Scripture Alone (2 Timothy 3:1–4:8)

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Doug Van Meter - 3 March 2013

Scripture Alone (2 Timothy 3:1–4:8)

The Five Solas

Everybody lives in submission to some authority, whether it be God, tradition, another person, a religion or self. In the words of Bob Dylan, “you gotta serve somebody.” Someone or something makes the rules by which you are inclined to live. And for the Christian, the rules by which we live our life are contained in Scripture—alone.

From Series: "The Five Solas"

These sermons formed part of Doug Van Meter's miniseries in the five solas of the Reformation.

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Everybody lives in submission to some authority, whether it be God, tradition, another person, a religion or self. In the words of Bob Dylan, “you gotta serve somebody.” Someone or something makes the rules by which you are inclined to live. And for the Christian, the rules by which we live our life are contained in Scripture—alone.

Especially when it comes to salvation, we had better make sure that what we believe about how to be right with God is the truth. To play fast and loose with one’s soul is the epitome of foolishness. We need to know for certain how we can stand before a holy God. But how can we know for sure? Can we?

In many ways, sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) is the foundational sola. The only way that we can have confidence that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is if the Scriptures reveal this. If they do not then we have no hope for our otherwise helpless condition. However, if we are persuaded that the Scriptures alone are our sole and final authority for what we believe about God and man then we can have complete confidence in all that they instruct us in this regard. And when we embrace the Scriptures alone as our final and all sufficient authority for what we believe and how we behave then we can be sure that all the glory for whatever flows from this conviction will go to God alone.

This Sola and Missions

Our passion as local churches should be that all of God’s glory will be manifested in all of the world. The Scriptures both motivate and serve as the means of this coming to pass. Therefore, it is essential that we be committed to the Scriptures as our final authority.

It should be pointed out that Scripture is not our only authority. There are various authorities under whom God has placed us: parents, husbands, elders, human government, employers, etc. But our final authority is the Word of God, which reveals to us God’s will on various matters. Therefore, if human authority transgresses what God has revealed in His Word, then we submit to His final Word on the matter. This, in fact, is a test of our professed discipleship (John 8:31).

Further, since the Great Commission is about making disciples—those who are committed to heart obedience to Scripture—we must, in our discipleship of others, indoctrinate them in the conviction of Scripture being their final authority.

A Controversial Sola

This issue of Scripture as our final and all sufficient authority was taught both explicitly and implicitly by the apostles. The New Testament epistles were written for the purpose of revealing what God says about various issues and the church was expected to submit to such Scriptural injunctions. That is, they were to accept Scripture as their final authority when it came to such life issues as sexuality, marriage, idolatry, taboos with reference to eating and drinking, circumcision, employer-employee relationships, dealing with interpersonal conflict, dealing with anger, bitterness and unforgiveness, responsibility to human government, children and parents, etc.

But such injunctions were not always accepted at face value, and therefore we can assume that many in the early church struggled at times with submitting to sola Scriptura. Since so many of these issues were often re-addressed in various epistles, it is clear that the early church struggled with submitting to Scripture alone, and therefore the apostles needed to repeat themselves. And, by the way, when this happened, the mission of the church was impeded. Consider, for example, how often the issue of circumcision needed to be addressed in the New Testament, to the point where Paul and Barnabas even needed to take time to travel to Jerusalem to meet with the Twelve. Had the early professing Christians simply submitted to Scripture alone, this time might well have been used for further missionary activity.

But such struggles did not end with the early church. The various councils in the early centuries of the church are further evidence of the need for the church to continue to revisit and recommit to the doctrine of Scripture alone. Without a firm conviction with regard to Scripture’s testimony to Christ, the mission of the church suffered. But these councils’ respect for Sola Scriptura put her mission back on track.

In the Middle Ages, the church largely lost the conviction of sola Scriptura with the result that she lost her way. The church became confused and misguided as tradition and manmade opinions held sway over what Scripture alone revealed with reference to what she should believe and how she should behave. And once again, her mission suffered.

But the Reformers were used by God to lead a large portion of the church back to Scripture alone. And with this reformation came some major transformations. We continue to reap the benefits of such a conviction to this day.

