And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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.
The Holy Scriptures available to Timothy as a child would, of course, have been what we call the Old Testament today. The apostle Paul and the New Testament Church held the Old Testament in high esteem and quoted from it often in sermons and writings. The Old Testament revealed much about Jesus Christ, including both His first and second comings, and the salvation that is available because of His sacrifice.
All Scripture, which Peter later showed included Paul’s writings as well (2 Peter 3:16), was breathed—what we call inspired—by God. What is the Bible useful for?
- Doctrine—teaching us God’s will.
- Reproof—conviction or proof of wrongdoing.
- Correction—setting us straight.
- Instruction in righteousness—disciplining or training.
The Good News Translation puts it this way: All Scripture “is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed” (verses 16-17).