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The Collected Writings

21-09-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

:14 Now you be remaining in what you learned and verified, being aware from whom you learned it, :15 and that from a babe you are acquainted with the sacred scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. :16 ALL scripture is inspired by God, and is beneficial for teaching, for exposure, for correction, for discipline in righteousness, :17 that the man of God may be equipped, fitted out for every good act. 2Timothy 3

As a Jewish boy, Timothy from his earliest years had grown-up with “the holy Scriptures”. In this case, Paul was of course referring to the Tenach, that is, ‘the Old Testament’. By this time, Paul having reached the end of his career added to this: all of God’s inspired word is beneficial for teaching, for exposure, etc. By this Paul was not merely referring to the holy Scriptures Timothy had grown up with, but to every Scripture that had been added since Timothy’s youthful years. And not only the Hebrew Bible, but also the Greek writings of ‘the New Testament’. To Paul was granted to complete the word of God (Col.1:25). If we take this literally (and why not?), then Paul, at the end of his life, must have been able to hand over to Timothy the complete word of God. This is surely is so, since on proper grounds we may assume that all the writings of ‘the New Testament’ were written before 70AD. Only with these writings would Timothy be fully equipped and fitted out for every good act. In other words, Paul aimed in 2 Tim.3:16 at the completed Bible, which makes the man of God fully furnished for his task. What else could Paul, at the finish of his career, do than all to actually collect all of these writings? Normally, one who is within a short time to die, will have other things on his mind, than to organize his library. Yet, this is precisely concerning which Paul very much occupies himself. He writes to Timothy:

When you come, bring the traveling cloak (?? Gr. phelones = cover) which I left in Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls (Gr. ta biblia), especially the vellums. 2 Tim.4:13

In light of what Paul, a few lines earlier, had written to Timothy concerning the great importance that “all of Scripture is inspired by God,” it is not difficult to see what was the focus of Paul’s care. He did not worry about his private library, but was very concerned about the completion of the Bible. ——————————– first published (in Dutch): 15 mei  2011 translation: Peter Feddema