In recent times, the evangelical church was hammered by modernists and theological liberals who vociferously attacked belief in the supernatural origin and thus the preserved authority of the Scriptures. And, as men like J. Gresham Machen recognised, the church’s mission suffered as a result. But, again, the Lord raised up voices of protest and today such mainline churches, which abandoned the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of Scripture alone, have been steadily dying while evangelical churches who take Scripture seriously continue to grow.

In very recent days there has been a twist to the attack on sola Scriptura, and this time it comes from self-professed evangelicals. Voices in the so-called “Emergent Church” are telling (actually, are reprimanding, scolding and mockingly vilifying) those who hold to Sola Scriptura that we must abandon such ideas in favour of embracing uncertainty and the “thrill” of the resultant journey (a journey by the way with a very dismal destination). And though many such churches claim to be “missional,” it is nevertheless true that the true mission of the church (gospel mission) languishes.

What, then, shall we do? In the words of David Wells, we must once again have “the courage to be protestant.” We must protest against such denials of this fundamental conviction; the conviction that God has spoken and that we are to listen and to obey what He has communicated. We must perseveringly embrace Scripture alone.

Though uncertainty is the new cool in Christendom (sadly because it is cool in the wider world), we must not be swayed but rather hang onto the certain conviction that God’s Word alone is our final and all sufficient authority for what we as Christians believe and how we live out our faith. It is this truth that I desire to focus on in this study.

My desire is not to be polemical as much as it is to be helpful. I want to help us in our confidence that we have all that we need pertaining to life and godliness. I want to help us in our confidence as we proclaim that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. The result of this will be confident passion that all of God’s glory will one day be seen in all of the world. This conviction is vital for our Christ-given mission.

The apostle Paul addresses this issue in the passage that we will study now.

Introducing the Text

Paul, in this passage, essentially exhorts Timothy to be a faithful minister of the gospel, and this would be measured primarily by how faithful he was to God’s Word—especially in times in which such a conviction was ignored and even vilified.

It is helpful for us to realise that if we start wrong here, we will go wrong everywhere. Ours is a religion of the Book, and ministers must be men of the Book. To the degree that they are, to such a degree the members of the congregation will be. As Paul wrote, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy” (1 Corinthians 4:1–2). That is, stewards must be faithful their task.

There are many challenges in this regard. Pastors are often expected to do so many things that the ministry of the Word is just squeezed in almost as an afterthought. There are pressures to compete and to compare ministries, with the result that the Word may well be compromised. We live in an age of evangelical entertainment, in which serious exposition of the Word find little sympathy in many churches. In our age of tolerance, there are no absolutes. We live in an age of scepticism, cynicism, and rebellion against authority.

In a day of pluralistic pressure—at least in the West—the church needs the certain confidence to proclaim the truth which God has both given and preserved. Kevin DeYoung notes, “The early church was important because it was intolerable and it was intolerable because it was intolerant. Not socially intolerant or cold-hearted or obnoxiously abrasive, but intolerant of any salvation but the cross, any God but theirs, and Lord but Christ.” And why was this so? Fundamentally because it was unwavering in its conviction of Scripture alone.

So, what do we do? How do we respond to the pluralistic age in which we live? The answer is simple: Ministers must preach the Word and church members must expose themselves to the preached Word. Consider the pattern of the early Jerusalem church. When the apostles felt that they were being potentially sidetracked from the ministry of the Word, they devoted themselves prayer and the ministry of the Word. They suggested that others in the church be appointed to fulfil the important ministries with which they could not be sidetracked. The church agreed, and so chose seven men whom the apostles appointed to the other ministries. The result was that “the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:1–7).

Simply put, they prioritised the Scriptures. They were persuaded of sola Scriptura. We need to do the same. In doing so, we would do well to take instruction from 2 Timothy 3:1–4:8. Let’s take the remainder of our time to note some important observations from this text.

Our Situation is Not Unique

In 3:1–13, Paul writes to remind Timothy of the situation in which he lived.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

(2 Timothy 3:1–13)

You might think that the verses above were written about the time in which we live, but Paul wrote them to Timothy 1,900 years ago. Clearly, the challenges that we face as Christians today have in fact been experienced by the church in various seasons throughout church history.

