Dear First Pres,

   In the second letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy (2 Timothy), there is a passage that is familiar to many of us about the way that all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). But Paul actually starts talking about the Scriptures in the verse before. Here are the verses together:

   "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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 very good work." (2 Timothy 3:14-17, ESV)  

   Here’s what is important to remember here: the “sacred writings” and the “Scripture” that Paul is talking about is what we know as the Old Testament. So, Paul is saying that the Old Testament Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation in Jesus. In other words, the Old Testament points to our need for God’s salvation which is given in Jesus. And the Old Testament is profitable for equipping us in every good work, especially as we understand it through the lens of Jesus - His life, death, resurrection, glorification, and sending of the Holy Spirit.

   This is one of the reasons I have loved reading through the Bible this year with so many others from FPC. Simply reading through the entire Old Testament was such a rich experience. Especially now, as we are reading through the New Testament, to see the overarching story of God’s redemption in the Bible is inspiring, encouraging, and instructive. If you haven’t ever read through the Bible, I encourage you to consider it as a discipline of joy and discovery knowing that the Lord uses it to make you “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

   But this passage from 2 Timothy also reminds me why I have enjoyed preaching from the Old Testament, and in particular right now, from Ezra. My prayer is always that my preaching from the Old Testament (and the New Testament too) continually points us to the salvation that is available to us through faith in Christ Jesus. But also, how wonderful it is to realize how profitable this story from 2500 years ago is to our lives today - for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. I pray the Lord is using it in your life for those purposes. And, if for some reason you’ve become disconnected from our Sunday morning sermon series, I hope you’ll engage the archive of messages on our website.

   Soon we’ll be in the Advent season (Sunday, November 28 is the first week of Advent) and taking a break from Ezra. But we can’t truly understand the hope fulfilled at Christmas without understanding the hope unfulfilled of the Old Testament. May the Lord give us a hunger for the entirety of His written Word so that we truly may be “complete, equipped for every good work” in Christ Jesus.


Pastor Jeremy