How Do We Prepare to be Fully Prepared?

By Dudley Hall Published on August 19, 2017

In one of his many interviews, I heard Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott echo something many elite athletes convey when asked about coolness in the face of pressure situations. The quote may not be exact, but it’s close: “I don’t feel pressure because I believe I am fully prepared. It is lack of preparation that creates anxiety.”

I think they are on to something. I wonder if that is why so many of us are nervous about managing our own lives now and in the future. The unexpected troubles of life offer an opportunity to yield to fear. Fear is an awful kind of paralysis. It forces us to live in reaction mode rather than as responsible managers.

A Call to Be Prepared

The apostle Paul gave some great encouragement to young Timothy who had responsibility to care for people who were new Christians. He would be managing them regarding the most important aspect of their lives. It is a heavy responsibility.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 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. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

Some have wrongly concluded that the good work Paul mentions only applies to church work. That would contradict what he has consistently taught about all Christians being called to represent Christ in all kinds of work. We can all take his words to heart. We can be fully prepared to do whatever is right in any situation.

The question then is: how can we prepare to be fully prepared?

Knowing the Word, Knowing God

The place of the Scriptures is vital to such preparation. Timothy had been blessed to be introduced to the sacred writings of the Old Testament when he was young. Paul had furthered his preparation by showing him that the inspired writings were given to lead the readers to faith in Christ.

To be an expert on biblical knowledge while missing Him is to fail to be prepared for managing life.

The Bible is a unique book. It is a record of God’s word and deeds from creation to re-creation. It is the story of God’s love being revealed in creation. It specifically reveals the dignity God gave humans. It describes the sin of the first pair and its consequences. It shows how man’s sin could not prevent God’s purpose from being accomplished. It gives specific laws that govern His creation. It reflects the struggles humans have trying to fulfill their calling as image-bearers.

There are great stories, useful principles, clear instructions and adequate warnings, but all of them point to the final man who came to fulfill all the hopes of all people for all time. He alone is the full and final Word of God. Knowing Him is the designed end of all the writings.

To be an expert on biblical knowledge while missing Him is to fail to be prepared for managing life.

Our Biblically Illiterate Culture

In our secularized culture, belief in biblical authority is mocked. There was a time when someone like Billy Graham could say, “The Bible says…” and it would carry weight. Eyes roll and heads shake if that is tried in the public square today. So how do we find the right perspective on the Scriptures? The main trouble is that, on the whole, neither the mockers nor the believers have read the Scriptures much.

The mockers promote the idea that the Bible is full of errors, yet they don’t cite those errors with any kind of consistency. They claim that it is a book written by men and can’t be considered divine, without any explanation of the millions of lives that have been transformed for the good through faith in the Jesus that the Scriptures reveal. They are either ignorant of its unique place in world literature or they regard that as evidence of primitive ignorance of those who had nothing better.

It is time for those who claim to have confidence in the Scriptures to make reading the Bible a priority.

Too many believers have either relied on clerical experts to read the Scriptures for them, or have cherry-picked some texts to prove their own cherished beliefs, or have embraced their culture that used the values presented in Scriptures to enhance the common lifestyle. They don’t regularly read the texts with a heart to encounter the living Word that it presents.

Now is the Best Time to Prepare

The foundation of Christian faith starts with belief in a personal creator God who is sovereign, loving, all-knowing and purposeful. It continues with the belief that God has spoken.

Since He has chosen to reveal his thoughts, we are eager to know them. We find them in His creation, in our own conscience, in the inspired record of history and finally in Jesus, the Son of God who became a man. If we ignore the Scriptures, we limit our search to human explanations of creation and personal opinions about God’s nature and purpose. That leads to being ill-prepared for living a meaningful life.

When the pressure comes, it is too late to prepare. It is time for those who claim to have confidence in the Scriptures to make reading the Bible a priority. With a humble heart, we will hear the voice of God through His divinely inspired texts.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Trilemma

    The ESV is not the best translation of 2Timothy 3:16.

    Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. – 2Timothy 3:16 ASV

    Here we see that every scripture that is inspired of God is profitable and, therefore, every scripture that is not inspired of God is not profitable. Unfortunately, Paul doesn’t specify which scriptures are actually inspired of God but he certainly could not be referring to the New Testament since much of it hadn’t been when he wrote this verse.

    The Bible does have errors such as the discrepant genealogies of Jesus, but Christians have generated clever apologetics to explain away these errors to their satisfaction.

    The Bible also contains moral lapses such as requiring a woman to marry her rapist and condoning the practice of chattel slavery. Christians have also generated clever apologetics to explain away these to their satisfaction.

    • Elizabeth A. Parks

      i think the clever apologetics are yours, not Christians. There are two geneologies of Jesus – one on his mother’s side and one on his fathers. Best word for word translation is NASB – New American Standard Bible. The other points you mention you are not referencing correctly. Half a truth is a whole lie. God’s word is wholly true.

      • Trilemma

        There’s nothing in the book of Luke to indicate he’s giving the genealogy Mary. If Matthew did not contain a genealogy then nobody would claim the genealogy in Luke was that of Mary.

        • Elizabeth A. Parks

          The whole gospel of Luke has a lot of info on women, their stories and viewpoint. I would call that something.

  • Elizabeth A. Parks

    Best word for word translation is New American Standard Bible: 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness.(NASB) ALL Scripture is inspired. Blessings.

    • Trilemma

      In the Greek for 2 Timothy 3:16, there are no verbs. So, it does not say, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” It simply says, “All inspired scripture.”

      • Elizabeth A. Parks

        So, you think your translation is better than the expert translation team? I don’t.

        • Trilemma

          The expert translation team of the ESV translated the first part as, “Every scripture inspired of god.” They did not translate it as, “Every scripture is inspired of god.” How can you tell which expert translation team is correct? How can you tell which parts of the Bible are God inspired scripture and which are not?

Lessons on Faith From Matthew 8
Liberty McArtor
More from The Stream
Connect with Us