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The Transforming Power

How To Read The Bible  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We (well, many of us) read.
We read books, magazines, newspapers, sports pages, instruction manuals (LOL, NOT MEN), blogs, texts, and the list goes on and on.
We read for various reasons; for entertainment and to gain knowledge because we are forced to do so.
How many of us read to be transformed?
I know many people read certain things because they desire to change.
Some go to the Bible for all the reasons we have mentioned, but how many of us go to the Bible to be TRANSFORMED?
Some read the Bible out of curiosity, some to gain knowledge, some to be entertained, and some to seek to prove it to be a false book.
The Bible is more than a book; it can do something that no other collection of writing can do to you.
Today we will examine why the Bible has the power to transform.
One of the principles we will use today as we continue to dig into our series on How to Read the Bible is that when we read the Bible, we are reading the mind and heart of God!
The Big Idea of the Message: All Scripture is “God-breathed” and endowed with the supernatural power to transform us in the love of Christ.
Let’s turn to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, we will start with verse 16.
2 Timothy 3:16 (NET 2nd ed.)
16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

I. Every scripture is inspired by God!

When we open the Bible, what are we looking at?
What are we reading?
If we go into it thinking it is anything other than the inspired Word of God, it will not do much for us.
We may read a few things that touch us in some way, but we will never be transformed because we will not allow it to work in our lives.
That is quite a claim to make.
Paul claims that God inspires the scriptures.
When we think of inspiration, we may think of seeing something that moves us to paint a picture, which may move us to write a book or a poem.
Is that what Paul means when he states that all scriptures are inspired?
Is Paul merely stating that those who penned the scriptures were moved by the thought of the existence of a God to write the Bible?
How do you prove Paul’s claim?
The way one can do that is to examine the evidence and facts.
Here is a brief rehash of the writing of the Bible.
The Bible was written over a 1500-year period of time.
That period encompasses over 40 generations.
The Bible was written by over 40 authors from every walk of life, from kings to peasants.
The Bible was written in various locations throughout the time frame.
The Bible was penned on three continents in three different languages, yet the message is the same and consistent.
All those facts in themselves are amazing.
How do you think that happened?
Do you believe that over 40 authors from various backgrounds could create a consistent message during a 1500-year time frame of writing from 3 continents, using three languages?
If the Bible were inspired by God Himself, one would expect it to be accurate to the things you can prove, like history and geography; and one could expect a consistent message.
We have those qualities in the Bible.
One would also expect prophecies to be accurate, as a matter of fact, spot-on accurate.
We have that with the Bible.
Let’s look at something Paul said about the Bible.
Paul uses the word INSPIRED. Some used the phrase, GOD BREATHED.
The word translated “inspired” is only used in this particular verse in the Bible; the literal translation reads, “God-Breathed.”
This tells us that ALL SCRIPTURE is the product of God’s breath or Spirit, the result of God’s action.
Every word of the scriptures was breathed out by God and then written by man; then, God used to proclaim His message to humanity.
God revealed His person and plan to certain people, and they wrote it down.
However, the authors still incorporated their style and personality in the writing of the Bible.
2 Peter 1:20–21 (NET 2nd ed.)
20 Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination,
21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Peter tells us that people did not just makeup what to put in the Bible.
So when you read some of the prophecies in the Old Testament and realize they were written many times hundreds of years before the events happened, testify to the validity of this thought.
Imagine being able to predict an event like 911 1000 years before it happened or even 100 years.
I am talking about predicting with clarity, not a bunch of ambiguous statements that could be turned to mean about anything.
Prophecies concerning Jesus, over 700 years before He came, were made accurately by Isaiah.
There were prophecies concerning the cities of Tyre and Sidon, which were fulfilled, as were Nineveh and Babylon, among many others.
Jeremiah 1:9 (NET 2nd ed.)
9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me.
Let’s go back to verse 16 again.
2 Timothy 3:16 (NET 2nd ed.)
16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

