2 Timothy 3: 16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
God the Holy Spirit is the ultimate author of the Scriptures, He inspired the prophets and apostles to write what He wanted them to. How the divine inspiration happened is largely a mystery, but what we do know is that God used the distinctive personalities and writing styles of those He chose to convey His eternal truths.
But why do the Scriptures have such life changing effects on Christians but not on non-believers?
The gift of the Holy Spirit is the triune God living within a believer and it is He, the Holy Spirit, that distributes His gifts as He sees fit. Those gifts include faith and the ability to understand the Scriptures. Without these two gifts, the Bible is to a non-believer, at best a meaningless book, and at worst, something abhorrent to them. With the the gifts however, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is a weapon that destroys the sinful nature of mankind and cuts away the darkness that engulfs the souls of all those who first come to faith, and leads them into the light of salvation through Jesus Christ.
There are six main roles Scripture plays in the believers life, they all work together, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to build up one faith and understanding.
Teaching: When we read Scripture, the Holy Spirit opens our minds to doctrine and grants us understanding of it and how to apply it to our lives. For instance, the doctrine of the atonement is understood by believers as Jesus sacrificing Himself on the cross, taking our place, and satisfying God’s need to see sin punished. It is applied to our lives through faith in Him and repentance.
Reproof: When we read Scripture, the law of God convicts our consciences. When we are born again, God writes His law on our hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27) and the reading of the Bible takes the law written in our hearts and intellectualizes it, it shines a light on our sinful nature and brings us to our knees in repentance. The law of God, found systematized in the Ten Commandments is like a mirror that reflects our ugly sin nature, and the Holy Spirit grants us understanding of this and brings us to Jesus in sorrow over our sins.
Correction: The more we read Scripture the more our worldview is changed, we start to take on the thoughts of God and leave behind our old way of thinking and viewing the world. The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures to refine and purify our morals and bring them more into conformity to those of Christ, we actually begin to think and act like Jesus. The word of God is likened to a sword (Hebrews 4:12) and it is this sword that cuts away all the ungodly thoughts and actions we are prone to and leaves us with a godly righteousness, all thanks to the grace of God working in us.
Training in Righteousness: All the above characteristics’ work together to bring out the new nature God has graced us with. When we study the Bible in a consistent manner, we build up a righteousness that mimics Jesus Christ. Much like a martial artist builds up muscle and skills, the Holy Spirit acts as a coach to guide us through the Bible and build up a righteousness that comes from the heart and not just actions.
That the man of God may be complete: When one is born again, it is like starting life afresh, we are new creatures, our old lives are left behind and we become children of God. Like all children we need instruction to grow into complete individuals, that is the role of the Scriptures, it completes our knowledge of God, it informs us who He is and how He wants us to live.
Equipped for every good work: All the above aspects of the Scriptures are there to make us ready to do the work God has for us to do. If you have ever wondered what the plan God has for your life is, read the Scriptures, they purify the heart and make one ready to do the work God wants you to do.
All of this takes a lot of hard and consistent work to bring about, but with the aid of the Holy Spirit it is possible to become as Christlike as is possible in this life. Reading Scripture makes us better people, it makes us wise and righteous.
Psalm 119:9-16 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.
With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
Are you giving your whole heart to the study of Scripture? What changes are you seeing in your life?