Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Timothy 3:15

and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
New American Standard Version

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Adam Clarke Commentary

From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures - The early religious education of Timothy has been already sufficiently noticed; see 2 Timothy 1:5, and the preface to the first epistle. St. Paul introduces this circumstance again here for the confirmation of Timothy's faith. He had learned the doctrines of Christianity from a genuine apostle; and, as Christianity is founded on the law and the prophets, Timothy was able to compare its doctrines with all that had been typified and predicted, and consequently was assured that the Christian religion was true.

Able to make thee wise unto salvation - The apostle is here evidently speaking of the Jewish Scriptures; and he tells us that they are able to make us wise unto salvation provided we have faith in Jesus Christ. This is the simple use of the Old Testament. No soul of man can be made wise unto salvation by it, but as he refers all to Christ Jesus. The Jews are unsaved though they know these Scriptures, because they believe not in Christ; for Christ is the end of the law for the justification of all that believe.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures - That is, the Old Testament; for the New Testament was not then written; see the notes at John 5:39. The mother of Timothy was a pious Hebrewess, and regarded it as one of the duties of her religion to train her son in the careful knowledge of the word of God. This was regarded by the Hebrews as an important duty of religion, and there is reason to believe that it was commonly faithfully performed. The Jewish writings abound with lessons on this subject. Rabbi Judah says, “The boy of five years of age ought to apply to the study of the sacred Scriptures.” Rabbi Solomon, on Deuteronomy 11:19, says, “When the boy begins to talk, his father ought to converse with him in the sacred language, and to teach him the law; if he does not do that, he seems to bury him.” See numerous instances referred to in Wetstein, in loc. The expression used by Paul - “from a child” ( ἀπὸ βρέφους apo brephous) - does not make it certain at precisely what age Timothy was first instructed in the Scriptures, though it would denote an “early” age. The word used - βρέφος brephos- denotes:

(1)ababe unborn, Luke 1:41, Luke 1:44;

(2)an infant, babe, suckling.

In the New Testament, it is rendered “babe and babes,” Luke 1:41, Luke 1:44; Luke 2:12, Luke 2:16; 1 Peter 2:2; “infants,” Luke 8:15; and “young children,” Acts 7:19. It does not elsewhere occur, and its current use would make it probable that Timothy had been taught the Scriptures as soon as he was capable of learning anything. Dr. Doddridge correctly renders it here “from infancy.” It may be remarked then,

(1) that it is proper to teach the Bible to children at as early a period of life as possible.

(2) that there is reason to hope that such instruction will not be forgotten, but will have a salutary influence on their future lives. The piety of Timothy is traced by the apostle to the fact that he had been early taught to read the Scriptures, and a great proportion of those who are in the church have been early made acquainted with the Bible.

(3) it is proper to teach the “Old” Testament to children - since this was all that Timothy had, and this was made the means of his salvation.

(4) we may see the utility of Sunday schools. The great, and almost the sole object of such schools is to teach the Bible, and from the view which Paul had of the advantage to Timothy of having been early made acquainted with the Bible, there can be no doubt that if Sunday-schools had then been in existence, he would have been their hearty patron and friend.

Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation - So to instruct you in the way of salvation, that you may find the path to life. Hence, learn:

(1) that the plan of salvation may be learned from the Old Testament. It is not as clearly revealed there as it is in the New, but “it is there;” and if a man had only the Old Testament, he might find the way to be saved. The Jew, then, has no excuse if he is not saved.

(2) the Scriptures have “power.” They are “able to make one wise to salvation.” They are not a cold, tame, dead thing. There is no book that has so much “power” as the Bible; none that is so efficient in moving the hearts, and consciences, and intellects of mankind. There is no book that has moved so many minds; none that has produced so deep and permanent effects on the world.

(3) to find the way of salvation, is the best kind of wisdom; and none are wise who do not make that the great object of life.

Through faith which is in Christ Jesus; - see the Mark 16:16 note; Romans 1:17 note. Paul knew of no salvation, except through the Lord Jesus. He says, therefore, that the study of the Scriptures, valuable as they were, would not save the soul unless there was faith in the Redeemer; and it is implied, also, that the proper effect of a careful study of the “Old” Testament, would be to lead one to put his trust in the Messiah.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

From a babe ... This is hyperbolic, and, as White said, "Timothy could not recall a period when he had not known the sacred writings. This is the force of the hyperbole."[24]

The sacred writings ... In the next verse, Paul used the word "Scripture." Why the distinction?

Paul did this for the simple reason that he wishes to draw a distinction between the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:15) and WHATEVER has a right to be called divinely inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). The latter comprises more than the former.[25]

The earnest conviction of this writer supports Hendriksen's comment on this, and no objections to it have any weight against it. Scholars agree that this verse applies to the Old Testament, but the error comes when some of them also refer 2 Timothy 3:16 to the Old Testament, on the premise that the New Testament at the time of Paul's writing had not been written. Nevertheless, a great deal of the New Testament had indeed already been written. In fact every book of the New Testament preceding 2Timothy, of which there are no less than fifteen, had already been in circulation for a period of time covering up to three decades! Indeed some of the New Testament was to come subsequently to the publication of 2Timothy, but as regards the central message of the New Testament, it had already been published for decades; besides that, Paul left room here for whatever writings in the future might qualify as Scripture. Also, the notion that Paul did not consider his own writings as Scripture is also false. Time and again in his epistles, he used the ancient formula of the prophets of God, "thus saith the Lord," or "He saith," as in Ephesians 4:8; 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:15, etc. Therefore, 2 Timothy 3:15 refers to the Old Testament, and 2 Timothy 3:16 refers to the New Testament, in addition to and inclusive of the Old Testament, thus, to both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Zerr accepted this understanding of the passage, thus, "2 Timothy 3:16 means both the Old and New Testament as to their divine source."[26] As Ward said, "(2 Timothy 3:16) can be interpreted as covering the New Testament as well as the Old."[27]

Able to make wise unto salvation ... The Old Testament was able to do this, because therein were contained the prophecies which pointed out and identified the Messiah when he came into the world. Only in this sense could the Old Testament make one wise unto salvation, as Paul immediately added in the qualifying clause, "Through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Through faith which is in Christ Jesus ... This clause is interesting in that it defines the arena where the faith that saves is operative, giving a concise definition of what "faith in Christ" actually means. It has no reference to the subjective trust/faith of believers, but means faithful adherence to the teachings of Christ, true fidelity, exercised by one who is in Christ. Thus, people who have not accepted the gospel by being baptized "into Christ" may indeed have faith "out of Christ" (that being where they are), but not "faith in Christ," no matter what professions of faith may be enunciated.

