2 Timothy 3:16 — What Scripture is Inspired?

2 Timothy 3:16
pasa graphee theopneustos kai wphelimos pros
3956 1124 2315 2532 5624 4314
didaskalian pros elegmon pros epanorthwsin
1319 4314 1648_5 4314 1882
pros paideian teen en dikaiosunee
4314 3809 3588 1722 1343
Westcott & Hort Interlinear

The Greek often does not have the connecting verb “is” in the text, but is understood. It should be obvious that in 2 Timothy 3:16, in the English the verb belongs there somewhere, and most translators put it after the word “scripture”, making the verse read, as in the New American Standard:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.

Some, however, put the verb later, as in the World English:

Every writing inspired by God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction which is in righteousness.

Some have faulted the rendering “all scripture is inspired” because it would actually state that every writing in the whole world is inspired of God. Others point out that the word “kai” (meaning “and”) would seem to call for the verb to be before “theopneustos”.

Regardless of where one puts a verb in the sentence, “all scripture” is understood to mean what was referred to as “the Scripture(s)”. (Matthew 24:42; 22:29; Luke 24:27,32,45; John 4:39; 7:42; 10:35; 17:12; 20:9; Acts 8:32; 17:2,11; 18:28; Romans 11:2; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Galatians 3:22) In most cases in the New Testament this terminiology refers to what Christians today refer to as the Old Testament, although at times the writings of NT testament writers seemd to be included. However, the word “scriptures” simply means “writings,” and yes, there were a lot of writings — scriptures — floating around in the first century amongst the Jews, which are not included in “the Scriptures” that are referred to in the Bible. There was a general consensus amongst the Jews that “the Scriptures” are what we today have as the Old Testament.

If Paul was saying that absolutely everything that is written is inspired of God, then the Buddhist writings, the Hindu writintgs, the writings of Satanists, and absolutely everything that has been written by anyone at any time and at any place should be considered to be inspired of God; thus we should believe in the immortalithy of the soul, and that the soul is not immortal; we should believe that only Yahweh is Most High, and that Yahweh is not the only Most High; we should believe that the dead are not conscious, and the dead are conscious, we should believe that God is a trinity, and that God is unipersonal. We should believe in reincarnation, and we should believe that reincarnation is not true. We should believe in the transmigrations of the human soul, and we should believe that the transmigration of the soul is false teaching. And so forth and son on.

The expression “Law and the Prophets” was used to speak of all of the Hebrew Scriptures. Before Christ came, there is evidence of the usage of the “Law and Prophets” of all of the books of the Bible in the Old Testament as we have it except Ruth and Esther. Although the expression “canon” was not used in those days, the evidence shows that there was an accepted canon sometime in the late Perisian period. Although the expression “Law and the Prophets” technically divides the canon into two groups, the expression was often used to designate the entire canon. Some reference refer to “the Law, Prophets, and the Psalms,” as did Jesus in Luke 24:44, which would technicallly make three divisions of the Old Testament writings. Even the “historical” writings contain prophecy, as are certainly relative to the “Law Covenant.” However, at times all of the writings of the Old Testament were referred as “the Law,” or “the Law and Prophets.”

The expression “the Law” is generally used in three different ways in the New Testament. It is often used when speaking of the Book of the Law, which is now five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). It is also used to refer to the entire collection of the Hebrew Scriptures. Therefore, Jesus quoted the Psalms as being part of the Law of Jews. (John 10:34; 15:25) Jesus refers to the Psalms several times; here are some: Matthew 5:5; 22:44; 23:39; Mark 12:36; Luke 19:38; 24:44; John 10:34. Thus, “all scripture” used in 2 Timothy 3:16, is not referring to absolutely all writing, but to the writing that was general referred to at that as the Scripture(s), that which we today call the “Old Testament,” which really means “the Old Covenant.” Thus, when we speak of the “Old Testament” today, although the term means “old covenant,” we are not speaking just of the Law Covenant itself, nor even just the “book of the Law,” but of all the books of the what we call the Old Testament canon.

Nevertheless, the expression “the Law” or “law” in the Bible often refers to the Law Covenant itself; one should not confuse such scriptures with what constitutes “Law and the Prophets” as far as writings are concerned.

One more point concerning 2 Timothy 3:16. Many try to claim that not all the Bible is inspired because Paul wrote “But to the rest I — not the Lord [Yahweh] — say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her.” (1 Corinthians 7:12) Does this mean that the words that Paul wrote here are not inspired by God? Absolutely not! Indeed, Paul was certainly inspired by God to write, “I — not the Lord [Yahweh] — say,” thus designating that the following was not a command from Yahweh, but rather that it his own suggestion. And yet, we believe that the entire sentence is also inspired by God; although it is not a command from God, this does not mean that the writing of it is not inspired by God.