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.”
Why was the Bible given to us? According to the verse above, it was given, ultimately, for “Instruction in righteousness.”
Righteousness under the New Covenant comes to us as a free gift. Free to us, yes; but it was anything but free to Our Lord Jesus Christ. It cost Him a lot more than His life! We will never fully understand the price He paid, even in eternity. Thankfully, the Father was gracious to us in that He allowed Him to die and didn’t kill us!
Divine Order Of The New Testament.
God is a God of order. Notice in the opening verse what it says about His word: “All scripture is profitable for:” 1. Doctrine (Teaching) 2. Reproof (of wrong conduct), and 3. Correction (of wrong doctrine)…all of which comprises Instruction in righteousness in that order. It’s an outline of most of the New Testament!
The entire Bible was written for our collective instruction, meaning Jews and non Jews. But though all scripture is written FOR us, not all is written TO us. Sometimes it addresses the unsaved Jew, sometimes the non-Jewish Church, at other the Jewish Church, while other portions deal with unsaved of both Jews and Gentiles.
As far as the non-Jewish Church is concerned, the first nine books of Paul are best for our “Instruction in righteousness,” i.e. Doctrine, reproof, and correction. They apply to the Jewish believers, too, though they have other issues to deal with.
The Nine books he wrote TO—->us, (saved non Jews) are listed below. They do not include the four letters to individual people, namely 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Those are his “Pastoral letters,” and are on a much more personal level to fellow pastors.
During his missionary journeys, Paul visited many settlements of Jews in the diaspora. He always went and taught in the synagogue of whatever town or city first in an effort to reach his own people with the truth about Jesus. You see, the scriptures say that the Gospel is “To the Jew first and also the Greek,” meaning Gentiles. (See Romans 1:16). When utimately, sadly, they would reject their Messiah, he turned and preached to the Gentiles, who received his words with great joy!
Below is the list of Paul’s nine letters TO the people of the non-Jewish Church:
2) 1 Corinthians
3) 2 Corinthians
8) 1 Thessalonians
9) 2 Thessalonians
The nine letters below were written TO Jewish Believers, though there are lessons we can learn from them:
3) 1 Peter
4) 2 Peter
5) 1 John
6) 2 John
7) 3 John
Context Is Key.
Why are some books are written TO—>the Church, who formerly were Gentiles, and some written TO—->the Church, who formerly were Jews? Because of the Law. You see, the Jews were given the Law at the foot of Mt. Sinai and had been under its directives for 1500 years. They had legalistic mentalities, traditions, and beliefs that were deeply engrained and which needed to be “Reprogrammed,” if you will.
The Gentiles, who had never under the law, had other kinds of programming to undo. They had worshipped idols. The heinous practices of these false religions needed to be expunged from their thinking and minds renewed in accordance with the truth of God’s word. Jewish customs, traditions, and understandings about God were completely foreign to them. Different strokes for different folks, you might say.
In the interest of further clarifying this topic, you may refer to the link below about keeping the Bible in context for additional study:
Order, Order, Order!
The books written TO us follow the order described earlier. Using that order, look what The Holy Spirit did. He placed all the books of the New Testament written TO us accordingly: 1) Romans–Doctrine; 2) & 3) 1 & 2 Corinthians, for reproof of wrong conduct. 4) Galatians—Correction of wrong doctrine. 5) Ephesians—Doctrine. 6) Philippians—Reproof of wrong conduct. 7) Colossians—Correction of wrong doctrine. 8 & 9) 1 & 2 Thessalonians—Doctrine.
Isn’t God amazing? Romans is all about the DOCTRINE of grace that Paul preached. Then, in 1 & 2 Corinthians, he is correcting wrong conduct. Remember what the Corinthians were up to? Drinking and carousing during the Lord’s Supper, having happy hour! I’d say that qualifies as WRONG CONDUCT.
Next, we have those foolish Galatians who got all mixed up, thinking, “Now that we’re saved, we need to obey the Law of Moses,” because some Judaizers said so. NOT RIGHT!! Paul had to write to them and correct their WRONG DOCTRINE. We are not under the law, but under grace.
The Book of Ephesians contains all kind of DOCTRINES about being seated with Christ, the doctrine of marriage, order in the church, and order in marriage. It also discusses the principles of, “sit, walk, stand,” which is the WEALTH, the WALK and the WARFARE of the church.
In Philippians, Paul once again has to REPROVE WRONG CONDUCT. Colossians was written in order to correct WRONG DOCTRINE in their Church because many of them were going over to Gnosticism. 1 & 2 Thessalonians both deal with DOCTRINES concerning the Lord’s coming. “Don’t sorrow as those who have no hope.” Of all people, we sure have hope!
We, who believe in Jesus, know He is coming back for us! That is our HOPE!!! Everyone who is alive and remain, regardless of their level of faithfulness…or the lack thereof…shall be caught up TOGETHER to meet the Jesus in the air…”And so we shall always be with the Lord!!!” This is “harpadzó,” more commonly known as “The RAPTURE!”
Though the word, “Rapture,” itself is not actually IN the Bible, the concept most certainly is. Here’s the story: “Harpadzó,” the snatching away of the Church, was translated from that Greek word into the Latin word, “Rapturo.” That is where we got the word, “Rapture,” in case you wondered.
A Message In The Order.
Some speculate that the Bible was put together in it’s current order by translators. But when you read this, you’ll see that this statement is not accurate. THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS DESIGNED OUR BIBLE IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT IS NOT ACCORDING TO CHRONOLOGY BUT IN DIVINE ORDER.
Even the order is a message! Romans was one of the LAST letters Paul wrote. It is placed first while 1 & 2 Thessalonians, his first two letters, are placed LAST. Why? Because Romans deals with the basics of the Gospel of GRACE, while 1 & 2 Thessalonians talks about the rapture of the church and the return of our Lord. It is the Holy Spiriti’s way of telling us He wants us to start with the Gospel and END with the coming of Jesus! ISN’T GOD COOL!?
But it’s not just the New Testament that demonstrates God’s love of order and of His people. Follow the link below to check out the Divisions of the Old Testament and be blessed again!