Paul begins, “But know this.” In other words, “Timothy, don’t be surprised.” Timothy ought not to have been surprised, and neither ought we to be. Times may change, but temptations do not.

The apostle speaks to Timothy of “the last days.” To what, precisely, does this phrase refer? The phrase is used throughout Scripture (see, for example, Genesis 49:1, 10; Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30; 31:29; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Daniel 2:28; Micah 4:1; Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:1–2; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:5, 20; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18; 2 Peter 3:3). Without going into a great amount of detail, it would seem from these texts that the “last days” terminology most frequently refers to the days ushered in by the Lord Jesus Christ in His first coming (i.e. at the incarnation).

But when do the “last days” end? Have they already ended? In other words, does this refer to the last days of the old covenant era or the last era of world history? It does seem that the last days could be reasonably interpreted as referring to the last days of the old covenant era, and thus we are living in the last era of human history (see Hebrews 1:1–2).

However, having noted this possibility, we are, in my view, on very solid exegetical ground to conclude that “the last days” refer primarily to the last days of the old covenant era, which came to an end with the destruction of the temple (Hebrews 8:1–13; 12:25–29; etc.). But the question might be asked, if this be the case then what relevance does this have for we who live today?

If it is to be accepted that “the last days” refers to the days of the old covenant becoming obsolete (in the first century), then this does not materially affect our ability to take comfort from this passage. In fact, I would argue that if this is the correct interpretation of “the last days,” then we can take great encouragement from this passage because, quite clearly, the church overcame such perilous times before and can (will) again!

We can make a similar observation from the book of Exodus. Even though our historical situation is very different from that of ancient Israel enslaved to Egypt, we can still relate to the opposition they faced as they carried the gospel promise (Genesis 3:15) through those years. God preserved His people then and we take great encouragement that He will do the same today. In fact, the apostle John makes this very application when he symbolically pictures the historical satanic opposition to God’s people as he writes Revelation 12.

My point is simply that this passage, though not written to us, is most certainly written for us.

One further exegetical point needs to be made. When Paul writes of perilous “times” he uses a word that speaks of “seasons” or “epochs.” He is not concerned so much with chronological demise but rather with seasons of apparent spiritual and social declension. Hence again, we today read these words and we can relate to this same kind of experiences.

It is also helpful in this regard to bear in mind that the seasonal experiences of the church will vary from place to place. While these verses may speak very accurately to the situation in South Africa today, that is not to say that the church in every country has the same experiences as we do in ours.

We might say, in summary, that in this period before Jesus Christ returns to wrap up the kingdom, we can expect epochs (seasons) of difficulties. There is no reason to assume that, as in Timothy’s day, things are necessarily going to go from bad to worse, but we can deduce that days of difficulties will arise.

But the fundamental question that must be addressed, if we will take edificational instruction from this passage, is, how did Timothy and the early church overcome? The answer is given here in what follows: by their adherence to Scripture alone as their final and all sufficient authority for what they believed and how they lived.

Consider the Situation

If we wanted to summarise the description of the situation in the opening verses, we could simply say that there was chaos—in the culture, in the family and in the church. It was a situation characterised by forsaking of authority and autonomous living.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(2 Timothy 3:1–7)

Clearly this is descriptive for much that we see in our God-rejecting culture. But if the early church was able to overcome the onslaught of postmodernism, nominalism, pluralism, narcissism, relativism, and many other kinds of “isms” with which we are familiar, then so can the church of our day.

Consider the Conclusion

We need to know that evil will not have the last word. As Paul says, evildoers “will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was” (vv. 8–9). We need to know that there will be plenty of times throughout the history of the church in which unbelief—especially arrogant and defiant unbelief—will be unmasked for the folly that it is.  Autonomy will not have the last word. Rebellion will not have the last word. In fact, it did not have the last word. The existence of the church in our day is further evidence of this fact.

Note that the problem here was one of the rejection of God’s authority. This lays the groundwork for the solution that Paul will give in a moment.

