In the previous post, we saw how the word complete in Hebrews 13:20-21 is the Greek word katartizo, which carries the idea that God desires to reconcile us to Himself through a process of reframing, restoring, and repairing in the context of a covenant relationship.
Thinking about what it means for God to make us complete led me to take a look at 2 Tim. 3:16-17 which famously employs what appeared to be the same word:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. [ emphasis mine ]
What I discovered is that the word translated here as complete (artios) is of a different origin altogether and appears only once here in the New Testament that I can uncover. The common definitions seem straightforward enough. Thayer and Smith’s classic Greek lexicon gives this definition:
Fitted, complete, perfect, having reference apparently to “special aptitude for given uses”
Likewise the New Strong’s Dictionary gave a simple definition — but with a twist that caught my eye:
Fresh, i.e. ( by impl.) complete: — perfect.
Scripture Refreshes Us
Fresh. That’s not a word I had ever heard connected to that verse and yet that is the main one given it by Strong’s. Quite literally then, we could accurately translate 2 Tim. 3:17 as follows:
that the man of God may be refreshed, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I turned to the origins of the word to discover it is derived from arti, an adverb that conveys the idea of being in suspension, as in “at this moment, at this time (as if time were suspended) this day/hour, in the present as if past and future were suspended.” Today we might refer to it as “sticking a pin in it.” Just suspending it out there without connection to the past, or disconnected from previous influences.
So it is fresh in the sense that it is as if he no longer has connection to the past, as if she were being taken taken out of what was and placed into something new. God takes our reality to a fresh place where He puts a pin in it — because He can do that thanks to the blood of Christ which bonds us in covenant relationship with Him. There he equips us by grace to every good work through His Word. In this new fresh reality, we are “suspended from the past” by grace through faith to do what pleases Him.
So 2 Tim. 3:17 could be summed up as:
Scripture is given to refresh us as part of God’s ongoing and generous process of restoring, repairing, and remaking us so that we both want to do what pleases Him and are equipped to do it.
Are you being refreshed daily by the Word of God? If not, why not?
Want to explore more of what it means to be refreshed by God’s Word? Visit Reimagine Generosity.com to see how you and your church might reawaken what it means to love one another as Christ has loved you.
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