That Man May Be Perfect
Can you imagine that it is God’s Will for man to be perfect? We are to strive for perfection in all that we do. After establishing how the Word of God came into existence as inspired by God [God-breathed] and written down by men of God as the Spirit gave them utterance, the next step is to find out what is the function of His Word. Let us look at II Timothy 3: 16.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [which is] instruction in righteousness. – II Timothy 3: 16
All Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is profitable. The Scripture does not put you in the red; it, keeps you in the black. What is it profitable for? It ”… is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." All Scripture is profitable in three areas: (1) doctrine, which is how to believe rightly; (2) reproof, which is to rebuke at the places where we are not believing rightly; and (3) correction, which is to put us back to right believing. The entire Word of God will do just that. It will teach us how to believe rightly, it will reprove us at the places where we are believing wrongly, and it will correct us so that we can again believe rightly. All three of these are "instruction in righteousness."
Many times a critic of the Bible comes along and says, "Well, the Bible is not true. I feel that there are too many contradictions; the Bible really is just another book among the rest of them." This is not the testimony of the Word of God. The testimony of the Word of God is that all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, which is to teach us how to believe rightly, how to believe positively. If we are going to tap the resources for the more abundant life we must know how to believe rightly. To the people who say that the Bible has a lot of errors in it, I would like to state that the true Word of God is accurate from Genesis to Revelation. The errors have come in by man propounding those errors. Men have brought their opinions and desires into The Word. When men come and say that they do not believe the Bible, we must remember that the Bible was never written for the unbeliever, the agnostic, or the infidel; the Bible was not written for the God -rejecters and the God-deniers. The Bible was written for men and women who want to find answers. The Word of God is given to men and women who want to tap the resources for the more than abundant life. This is why the critic who comes from the outside to the Word of God has no footing to stand on to judge The Word because The Word has already judged him.
The Bible was written so that you as a believer need not be blown about by every wind of doctrine or theory or ideology. This Word of God does not change. Men change, ideologies change, opinions change, but this Word of God lives and abides forever. It endures, it stands. We see this from John 5: 39. "Search the scriptures ...." It does not say search Shakespeare or Kant or Plato or Aristotle or V.P. Wierwille's writings or the writings of a denomination. No, it says, "Search the scriptures ..." because all Scripture is God-breathed. Not all that Wierwille writes will necessarily be God-breathed; not what Calvin said, nor Luther, nor Wesley, nor Graham, nor Roberts; but the Scriptures - they are God-breathed.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think [omit ‘ye think’ - not in the text] ye have eternal life: and they [the Scriptures] are they which testify of me. -- John 5: 39
The verse should read as follows:
Search the scriptures; for in them ye have eternal life: and they [the Scriptures] are they which testify of me. -- John 5: 39
This is why you must study.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – II Timothy 2: 15
The Scriptures tell us the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ, and about God; this is doctrine - it is right believing.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. -- John 17: 8
Jesus gave them the words which God gave to Him, the Scriptures, the Word of God.
I [Jesus Christ] have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. -- John 17: 14
The unbelievers may not like you. So what? The light that you radiate brings out or makes manifest the darkness within them. If they want to go to hell, that’s their prerogative. A lot of people don’t like me and for no reason except that I walk with the power of the true God and they walk with the power of Satan. Speak the Word and only the Word. They will either turn on or they will keep away from you. Use your power of attorney if you must (see teaching). I had a person sneaking around his yard trying to catch me blowing a few leaves in his yard. Can you imagine that? Finally, as a last resort, when he was in my face, I told him he was Satan and I pointed to his house and said: “In the name of Jesus Christ, get away from me.” God blew my mind as he suddenly turned around and walked over to his house. He never came back. Man, you’ve got to believe and use that power.
Without the Word of God, which is right believing, you and I could never walk in the greatness of the power of God.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. -- John 17: 17
The Word is truth. This is the testimony that The Word gives of itself. Eventually we have to come to the testimony of the Word itself and let it speak. We never bring God's Word down to our level; we always bring ourselves up to the level of God's Word. Never come to the Word of God with your skepticism, your doubt, your opinion. You come to the Word of God and let it speak for itself and then you reevaluate and readapt your living to the integrity and the accuracy of God's Word.
What else does the Scripture do besides give doctrine? It is also profitable for reproof. The Scripture reproves us when we are not believing rightly. The Word tells us where we are off; it admonishes us for our wrong believing. No man has a right to reprove any other man. The Word of God has to do the reproving because what I might allow in my life, somebody else might not allow in his life.
Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. -- Romans 14: 22
You can experience people's reproof when they don’t like the clothes you wear, to cite one example. You may be moving among circles that teach you that if you offend somebody by what you do, you should quit doing it. So you change your wardrobe and find out that your new clothes offend someone else. You can try every which way to please people and you will never be successful. You have to get to the place in your life where you only are concerned about what God thinks and not what people think. I take my reproof not from what people say, but from what the Word says. These Scriptures are God-breathed and these Scriptures are profitable for right believing. Where we are believing and acting wrongly, the Word reproves us.
After doctrine and reproof, what is the third thing the Scripture does? Not only does it teach us right believing and reprove us when we are not believing rightly, but it corrects us. The Word of God is profitable to correct us, to bring us back to believing rightly once more. Parents should utilize this technique in training their children. Most of us as parents say, "Don't do that." Seldom do we add the correction and tell them what they ought to do. But that is exactly what the Word does. It tells us where we are believing wrongly, then it gives the correction and tells us how we can get back to right believing.
