Chrysostom on the Perfection of Scripture

st-john-chrysostom-the-golden-mouth2Ti 3:13-17 LEB But evil people and imposters will progress to the worse, deceiving and being deceived. (14) But you continue in the things which you have learned and are convinced of, because you know from whom you learned them, (15) and that from childhood you have known the holy writings that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, (17) in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

John Chrysostom, from HOMILY IX, 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

“Having offered much exhortation and consolation from other sources, he adds that which is more perfect, derived from the Scriptures; and he is reasonably full in offering consolation, because he has a great and sad thing to say.

For if Elisha, ho was with his master to his last breath, when he saw him departing as it were in death, rent his garments for grief, what think you must this disciple suffer, so loving and so beloved, upon hearing that his master was about to die, and that he could not enjoy his company when he was near his death, which is above all things apt to be distressing? For we are less grateful for the past time, when we have been deprived of the more recent intercourse of those who are departed. For this reason when he had previously offered much consolation, he then discourses concerning his own death: and this in no ordinary way, but in words adapted to comfort him and fill him with joy; so as to have it considered as a sacrifice rather than a death; a migration, as in fact it was, and a removal to a better state. “For I am now ready to be offered up” (2 Tim. 4:6), he says.

For this reason he writes:

“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”

All what Scripture? all that sacred writing, he means, of which I was speaking. This is said of what he was discoursing of; about which he said,

“and that from childhood you have known the holy Scriptures.” All such, then, “is given by inspiration of God”;

therefore, he means, do not doubt; and it is

“profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, in order that the person of God may perfect, equipped for every good work.”

“For doctrine.”

For thence we shall know, whether we ought to learn or to be ignorant of anything. And thence we may disprove what is false, thence we may be corrected and brought to a right mind, may be comforted and consoled, and if anything is deficient, we may have it added to us.

“That the man of God may be perfect.”

For this is the exhortation of the Scripture given, that the man of God may be rendered perfect by it; without this therefore he cannot be perfect. You have the Scriptures, he says, in place of me. If you would learn anything, you may learn it from them.

And if he thus wrote to Timothy, who was filled with the Spirit, how much more to us!”

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