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 god work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
It seems that the primary objective of God's revelation of himself in Scripture is to equip people to accomplish what he has purposed for them. Contemporary culture, however, seems to be more interested in being rescued than being equipped.
We have become so accustomed to being rescued from our dilemmas that we expect every sphere of authority to fulfill that role. We are not so interested in being equipped to avoid some of the pitfalls. That would require a measure of personal responsibility and mutual accountability. So we complain that the civil government doesn't pay for our sloppiness and foolishness, and we demand that the church serve as the rescue agent for troubled people as long as it doesn't mention the issue of maturity and stewardship of life.
The numbers of people in need of rescue are so great we often don't think there is time to equip people to handle temptation and trials. This triage mentality has become standard operating procedure. On one hand, it is encouraging to see new charities birthed to address crises in societal relationships. Many people are willing to give money to charities that feature rescue. There is a sense of fulfillment when we help someone in trouble. On the other hand, it is harder to get investors for attempts to train and equip people for managing life. It is not as fashionable to be involved in the long process of equipping.
Ministers who use mass media soon learn that people do not send great sums of money to programs for training or education. The public is moved by starving children or abandoned animals more easily than the need to develop clear thinking disciples of Jesus Christ. TV ministries learn to connect their ministries to rescue-focused projects so they can fund the rest of their organization. Churches have been willing to retreat to the status of charities and chaplains, not wanting to address issues that could be controversial or that might require hard work and personal responsibility.
Our society is flooded with people who need rescue, but not just from a temporary pit. They need to be rescued from the victim mentality that refuses to embrace the totality of life offered by the gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to be rescued from irresponsibility and purposelessness by discovering their true dignity as objects of God's love. They need to be rescued from believing the lie that government and church programs can support them. They can enter a relationship with the God of the universe who will guide and provide for them as they walk with him.
The church that affected the known world of the first century was not only a rescuing community, but also an invading community. They equipped people to manage the life they were given. These people permeated every sphere of society and brought salt and light to a decaying and dark world. If the church stands up to its calling today, it will again feature obedience to Jesus' command to "make disciples."
The end result of properly reading and interpreting the Scripture is the fully equipping of people of God for every good work.