry and anger, I wondered, Why did Mr. Clay distract my attention from this? Why did he ignore it? Why did he use only part of the verse and then twist it to make it say what it does not say? I saw his alarm when he read it, and by his prompt “remember-two-things-about-this-passage” lecture, it’s evident he is very familiar with this part of the verse. Am I getting too close to the door of a serious Catholic glitch?” (Gary Henson, The Ivory Domino, 50-53 (Kindle Edition): Charleston, AR; Cobb Publishing)
The Scriptures are what we need to make us wise unto salvation, and complete unto every good work. For my entire life, I have witnessed the reverence that churches of Christ have for the Word of God.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.