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Fully Equipped For His Work
God desires that his believers and his church be fully equipped for any work, ready to meet any situation. God uses the analogy of the human body to show how the church, the body of Christ, is to function. Like a good athlete or soldier is highly trained and outfitted with the best equipment or an experienced craftsman with the best tools, believers are to be equipped with an accurate knowledge of God’s Word. Then we can be victorious in the spiritual contest that we are engaged and by winning out over the massive deception and subtle lies of the Adversary.
The Master Craftsman
How wonderfully magnificent God made the human body. Like all of God’s creations, the closer we look at it the more beauty we see in the intelligent design behind it, for He is the master designer and the master craftsman. All the knowledge of medical science shows the human body, such as the brain or the eyes, a marvelous work. And yet we do not know everything there is to know about it; in fact, there seems to be no end to what can be learned!
God uses the human body and its parts, such as the joints, ligaments, eyes and heart, to show us how our human family and God’s family are to operate. Would God have His Word to be any less marvelous than the wonders of the human body? Of course not, that would be totally illogical! That is why when we look into God’s Word we should expect to find wondrous treasures. It is loaded with diamonds and gems of truth and wisdom. But we must mine it.
The Purpose of the Bible
The previous study (Bible Basics) explained that II Tim 3:16 shows why God’s Word is profitable. It is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
The focus of our study is Verse 17 that tells us the purpose of the scriptures:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
the man= non-gender specific anthropos= human being, includes men and women
the man of God= those who speak for and represent God; all believers, but especially those who want to teach, preach and lead.
To see the greatness of the meaning of this verse we must take a close look at the phrase “perfect, throughly furnished”. In doing so, we must examine the Greek words artios, exartizo and katartizo.
Let’s take a closer look at the word “perfect”. This translation should raise a red flag, since it is an apparent contradiction. The verse implies we can perfect ourselves through works, that is the work of learning and doing the Word. But the wholeness and completion that is in Christ Jesus is not of works, but by grace. This is why we need to examine this word “perfect” much closer.
This is the word artios in Greek and is only used here in the entire Bible. When a word is used only once in the scriptures, many times it is related to unity. (Numbers in Scripture, E.W. Bullinger) This word artios is most interesting. The Greeks derived it from the Latin root, ars. The meaning of ars is to join, fit or put together. We get our English words art (skill, craft), arms (body parts and weapons), army, armada, harmony and coordinate from ars. The use of “armour” in Ephesians 6, “put on the whole armour of God” is not the same Greek word, but still conveys the meaning of being fully equipped as a soldier battling in spiritual warfare.
In a broad sense, artios means a special ability for a specific application or intended use. In the context of II Tim 3:16-17, Paul writing to Timothy, as God-breathed it, reveals that the tools of his trade were the Scriptures. The imagery here is of skilled artisan fully equipped with high-quality tools so he can undertake a very special and exacting craftsmanship (his ministry).
Artios is used in early Greek writing as describing how a ball-and-socket joint is fitted together. Our joints are designed to last a lifetime even with much movement and force yet with accuracy, precision and freedom (unless of course, you suffer from arthritis—which is a word derived from the root of artios, specifically arthron.) See Note 1.
The word “furnished” in II Tim 3:17 is exartizo which is the verb form of artios. The phrase “perfect, throughly furnished” can be rendered “fully fitted and equipped”. This is a figure of speech and is used to denote emphasis. This figure of speech is called polyptoton, under the “repetition” class, where two forms of the same word are used in close proximity. God is not emphasizing here “good works” or the “man of God”. He is highlighting the importance of the purpose of scripture so that we can be “fully fitted and equipped” both to take care of ourselves and our families but also to minister God’s Word and to be victorious in our battle with the Adversary.
Another word that gives us more insight is katartizo. This verb is a strengthened form of the root word artizo. This word can mean mending — as in Matthew 4:21 where the fishermen mended their nets. Katartizo is also used in the sense of restoring someone.
To a fisherman, “katartizo” was used to refer to the mending of a broken net. To a soldier, “katartizo” would mean being equipped for battle. To a sailor, “katartizo” might be used to speak of the process of outfitting a ship for voyage. Depending on the context, “katartizo” would carry the meaning of repairing (like bones or nets) or preparing (like soldiers and ships). To an athlete, it could refer to the training process. To an athletic team, how the team trains to interact together to obtain full advantage over the opponent. To a doctor, “katartizo” would be used of the setting of a broken bone or stitching a wound.
In the human body, artios, exartizo and katartizo, could refer to the complete anatomical system (the heart, lungs, blood, brain—even the natural healing processes), each system dependent on each other, being fully equipped and functioning together—in harmony.
Let’s do some surgical exploration on the scriptures to discover how the body of Christ is to function, using the Word as our surgical tool.
Hbr 4:12-13. For the word of God [is] quick (alive), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints (harmos, root is Latin ars, same as artios) and marrow, and [is] a discerner (critic) of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The church of believers is metaphorically called the body of Christ.
