The passages are modified slightly, always within brackets, for ease of identifying the parallelisms that exists amongst them. Please note the synonymous use of terms like “Word, Law, Commandments, Judgments, Prophesyings, Holy Scriptures, All Scripture, etc.” and also note how the words “reprove/rebuke/warn/correct/exhort” (in their various grammatical forms) are associated with that which is needful against all that is contrary to “sound doctrine.” The more you read these passages, the clearer the parallelism becomes; however, even on the first go, it should be abundantly clear to all having eyes to see.
2 Timothy 4:1-3 “I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach The Word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and [sound] doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears…”
Titus 1:7-9, 12-13 “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast [see 1 Thessalonians 5:21 below] the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. … 12 One of themselves, [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply [WITH WHAT? With the law, the word, the faithful prophesyings, even all scripture], that they may be sound [doctrinally]; in the faith…”
1 Timothy 1:8-11 “But we know that the law [is] good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to *sound doctrine;* 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
2 Timothy 3:13-17 “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture [including the extant law, or commandments of God, is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for sound doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.“
Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light, and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:” COMPARE WITH Ephesians 5:8-13 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light. 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Titus 2:11-15 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men]. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good [i.e. that which is doctrinally sound]. 22 Abstain from [lit. hold oneself off from, hold back from] all appearance [lit., forms] of evil.”
1 Timothy 4:12-16 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to sound doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the [sound] doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
Titus 2:1-8 “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [shewing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.:
Psalm 19:7-11 “The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.”
Psalm 119:97-100 “O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditation all the day. 98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.“
In light of the above, and other key passages found in Scripture, the lawful use of the law is to:
- Reveal the perfectly righteous nature, character, and conduct of the Lord Jesus Christ who alone perfectly kept and obeyed the law of God.
- Reveal what God’s perfect will is for man as it relates to our own character and conduct (though some commands are specifically for the quickened saints of God, alone).
- Reveal to all mankind that their deeds are evil, showing us the nature of our sin, that is, of our transgressions against the law, and our utterly inescapable proneness to sin (by nature).
- Warn those outside of Christ that eternal damnation is the just wages, the just reward for their law-breaking, as we proceed to then point them to Christ as their only hope of forgiveness, mercy, and salvation — in light of His finished, substitutionary work, even His shed blood.
- Correct those who are already quickened saints in Christ (as we reprove, rebuke, and exhort them via the whole/entire counsel of God, even through all Scripture which includes the extant laws and commandments of God). Part of that correction is to both reveal their sin, and the egregious nature of it, but also to point them back to the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who has already forgiven them, and who has already obtained the victory for them, having already put away their sin forever. We are to exhort our fellow saints to repent of their evil deeds and to flee to Christ, and to His shed blood, for strength, mercy, grace, wisdom, and a felt sense of forgiveness in our times of need (which is often given that we are needy children indeed, being prone to wander, prone to fall, but -in Christ- always made to get back up again to press on, and to fight the good fight of faith… all by God’s grace, mercy, and effectual working).
To God be the glory,
A Work In Progress