“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Paul did not have the Bible as we know it today but rather he was referring to what we call the Old Testament, the books of the law. As a Pharisee, Paul was a student and a strict adherent of the law. No doubt, he was well aware of prophesies about the coming Messiah but it is apparent that he did not believe that Jesus was that One since he was crucified as a common criminal. He violently persecuted followers of Jesus because they did not adhere to the tenets of the Jewish oral and written law, and felt it was his place to protect the Jewish religion from heresy.
Paul’s understanding and thinking were completely transformed after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. His eyes were opened to the very fact that this Jesus, indeed, was the Messiah sent by God. No doubt, the scriptures took on a completely new meaning to him and He could now see how God’s plan for all the ages was fulfilled in Jesus. Thus, he proceeded to devote the rest of his life to proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ coming and the salvation He offers to all who come to Him in repentance and faith. Much of Paul’s ministry is recorded in the book of Acts and his letters make up 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
When we read and study the Bible, we should not ignore the Old Testament because it is impossible to completely understand the New Testament without the background and narrative of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, we are introduced to the eternal sovereign God of the universe and the creator of all things including humankind. After sin came into the world by the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the Old Testament records God’s pursuit of man to redeem that broken relationship. In all aspects, the Old Testament is a foreshadowing of the coming of the Messiah. The New Testament completes the picture of God’s redemption through Jesus, who condescended from His place in glory and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to save His people from their sin.
Sadly, many people have no relationship with God because they do not read or study the Bible. They have no defense against sin, know nothing of God’s redeeming love and forgiveness, and are unaware of the many ways He would bless them. The Bible is the primary way God communicates with us. The Study of God’s Word prepares us to honor God with our lives and equips us to do His kingdom work. Daily reading and studying the Bible brings us into a deeper relationship with God and it is our guide for living, as relevant today as when it was written. The Bible is truly a great treasure that God has given us.