[24] Newport J. D. White, op. cit., p. 174.

[25] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 300.

[26] E. M. Zerr, op. cit., p. 197.

[27] Ronald A. Ward, op. cit., p. 200.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures,.... And therefore must know that the doctrines he had learned were agreeable to them; and so is another reason why he should continue in them. The Jews very early learned their children the holy Scripture. Philo the Jew saysF23De Legat. ad Caium, p. 1022. , εκ πρωτης ηλικιας "from their very infancy"; a phrase pretty much the same with this here used. It is a maxim with the JewsF24Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 21. , that when a child was five years of age, it was proper to teach him the Scriptures. Timothy's mother being a Jewess, trained him up early in the knowledge of these writings, with which he became very conversant, and under divine influence and assistance, arrived to a large understanding of them; and it is a practice that highly becomes Christian parents; it is one part of the nurture and admonition of the Lord they should bring up their children in: the wise man's advice in Proverbs 22:6 is very good. From hence the apostle takes occasion to enter into a commendation of the sacred writings; and here, from the nature and character of them, calls them the

holy Scriptures; to distinguish them from profane writings; and that because the author of them is the Holy Spirit of God; and even the amanuenses of him, and the penmen of them, were holy men of God; the matter of them is holy, both law and Gospel; and the end of writing them is to promote holiness; the precepts, promises, and doctrines contained in them are calculated for that purpose; and even the account they give of the sins and failings of others, are for the admonition of men: and next these Scriptures are commended from the efficacy of them:

which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. Men are not wise of themselves; they are naturally without an understanding of spiritual things; and the things of the Spirit of God cannot be known by natural men, because they are spiritually discerned; particularly they are not wise in the business of salvation, of which either they are insensible themselves, and negligent; or foolishly build their hopes of it upon their civility, morality, legal righteousness, or an outward profession of religion: but the Scriptures are able to make men wise and knowing in this respect; for the Gospel is one part of the Scriptures, which is the Gospel of salvation, and shows unto men the way of salvation. The Scriptures testify largely of Christ, the Saviour; and give an ample account both of him, who is the able, willing, suitable, complete, and only Saviour, and of the salvation which is wrought by him; and describe the persons who do, and shall enjoy it: not that the bare reading of the Scriptures, or the hearing of them expounded, are able to make men wise in this way; but these, when accompanied with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, are; when he who endited the Scriptures removes the veil from their eyes, opens their understandings, and gives them light and knowledge in them: and then may persons be said to be wise unto salvation, when they not only have a scheme of it in their heads, but are in their hearts sensible of their need of it, and know that there is salvation in no other but in Christ; and when they look to him for it, to his righteousness for justification, to his blood for peace, pardon, and cleansing, to his sacrifice for atonement, and to his fulness of grace for a continual supply, and to him for eternal life and glory; when they rejoice in him and his salvation, and give him all the glory of it: the apostle adds,

through faith which is in Christ Jesus: wisdom to salvation lies not in the knowledge of the law the Jew boasted of; nor in the works of it, at least not in a trust and confidence in them for salvation; for by them there is no justification before God, nor acceptance with him, nor salvation: but true wisdom to salvation lies in faith, which is a spiritual knowledge of Christ, and a holy confidence in him; and that salvation which the Scriptures make men wise unto, is received and enjoyed through that faith, which has Christ for its author and object; which comes from him, and centres in him, and is a looking to him for eternal life.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

from a child — literally, “from an infant.” The tender age of the first dawn of reason is that wherein the most lasting impressions of faith may be made.

holy scriptures — The Old Testament taught by his Jewish mother. An undesigned coincidence with 2 Timothy 1:5; Acts 16:1-3.

able — in themselves: though through men‘s own fault they often do not in fact make men savingly alive.

wise unto salvation — that is, wise unto the attainment of salvation. Contrast “folly” (2 Timothy 3:9). Wise also in extending it to others.

through faith — as the instrument of this wisdom. Each knows divine things only as far as his own experience in himself extends. He who has not faith, has not wisdom or salvation.

which is in — that is, rests on Christ Jesus.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

From a babe (απο βρεπουςapo brephous). Only here in the Pastorals. This teaching from the fifth year, covering the whole of Timothy‘s recollections. See Mark 9:21 εκ παιδιοτενek paidiothen from a child.

Thou has known (οιδαςoidas). Present active indicative, progressive perfect reaching from a babe till now. Would that Christian parents took like pains today.

The sacred writings (ιερα γραμματαhiera grammata). “Sacred writings” or “Holy Scriptures.” Here alone in N.T., though in Josephus (Proem to Ant. 3; Apion 1, etc.) and in Philo. The adjective ιεροςhieros occurs in 1 Corinthians 9:13 of the temple worship, and γραμμαgramma in contrast to πνευμαpneuma in 2 Corinthians 3:6.; Romans 2:29 and in John 5:47 of Moses‘ writings, in Acts 28:21 of an epistle, in Galatians 6:11 of letters (characters). In Ephesus there were Επεσια γραμματαEphesia grammata that were βεβηλαbebēla (Acts 19:19), not ιεραhiera

To make thee wise (σε σοπισαιse sophisai). First aorist active infinitive of σοπιζωsophizō old verb (from σοποςsophos), in N.T. only here, and 2 Peter 1:16.

Which is in (της ενtēs en). Common idiom with the article, “the in.” The use of the Scriptures was not magic, but of value when used “through faith that is in Christ Jesus.”

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

From a child ( ἀπὸ βρέφους )

Mostly in Luke. oP. Only here in Pastorals. See on 1 Peter 2:2. Comp. Mark 9:21, ἐκ παιδιόθεν froma child.

