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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
2 Timothy 3



Verse 1

1. In this melancholy forecast the Apostle is describing a recrudescence of heathenism, with its attendant wickedness, which he assures Timothy will take place in the ‘last days’ of the Church, rather than the prevalence of forms of heresy. The crying evil of those corrupt times will be that men professing to be Christians (2 Timothy 3:5) will yet be conspicuous for all the worst vices of paganism. The germ of the evil may be seen in the present (2 Timothy 3:5), and he warns Timothy against the methods of the heretical teachers which will ultimately have such disastrous results, by perverting the truth and by enfeebling the consciences of those whom they ensnare.

τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε calls special attention to the prediction which follows. See crit. note.

ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, in the last days, sc. of the present dispensation. The prospect of the Second Advent of Christ was a vivid reality to St Paul; he seems at times to have expected it soon (esp. see 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 2 Thessalonians 2), but at any rate he was not in the habit of contemplating the existing order of things as permanent. For the phrase ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, cp. 2 Peter 3:3 and Judges 1:18; and see note on 1 Timothy 4:1.

ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί, will ensue troublesome times, seasons of trial when it will be hard to keep the path of duty. χαλεπός only occurs again in N.T. at Matthew 8:28 (of ‘fierce’ demoniacs).

Verses 1-9


Verse 2

2. ἔσονται γὰρ οἱ ἅνθρωποι κ.τ.λ., for men will be &c., sc. (as the presence of the article shews) the generality of men, the members generally of the Christian communities. The adjectives which follow are not arrayed in any exact logical sequence; but, nevertheless, as in the somewhat similar catalogue of Romans 1:29-31, connexion may be traced between certain of the vices which are enumerated.

φίλαυτοι, lovers of self. The word does not occur elsewhere in the LXX. or N.T. In Greek thought of an earlier age φιλαυτία had a good sense, and was expressive of the self-respect which a good man has for himself (see Aristotle Nic. Eth. IX. 8. 7). But a deeper philosophy, recognising the fact of man’s Fall, transferred the moral centre of gravity from self to God; once the sense of sin is truly felt, self-respect becomes an inadequate basis for moral theory. So Philo (de Prof. 15) speaks of those who are φίλαυτοι δὴ μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι, in a spirit quite like that of St Paul.

φιλάργυροι, lovers of money. The adjective only occurs again at Luke 16:14. See the note on φιλαργυρία, 1 Timothy 6:10.

ἀλαζόνες, ὑπερήφανοι, boastful, haughty, the former term referring specially to words, the latter to thoughts. The words are coupled again in the catalogue at Romans 1:30 (also by Clem. Rom. § 16); Trench (Synonyms § 29) has an admirable essay on the difference between them, and on the usage of both words in Greek literature.

βλάσφημοι, railers, or evil-speakers, in reference to their fellow men rather than to God. This is the regular force of βλάσφημος and the cognate words in the Pastoral Epistles.

γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς, disobedient to parents, a characteristic also mentioned in Romans 1:30. Cp. what St Paul had said about duty to a widowed parent in 1 Timothy 5:8.

ἀχάριστοι, without gratitude. This follows naturally from the last mentioned characteristic, for the blackest form of ingratitude is that which repudiates the claim of parents to respect and obedience. The adjective ἀχάριστος only occurs again once in N.T., at Luke 6:35.

ἀνόσιοι. See note on 1 Timothy 1:9.

Verse 3

3. ἄστοργοι, without natural affection; the adjective only occurs here and in the parallel catalogue Romans 1:31.

ἄσπονδοι, implacable. The word does not occur again in the Greek Bible (it is an interpolation in Romans 1:31), but is frequent in good authors.

διάβολοι, slanderers, or false accusers. see on 1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:11. The margin of the A.V. suggests here and at Titus 1:3 the rendering ‘makebates,’ i.e. ‘those who make baits or contentions.’

ἀκρατεῖς, without self-control, in the widest sense, but more particularly in regard to bodily lusts. The adjective only occurs again in the Greek Bible at Proverbs 27:20, but St Paul speaks of ἀκρασία in 1 Corinthians 7:5 and we have ἐγκρατής in Titus 1:8. The ἀκρατής is distinguished from the ἀκόλαστος or deliberate profligate, by the circumstance that he would like to do what is right but finds temptation too strong for him. He is weak and easily led, a man who might well say of himself “Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor.”

