The Word of God is inexhaustible in its ministry! Its ministry is continuous and abiding. It’s active, operative and at work. Paul said that the Word of God is at work in believers(1 Thessalonians 2:13).
So let’s look at the Word’s inexhaustible ministries as outlined by the apostle Paul to young pastor Timothy.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:14-17
The first ministry of the Word of God is salvation. Note how Paul reminds Timothy from whom he learned and what he learned. From whom he learned was from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice(2 Timothy 1:5). What he learned was the sacred writings. Then he gives this first ministry of the Word of God, namely that it has the ability to make one wise for salvation. Why does the Word have this ability to make you wise for salvation? Because unlike the grass that withers and the flower that fades, the Word of God is the living, abiding, imperishable seed through which one is born again(1 Peter 1:23-24). And furthermore that salvation is through faith in Christ Jesus, the one of whom the Scriptures bear witness about(John 5:39).
This is the starting point. All the other ministries of the Word of God are irrelevant and inoperative unless salvation comes. The natural, unsaved, unregenerate person is not able to understand the Bible as it is folly, literally moronic, to him(1 Corinthians 2:14). The seed that must be planted in the soil of one’s heart for salvation to occur is the Word of God(Luke 8:11-12).
The second ministry of the Word of God is instruction. Scripture is profitable or useful for instruction, for doctrine. This happens after salvation. This is where a strong foundation is established. This is where the new Christian grows and matures. This is where theological convictions are formed. All this is the ministry of the Word instructing. The newborn has both a hunger for the Word(1Peter 2:2) and the ability to understand divine truth and embrace it.
The third ministry of the Word of God is conviction. Christ uses the same Greek term when talking about the convicting work of the Holy Spirit(John 16:8). And why is the Word of God able to convict? Because it is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword(Hebrews 4:12a). So its convicting ministry means that it cuts so deep that it pierces to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart(Hebrews 4:12b)
The fourth ministry of the Word of God is correction. The Greek literally means to “straighten up”. This word appears only here in the New Testament, but was used in extrabiblical Greek of righting a fallen object or helping back to their feet those who had stumbled.
The fifth ministry of the Word of God is sanctification. Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness. Our justification is being declared righteous. Our sanctification is being made righteous. And the Word is that which trains us for this righteousness. Jesus Himself said that sanctification comes from the truth, namely the Word of God(John 17:17).
The sixth ministry of the Word of God is preparation. Preparation for the man of God to be complete, equipped for every good work. There is no better tool to prepare you for ministry and service than God’s Word.
So there you have it. The inexhaustible ministries of the Word of God.
Why are the ministries of the Word of God inexhaustible and sufficient? Because “All Scripture is breathed out by God.”(2 Timothy 3:16) Because “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”(2 Peter 1:21) Because it is not the word of men, but the word of God(1 Thessalonians 2:13).
So in light of all this, Paul gives Timothy this solemn and sacred charge.
“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:2
If you still are wondering about the inexhaustible ministries of the Word, meditate on this portion from the book of Psalms, and then you can exclaim like the Psalmist, “Oh how I love Your law!”(Psalm 119:97) and “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”(Psalm 119:103)
“Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.”