“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Tim. 2:5) This is such an obvious statement in secular matters, but when it comes to religion, most people just can’t see the principle. After all, all roads lead to heaven? Or, it’s my way or the highway. What and where are the rules?
Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:17: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Sanctification—the act of setting a person apart for God’s service, or pronouncing one holy—is “in the truth.” Where is truth found? In God’s word!
In John 8:31-32, “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” He makes two observations: First, discipleship is contingent on abiding in His word. No other word will do. Second, freedom comes from knowing the truth. Freedom from the bondage of sin comes from knowing the truth, and abiding in the truth makes one a disciple. One cannot happen without the other.
Ephesians 3:3-5: “… how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, … as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” Paul was given a “mystery” by revelation. Once the “mystery” was revealed, it was no longer a mystery to Paul. Paul wrote that “mystery” down on paper and sent it to the Ephesians. Then he says in verse 4, “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ.” When one reads the letter, he can have the same understanding of the mystery of Christ that Paul did. Therefore, the mystery is no longer a mystery any longer, just by reading.
Paul charges Timothy: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture to exhortation, to teaching … Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Tim 2:13; 16) Timothy was to persist in reading, teaching, and exhorting with the Scriptures so that he could save himself and his hearers.
2 Timothy 3: 16-17 reads: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture is “profitable.”
Is there a pattern here? Where are the “rules” found? IN SCRIPTURE! Nowhere else. Scripture needs no add-ons—no doctrine of man, no “other gospel,” (Gal. 1:5), no “other testament of Jesus Christ”, no manual, no discipline, no… Many people will be surprised on the judgment day because they strayed from the bounds that God laid down in SCRIPTURE (Matt 7:21-23)