I was reflecting briefly on 2 Timothy 3:16 today--"All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for instruction..." A comment of a student in an online class sparked the way Paul uses Deuteronomy 25:4 in 1 Corinthians 9:9-10. In what way does Paul find Deuteronomy 25:4 profitable in this way?
The answer at least seems quite illuminating! He finds Deuteronomy profitable for instruction by reading it allegorically while at least questioning its literal sense: "it is written in the law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.' Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Or does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was indeed written for our sake, for whoever plows should plow in hope and whoever threshes should thresh in hope of a share in the crop" (NRSV).
In other words, 2 Timothy 3:16 does not indicate how Scripture is profitable for instruction, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Presumably it could function in this way on more than one level, literal or allegorical. Paul seems to find Deuteronomy 25:4 profitable almost entirely in an allegorical sense, while little in its literal sense.
This is a striking finding to me!