II. The Bible is transformative.

People are constantly reading self-help books and many other books because they are looking for an edge or they are looking for help with life.
I think this is great; we should always be looking to improve ourselves.
Now the question is, where do you seek the things you need to be able to make changes in your life?
What if you could find a source that will do more for you than be a self-help guide?
All Scripture is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (v. 16).
The point of Bible study and daily devotions is personal growth in our relationship with God.
Reading the Bible is meant to be a transformative experience; it should change us!
For this to occur, we must approach the Bible in an intentional, personal, and relational manner—not just for more knowledge or education.
Paul tells us that the Bible is PROFITABLE.
Being PROFITABLE means that the Bible is helpful and beneficial; it is of value.
Your Bible will do you no good, sitting on the shelf each week until Sunday.
For the Bible to be profitable for you, you need to use it.
The Bible is not a book full of human stories; it is the book of life.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, what did Jesus use to defend Himself?
He quoted the scriptures. (Matthew 4:3-10)
There are four things listed that Paul says the Bible is profitable for.
All that needs to be taught and learned concerning salvation and life comes from the Bible.
The content of teaching the truth must flow from and be consistent with the scriptures.
The word for teaching implies a divine instruction.
Therefore, teaching from the scriptures is the only source that is never wrong.
We can teach others about how to live for Jesus and what it means to love God and others.
We can teach people how to please God and become one of His children.
We can learn how to handle money and be good spouses or parents.
We can learn how to deal with people.
The Bible is an inexhaustible resource that will help us to grow.
The word reproof means to convict to show someone. It is rebuking to convict of misbehavior or false doctrine.
It is used in the context of confronting those who are in sin.
The Word of God can convict us to change, to turn away from false teachings.
Hebrews 4:12–13 (NET 2nd ed.)
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.
13 And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
The Word can convict us of our need to change.
The word reproof means to convict to show someone. It is rebuking to convict of misbehavior or false doctrine.
Correction is used in the context of confronting those who are in sin.
The Word of God can convict us to change, to turn away from false teachings.
Training in righteousness.
The Bible gives you the training or discipline you need to be able to please God.
All the instruction you need to be restored to the path of righteousness.
Following the Bible will help equip you for this life and prepare you for eternity.
Let’s turn to verse 17.
2 Timothy 3:17 (NET 2nd ed.)
17 that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.

III. The Bible is preparatory.

Verse 17 tells
Scriptural study is meant to equip us “for every good work” (v. 17).
This does not mean the Bible was written to answer every specific human question.
The Bible doesn’t provide concrete solutions for every unique problem that might come our way.
It does, however, show us the way of God and the way of righteousness and the way to eternal life, providing us with the tools, or “armor,” that we need to walk through life in the light of God (Ephesians 6:10–17).
Reading the Bible isn’t so much about finding answers to questions as about renewing our hearts in the love of God (Romans 5:5), so that the love of Christ—through the work and inspiration of the Spirit—becomes our rule and criterion in every unique context and situation.
To illustrate this, let's consider a degree in a particular field of study.
A degree in a particular field of study will not provide you with specific solutions to every unique problem you will face during your career.
Still, it will provide you with general tools and resources that can help guide you along the way.
The same goes for good parenting.
You can’t prepare your children for every problem they will face.
Still, you can train them in righteousness and help equip them with the godly character they will need to maturely handle the various difficulties life will inevitably throw at them.
This is what Scripture does and what Scripture was intended to do.
Reliance on God’s word will prepare us to do what we are called.
We will be complete, capable, and proficient in everything we are called to do.
The only way we can be adequate is by spending time in the Word to become more Christ-like.
Being equipped means we will have everything we need to take on the world's challenges.
We will have all the equipment we need to be able to carry out the mission God has given to each one of us.
We will be able to meet all the demands of righteousness!
Nothing will transform you like God can through His Word, the Bible.
When we grasp the concept that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we will come at it in a different manner.
We read it not for the sake of winning Bible trivia.
But instead, to be transformed!
We want to be like Jesus!
We want to please the God who loved us so much that His Son died on the cross for you!
Application Point: As Christians, we should approach the Bible with the intention of growth and transformation.
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