Consider the Example

In the light of the situation, Paul exhorted his young friend to not be intimidated or detoured. Timothy was to stay faithful. It had worked for Paul, and it would certainly work for him.

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

(2 Timothy 3:1–13)

There will always be conflict between authority and autonomy. It will be painful, but we must persevere.

It would appear that Paul is saying that there are basically two options: persecution or perversion (vv. 12–13). That is, you will either get better (more glorious as you persevere and suffer for it—see Philippians 3:9–14) or you will get worse (by continuing to resist the truth). And the two paths are intimately connected with the issue of Scripture alone. We do not have to cave in to the culture but rather we can persevere to the glory of God. But again, how will we do so?

Our Solution is Not Unique

In vv. 14–17, Paul encourages Timothy how he can persevere:

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 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. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:14–17)

We must be convinced of and committed to Scripture as our final authority for what we believe and how we behave. We must be convinced of and committed to the sufficiency of Scripture for all that pertains to life and godliness. This is not the time for capitulation, but rather the time for recommitment. Two observations from this passage must be kept before us.

The Power of Scripture

We must persevere in the conviction that Scripture is God’s major means for the salvation of His people (vv. 14–15). Our need is the same as Timothy’s, and the means to meet that need is the same. The Father is the Determinator of those who will be saved; The Lord Jesus is the Mediator through whom we are saved; the Holy Spirit is the Regenerator of those who will be saved; and the Scriptures are the Communicator to those who will be saved.

Salvation is the issue in life. The Scriptures have the final word on this. Apart from Scripture, there can be no salvation. This highlights the importance of Scripture alone. It highlights the sufficiency of God’s Word as a means to accomplish His purpose.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

(Romans 10:13–17)

The Word that justifies us also sanctifies us. The Scriptures are God’s appointed means for the complete salvation of His people.

This is not a uniquely New Testament concept. Consider, for example, Psalm 19.

In vv. 1–6, David notes that creation is sufficient to condemn us. It gives sufficient evidence of the existence of the God to whom we are accountable. And our conscience in the light of this confirms this (Romans 1:18–21; 2:13–15). (Note that this testimony is global, v.3, etc.) But neither creation nor conscience are sufficient to convert us. Only Scripture is sufficient for this.

In vv. 7–9, David tells us that Scripture is able to solve the problem that creation illuminates. Scripture restores/transforms the soul (v. 7a). It renews the mind (v. 7b). It rejoices the heart because it gives certainty (v. 8a). It reinvigorates/reorients our perspective (v. 8b). It relates to every need in every culture and is always relevant (v. 9). Scripture is sufficient in Sunday school and in seminary, in church and at the workplace.

The Sufficiency of Scripture

Paul teaches that we must be completely confident in the sufficiency of Scripture (vv. 16–17). We must be confident in the totality of the sufficiency of Scripture. Pastors used to be known as “physicians of the soul,” because they bring the healing power of God’s Word to bear on the brokenness of their people. But they are only physicians to the degree that they properly minister God’s Word.

But what is the justification for this conviction? On what basis can I argue for the total sufficiency of Scripture to deal with issues of the psyche?

Reflect on the Source of Scripture

First, let us reflect on the fact that God is the source of Scripture. Paul says that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (v. 16a). The word “inspiration” literally means “breathed out.” Scripture, then, is God-breathed.

You cannot separate bibliology from theology. And by the way, there is little, if any, “bibliolatry” in the Church. This is a cheap shot against those who hold to the infallibility and the inerrancy of Scripture.

If we are certain about the One who gave us Scripture then we can be certain about all that it reveals. God made us and knows us, and He therefore knows what will cure us—how to save us. Our theology is reflected in our bibliology—and vice versa. Preachers need to be careful. If we claim to believe that the Bible is inspired, we must prove it! And we prove it by proclaiming it and applying it.

The church is God’s appointed hospital for the soul and for soulish problems (relationships, etc.). The Bible, literally, is the remedy.

Reflect on the Sufficiency of Scripture

The Scriptures reveal to us all that we need which pertains to life and godliness. Peter says that God’s “divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (1 Peter 1:3), and He has done so in Scripture. Our knowledge of God comes through His Word. Paul understood this, and so he wrote of the completely sufficiency of Scripture:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16–17)

According to Paul, Scripture is sufficient in four broad areas.

