A leader must know the purpose of Scripture and teach those they lead its purpose as well. Our teacher is the Holy Spirit, but Scripture is a witness to the character nature, way, power, and authority of God. The Scripture is not our teacher, but it is a solid witness to assure us in our hearing of the voice of God. Leaders must know the purpose of Scripture and they must value it in their lives. It must be a value they alos endeavor to pass on to those they lead. Paul told Timothy to value the Scripture even as his mother and grandmother had done in his life.
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Scripture is profitable for our doctrine. That is our way of life. It is not merely profitable for teaching, but for our way of life. Scripture should be a witness to our lifestyles. This should be true in the testimony of every leader. When lifestyle is not reflected in the words of Scripture, we are in error somewhere in our life.
All Scripture is also profitable for reproof. We must understand this through a paradigm of New Covenant and not one of Old Covenant law. The proof of life is within those who believe. Christ in us is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). I believe that true reproof is to activate the testimony of Christ within us. This is well said through the use of a good American or English idiom; the ‘proof is in the pudding’ and all things expressed by God are meant to manifest Christ’s life and character within us. Leaders set an example for those they lead in transparency and vulnerability by embracing the reproof of God hidden in His word and activated by His Holy Spirit within our hears.
All Scripture is profitable for correction. Correction is a means of staying in the path of life. It is not about being right verses being wrong. It is a matter of staying in the path of life and not taking a path that will cause harm. If there is a high mountain road with a sharp curve in the road and people are crashing over the mountainside, it would be foolish to park an ambulance or a funeral hearse at the bottom of the mountain. The road needs some measure of correction to keep the cars in the path of life. Putting up a guardrail could be a measure of correction. The guardrail doesn’t mean that the drivers of the cars are bad; it simply means there is a needed correction in the road to assure that cars remain in the path of life. A greater measure of correction would be to drill a tunnel through the mountain so that cars can drive through the mountain in safety and avoid the dangerous curve at the top of the mountain all together. The tunnel is not an indication that people are bad or that the cars are bad. It is a means of correction that keeps everyone in the path of life. Just as Scripture is meant to aid in bringing God’s correction to our lives, any direction of God will bring correction to our lives. His guidance will keep us in the path of life. A leader must set an example in embracing the correction of God’s word in their lives.
All Scripture is profitable for righteousness. Righteousness is not merely acts of being right. It is a testimony of being dependent upon God in all things. It is a testimony of a right relationship with God in all things. God’s guidance keeps us rightly joined to Him in everything. It is our connection to Him that empowers us to do what is right. Leaders must excel in their dependency upon God and in advancing the dependency upon God
All of these things serve to help us grow and to become complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work in life. God’s guidance in our lives is the same. God wants us to be complete and ready for everything we face in life. All of these attributes of guidance are good instruction and they produce good testimonies in our lives, but to receive any of it means we must want them. We must willingly embrace God’s direction to our way of life, His admonitions to bring Christ out of us, His correction to keep us in the path of life, and His influence that causes us to depend upon Him in all things. If we are self-seeking we will refuse these things. If we want to receive His guidance we must be willing to obey what He says. A willingness to obey is a primary condition for God’s guidance. Leaders must set an example in this and also walk those they lead through the process of discovering, embracing, and walking in the purpose of Scripture in their lives.
It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man or woman of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Timothy was to preach the word! He was to be ready in season and out of season. A leader must be full of the word and ready at any time to share its principles, patterns, and values with those they lead. Preaching the word and leading others within their sphere of influence to value God’s word is not a convenience, it is a mandate. This includes leading people where they don’t naturally want to go. This is more about family character then it is about works of ministry. In regard to the testimony of the Christ life community, a leader must be able, ready, and willing to convince, rebuke, and exhort those they lead when it is necessary. This is a process that requires longsuffering on behalf of every leader. Their objective is to teach those they lead to embrace the instructions of God in their lives. Paul was aware that there would be those who would not desire to continue in the way of God and that Timothy would have to stand strong to lead as many as he could into the path of life. This is true for us as leaders today.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
As it was in Paul’s day, there are times when people don’t seek to endure in sound doctrine, but seek their own desires. Many people seek to hear what they want to hear and choose the teachers they want rather than receiving the ones that have been sent to them. They choose not to listen to the truth that has been sent to them and they end up turning to fables. Leaders must be strong in the word to set an example that can be followed and also in making others strong in their hunger for God’s truth in their lives that gives them a way of life that can be emulated by others.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson