II. THE SCRIPTURE
A. All God-breathed
Verse 16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The Greek words rendered, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable,” may also be translated “Every Scripture God-breathed is also profitable.”
To confront the death, corruption, and confusion in the church’s decline, the eternal life upon which chapter one is based (vv. 1, 10), the divine truth emphasized in chapter two (vv. 15, 18, 25), and the holy Scripture highly regarded in chapter three (vv. 14-17) are all needed. The eternal life not only swallows up death, but also renders the life supply; the divine truth replaces the vanity of corruption with the reality of all the divine riches; and the holy Scripture not only dispels confusion, but also furnishes divine light and revelation. Hence, in this book the apostle stresses these three things.
The expression “God-breathed” indicates that the Scripture, the Word of God, is the breath of God. God’s speaking is God’s breathing. Hence, His word is spirit (John 6:63), pneuma, or breath. Thus, the Scripture is the embodiment of God as the Spirit. The Spirit is therefore the very essence, the substance, of the Scripture, just as phosphorus is the essential substance in matches. We must “strike” the Spirit of the Scripture with our spirit to kindle the divine fire.
As the embodiment of God the Spirit, the Scripture is also the embodiment of Christ. Christ is God’s living Word (Rev. 19:13), and the Scripture is God’s written word (Matt. 4:4).
According to verse 16, all Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Reproof here means conviction or confutation. Correction denotes setting right what is wrong, turning someone to the right way, or restoring a person to an upright state. Instruction refers to discipline or chastisement in righteousness. This means to discipline or chastise in the element and condition of righteousness.
C. To Complete the Man of God
In verse 17 Paul says, “That the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” We have seen that a man of God is one who partakes of God’s life and nature (John 1:13; 2 Pet. 1:4) and thus becomes one with Him in His life and nature (1 Cor. 6:17) and thereby expresses Him. This corresponds to the mystery of godliness, which is God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). Through the God-breathed Scripture, the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work. Complete here means complete and perfect in qualifications, and equipped denotes being fitted out, furnished, made ready.
We need to know the Bible not merely according to letters in black and white, but also according to the divine revelation and heavenly wisdom. Do not think that having an advanced degree qualifies anyone to understand a book such as Ephesians. If we study this Epistle only in letters, we shall not be able to understand it. For a proper understanding of this book, and for the Bible as a whole, we need a spirit of wisdom and revelation. This was the reason Paul prayed, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened” (Eph. 1:17-18). We thank the Lord that for more than fifty years we have been receiving such a spirit of wisdom and revelation. As a result, the messages put out in the Lord’s recovery always contain something fresh and new. These messages are given not merely according to the black and white letters of the Scripture, but according to the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
We in the Lord’s recovery do not treasure theology, tradition, or the councils. We honor, respect, and treasure the holy Word under the shining of the heavenly light which comes by a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Because we depend on God’s enlightenment, His Word is opened to us.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)