The holy Scriptures ( ἱερὰ γράμματα )

Note particularly the absence of the article. Γράμματα is used in N.T. in several senses. Of characters of the alphabet (2 Corinthians 3:7; Galatians 6:11): of a document (Luke 16:6, take thy bill )epistles (Acts 28:21): of the writings of an author collectively (John 5:47): of learning (Acts 26:24, πολλά γράμματρα muchlearning ). In lxx, ἐπιστάμενος γράμματα knowinghow to read (Isaiah 29:11, Isaiah 29:12). The Holy Scriptures are nowhere called ἱερὰ γράμματα in N.T. In lxx, γράμματα is never used of sacred writings of any kind. Both Josephus and Philo use τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα for the O.T. Scriptures. The words here should be rendered sacred learning. The books in the writer's mind were no doubt the Old Testament. Scriptures, in which Timothy, like every Jewish boy, had been instructed; but he does not mean to designate those books as ἱερὰ γράμματα . He means the learning acquired from Scripture by the rabbinic methods, according to which the Old Testament books were carefully searched for meanings hidden in each word and letter, and especially for messianic intimations. Specimens of such learning may be seen here and there in the writings of Paul as 1 Corinthians 9:9f.; 1 Corinthians 10:1f.; Galatians 3:16.; Galatians 4:21f. In Acts 4:13, the council, having heard Peter's speech, in which he interpreted Psalm 118:22and Isaiah 28:16of Christ, at once perceived that Peter and John were ἀγράμματοι , not versed in the methods of the schools. Before Agrippa, Paul drew the doctrine of the Resurrection from the Old Testament, whereupon Festus exclaimed, “much learning ( πολλὰ γράμματα , thy acquaintance with the exegesis of the schools) hath made thee mad” (Acts 26:24). To Agrippa, who was “expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews” (Acts 26:3), the address of Paul, a pupil of Hillel, was not surprising, although he declared that Paul's reasoning did not appeal to him. In John 7:15, when Jesus taught in the temple, the Jews wondered and said: “How knoweth this man letters? ” That a Jew should know the Scriptures was not strange. The wonder lay in the exegetical skill of one who had not been trained by the literary methods of the time.

To make thee wise ( σε σοφίσαι )

Only hero and 2 Peter 1:16. See note there on cunningly devised. To give thee understanding of that which lies behind the letter; to enable thee to detect in the Old Testaments. books various hidden allusions to Christ; to draw from the Old Testaments the mystery of messianic salvation, and to interpret the Old Testaments with Christ as the key. This gives significance to the following words through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ was the key of Scripture, and through faith in him Scripture became a power unto salvation. The false teachers also had their learning but used it in expounding Jewish fables, genealogies, etc. Hence, their expositions, instead of making wise unto salvation, were vain babblings; profane and old wives' fables (1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:16). Const. through faith, etc., with make wise, not with salvation.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

From an infant thou hast known the holy scriptures — Of the Old Testament. These only were extant when Timothy was an infant. Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith in the Messiah that was to come. How much more are the Old and New Testament together able, in God's hand, to make us more abundantly wise unto salvation! Even such a measure of present salvation as was not known before Jesus was glorified.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Ты из детства. Немало помогало Тимофею и то, что он с детства привык к чтению Писания. Подобное длительное упражнение делает человека значительно более стойким перед всеми видами лжи и обмана. Поэтому некогда благоразумно заботились о том, чтобы люди, предназначенные к служению Слова, с детства тщательнее наставлялись в учении благочестия и впитывали в себя Священные Писания, дабы потом не приступать к своим обязанностям, будучи новичками или недостаточно опытными. И то, что кого-то сызмальства учили подобному знанию Писания, следует считать особым благословением Божиим.

Которые могут. Великая похвала Писанию заключается в том, что мудрость, достаточную для спасения, надо искать именно в Нем и нигде больше. И об этом будет еще яснее сказано в следующем предложении. Но одновременно апостол учит, что именно следует искать в Священном Писании. Ведь на Писание ссылаются и лжепророки. Поэтому, чтобы оно было полезно нам для спасения, необходимо правильно его использовать. Что если кто-то будет заниматься лишь любопытствующими вопрошаниями? Что если он прилепится лишь к букве закона и не станет искать Христа? Что если станет извращать подлинный смысл чуждыми толкованиями? Поэтому апостол обоснованно отсылает нас к вере во Христа как главной и первостепенной цели. На ней же основано и то, о чем Павел скажет в следующем предложении.




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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes


(See Scofield "Romans 1:16").

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.’

2 Timothy 3:15

This verse gives us the picture of the education of a child in a devout Jewish family. Timothy, whom St. Paul is addressing, is described in Acts 16 as the son of a certain woman who was a Jewess and believed, and in the first chapter of this Epistle he gives us the character of his mother and of his grandmother. ‘I call to remembrance,’ he said, ‘the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in that grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.’

I. This unfeigned faith was the Jewish faith.—Timothy’s mother Eunice was converted to Christianity through St. Paul. What we see then, when St. Paul speaks of Timothy having known the Holy Scriptures from a child, is an example of the custom which prevailed in the Jewish people of diligently instructing their children in their faith, and in the Holy Scriptures which enshrined that faith. It is stated, in fact, in the principal modern authority respecting Jewish life—the Jewish Encyclopædia—that the religious and moral training of the people from childhood was regarded by the Jews, from the very beginning of their history, as one of the principal objects of life. Of Abraham we read in Genesis 18 that the Lord said, ‘I have known him, or chosen him, to the end that he may command his children,’ etc. All the festivals and ceremonies of the Jewish law are described as having for one of their objects the instruction of children in the history of the Jewish people, and of God’s dealing with them. As one of the Psalms says, ‘He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children.’ So again in Deuteronomy we read, ‘These words, which I command you this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.’

II. This was the Jewish ideal of education, which has been maintained among the Jews, in principle, from the times of Abraham and Moses down to the present day. According to the will and law of God, the first duty of fathers and mothers is to impress upon the minds of their children, in every possible way, a knowledge of what God has done for their fathers in old time, and consequently a love of God and a trust in God.

III. St. Paul shows that he regards this as an example to be followed by Christian fathers and mothers; and elsewhere he speaks of training and ruling children as one of the chief duties of Christian parents. This, then, is an essential duty of Christian parents from which nothing can excuse them. Above and before anything else, they must see that their children are trained in the knowledge and the love of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dean Wace.