1Cor 12:25-27. That there should be no schism (division) in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
As the members of the human body are knit together by joints and ligaments, so also should be the body of Christ and its members. (Col 2:19)
God did not design the human body with divisions of its members. Are your eyes in the living room, while your hands are in the attic, while your legs are in the kitchen? So God does not want the members of the body of Christ to be divided either. Did God design the denominations? No, but God will work within them since He works with what He has. But God’s heart is that we all be of the same mind when it comes to the truth of His word and its practice.
It is sad to see that the Devil is still cutting up the body of Christ. Just as in Genesis 3 when he deceived Eve with suggestions, questions and lies, he continues to destroy lives anyway he can. The greatness of God’s power and His abundance will not return to believers, their families, their churches or their nations, unless there is a genuine return to an understanding of the Word of God.
Within the body of Christ, the church, katartizo refers to the unity of the faith and our responsibility in teaching the accurate Word and restoring and equipping other believers:
1 Cor 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together (katartizo) in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore (katartizo) such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect (katartizo) in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We are not made perfect (complete) in Him by doing good works, including the study of the Word. This is why translating these words “perfect” is not a good translation. We are saved and made perfect spiritually by grace, not works. But we should want to do good works because we are saved by grace. With the knowledge of the Word, we are completely and sufficiently equipped to live, take care of our families and do the work of the ministry.
Eph 4:11-16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting (katartismos) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (reaching the end of perfection) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together (root word is harmos=joint or shoulder and ar=to fit together).
Unto All Good Works
In II Tim 3:17, the phrase “unto all good works” should raise a question: What kind of good works? By the immediate context, one would do good works by adhering to right doctrine, humbly accepting reproof, making necessary corrections and instructing oneself in the way of the Lord. In the broadest sense it means doing the will of the Lord. Clearly, that work includes prayer, the study of scripture, loving and providing for your spouse and children and certainly speaking the truth in love, and many other wonderful things that the scriptures tell us to do, including the furtherance of the gospel and making known the mystery of Christ. Certainly, God wants us to be prepared to be His man or woman, at the right place and time, within your profession and business, and with relationships with neighbors, coworkers and employers. God says to do all things with love and to work heartily as unto the Lord.
The Church and the Natural (Physical) Family
God created our physical bodies (with Adam) by divine design and are fully equipped to work in harmony to accomplish intricate functions of all types. (Disease, birth defects and other physical maladies entered since the Fall). God uses this analogy to help us understand how the body of Christ is to function. The analogy also extends to the natural (physical) family—a kind of mini-church, if you will. One will never really do His best for His Highest within the church, without first accomplishing it for oneself and for one’s own family.
God’s ideal order in the physical family is that the husband is head of the wife and the wife is to be subject unto him.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
The words “submit” and “subject” is hupotasso, a Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader”. But in non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”. (Strong’s Concordance). Clearly, this is also part of the husband’s responsibility too. The Bible never says the husband is to be a dictator and the wife is to obey all that he says. What if the husband is not walking on the Word?
But notice that this “subjection” is as the husband loves their wife, as Christ loved the church! If the husband does this (okay, we are not perfect, either) the wife will want to cooperate. Both the husband and wife have tremendous responsibilities to each other and when this is understood and practiced it makes the marriage more joyful and fruitful. When it is ignored, it can cause bitterness and wreak destruction on the marriage and on society.
Verse 23 draws an analogy between the husband and Christ, and as head of the family as Christ is head of the church, the Body of Christ. Therefore the family is a body or a church, too. A body does not have two heads. And the husband should not be headless.
Many of the commands to the Church as to how it should behave and operate pertains to the marriage and family. When one family member is sick or injured, all suffer. When one dies, all mourn. When one is caught in a fault, another reproves and restores him.
When these truths are practiced, the family can live in harmony and move on with the Word and their part in the ministry to God’s people. The world’s wisdom and man’s teaching on these subjects are a blatant attack on God and His Word. If the Adversary can disrupt or destroy the family and home life, he will be better able to poison children and adults with a new gospel, one of deception and lies.
With God’s Word and His grace, we are fully equipped to do God’s work. We can be that skilled craftsmen in our lives, our families, and within the ministry by speaking the truth (the Word) in love, so they can teach others also.
2Cor 9:8 And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work:
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship (poiema, creation or careful work of art, see Romans 1:20) created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are His artwork, His divine design. God expresses Himself in His works, His Word, and the working of the His holy spirit within us, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). God has even prepared a path in which we should walk. So walk therein, and equip yourselves with His Word becoming craftsmen of His Word and contributing your skills within the Body of Christ.
Out of all of His creation, in all of its beauty and in all its glory, nothing can compare to the accuracy and precision of the God-breathed Word:
“For thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.” Psalm 138b (Revised Standard Version)