The apostle Paul said, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2Ti 3:16-17, NASB)
Notice that he said the servant of God should be adequate and equipped. The Greek word for adequate is artios, which means perfect or complete. The King James uses the word perfect and the ESV uses the word perfect, both of which more accurately translate the original word in the text. The Greek word for equipped here is exartizō, which means to finish out, to equip thoroughly, to thoroughly furnish. This word exartizō is actually a derivative of the first word artios, so when you put these two words side by side, as they are in the passage, artios exartizō, it means completely furnished, perfectly finished out, or thoroughly equipped.
The Lord's purpose is that you should be completely equipped, therefore that should be your goal. You should want to get everything the Lord has for you, so that you are not missing anything at the end of the day. Let Him furnish you completely with all the tools, equipment, and training that you will need to get the job done.
When I was in Army Airborne School, we had three weeks of training to equip us to become paratroopers that would jump out of planes. Week one was ground week when we learned all the things we needed to know how to do on the ground like parachute landing falls (PLFs). Week two was tower week when we learned all that we needed to know how to do in the plane before, during, and after jumping from the plane, as well as during our descent to the ground. Week three was jump week when we actually performed our day jumps and night jumps to qualify as paratroopers and graduate with our Airborne wings. All that training consisted of instruction from Jump Masters, practice, issuing equipment to us that we learned to use, and performing our qualifying jumps from the aircraft.
What if I had tried to shortcut that equipping process? What if I had skipped tower week and not learned how to properly exit the aircraft? What if I had not properly secured my parachute harness and not checked it before jumping, and my chute came off upon deploying when I jumped from the plane? What if I got on the plane and didn't receive a parachute at all and then jumped without one? Any of these shortcuts would be foolish, resulting in either serious injury or death.
The same applies to the training and equipping we receive from the Lord for service unto Him. My equipping included participation in worship services and home group meetings, receiving teaching, counseling, and mentoring. It also included Bible reading, studying the Scriptures, Bible School training, Divinity School training at the graduate level, lots of practicum work putting what I had learned into practice in the homes, hospitals, prisons, and streets here in the US and overseas. There were many people involved and many experiences that I had to go through. It's normal to want to get the equipping over with and go "do the stuff." But let's not be in a rush and miss something important the Lord has for us. Let your attitude be that you want to get everything God has for you.
By listing some of the things the Lord used to prepare me, I am not saying every believer must go through Bible school or graduate school. I am simply giving examples from my own life and encouraging you not to take shortcuts in the process.
As Paul told Timothy, the Lord uses the Scriptures to equip His servants, but He also uses other servants for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness with the Scriptures. So this does not happen in a void, but with others whom God uses, namely apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, which we call the five-fold ministry gifts. As Paul said, "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up..." (Eph 4:11-12).
Therefore the purpose of these five-fold ministry gifts is not to do all the works of service themselves, but to equip God's people for works of service. The end goal of this equipping is for those who are being equipped to do the works of service that they were created for.
How long does it take for the Body of Christ to be built up like this? Paul said it needs to happen "...until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Eph 4:13). I see at least three end results there in that passage: 1) we all reach unity in the faith and in the the knowledge of the Son of God, 2) we all become mature. and 3) we all attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
What will we be like when we reach those goals? Paul said, "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." (Eph 4:14-15). We will become the mature Body of Christ in every respect, which means we will lack nothing.
So let God fully equip you for works of service, and don't be in rush to get through it or in some cases to get that piece of paper that says you graduated. Instead let Him totally outfit you. Let Him do the work He needs to do inside of you and grow you into a mature member of Christ's Body.
One way that I can offer to you to become equipped is our free, three-year Doulos Training School, which is a discipleship training school that provides Biblical instruction, discipleship, practical experience, and accountability. If you would like to find out more about it, please see this link.
Attributes: Most Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, all rights reserved, used by permission. Where noted, Scripture taken from the NASB version, copyright The Lockman Foundation, all rights reserved, used by permission. Image copyright Walker Ministries, Virginia Beach, use per the Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes only.
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"