16 πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, πρὸς ἐλεγμόν, πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν, πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ,
All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness,
πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος or “All Scripture is God- breathed and useful” can be translated in several different ways. “God-breathed” could serve as an adjective for Scripture, as in “every God-breathed Scripture is also useful.” Or “God-breathed” could be a compound predicate with “useful,” as in “all Scripture is God-breathed and useful.” The word πᾶσα could also be translated as “every” or “all,” as in every single text of Scripture is God-breathed or as in all the Scriptures as a whole are God-breathed.
Here we have favored the translation “all Scripture is God-breathed and useful.” There are two implications of this very important phrase. First, the Old Testament Scriptures specifically (and by extension the New Testament Scriptures) have God as their source. Because of this, second, they are useful for the following four reasons addressed below. As Paul was writing to Timothy, this phrase served as a reminder that the Scriptures were useful for fulfilling the task to which Timothy had been appointed, namely dealing with false teachers. In 1 and 2 Timothy, we see Paul engaging in a dispute over the proper use of the Old Testament, and so these words serve as a reminder that as much as the Old Testament might have been abused by the false teachers, it was that same Old Testament that was to be used by Timothy in fulfilling his ministry.
Given that Paul quoted as Scripture what we have recorded for us in Luke 10:7, “the worker is worthy of his wages” (1 Timothy 5:18), we have good reason for extending this statement about the usefulness of the Old Testament Scriptures to the New Testament as well.
πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, πρὸς ἐλεγμόν or “for teaching, for rebuke” are the first two of four tasks for which the inspired Old Testament Scriptures are useful. In the Pastorals, we see a focus on both right teaching and right living. These first two terms focus on right teaching. The first is the term for teaching, and the second is a term for rebuke, which here focuses especially on correcting false teaching. In Titus 1:13, Titus was to rebuke the false teachers in Crete that they might be sound in the faith.” Without drawing too fine of a line, Paul’s first emphasis seems to be on teaching what is right and correcting or rebuking those who are in the wrong (such as the false teachers).
πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν, πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ or “for correction, for training in righteousness” focuses more specifically on right living. The Scriptures not only are useful for teaching what is right and correcting what is wrong, but they are also useful for correcting wrong patterns of living and for training people in godly patterns of living.