ἀνήμεροι, fierce. The word is ἅπ. λεγ. in the N.T. and LXX.

ἀφιλάγαθοι, without love for the good. The word does not seem to occur elsewhere in Greek literature, but we have φιλάγαθος (Titus 1:8) in Wisdom of Solomon 7:22 and in Philo.

Verse 4

4. προδόται, traitors, sc. treacherous in their dealings with their fellows. Cp. Luke 6:16, where the word is used of Judas, and Acts 7:52. It is not necessary to suppose any reference to the betrayal of fellow Christians in times of persecution.

προπετεῖς, headstrong; cp. Acts 19:36.

τετυφωμένοι, besotted, a form of conceit which is often accompanied by hasty and headstrong action. see on 1 Timothy 3:6.

φιλήδονοι μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι. Both words are ἅπ. λεγ. in the N.T. and φιλόθεος does not occur in the LXX. After Wetstein few commentators have omitted to cite an interesting parallel from Philo (de Agric. § 19), φιλήδονον καὶ φιλοπαθῆ μᾶλλον ἤ φιλάρετον καὶ φιλόθεον ἀνὰ κράτος ἐργάσηται.

Verse 5

5. ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας, having the form of godliness. See on 1 Timothy 2:2.

μόρφωσις is an affectation of, or aiming at, the μορφή of godliness, but not the μορφή itself (cp. Romans 2:20). μορφή is that which manifests the essence or inward nature of anything (see Philippians 2:6) as opposed to the σχῆμα, the outward fashion or bearing; this the semipagan teachers of the future will not have. The melancholy thing is that they will affect to have it, although they have repudiated its power over the heart and life (Titus 1:16), wherein is the real uniqueness of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:20). For this use of ἀρνὲομαι cp. 1 Timothy 5:8.

καὶ τούτους ἀποτρέπου, from these turn away; the καί adds force and speciality to τούτους. Cp. 1 Timothy 6:20 where ἐκτρέπομαι is used in a like context; ἀποτρέπειν is a ἅπ. λεγ. in the N.T. The injunction shews that these corruptions of the Gospel were not merely contemplated as about to arise in the future, but as already a present danger. This is clearly brought out by the next clause ἐκ τούτων γάρ εἰσιν κ.τ.λ.

Verse 6

6. ἐνδύνοντες εἰς τὰς οἰκίας, who creep into houses. The word ἐνδύνοντες is a ἅπ. λεγ. in N.T.; but we have παρεισεδύησαν in Judges 1:4.

αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια, who take captive silly women; the diminutive form expressing contempt. αἰχμαλωτίζω is Pauline; cp. Romans 7:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5, and see critical note.

It has been suggested that this characteristic of the false teachers points to their affinity with the later Gnostic heretics, among whom women played an important part. But (as was noticed long ago by Jerome Ep. ad Ctesiphontem 133. 4 in a remarkable passage) this is a feature of all heretical systems and has its root deep down in human nature. Women, says Hooker, “are deemed apter to serve as instruments and helps in the cause. Apter they are, through the eagerness of their affection, that maketh them, which way soever they take, diligent in drawing their husbands, children, servants, friends and allies the same way; apter through that natural inclination unto pity, which breedeth in them a greater readiness than in men to be bountiful toward their preachers who suffer want; apter through sundry opportunities, which they especially have, to procure encouragements for their brethren; finally apter through a singular delight which they take in giving very large and particular intelligence, how all near about them stand affected as concerning the same cause” (Eccl. Pol. Preface iii. 13). And so a propounder of novel opinions often gains a hearing through having first attracted the attention of women.

σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις, laden with sins; and so they readily give an ear to any impostor who will promise them ease of conscience; they seek peace in spiritual dissipation. The verb σωρεύειν only occurs once again in N.T., in Romans 12:20 (a quotation from Proverbs 25:22).

ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις, lusts of all kinds, including not only the desires of the flesh, but the wandering and undisciplined movements of the spirit. ποικίλος does not occur in St Paul outside the Pastorals (cp. Titus 3:3). The N.T. meaning of the word ‘varied,’ ‘manifold’ is unknown to classical Greek, where it signifies ‘elaborate,’ ‘complicated.’ See Hort on 1 Peter 1:6.