‘Anybody who has had anything to do with the education of children will know very well why Moses insisted on such incessant inculcation, and upon continual repetition of truths. First of all, the way in which children are taught all other subjects is by incessant repetition and incessant explanation, not by merely a lesson or two, once for all. But besides that, the truths of the Scriptures, and the truths of the Catechism, which are taken out of the Scriptures, may to some extent be learnt by rote, but they need incessant meditation and explanation and application, if they are to be duly understood, and if they are to be made part of a child’s, or even of a man’s, heart and life. Dr. Martin Luther, who wrote two beautiful catechisms for German people, which they still call their lay Bible, says of himself in the Preface to one of them: “This I say for myself; I also am a doctor and a preacher, as learned and experienced as any who make light of catechisms, and yet I am still like a child that is taught the Catechism, and I read it and repeat it word for word each morning, and when I have time, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Psalms; and I must still read and study daily, and cannot excel as I should like to; and I must ever remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am right willing to remain so.” That is what inspired and wise men, from the days of Abraham and Moses down to the times of Martin Luther, and of our English Reformers who wrote the Church Catechism, thought the right way, and the only effectual way, to bring children up in the true knowledge of their God and their Saviour, and under the blessed influences of that love and that truth.’



I. What is in this guide-book?—The Scriptures are the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament Scriptures are composed of thirty-nine little books, and the New Testament Scriptures are a collection of twenty-seven books, written at different times, in different places, for different purposes, and by many holy men. But in young Timothy’s time there was no New Testament. The Old Testament, containing the writings of prophets, psalmists, sages, and kings, was Timothy’s guide-book, for he was, partly by birth and wholly by education, a Jewish boy. How precious is this Old Book! It is a casket of jewels, a mine of wisdom, a garden of delights, a treasury of knowledge.

II. St. Paul’s description of this guide-book.—He calls the Scriptures ‘holy.’

(a) Holy, because their source is Divine. By source, we mean spring or fountain-head. The source of a great river is the little crystal well bubbling among the lush green moss that grows in the solitudes of some mighty mountain.

(b) Holy, because they are sanctifying in their influence. Holy means healthy; and a holy man is just one who is morally sound, pure in heart and in life, like ‘the Holy One of Israel.’

III. The design of this guide-book.—When we speak of the design of the Old Testament Scriptures, we speak of what they are planned for; and St. Paul tells us they are designed ‘to make us wise unto salvation.’ Nearly all other books are intended to make us wise about the world. The Old Testament is like a lighthouse. The Holy Scriptures shine like kindly lights in the gloom of a sinful and despairing world. They shine and show the voyagers on life’s dark, wandering sea the way of life and peace. They point to the harbour of refuge. To the pious Jew the Old Testament was ‘able to make wise unto salvation’ because it directed his eye of faith to the coming Saviour. Grasping Christ while looking forward he was saved, just as we are saved while glancing backward.


‘Shortly after Sir Walter Scott returned from Italy, weary and worn and sad, he asked a friend to draw him into his library at Abbotsford, and place him near the window, that he might look on the silvery Tweed running by. Gazing on the shining river, he turned to his son-in-law, and begged him to read. “From what book shall I read?” said Lockhart. “Can you ask?” said Scott; “there is but one.” Then Lockhart read the fourteenth chapter of St. John’s Gospel, which has gladdened so many weary hearts; and when he had done Sir Walter said, “Well, this is a great comfort. I have followed you distinctly, and I feel as if I were to be myself again.”’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Ver. 15. And that from a child] Gr. απο βρεφους, from a suckling. As all children, so those especially that are dedicated to the work of the ministry, should be betimes inured to Scripture learning. {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 4:6"} The story of Mistress Elizabeth Wheatenhall, daughter of Mr Anthony Wheatenhall, of Tenterden in Kent, late deceased, is very memorable. She being brought up by her aunt, the Lady Wheatenhall, before she was nine years old (not much above eight), could say all the New Testament by heart; yea, being asked where any words thereof were, she would presently name book, chapter, and verse. Timothy was so sweet a child, that if that had not been his name, it might have been his surname, as Vopiscus saith of Probus the emperor. (David’s Love to God’s Word, by Mr Stoughton. Epist. to Reader.)

To make thee wise] Gr. σε σοφισαι, to wise thee, that thou mayest wise others, as Daniel 12:3. The same Hebrew word שבל signifieth, 1. To understand; 2. To instruct others; 3. To prosper.

To salvation] He is the wise man that provides for eternity. And when all the world’s wizards shall very wisely cry out in hell, Nos insensati, We fools counted their lives madness; they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, Daniel 12:3. Sapientes sapienter descendunt in infernum.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



2 Timothy 3:15. From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

IN seasons of heavy trial it is of great advantage to have had a long acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures and the principles of religion. A novice is apt to be astonished, and to wonder that a change so favourable as that which he has experienced, (“from a brier to a myrtle-tree [Note: Isaiah 55:13.],”) should excite nothing but enmity in those around him. But a person conversant with the word of God, and established with his grace, has counted the cost: he knows what he is to expect: he knows what others have experienced before him; and the very storms which threaten his existence, serve only to confirm him in the truths he has professed. In this view St. Paul encourages Timothy to hold fast the profession of his faith without wavering, and to “continue in the things he had learned,” without being intimidated by persecutors, or deceived by seducers [Note: ver. 12–15.].

From his words we shall consider

I. The early knowledge of Timothy—

He was acquainted with the Holy Scriptures—

[By “the Holy Scriptures” we must understand, not merely the words, but the doctrines, of Scripture. Doubtless Timothy was acquainted with our fall in Adam, and the consequent depravity of our nature. He knew also the true scope of all the sacrifices as pointing to that Lamb of God who was to take away the sin of the whole world. Nor could he be ignorant of the necessity of divine influences, in order to a renovation of our hearts, and a restoration of the soul to the Divine image.

But it was not a theoretical knowledge even of these things which would have satisfied the mind of the Apostle: it must have been a practical and experimental knowledge of them. He must have felt and bewailed the plague of his own heart: he must have relied on Jesus as his only hope: he must have been renewed in the spirit of his mind by the power of the Holy Ghost: in short, he must have been “a new creature in Christ Jesus,” or else the Apostle would never have thought his knowledge a proper ground of congratulation.]