There are many examples of correction in the Bible. Take David, for instance. David was off the ball. He found beautiful Bathsheba and then had her husband shot while in the front lines of battle so that he, David, could have Bathsheba as his wife. A few people knew about the sequence of events leading to David's marriage, but nobody had a right to say anything because David was king and every woman in the kingdom was technically the property of the king or belonged to the king. However, there happened to be a little prophet whose name was Nathan with whom God had a conversation. One time God said to Nathan, "Nathan, you go over and tell David that he has sinned." And Nathan said, "Oh, Lord, not me. I don't want to go to David because old David is handy at chopping off heads." But the Lord insisted, "You go over and tell him about a man who had many sheep and his neighbor had just one little lamb and that little lamb was so precious to him that he took it to the table with him and he took it to bed with him; he mothered it in his bosom. You tell him that story. Tell him how the rich man once had a visitor. And instead of taking one of his own sheep to feed his visitor, the rich man went over to the neighbor and picked up his one lamb and butchered it."
So Nathan went to see David and he said, "King David, something terrible happened in this kingdom. A rich man had company coming, and do you know what this man did? He went over to his neighbor and got that one little lamb that was so precious, the only thing the poor neighbor had, and he brought it to his home and slaughtered it." Nathan told David the whole story. David became very angry and he said to Nathan, "You tell me who the man is. Give me his name and I'll have his head chopped off." Nathan looked David right in the eye and he said to him, "You are the man."
How would you like to have been Nathan? If Nathan had gone down there with any other story, do you know what would have happened to him? David would have had Nathan beheaded. But God told Nathan what to say so that David would trap himself. The moment David said, "Let me know who it is," Nathan said, "You are the man." At that moment David recognized the truth of what Nathan was bringing from God and David said, "Well, I am sorry." He turned to God and asked God to forgive him. Then it says in the Word of God that David was a man after God's own heart. He was not after God's heart when he was out fooling around with Bathsheba and having Uriah killed; no, but when he was back in line, David was a man after God's own heart. When we rightly divide the Word and we walk in the power of it - then we are men and women after God's own heart.
So all Scripture is God-breathed, profitable for doctrine - right believing, for reproof – reprimanding when we are believing wrongly, and for correcting us - for putting us back in line for God. This is instruction in righteousness. Isn't that a tremendous verse of Scripture when we examine it closely to see the greatness of God's Word?
After having the function of God-breathed Scripture -
doctrine, reproof, and correction which are instruction in righteousness -
disclosed in one concise verse, God follows with the next line in II Timothy 3 by
giving the purpose of the God-breathed Word.
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. -- II Timothy 3: 17
The purpose, as it says, is that the man of God, who is the man who is a spokesman for God, and is one who speaks for God, MAY BE PERFECT. Believe it – that’s why God gave us the Word of God. We must realize and act on the power that we have.
And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. -- Deuteronomy 33: 1
Moses was a man of God because he spoke for God.
The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; -- Deuteronomy 18: 15
Moses was this man of God. He was a prophet, one who speaks for God. The greatness of this is that every time that a believer speaks the accuracy of God's Word, he is like a man of God. When you speak the accuracy of God's Word, you are as a man of God. When we speak His Word, we are speaking as though God Himself were speaking.
God's purpose is "that the man of God [the one who speaks for God], may be perfect ..." Somebody may come along and say, "Well, you cannot be perfect." The Word of God says we are to be.
The Greek word for "perfect" is used only this one time in the Bible which makes it especially interesting in Biblical research and accuracy. The word "perfect" is the Greek word artios used as an adjective. Artios is defined in two ways. One way is describing a ship when it is equipped for its voyage, having on it everything needed to make a successful trip. Whenever that ship is so perfectly outfitted that it lacks nothing, then the word that is used in Greek is artios. The other usage of artios regards the ball-and-socket joint. As the ball of the hip fits into the socket, for example, it is called artios. If one should have even the tiniest foreign particle in the ball-and-socket joint of the hip, the pain would be excruciating.
God's Word declares the purpose of the Word of God is that the man of God may be perfect, without one foreign body there to cause a blemish. The purpose is for the man of God to be so perfect that he has everything that is ever needed in every situation, not lacking one thing. He is completely prepared for a successful voyage.
Then in II Timothy 3: 17 comes the next word: "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly ...." The word is "throughly," not "thoroughly." You can ask many people to read this verse of Scripture, and most will read the word "thoroughly." When we do not read what is written, how can we expect to understand the Word of God? People are constantly reading into it. Our minds project rather than read. It is basic that we read what is written. II Timothy 3: 17 does not say "thoroughly;" it says "throughly." You may ask, "What is the difference?" You see, you can wash your hands thoroughly, but you cannot wash your hands throughly. "Throughly" implies an inside job whereas "thoroughly" is for the external. The purpose of the Word of God is that the man of God may be perfect, not on the outside, but on the inside.
If the word "thoroughly" is in your Bible, it is a proofreader's oversight. If it were typed accurately, the word would always be printed "throughly." One cannot have perfection on the outside unless he first has perfection on the inside. The purpose of the Word of God is that the man of God may be perfect on the inside as a starting point.
"That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished ...." At this point, the translation has failed to communicate the impact of this verse. The word "furnished" is from the same root word in Greek as the word "perfect." The Greek word for "perfect" is artios; the Greek word for "furnished" in II Timothy 3: 17 is exartizo. Exartizo is a verb whereas artios is an adjective. Literally it says, "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly perfected ...." Not only is the man to be perfect, but he is to be through and through and throughly perfected.
In two short verses of Scripture, the Word tells us both its own function and its purpose.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: -- II Timothy 3: 16
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. -- II Timothy 3: 17
What a foundational revelation to our study and understanding of the Word of God!