Verse 7

7. πάντοτε μανθάνοντα, ever learning; they are full of morbid curiosity.

μηδέποτε. The tendency of the later language (see Blass, Grammar of N.T. Greek, § 75. 5) is to employ μή rather than οὐ, and especially with the participle. Hence we cannot lay any stress on the conditional negative μηδέποτε being used here in place of οὐδέποτε.

εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας, to a knowledge of the truth; see note on 1 Timothy 2:4.

ἐλθεῖν δυνάμενα, they are really unable to gain the truth, to such a strait have they brought themselves. Their spiritual sense is dulled, through overmuch curiosity as to the solution of unpractical problems of speculative theology.

It is no wonder that their silly disciples cannot arrive at a perfect knowledge of the truth, which their false teachers withstand. And these latter had prototypes in the earlier history of Israel.

Verse 8

8. ὂν τρόπον δὲ Ἰαννῆς καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς ἀντέστησαν ΄ωϋσεῖ. For like as Jannes and Jambres with stood Moses. Whether St Paul derived these names which he gives to the Egyptian magicians who ‘withstood Moses’ (Exodus 7:11; Exodus 7:22) from unwritten tradition or from some book now lost to us, it is impossible to say. Origen held (in Matt. § 117) that he was quoting from an apocryphal work entitled Iamnes et Mambres liber (see crit. note), which is probably the same as a book no longer extant, condemned in the Gelasian decree of 494 under the title Poenitentia Iamnae et Mambrae. The names are found in the Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 7:11. Jewish Haggadoth also described them as sons of Balaam, who either perished in the Red Sea or were killed in the tumult after the episode of the golden calf. The name Jannes meets us several times. E.g. Pliny (Hist. Nat. XXX. 1) has “Est et alia factio a Mose et Ianne et Iotape ac Iudaeis pendens, sed multis millibus annorum post Zoroastrem.” In the second century Apuleius (Apol. p. 544) in like manner mentions Moses and Jannes as Magi who lived after Zoroaster.

οὕτως καὶ οὗτοι ἀνθίστανται τῇ ἀληθείᾳ. So do these also withstand the truth. We can hardly lay stress on οὕτως as ascribing to the false teachers pretension to magical arts such as the Egyptian magi practised, although γόητες of 2 Timothy 3:13 might support this view. ἀνθιστάναι is used of Elymas the sorcerer in a similar context in Acts 13:8.

ἄνθρωποι κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν, men corrupted in their mind. See on 1 Timothy 6:5. καταφθείρειν is not found elsewhere in N.T., but is a LXX. word.

ἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν, reprobate concerning the faith. For the phrase περὶ τὴν πίστιν see note on 1 Timothy 1:19. ἀδόκιμος we have again in Titus 1:16; cp. Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5; it is a favourite word with St Paul. see on 1 Timothy 1:5.

Verse 9

9. ἀλλʼ οὐ προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ πλεῖον. Notwithstanding they shall not make further progress, because the hollowness of their pretensions is speedily disclosed. See 2 Timothy 2:16 above.

ἡ γὰρ ἄνοια αὐτῶν κ.τ.λ., for their senseless folly, &c. ἄνοια only occurs in N.T. here and at Luke 6:11.

ἔκδηλος ἔσται πᾶσιν, shall be openly manifest to all. Truth must prevail in the end, and imposture cannot permanently deceive. ἔκδηλος only occurs again (N.T. and LXX.) in 3 Maccabees 3:19; 3 Maccabees 6:5.

ὡς καὶ ἡ ἐκείνων ἐγένετο, even as the folly of the Egyptian magicians became manifest at last; cp. Exodus 8:18; Exodus 9:11.

Verse 10

10. σὺ δὲ. But thou; sc. in contrast with the vagaries of the ἑτεροδιδάσκαλοι.

παρηκολούθησας, didst follow. The perfect παρηκολούθηκας which is read by some authorities (see crit. note) would clearly indicate a continual following of St Paul; but the aorist does not exclude this. In the N.T. the aorist is frequently used where the action is not conceived as terminated, and where Classical Greek would prefer the perfect, e.g. Matthew 23:2; Mark 3:21.

μου τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ, my doctrine; see note on 1 Timothy 1:10.

