Read 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4 :2
Today’s passage presents a beautiful meditation on the importance of the Bible in Christian life. Even if Paul only refers to the Hebrew Scriptures – the New Testament was not yet finished at the time of the writing of this letter to Timothy – his reflection is valid for all the books of the Bible which we know today. What does Paul have to say?
First, that the texts of the Bible can lead to wisdom. Reading and studying the Bible can help us understand the deep meaning of the events which make up our lives. We find in these texts a wisdom that was accumulated over the course of a thousand years, a wisdom that even modern technology and science cannot surpass, for it is a wisdom rooted in God’s own Spirit.
Secondly, Paul reminds us that this wisdom can lead to faith. The Bible does not only present ideas: it narrates events, it introduces us to people, it helps us meet Jesus. Through these events, God has acted. Through these people, God has spoken. In Jesus, God has given God’s own self to us. To meet Jesus in the reading of Scripture is to open oneself to the gift of faith and to know salvation.
Paul says that the Biblical texts are inspired by God. Such an affirmation is difficult to accept for those who do not believe in Jesus. It is only from a believing perspective that one can recognize the divine inspiration which animates these texts. Is it not so for a love letter? Only lovers can truly sense the deep spirit which sustains such a letter. So is it with the Bible: those who welcome the love of God in their lives recognize the true author of these biblical texts.
Finally, Paul reminds Timothy that he must use the Bible not only to sustain his own faith, but to help other men and women come to that faith. One must pass from an inward motion, where the Word is welcomed, to an outward motion, where the Word is proclaimed. Indeed, it is only when one has started sharing with others his or her understanding of the Bible that these texts truly become alive for that person. In speaking our faith, our faith becomes even more real and vibrant.
Reading these few lines, we see how Paul understands the Bible: for him, it is the very Word of God. May it also be so for us.