First, the Bible tells us what is right. It is profitable “for doctrine.” This needs to be stressed in our day. In a day in which the question is asked, “What is truth?” we need to answer boldly, “Truth is whatever God says about something!”

And so, as we wonder how to do church, how to evangelise, how to live, how to raise a family, how to handle money, etc. we must go to Scripture to find out what God says about these issues. There is nothing necessarily wrong with asking others, but our final authority in all matters of faith and practice must be Scripture alone.

Of course, the church is the custodian of Scripture, which is why Paul spoke of the church as “the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Second, the Bible tells us what is not right. Scripture is profitable “for reproof.”

We should note that this can easily get us into trouble. Christian ministry is, by nature, antithetical. There are times when we need to be polemical. When people and churches are doing things wrong they need to be corrected.

Paul wrote to Timothy elsewhere, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:12–13). Sometimes people need to be told no. They need to be told that they are wrong and that they have sinned. They need to be told about lies and falsehood. Only a biblical conviction regarding Scripture alone will give us the courage to declare what is not right.

When he was instructed by the Roman Catholic Church to recant of his opposition to Catholic doctrine, after taking some time to consider the matter, Martin Luther replied, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.” May we have the same conviction!

Third, Scripture tells us how to get right. It is profitable “for correction.” Once we have been told where we have gone wrong, we need Scripture to show us how to straighten up. As physicians of the soul, pastors need to apply the truth to their hearers. We must practise theology in much the same way that doctors practise medicine.

I was recently contacted by a woman who used to come to our church years ago. She was in hospital and wanted to see me. I went to see her, and she informed me that she had been admitted to hospital by a psychiatrist because she hates herself. I asked her if her opinion would change if I could show her from the Bible that it was not true. She said she would, and so I took her to Ephesians 5:29, which says that “no one ever hated his own flesh.” I then took her to Matthew 22:27–40, where Jesus said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” I noted that Jesus said two commandments, not three, and so the clause “as yourself” is not a command to love yourself but an assumption that you already do love yourself. I spoke to her for a while and then left. Several hours later she phoned me to tell me that she was home.

Preaching needs to be applicational. We need to call people to repent and to change as God’s Word speaks to them. You should expect this of your shepherds. We need to come alongside people and assist them in getting right. This sometimes calls for a confrontational ministry. Those we minister to, like us, need to straighten up; and the Word is the sufficient means.

Fourth, Scripture shows us how to stay right. It is profitable “for instruction in righteousness.” Once we have made right, the Bible shows us how to persevere, how to mature and how to grow. We need a steady diet of God’s Word. Even the Reformers were known for saying that “the church, having reformed, must always be reforming.” We never reach the point where we are reformed with no further need of reformation. Declension and deformation are terrible realities.

The result of such conviction concerning Scripture will be a person (believer, disciple, pastor) who is right, and hence one who is equipped to help others to get and to be right.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

(Ephesians 4:11–16)

All of Scripture is sufficient (and final) for all believers. There are no exceptions.

Our Strategy is not Unique

The strategy that Paul gives Timothy in chapter 4 is quite simple: Preach the Word!

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

(2 Timothy 4:1–8)

If Scripture is as sufficient as 3:16–17 says it is, then what else could you possibly proclaim that can accomplish what it is designed to accomplish?

We preach the Word as heralds—for the King, and in submission to the King. We do not preach experience, self, spiritual “impressions” or tradition. We preach the Word as God has given it to us. We do so reverently, urgently, and repeatedly.

God grows His church through His Word. Are we willing to stand on Scripture alone? What are we saying to the next generation about Scripture? About God?

The church is called to be the means of all of God’s glory being seen in all of the world. Of course, this is very much related to the nations being glad in God through the gospel of God. Such a gospel is the theme of the Scriptures.

It is therefore imperative that we remain faithful to Scripture alone as our final and all sufficient authority. As I trust we have just seen, by the faithful proclamation and practice of these Scriptures we will see increasingly the salvation of God’s people, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone to the glory of God alone.