This is my one hundred and eighteenth monthly teaching letter and continues my tenth year of publication. In this letter, we will continue to explore the writings of the apostle Paul. In the last WTL, #117 I tried to demonstrate how, during the transition period recorded in the book of Acts, Spirit baptism took precedence over water baptism. As for myself, I’m an advocate of baptism by the Word of Yahweh. I believe many overlook the power of the Word. In fact, Hebrews 4:12 states: “For the word of Yahweh is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Now I’ve never read where water baptism could compare with that. The blood is germinated in the marrow of the bone, and anything that can penetrate that deep can make a person physically ill. Yes, by quoting Scripture, one has a powerful weapon at hand! The purpose of this lesson will be to show the more important functions of the Word. In Paul’s epistle of 2 Timothy 3:16 we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Thus we see there are four areas in which Scripture will assist us: (1) doctrine, (2) reproof, (3) correction, and (4) instruction in righteousness.
There is a category of people who consider they already have a perfect doctrine and need no reproof, correction or instruction. These type of people usually claim they speak directly with “God”, so there is no need to consult the Bible. I know of one man in Israel Identity whose mother had a dream that her son was Jesus Christ reincarnated, and as far as I know, he believed his mother’s dream and took that concept to the grave with him. Had his mother or he ever taken the Bible seriously, they both would have known better. Like the pope, such “infallible” people aren’t candidates for doctrine, reproof, correction or instruction! There’s nothing that turns me off any quicker than someone who wants to tell me all about who they were in several former lifetimes or about some near death experience.
There is a particular order for these four inspirational aspects. It’s not something that we pick up helter-skelter, jumping around all over the place; first doctrine, then reproof, then correction, and lastly instruction in righteousness. In other words, one cannot receive reproof before proper doctrine, nor can one receive correction before one receives reproof, not can one receive instruction in righteousness before one receives correction. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s writings have been arranged in this order in our Bibles: first doctrine, then reproof, then correction, and lastly instruction in righteousness. Not that he planned it that way, for he surely didn’t, but that is the order in which we find them today.