These he knew from a child—

[It is generally thought that children are incapable of understanding the mysterious truths of the Gospel. We readily acknowledge that these truths exceed the capacity, not of children only, but of the wisest philosopher; for “the natural man cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:14.].” But God can give a spiritual discernment to children, as well as to adults; and, supposing this to be given, there is nothing in the Gospel which a child may not understand as well as an adult. Children may have their affections exercised on things proper to call them forth. If God discover to them that they are sinners, and obnoxious to his wrath, they may fear his displeasure: if he shew them that he has provided salvation for them in Christ Jesus, they may hope in his mercy: if he reveal his pardoning love to their souls, they may rejoice in his salvation. The difficulty lies, not in feeling suitable emotions, but in having a practical conviction of those truths which are calculated to excite them. This practical conviction none but God can give; and he is as able to give it to one as to another. Indeed God does prefer those who are babes, in knowledge at least [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:26-28.], and sometimes also in years; for David says, that “God had ordained strength, and perfected praise out of the mouth of babes and sucklings [Note: Psalms 8:2. with Matthew 21:16.];” and our blessed Lord made it a matter of joy and thanksgiving, that his heavenly Father had “hid divine things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes [Note: Matthew 11:25.].” Do we desire instances of early conversion? Josiah sought the Lord at eight years of age [Note: 2 Chronicles 34:3.]. Samuel was devoted to him at a still earlier period of life [Note: 1 Samuel 2:18; 1 Samuel 2:26.]. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb [Note: Luke 1:15.]. But, if there were no other instance upon record, it would be sufficient that we are told, that Timothy knew the Holy Scriptures “from a child.”]

We shall, with the Apostle, congratulate Timothy, if we consider,

II. The excellency of that knowledge—

It was “able to make him wise”—

[Wisdom is that which is most of all coveted, and for the attainment of which no expense or trouble are accounted too great. Now the wisdom contained in the inspired volume infinitely surpasses all that can be collected from other books. It shews us what we were in our original formation, and what we now are. It shews us wherein the chief good consists, and how we may attain it. It shews us every thing, whether good or evil, in its true light, and enables us to form the very same judgment respecting it that God himself does. It teaches us how to fill every station and relation of life to the greatest possible advantage. It even draws aside the veil of heaven itself, and exhibits to us God in all his glorious perfections. It reveals to us the three persons of the Godhead, co-operating in the work of man’s salvation, and executing distinct offices for our eternal good. What is all the boasted wisdom of philosophers, when compared with this?]

It was able to make him “wise unto salvation”—

[All wisdom that stops short of this is only splendid folly. How vain will the wisdom of philosophers or statesmen appear, when once we are entered into the eternal world! Nothing will then be of any value, but that which led us to the enjoyment of God, and to a meetness for glory. Then the excellency of Scripture knowledge will appear in all its brightness.

But it must be inquired, How is it that the Scripture effects this? Is there any thing meritorious in the knowledge of its truths; or any thing which by its own power can save the soul? The text informs us respecting these things, and points out the precise way in which the Scriptures make us wise unto salvation. Christ is the only Saviour of sinful man. His obedience unto death is the only ground of our hope.

But how are we to be interested in him? There is but one way; and that is, by faith. “He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life.”

From hence then it may be seen how the Scriptures make us wise unto salvation. They reveal Christ to us as the Saviour of the world. They commend him to us under every image that can convey an idea of his suitableness to our wants, and his sufficiency for our necessities. They hold forth the promises of God to those who believe in Christ; and encourage us by every possible argument to rely upon him. In this manner they work faith in our hearts: and by that faith we become interested in all that Christ has done and suffered for us.

Thus, in ascribing our salvation to the knowledge of the Scriptures, we do not derogate from the honour of Christ; since it is only by revealing his work and offices to us, and by leading us to depend upon him, that they become effectual for this blessed end. But at the same time we put an honour on the Scriptures, to which no other book has the smallest claim. Other books may be channels for conveying divine knowledge; but the Bible alone is the fountain from which it flows. The knowledge therefore of the Bible is of supreme excellence; and the earliest possible attainment of it is of unrivalled importance.]

This being a very instructive record, I propose to shew,

III. The instruction which his attainment of it conveys to us—

Surely it affords us matter

1. For inquiry respecting ourselves—

[I ask not, whether the same thing can be affirmed of you, as having taken place from your early childhood; but whether it is true concerning you at this moment? Do you know the Holy Scriptures, and the great leading doctrines contained in them? Do you know them practically and experimentally, so as really to feel your lost and undone state — — — and to be fleeing to Christ as your only refuge — — — and to be devoting yourselves to him as his redeemed people? Have you in relation to these things the very mind of God, bringing you into a conformity to his blessed will? — — — Possess what ye may, you have not attained to true wisdom, if you possess not this state of mind. No other wisdom than this will avail to your salvation: and, if you lack this, you will, to all eternity, lament and bewail your folly. I entreat you then to examine carefully whether ye be “living a life of faith in the Son of God, who has loved you and given himself for you?” Is your daily walk with God such, that the Apostle Paul would pronounce with confidence respecting you the testimony which he thus confidently bare to his beloved Timothy? Dear brethren, I beseech you, “prove your own selves;” and pray God to set his seal to the truth of this change as wrought in you, and as exemplified in the whole of your life and conversation!]

2. For direction respecting others—

[Parents, does not this record speak forcibly to you? Here you have an evidence that children are capable of receiving all the blessings of salvation, supposing they be taught by you, and taught of God also. Without the Divine blessing, even Paul might plant, and Apollos water, in vain: but the labours of a Lois and an Eunice [Note: 2 Timothy 1:6.] shall not be lost, if God be pleased to accompany them with his Holy Spirit to the soul. Remember, a responsibility attaches to you for their souls, similar to that which belongs to your minister in reference to your souls. I pray God, that your children may not have to reproach you in the day of judgment, and to trace it to you, that they were left to perish for lack of knowledge.

And, young people, tell me whether you do not envy Timothy the distinction here given him? Have you not in your own consciences a conviction, that his was true wisdom, and that in attaining the knowledge of salvation through a crucified Redeemer, you best answer the end of your being. Lose not then the present opportunity, before the cares and pleasures of life have hardened your hearts, and seared your consciences as with a hot iron.