τῇ ἀγωγῇ, conduct, manner of life. Cp. 1 Corinthians 4:17 where it is said of Timothy ὂς ὑμᾶς ἀναμνήσει τὰς ὁδούς μου τὰς ἐν Χριστῷ. The word ἀγωγή does not occur elsewhere in the N.T., but is found in Esther 2:20 and 2 Maccabees 4:16 &c.

τῇ προθίσει, purpose. This word is always used elsewhere by St Paul for the purposes of God (cp. 2 Timothy 1:9); with the usage here cp. Acts 11:23.

τῇ πίστει, faith, i.e. in the widest sense, indicating his attitude to the Christian revelation generally.

τῇ μακροθυμίᾳ, long-suffering, i.e. not only in respect of the false teachers, but in respect of trouble and affliction of every kind; see note on 1 Timothy 1:16.

τῇ ἀγάπῃ, love, without which μακροθυμία would be impossible; cp. ἡ ἀγάπη μακροθυμεῖ (1 Corinthians 13:4). For the history of the word ἀγάπη see note on 1 Timothy 1:5.

τῇ ὑπομονῇ, brave patience. See on 1 Timothy 6:11, where ὑπομονή, as here, follows ἀγάπη in an enumeration of Christian graces, and also note on Titus 2:2. The confident assurance with which the Apostle here claims these graces as his own is in marked contrast with the language of humility which he uses about himself in earlier letters (see on 1 Timothy 1:15); but it must be remembered that he is here writing within sight of death. There can now be no thought of boasting or pride; but with his eyes fixed on the crown laid up for him at the end of his course (2 Timothy 4:6-8) he speaks frankly out of his experience to his son in the faith about the graces which a Christian apostle most sorely needs.

Verses 10-14


Verse 11

11. τοῖς διωγμοῖς, τοῖς παθήμασιν, persecutions, sufferings, which the mention of ὑπομονή has suggested. He dwells on them parenthetically in this and the next verse.

οἶά μοι ἐγένετο, such as befell me; he only gives illustrations, as it were, of what a Christian apostle has to expect.

ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ κ.τ.λ. In Antioch (sc. of Pisidia, Acts 13:50), in Iconium (Acts 14:2), in Lystra (Acts 14:19). These persecutions are selected for mention, not necessarily because they were the first which St Paul had to endure, or the most severe (for he suffered worse things at Philippi), but because they were especially well known to Timothy, who was himself of Lystra (Acts 16:2), and must have been matter of common talk in that district when Timothy was a youth.

οἵους διωγμοὺς ὑπήνεγκα, such persecutions as I endured, a supplementary clause calling special attention to the fact that these particular persecutions had been endured by him.

καὶ ἐκ πάντων κ.τ.λ. And (yet, despite the greatness of the danger) out of all the Lord (sc. Christ) delivered me. See note on 2 Timothy 4:17-18.

Verse 12

12. καὶ πάντες δέ, and, moreover, all. For καὶδέ cp. Romans 11:23; 1 Timothy 3:10.

οἱ θέλοντες, who are minded, expressing not a mere passing desire, but the continual bent of the will.

ζῆν εὐσεβῶς. For the order of words see the critical note. εὐσεβῶς only occurs again in the Greek Bible at Titus 2:12 (which see) and 4 Maccabees 7:21. See on 1 Timothy 2:2 for the meaning of εὐσέβεια and its cognates.

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, in Christ Jesus, the sphere of the godly life. ‘Life in Christ’ is the perpetual theme of St Paul’s Epistles, and, however difficult the phrase may be to interpret, it is impossible to doubt that he meant more by it than life lived in obedience to the precepts of Christ, or under the influence of the Gospel of Christ. There is a deep sense in which the baptized believer is in Christ, who as the Incarnate Word took human nature into Himself.

διωχθήσονται, shall be persecuted. And in such moments of persecution the promise will be recalled, μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν (Matthew 5:10); cp. John 15:20.

Verse 13

13. πονηροὶ δὲ ἄνθρωποι, but (sc. in contrast with those οἱ θέλοντες ζῆν εὐσεβῶς) evil men. Cp. 2 Thessalonians 3:2.

