Correction is not without proof

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

Reproof/Correction – One isn’t without the other. In order for correction to happen, an error needs to be proven. Elegchos is that proof while epanorthōsis is the result, or the corrected action. We don’t just mysteriously change by some external power. There is teaching and learning involved. While the Spirit leads us to this point, or others may guide us to investigate more, and God Himself may call us, every one of these actions moves us to learn what is righteous and directed by YHWH so that we can live according with His will.

So what does Paul tell Timothy to use in this process? He tells him to use “scripture” which Paul understood as the Old Testament during his time. So paraphrasing this would be “Timothy, use the Old Testament to prove people of their errors, and use the Torah, the commandments of God, to guide them in the right direction, so they may live according to His will.” Paul believed that this simple teaching came directly from the Tanakh. It was all there.

This was the same message delivered by James during a decisive meeting in Acts.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

Acts 15:19-21 (KJV)

James is declaring that once the calling has been given to the people, accept them into the fold, because little by little they will learn what is right by Torah (Moses) being preached to them every Sabbath in the synagogues. As the Gentiles come to gather on the Sabbath, they will hear the Torah being read and learn what the rules of God are. Paul essentially repeats this advice to Timothy in the verse above. The Apostles knew it would be too much to expect that a heathen could completely change overnight. It would be more likely that they would learn and change a little every week, but nevertheless, they were considered part of Israel, part of God’s people.

Do you know where you fall short? Are you working to correct your behavior? Maybe Paul and James have some good points here. Maybe we should gather with others who are educated in Scripture so that we may learn our shortcomings. And in this, reproof and correction might occur, and we may be pruned by our Creator and sculpted to become a wondrous work for His will.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *