How to Avoid Ruining Your Life and the Lives of Others

Keith Crosby 

"Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching."  2 Timothy 4:13

Have you ever heard someone say, “Hey, I’m just not a reader. I don’t really read the Bible. Reading isn’t my thing.” Have you ever heard someone say this? "This attitude is a recipe for disaster and ruin." Why? Our lives come with instructions. Most complex things do. We are no different. That’s why God has given us the Bible, preachers/teachers, and doctrine. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, we are told to concentrate our thinking along the lines of what the Scriptures (i.e. the Bible) say. We see this in Joshua 1:8-9; Psalm 19:7-14; Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:14-17, among other places. When we fail to read “the instructions”, we set out on a path of ruin in our lives and in the lives of others.

When 2 Timothy 4:13 was written, not everyone had or could afford a Bible. Therefore, church leaders read the Bible to the congregation regularly. People wanted a word from God. They wanted to know what God has said and expected of them. The Bible was important so preachers also preached from the Bible (exhorted) and taught doctrine from the Bible (teaching). Someone once referred to the Bible as “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” The Bible has something to say about every inch of thread that makes up the fabric of our lives. That’s why Paul wrote this to a younger preacher named Timothy:

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings,which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (so) that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."  2 Timothy 3:14-17

God’s wisdom for living life in this fallen, broken world (the wisdom that leads to our redemption and salvation) is found in the Bible (“the sacred writings”). It is from these writings that wisdom for living comes from. God’s Bible is from Him. It is useful and beneficial for teaching, for setting us straight (reproof), for correcting our life’s direction (correction) and know-how for wise and skillful living (instruction in righteousness).

Why has He provided us this information? Why has God provided people to teach us this information? The answer is in verse 17: “(so) that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” God wants us all to be prepared for what life throws at us.

Our Lord and Savior provided us a means by which we can live a life equipped to face every challenge. He’s given us His Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). He’s provided preachers and teachers to instruct us. Let’s not make the mistake of saying, “I’m not a reader” or “I don’t have time for this.” After all, if someone you loved needed first aid, wouldn’t you read the instructions? Wouldn’t you make time to help them and prepare? Don’t do anything less when it comes to the Bible and eternal life and skillful living. The Bible doesn’t tell you how to ruin your life and the lives of others. It tells you just the opposite. Therefore, until the Lord comes back for you, devote yourself to the reading of the Scriptures, to exhortation (giving and receiving it), and to teaching (sitting under good teaching and seeking to teach others). Life comes with instructions, so be sure you have read, understood them, and are prepared: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. (2 Timothy 4:13) Avoid ruining your life and the lives of others---take time to read the Bible, to sit under the preaching of God’s word; to attend classes that leads to spiritual growth.

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