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Formations Lesson for January 2: God’s Word is Inspired
John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association
December 14, 2010
3 MIN READ TIME

Formations Lesson for January 2: God’s Word is Inspired

Formations Lesson for January 2: God’s Word is Inspired
John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association
December 14, 2010

Focal Passage: 2 Timothy 3:10-17


The story is told of Martin Luther’s early days as a young
student for the priesthood in the year 1503. He was around 20 years old and
involved in his studies at the University of Erfut. While doing research in the
library he came across a Bible. This incident moved him deeply because it was
the first time in his life he had ever handled a copy of the scriptures and the
Bible was chained. Because of the possibility of someone stealing the holy
book, it was chained. Robison James writes, “‘The Chained Bible’ captures
something important. It is not that the Bible was so terribly neglected, though
there were some of that. And it is not that the Bible was forbidden, for it was
not … No, the Bible which young Luther encountered was ‘chained’ in the sense
that it was hemmed in by certain preconceptions.”

It would take Luther many years of passionate study before
it would break free and transform his life.
The late French philosopher, Jacques Derrida once stated in
an interview that “every translation is a transformation.” Paul’s words to his
young friend and associate, Timothy, express this reality so vividly: “you have
known (to consider for thoughtful understanding) the sacred writings that are
able (to empower) to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
It is through the thoughtful considering and translating of those scriptures
that one is transformed — “that the messenger of God may be proficient
(competent), equipped for every good work;” i.e., “for resetting the direction
of a man’s life and training him in good living” (J.B. Phillips). For Timothy,
the sacred writings had been liberated and allowed to breathe and thus,
inspiring and breathing into him the Lord’s very “spirit of power and love and
self-control” (1:7).

In today’s text, Paul challenges Timothy to remember and
continue. He reminds him of his own journey of faith “my teaching, my conduct,
my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my
persecutions and sufferings …” (3:10-11). Further, he reminds Timothy of
Timothy’s own journey of faith — “what you have learned, firmly believed,
knowing from whom you learned it” (3:14). For Timothy, this journey began
through the modeling of the “pure, sincere faith” (in the encounter of God’s
breathed Word) of his grandmother and mother and the sound, life-giving words
of Paul. Through the translation of God’s Word into the lives of those closest
to him, Timothy has been transformed. And now through that same dynamic word
Timothy translates it into his life and transforms his world.