καὶ γόητες, and impostors, lit. wizards. The word does not occur again in the Greek Bible, but we have γοητεία in 2 Maccabees 12:24 in the sense of ‘crafty guile.’ Its use here is no doubt suggested by the comparison in 2 Timothy 3:8 of the ἑτεροδιδάσκαλοι to the Egyptian magicians, Jannes and Jambres. It would seem from its employment here that the ‘false teachers’ whom the Apostle had in his mind professed magical arts, though this is not certain, inasmuch as γόης is not necessarily equivalent to μάγος. (See Introd. p. liv.)

προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον, will make advance towards the worse. This is not contradictory of 2 Timothy 3:9 (which see), for here it is the intensity, as there the diffusion, of the evil which is in question.

πλανῶντες καὶ πλανώμενοι, deceiving and being deceived. The two generally go together. Few men admit to themselves that they are deliberate impostors; the practice of deceit is intolerable unless it be partly hidden from the actor by self-deceit. And, further, πλανώμενοι is strictly passive, not middle; the deceivers may have themselves been deceived by the teachers who seduced them from the middle way of truth. Cp. Titus 3:3.

Verse 14

14. σὺ δὲ μἑνε κ.τ.λ., but, in contrast with all such, do thou abide in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of; ἐν οἶς ἔμαθες being for ἑν ἐκείνιος ἃ ἔμαθες. ἐπιστώθης is not equivalent to ἐπιστεύθης as the Vulgate et credita sunt tibi takes it; πιστοῦν (a LXX. word not found elsewhere in the N.T.) is to convince, to assure.

εἰδὼς παρὰ τίνων ἔμαθες, knowing, as thou dost, from whom thou learnedst them. The critical note shews that there has been a diversity of opinion as to the teachers of Timothy whom the Apostle had in his mind; but it seems plain from the next verse that the primary reference must be to Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s earliest instructors, although it is quite possible that St Paul may have also thought of himself as Timothy’s father in God.

Verse 15

15. καὶ ὄτι, and that, not ‘because’; ὄτι depends upon εἰδώς.

ἀπὸ βρέφους, from a babe; cp. 2 Timothy 1:5. It was the custom to teach Jewish children the law at a very early age, and to cause them to commit parts of it to memory.

τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα οἶδας, thou hast known the sacred writings. The reading (see critical note) is uncertain; if we omit the article before ἱερά, it would be necessary to translate ‘thou didst know sacred writings,’ γράμματα being used as at John 5:47; John 7:16. But τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα is a quasi-technical expression in Philo (Vit. Mos. III. 39 and Fragm. in Exod. Mangey’s ed. II. 657, and cp. de Vit. cont. 3) and in Josephus (Ant. Proem. 3 and 10:10. 4) for the Scriptures of the Old Testament[520], and, when this is borne in mind, the manuscript attestation to τά seems amply sufficient.

This is the only place in the N.T. where the epithet ἱερός, sacer, ‘hallowed’ or ‘sacred,’ as contrasted with profane (a quite different adjective from ἅγιος, sanctus, ‘holy,’ which points to the work of the Divine Spirit), is applied to Scripture; but it is frequently so applied both before and after the Apostolic age. Cp. e.g. 2 Maccabees 8:23, τὴν ἱερὰν βίβλον, and Clem. Rom. § 53 τὰς ἱερὰς γραφάς &c.

τὰ δυνάμενά σε σοφίσαι εἰς σωτηρίαν, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. The present participle δυνάμενα expresses the continuous and abiding power of Scripture; it is not only fitted σοφίζειν νήπια (Psalms 19:8), but it is as valuable to Timothy the bishop as to Timothy the child: cp. Psalms 119:98. The words εἰς σωτηρίαν are important, as clearly expressing the kind of wisdom which Scripture supplies. The significance of the O.T. is not that it contains an account of the creation of man or the history of the fortunes of Israel; its aim is not knowledge, whether scientific or historical, but wisdom, and that εἰς σωτηρίαν. σωτηρία, the Salvation of man, is the final purpose of the whole Bible. On this great theme it tells enough to make men wise; it contains “all things necessary to salvation” (Art. vi.), and so candidates for the priesthood are required at ordination to declare in the words of the Apostle their persuasion that “the holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” “If we be ignorant,” say the Translators of our A.V. to their readers, “they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us. Tolle, lege; tolle, lege.”

