The following article is taken from the book, Top Ten Bible Verses in High Definition. To buy click here.
Key: [CAP] = Should be Capitalized, [ML] = Misleading, [OD] = Outdated, [T] = Wrong Tense, [WT] = Wrong Translation, [X] = Not in Greek, [-] = Greek Word not Translated
16 All[WT] scripture[OD] is given by inspiration of God[WT], and is profitable[WT] for doctrine[WT], for reproof[OD], for correction, for [-] instruction[WT] in righteousness[OD]:
17 That the man[OD] of God may be perfect[WT], throughly furnished[WT] unto[OD] all[WT] good works[WT].
16 All[WT] Scripture[OD] is[X] breathed out[X] by[X] God and profitable[WT] for teaching, for reproof[OD], for correction, and[X] for [-] training[WT] in righteousness[OD],
17 that the man[OD] of God may be complete[WT], equipped[WT] for every good work.
16 Every God-breathed writing is also beneficial toward instruction, toward a reprimand, toward correction, toward the discipline in the right way,
17 so that the person of God may be developed having been fully developed toward every good action.
all -> every
The Greek word here is pas (every). It is singular. "All" is plural.
scripture -> writing
Hundreds of years ago (when it was put in the Bible) "scripture" meant writing. The word "script" comes from "scripture". "Scripture" has taken a detour with its meaning down through history. It has come to mean a sacred writing, especially the Bible.
How did "scripture" change in meaning through the years and "script" did not? It is because of a phenomena that happens to outdated words in the Bible. Once they become outdated, the reader does not know what they mean and so he looks at the Bible for clues to its meaning. In this case, "scripture" in the Bible almost always refers to the Old Testament, so the reader thinks that "scripture" is the Old Testament, the Old Testament is a sacred writing, and so his conclusion is that "scripture" is a sacred writing. Dictionaries complete the change of meaning because dictionaries record the meanings that contemporary people give to a word. Look up "scripture" in the dictionary and it says that it is a sacred writing, the Bible. But look in the history of the word (if your dictionary has one) and you will see that it meant "writing" when it was put in the Bible.
The Greek word for "scripture" is graphe (writing). Its verb form grapho means "to write". There is no indication in Greek that this word is something sacred. It is simply "writing".
is -> is
The ESV adds "is" after "scripture" which is alright if it is in italics to show that it is not in the Greek text.
In Greek this verse has no verbs in it. When translating into English, the state of being verb ("is") has to be added. But where should it be put? If it is put where the KJV and ESV put it (between "writing" and "God-breathed"), it ends up saying that every writing (whether sacred or not, whether Bible or tradition) is God-breathed. That is not true. So the state of being verb must go after "writing" and "God-breathed" ("every God-breathed writing is").
given by inspiration of God|breathed out by God -> God-breathed
The Greek word here is an adjective. It modifies "scripture" as "every" also does. It is a compound word (theopneustos) made up of theo (God) and pneustos (breathed): God-breathed.
profitable -> beneficial
Remember Onesimus (Philemon 1:10) whose name means profitable? The Greek word here (ophelimos) is a completely different word. So which one means profitable? I pick Onesimus. This Greek word means beneficial.
for -> toward
The Greek word here is pros (toward). There are four in this verse. "For" is not a wrong translation for pros, but "toward" is more precise.
doctrine|teaching -> instruction
The KJV translates three Greek words as doctrine (didaskalia, didache, logos) and it translates this Greek word (didaskalia) three different ways (doctrine, learning, teaching).
To be precise and consistent, this Greek word should be translated as instruction.
reproof -> reprimand
"Reproof" is outdated.
and -> [none]
The "and" following "correction" is not in the Greek text.
instruction|training -> the discipline
The KJV and ESV do not translate the definite article ("the") that is in the Greek text.
The Greek word here is paideia (discipline). Its verb form is paideuo (to discipline). It comes from the word for young child (paidion). Discipline can be both positive and negative. It is the process used to train someone, especially a child. It is fitting here because Paul is talking to Timothy about his upbringing.
righteousness -> the right way
There is a right way and a wrong way of doing things. Righteousness is the right way. Every person has his own right way (self-righteousness). God has a right way (God's righteousness).
man -> person
"Man" is an outdated way of saying "person". The Greek word here is anthropos (person). The Greek word for "man" is andra.
perfect|complete -> developed
The Greek word here is artios (developed). It is an adjective. It is related to another word in this verse, "exartismenos". It should match up with that word.
The Greek word for "perfect" or "complete" (pleroo or teleios) is not in this verse. The Greek word is artios (developed).
throughly furnished|equipped -> having been fully developed
"Throughly" is an outdated word for "thoroughly".
This Greek word is related to the previously mentioned Greek word, artios (developed). This word has the ek prefix on it and it is a verb. The ek prefix intensifies the verb, so "developed" becomes "fully developed".
In the Greek text, this is a perfect passive participle ("having been fully developed"). The KJV and ESV ignore this and translate it as an adjective.
unto|for -> toward
"Unto" is outdated.
The Greek word here is pros (toward).
all good works|every good work -> every good action
The KJV makes these words plural ("all good works") even though they are singular in the Greek text ("every good work").
"Work" is not used today as it is here in the KJV and ESV. Today "work" refers to general activity and not a specific action. In this verse, work is referring to specific actions of work. "Every good action" is better.
Chapter three of 2 Timothy starts out describing what it will be like in the last days. Evil people will get worse and worse deceiving and being deceived (verse 13). Then Paul turns to Timothy telling him to continue in what he has learned (verse 14). As a child he had known the temple documents (the Old Testament) that are able to provide insight into rescue through trust in the Anointed King (verse 15).
Then Paul writes this famous verse. Every God-breathed writing is also beneficial toward instruction, a reprimand, correction, and the discipline in the right way.
Paul puts on paper the fact that the Old Testament is God-breathed, it came from the mouth of God. He has already said that it is beneficial for insight (verse 15). Now he adds four more benefits: instruction, reprimand, correction, and discipline in the right way.
During Timothy's time the New Testament was still being written. Parts were floating around the churches in the form of writings rolled up into scrolls. The Old Testament was in the form of big scrolls that were kept in the temple, in synagogues, and in some rich people's homes. They were called "the writings".
The writings develop the person of God, fully developing him toward every good action.
Are you a person of God? Do not stray from the God-breathed writings. How sad it is that many have left the God-breathed writings behind to pursue the newer writings (man-made writings). The benefits are in the writings of the Bible. Read them. Meditate on them. Know them.