In our secular lives we appreciate activities and projects which are profitable. Things that are not profitable are a waste of time, talent, and resources.
In our spiritual lives, God would have us to know that reading and studying His Word is always profitable. "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 thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2Tim 3:16-17).
Jesus commands us in John 5:39 to "Search the scriptures; for they are they which testify of me." And the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Several years ago a popular news commentator made the observation: "If the Bible were not true, it would still be the best rule book to live by." He did believe the Bible to be true and we believe it also. The Word is given by inspiration of God. 2 Peter 1:21 verifies this fact. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
Four main areas of profitability are mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:16.
1. God's Word is profitable for doctrine.
Doctrine is a belief that is taught. To us as a people, it is the Bible teaching about God and His Son our Saviour and man's obligation to accept that provision. In reading God's Word we discover there are other doctrines. "Be no more children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine" (Eph 4;14). "For there will come a time when they will not endure sound doctrine" (2Tim 4:3). Paul's admonition to us in Titus 2:1 is "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine." "Till I come give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine" (1Tim 4:13); "Take heed unto thyself and to the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1Tim 4:16). Our belief in God and His Word is of utmost importance to us. We need to make it a priority in our lives, and we dare not let it slip.
2. God's Word is profitable for reproof.
Reproof convicts us of sin and points us to the Saviour. It is that which shows us our need of salvation and creates within us a desire to be saved. First, it tells us of our condition outside of Christ. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one unto his own way" (Isa 53:6). "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). "We were without hope, and without God in the world" (Eph 2:12).
The Word tells us what to do about this deplorable condition. "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom 10:9).
For us to appreciate the work of reproof in our lives, we must think on what we have been saved from, and have been made "children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ" (Rom 8:17). "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises" (2Pe 1:4).
Our response to God for His reproof in our lives and to our Saviour for His great love is found in Hebrews 13:15; "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."
3. God's Word is profitable for correction.
Correction may be the hardest of God's Word for us to accept. We struggle with an Adamic, carnal nature which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for us to respond properly to correction unless we are born again and made new creatures in Christ.
David the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 39:11, "thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity."
As we give our hearts to God we will desire His correction. "O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing" (Jer 10:24). Job confirms this thought in Job 5:17, "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth." For every struggle we face in out lives God has graciously given us scripture to bring us back on track.
If we struggle with impurity: "Keep thyself pure" (1Tim 5:22); and "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" (Matt 5:8). We must "make a covenant with our eyes" (Job 31:1); and "Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life" (Pro 4:23). If our problem is being untruthful, Paul commands us in Colossians 3:9, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds." "He that speaketh lies shall not escape" (Pro 19:5). The list of sins goes on. If our problem is envy, strife idolatry, uncleanness, malice, covetousness, or any other besetting sin, God's Holy Word is there to correct us and keep us
on the narrow road.
4. God's Word is profitable for instruction in righteousness.
In our lifetime we will never outgrow our need for spiritual instruction. The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The only way for us to grow toward God-like perfection is to be continually instructed in His righteousness. We cannot receive enough instruction by attending services once or twice a week. Daily we must spend time in meditation and study of the scriptures. Notice a few references to instruction. "Out of heaven he made thee to hear His voice; that He might instruct thee" (Deut 4:36). "Take fast hold of instruction; and let her not go; keep her, for she is thy life" (Pro 4:13). "Hear instruction and be wise; and refuse it not" (Pro 8:33). "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go" (Psa 32:8). "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby" (1Pet 2:2).
May we heed the Word of James 1:25 where we have our responsibility; "whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein", the fruit; "he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work", and the promise; "this man shall be blessed in his deed."
The choice is ours. Will we profit from feeding on the Word or will we neglect God's instruction and lose?
— Reistville, PA