διὰ πίστεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Faith in Christ Jesus (see 1 Timothy 3:13) is the instrument, as it were, through which the σωτηρία, expounded in Scripture, may be grasped. And this limiting clause provides at once the link between O.T. and N.T., so that what St Paul said to Timothy about the O.T. may also be applied to the N.T., “the difference between them consisting in this, that the Old did make wise by teaching salvation through Christ that should come, the New by teaching that Christ the Saviour is come” (Hooker, E. P. I. xiv. 4).

Verses 15-17


Verse 16

16. πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος κ.τ.λ. We have to fix the meaning of γραφή here, before we examine the construction. Is it simply equivalent to ‘writing’ or does it mean ‘Scripture,’ in the special sense in which that word was applied in the Apostolic age to the O.T. as a whole or to passages from it? Despite the absence of the article, the latter meaning seems determined, not only by the context, but by the usage of the word throughout the N.T. In all the passages (some fifty) in which the word occurs (in four without the article, viz. John 19:37 ἑτέρα γραφή; Romans 1:2 γραφαὶ ἅγιαι; Romans 16:26 γραφαὶ προφητικαί; 2 Peter 1:20 πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς) it is invariably applied to the O.T., and we therefore must apply it thus in the verse before us. The next point is the true rendering of πᾶσα γραφή. The absence of the article assures us that we must render ‘every Scripture’ and not (with the A.V.) ‘all Scripture’; the thought is not of the O.T. regarded as an organic whole, but of every individual ‘Scripture’ therein.

We come then to the construction of the sentence, the primary question being, Is θεόπνευστος an epithet attached to the subject γραφή, or is it a predicate? The A.V. and some modern interpreters (Calvin, de Wette, &c.) take it in the latter way, and there is no grammatical objection to the translation “Every Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable &c.,” the καὶ being simply copulative. But to introduce at this point a direct statement of the θεοπνευστία of the O.T., which is not here questioned, seems quite irrelevant to the context. 2 Timothy 3:16 is strictly parallel to 2 Timothy 3:15; the ἱερὰ γράμματα are able to make wise unto salvation; [for] every Scripture inspired by God is profitable also for &c., καί having an ascensive force (cp. 1 Timothy 4:4). It is the profitableness of the O.T. which St Paul would press upon Timothy, not its inspiration, of which he had been assured from his youth. It is better, therefore, to follow the interpretation of Origen, the Vulgate and Syriac Versions, Luther &c. (also adopted in the older English translations of Wiclif, Tyndale, Coverdale and Cranmer, and in our R.V.), and to render every Scripture inspired by God is profitable also for teaching &c.

θεόπνευστος does not occur again in LXX. or N.T., but is a common Greek word; it is well rendered by the Vulgate divinitus inspirata, its meaning being passive, inspired by God, not active. It supplies no theory as to the manner or measure of inspiration, but felicitously sums up the truth expressed in 2 Peter 1:21, ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἑλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι.

καὶ ὠφέλιμος. See the critical note, and cp. 1 Timothy 4:8.

πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, for teaching, sc. for teaching him who reads it. It is the instruction which it gives to the individual Christian, not the help that it affords to him whose office it is to teach others, that is here in question. For διδασκαλία see on 1 Timothy 1:10.

πρὸς ἐλεγμόν, for reproof, or confutation; cp. John 16:8. The word does not occur again in N.T.; see critical note. Keble expresses the main idea well:

“Eye of God’s word! where’er we turn

Ever upon us! thy keen gaze

Can all the depths of sin discern,

πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν, for correction, sc. in reference to conduct. Like ἐλεγμός, this is ἅπ. λεγ. in N.T. but is a LXX. word.

πρὸς παιδίαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, for discipline which is in righteousness, δικαιοσύνη (see on 1 Timothy 6:11) being the atmosphere in which the discipline is exercised.

Verse 17

17. ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος, that the man of God may be complete. The phrase ‘man of God’ is used quite generally, as in Philo (de mut. nom. 3), of any devout person, and has no reference to Timothy’s official position; see further on 1 Timothy 6:11. ἄρτιος is a common Greek word, but does not happen to occur again in the Greek Bible.

πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος, furnished completely unto every good work. ἐξαρτίζω is not used elsewhere by St Paul, but cp. Acts 21:5. See on ch. 2 Timothy 2:21 above.


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"Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

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