To people of every age this record speaks forcibly, and says, Labour by all possible means to convey to those around you this knowledge which proved so great a blessing to this happy youth [Note: If this be delivered as a Sermon for Missions, or for Charity Schools, or Sunday Schools, or Infant Schools, an appropriate line of Exhortation must be here added, to shew what has been done, or may be done, and how richly success in one single instance will repay for all the efforts that can be used.] — — —]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

2 Timothy 3:15. καὶ ὅτι] Most expositors, including Wiesinger, Plitt, and Hofmann (Schriftbew. I. pp. 675 f., and so also in his commentary), assume that εἰδώς and ὅτιοἶδας are co-ordinate sentences giving the reason why. In justification of this irregular construction, Bengel directs us to John 2:24-25; Acts 22:29; but wrongly.(54)

Beza, on the other hand, gives the right construction by making καὶ ὅτι on dependent on εἰδώς: sciens a quo didiceris, teque a puero sacras literas novisse. This, too, de Wette (van Oosterzee agreeing with him) adopts, correctly remarking that εἰδώς usually denotes not only knowledge, but also reflection.

ἀπὸ βρέφους τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα οἶδας] ἀπὸ βρέφονς, Mark 9:21 : παιδιόθεν. Chrysostom: ἐκ πεώτης ἡλικίας; comp. Antip. Th. 32: ἐκ βρέθεος. ἀπὸ βρέφους stands first because it is emphatic; it points back to παρὰ τίων ἔμαθες. In order that he may continue in what he has learned, Timothy is to remember his teacher, and also that he has known the holy Scriptures from childhood.

τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα] This name for the O. T. only occurs here; in John 7:15 without ἱερά; the more usual name is at αἱ γραφαί, with and without ἅγιαι. De Wette’s conjecture is quite arbitrary, that the author of the epistle was also thinking here of some writings of the N. T.

τὰ δυνάμενά σε σοφίσαι εἰς σωτηρίαν] τὰ δυνάμενα is present and not preterite (“quae poterant,” Bengel); it tells us of a permanent characteristic of the O. T. (de Wette, Wiesinger). σοφίζειν is equivalent to sapientem reddere; to explain the word as synonymous with διδάσκειν is inaccurate. When joined with εἰς σωτηρίαν it is usually taken in the sense: “teach the way to holiness;” but, as Paul adds διὰ πίστεως κ. τ. λ., which cannot be joined immediately with σωτηρίαν (= τὴν διὰ σωτηρ.), but belongs to σοφίσαι, that interpretation is here unsuitable; he who has faith is already on the way to σωτηρία, or rather is in possession of the σωτηρία. We must therefore adhere to the full signification of σωφίζειν; so that he is speaking here not of the first instruction in salvation, but of the ever deepening knowledge of it, how that furthers the σωτηρία (so, too, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt).

διὰ πίστεως τῆς ἐν χρ. ἰησοῦ] comp. 1 Timothy 3:13. Wiesinger rightly remarks that these words are not to be taken as giving the means immanent in the Scriptures, but “contain the necessary condition attached to the use of the O. T.” (de Wette). Hofmann asserts that σοφ. εἰς σωτηρίαν only denotes an instruction, “giving complete acquaintance with salvation;” for “in order that Timothy might remain in what he had learnt, it was only necessary for the Scripture to teach what he knew.” But what any one already knows does not require still to be taught to him; and instruction leading on to knowledge ever more complete, does not hinder him from abiding in what he has already learnt. According to Hofmann, διὰ πίστεως is to be joined with σωτηρίαν, because—as he strangely enough asserts—“instruction by means of faith is a chimera” (!).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Timothy 3:15. καὶ, and) Even after the death of Paul, Timothy is the more bound to the Scripture. Paul does not bind Timothy to himself alone, but enjoins him who, however grown up, was his son in the faith, to use the Scriptures. They ought to consider this, who are so devoted to their teachers, under whose training they have been once for all brought up, that they admit nothing beyond their circle which is afterwards presented to them from Scripture. Sometimes slothful over-fulness of the mind and αὐθάδεια, self-complacency, creep over men under the name of stedfastness (steadiness) and sobriety.— ἀπὸ βρέφους, from childhood [a child]) Tender age is best adapted for πιστοῦσθαι, being made faithful (assured), so that faith may be impressed upon it, diffusing firmness throughout the whole life.— τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα, the sacred Scriptures) the books of Moses and the prophets. For these existed when Timothy was a child.— οἶδας, thou hast known) by the instructions of thy mother, ch. 2 Timothy 1:5.— τὰ δυνάμενα, which were able) The force of a preterite redounds from thou hast known, to the participle. This ability (of Scripture) expresses (its) sufficiency and perfection.— σὲ, thee) in such a way as if they were written for thee alone.— σοφίσαι, to make wise) A grand expression. The antithesis is ἄνοια, folly, 2 Timothy 3:9.— εἰς σωτηρίαν, to salvation) thy own and that of others.— διὰ πίστεως, through faith) He who does not believe, does not receive wisdom and salvation. Through is construed with salvation.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And that from a child; from thy infancy, by the instruction of thy mother Eunice, and thy grandmother Lois, 2 Timothy 1:5.

Thou hast known the Holy Scriptures; thou hast had a notion of the writings of Moses and the prophets, the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, for at this time no others were written.

Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation; which Holy Scriptures (without the help of the writings of Plato or Pythagoras, or any other pagan philosophers) have in them a sufficiency of doctrine to make thee, or any other, wise enough to get to heaven.

Through faith which is in Christ Jesus; but not without a faith in Christ Jesus, receiving him as thy and their Saviour, besides a faith assenting and agreeing to those holy writings as the revelation of the Divine will.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

из детства Буквально «с младенчества». Два человека, которым Тимофей был особо обязан, это его мать и бабушка (см. пояснение к 1:5), верно учившие его истинам Ветхого Завета с раннего детства, так что он был готов принять благовестие во время проповеди Павла.

знаешь священные писания Буквально «священные свитки». Это общее определение Ветхого Завета грекоязычными иудеями.

умудритьво спасение Ветхозаветные тексты указывали на Христа (Ин. 5:37-39) и открывали потребность в вере в Божьи обетования (Быт. 15:6; ср. Рим. 4:1-3). Писания направляли людей к познанию, того, что есть грех, и осознанию потребности в оправдании во Христе (Гал. 3:24). Дух Святой принес спасение через Слово. См. пояснения к Рим. 10:14-17; Еф. 5:26; 1Пет. 1:23-25.

верою во Христа Иисуса Ветхозаветные верующие, включая Авраама (Ин. 8:56) и Моисея (Евр. 11:26), хотя и не понимали всех подразумеваемых деталей (ср. 1Пет. 1:10-12), ожидали прихода Мессии (Ис. 7:14; 9:6) и искупления Им грехов мира (Ис. 53:5, 6). Также и Тимофей, когда услышал призыв, откликнулся на благовестие.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Holy Scriptures; of the Old Testament. All who have the Bible may, and if they rightly treat it will, become wise to salvation; and if they do not, it will be their own fault.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And that from a babe you have known the sacred writings which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.’

And the reason he can be so confident in what has been taught to him is because of its source. For from his cradle he has known ‘the sacred writings’, a name given to the Jewish Scriptures as evidenced by Josephus and Philo. And it is they which are able to make him ‘wise unto salvation’ through faith in Christ Jesus, for they point to Christ, and bring Christ home to the heart in such a way that Timothy has been able to become one with Him by faith, and now continues to experience Him continually. For in the end the source of salvation is not the Scriptures, it is the One to Whom the Scriptures point. The value of the Scriptures is that they reveal Christ to the heart. They are a pointer to Christ. And so salvation is to be found ‘in Christ Jesus’, that is by being united with Him in His death and resurrection (2 Timothy 2:11-12; Romans 6:3-4).

But we may ask, why does Paul here refer to the Scriptures using the description ‘the sacred writings’. The first reason is because he wants to stress that what he is speaking about is the written word. He wanted Timothy to remember how he had read these sacred writings from an early age. They had been the means by which he had learned to read, and had metaphorically cut his teeth on them. And they had been a source of truth to him throughout his childhood, finally bringing him to His acceptance of Jesus Christ. The second reason may have been in order to contrast the source of Timothy’s faith, which was ‘the sacred writings’, with the source of the faith of the false teachers, which was philosophical arguments and theories, and mystical experience. The ancient world put a great value on ancient writings, especially sacred ones in which was to be found the wisdom of the ages. So he wanted Timothy to recognise that there was nothing newfangled about what he believed. It had come down to him in written form from many men of God, and had on it the seal of many generations.

‘Wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.’ The phraseology and the thought is typically Pauline. ‘Unto salvation’ is a favourite expression (Romans 1:16; Romans 10:10; compare 1 Peter 1:5), while ‘in Christ Jesus’ is at the root of his theology (nearly thirty times in Paul, nine times in the Pastorals, and once in 1 Peter 5:14). For salvation ‘in Christ Jesus’ was what his message was all about.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

2 Timothy 3:15. The holy Scriptures. The Greek noun is not that usually employed in the New Testament, but answers rather to ‘sacred literature’ (Acts 26:24). It is used, however, of the Old Testament books by Josephus.

Which make thee wise. The English is literal enough, but the Greek implies somewhat more of systematic education.

Through faith which is in Christ Jesus. The addition is remarkable. St. Paul’s experience had taught him that without that faith the study of the sacred writings might lead only to endless questionings and logomachies. Targums and the Talmud remain as if to show how profitless such a study might become.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

from. App-104.

child. App-108.

holy. Greek. hieras. Only here and 1 Corinthians 9:13.

Scriptures. Greek. Plural of gramma. See John 7:16. The usual word for the "Scriptures" is graphe, 2 Timothy 3:16 .

make . . . wise. Greek. sophizo. Only here and 2 Peter 1:16.

unto. App-104.

through. App-104. 2 Timothy 3:1.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

From a child, [ apo (Greek #575) brefous (Greek #1025)] - 'from an infant.' It is in the tenderest age that the most lasting impressions of faith may be made. Two grounds of continuance in the truth: that it was from no ordinary persons Timothy received it; and not lately, but from infancy.

Holy Scriptures - the Old Testament, taught by his Jewess mother: an undesigned coincidence, 2 Timothy 1:5; Acts 14:1-3.

Able - in themselves: though through men's own fault they often do not in fact make men savingly wise. Wise unto (attaining) salvation - contrast "folly" (2 Timothy 3:9); 'strivings about words,' "profane and vain babblings" (2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:16). Wise also in extending it to others.

Through faith - as the instrument. Each knows divine things only so far as his own experience extends. He who has not faith has not wisdom or salvation.

Which is in - i:e., rests on Christ Jesus: in the Old, as in the New Testament (Revelation 19:10).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.—The Greek words translated “from a child” should be rendered, from a very child, as the word denotes that Timothy’s instruction in the Holy Scriptures began at a very early and tender age.

The holy scriptures.—Literally, the sacred writings. The Scriptures of the Old Testament are here exclusively meant. The expression “writings” for the Scriptures is not found elsewhere in the New Testament; it is, however, used by Josephus.

Two powerful arguments have been here used by the Apostle to induce Timothy to remain steadfast to the great doctrines of faith, and neither to take anything from them or to add anything to them. The first presses upon him the source whence he had learned them. He, better than any one, knew who and what St. Paul was, and the position he held with his brother Apostles, as one who had been in direct communication with the Lord Himself; and the second reminded him of his own early training, under his pious mother. He appealed, as it were, to Timothy’s own deep knowledge of those Old Testament Scriptures. St. Paul’s disciple would know that the great Christian doctrines respecting the Messiah were all based strictly on these Old Testament writings. Timothy had a double reason for keeping to the old paths pointed out by the first generation of teachers. He knew the authority of the master who instructed him; and then, from his own early and thorough knowledge of the Scriptures of the Jews, he was able to test thoroughly whether or no his master’s teaching was in accordance with those sacred documents.

Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.—The present participle rendered by “which are able” is noticeable, being here used to express the ever-present power of the Scriptures on the human heart. The Holy Scriptures had not completed their work on Timothy when, in his boyhood, he first mastered their contents. It was still going on. “Wise unto salvation” marks the glorious end and destination of the true wisdom which is gained by a study of these sacred books. Other wisdom has a different goal. In some cases it leads to power, fame, wealth; but this wisdom leads only to one goal—salvation. The last clause—“through faith which is in Christ Jesus”—points out the only way to use these Scriptures of the old covenant so as to attain through them the goal of all true wisdom—“eternal salvation.” They must be read and studied in the light of faith in Jesus Christ. “Those (Old Testament) Scriptures, he (St. Paul) granteth, were able to make him wise unto salvation;” but, he addeth, “through the faith which is in Christ” (Hooker, Ecc. Polity, i. 14, 4). Faith in Jesus must be the torch by the light of which these ancient prophecies and types must be read.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1:5; 1 Samuel 2:18; 2 Chronicles 34:3; Psalms 71:17; Proverbs 8:17; 22:6; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Luke 1:15; Luke 2:40
the holy
Daniel 10:21; Matthew 22:29; Luke 24:27,32,45; Acts 17:2; Romans 1:2; 16:26; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 3:16
Psalms 19:7; John 5:39,40; Acts 10:43; 13:29,38,39; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 1 John 5:11,12; Revelation 19:10
Reciprocal: Genesis 18:19 - command;  Exodus 35:29 - the Lord;  Numbers 3:15 - GeneralDeuteronomy 4:6 - this is your;  Deuteronomy 17:19 - GeneralDeuteronomy 31:12 - men;  1 Samuel 1:28 - he worshipped;  1 Kings 18:12 - from my youth;  Psalm 34:11 - Come;  Psalm 49:3 - mouth;  Psalm 71:5 - my trust;  Psalm 111:10 - a good understanding;  Psalm 119:9 - by taking;  Psalm 119:24 - my counsellors;  Psalm 119:99 - for thy;  Psalm 119:130 - it giveth;  Psalm 147:19 - showeth;  Proverbs 1:2 - GeneralProverbs 2:7 - layeth;  Proverbs 4:4 - He;  Proverbs 14:8 - wisdom;  Proverbs 18:15 - GeneralProverbs 22:20 - GeneralProverbs 28:26 - but;  Proverbs 31:1 - his;  Proverbs 31:28 - children;  Song of Solomon 8:2 - who;  Isaiah 8:20 - the law;  Jeremiah 8:9 - lo;  Daniel 9:2 - understood;  Matthew 19:15 - GeneralMatthew 20:2 - he sent;  Mark 10:14 - Suffer;  Mark 12:24 - Do;  Luke 11:36 - the whole;  Luke 16:29 - have;  John 15:16 - that your;  John 20:30 - GeneralActs 8:28 - and sitting;  Acts 16:1 - which;  Acts 16:2 - was;  Acts 17:11 - and searched;  Romans 2:18 - being instructed;  Romans 3:2 - because;  Romans 16:19 - yet;  1 Corinthians 1:30 - wisdom;  Galatians 3:8 - the scripture;  Ephesians 1:13 - the gospel;  Ephesians 6:4 - but;  Colossians 2:3 - In whom;  Colossians 3:16 - the word;  2 Thessalonians 2:13 - belief;  1 Timothy 5:10 - if she have brought;  2 Timothy 1:3 - whom;  2 Timothy 3:14 - knowing;  James 1:21 - which;  1 Peter 1:5 - through

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

That truth is the Scripture - the same Scripture that brought Timothy salvation.

Again, when I was in Bible College I envied those that had grown up in Christian homes. When studying I found that I was on the bottom of the food chain as far as learning went. I had no idea what I was trying to do with assignments. I didn't know the main men of the Bible, I didn't know the flow of Scripture, I didn't know how to live the Christian life - all those things I was lacking many others had in full measure.

I was told by one of the faculty members that I had the lowest Bible knowledge score in the history of the school.

Timothy was raised on the word - a fact I am sure he understood and appreciated.

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Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
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Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books".

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.And—This Christ history derived from the original witnesses was fully in accord with the Old Testament, in which Timothy’s childhood was indoctrinated.

Holy Scriptures—The Old Testament, either in the Hebrew, or in the Septuagint translation thereof into Greek, or both. For although Eunice’s husband was a Greek, the old Bible ruled in her system of education.

Are able—With thy proper use of them.

To make thee wise—Being, as they are, predictive, both by spoken prophecy and by sacrificial ritual, of the true Saviour.

Unto salvation—From Jewish, pagan, and Gnostic error, from sin, condemnation, and death.

Through faith—Since it is only as our faith embraces them that they are powerful in us.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

2 Timothy 3:15. : dependent on . For the change of construction, von Soden compares Romans 9:22-23; 1 Corinthians 14:5. Timothy’s knowledge of things divine was derived not merely from persons, but from sacred writings; and, perhaps, as Theophylact notes, the two points are emphasised: (a) that the persons were of no ordinary merit, and (b) that his knowledge of Scripture was conterminous with the whole of his conscious existence. He could not recall a period when he had not known sacred writings. This is the force of the hyperbolic .

: sacras litteras, sacred writings (R.V.). For this use of see John 7:15, and Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., vi. 383. The force of this peculiar phrase is that Timothy’s A B C lessons had been of a sacred nature. The usual N.T. equivalent for the Holy Scriptures (A.V.) is or (once , Romans 1:2); but St. Paul here deliberately uses an ambiguous term in order to express vigorously the notion that Timothy’s first lessons were in Holy Scripture. is found in Josephus, Antiq. Prooem 3 and x. 10, 4, and elsewhere. Cf. (2 Maccabees 8:23). There may be also an allusion to of the false teachers which were not . See on next verse.

; instruere, cf. Psalms 18 (19):8, , . Also Psalms 104 (105):22, 118 (119):98. The word is chosen for its O.T. reference, and also because of its strictly educational association.

: a constant Pauline phrase. See reff.

: to be joined closely with . Cf. de Imitatione Christi, iii. 2, “Let not Moses nor any prophet speak to me; but speak thou rather, O Lord God, who art the inspirer and enlightener of all the prophets; for thou alone without them canst perfectly instruct me, but they without thee will avail nothing. They may indeed sound forth words, but they do not add to them the Spirit.’ They shew the way, but thou givest strength to walk in it,” etc.



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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

15. Ever since you were a child. See note on 2 Timothy 1:5. The Holy Scriptures. Since Timothy’s parents were Christians, he would have available the Old Testament (the Septuagint in Greek) plus those ‘Christian writings that were already in circulation (Luke 1:1-4). [Matthew may have been written as early as 35 A.D.]




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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15And that from (thy) childhood This was also no ordinary addition, that he had been accustomed, from his infancy, to the reading of the Scripture; for this long habit may make a man much more strongly fortified against every kind of deception. It was therefore a judicious caution observed in ancient times, that those who were intended for the ministry of the word should be instructed, from their infancy, in the solid doctrine of godliness, that, when they came to the performance of their office, they might not be untried apprentices. And it ought to be reckoned a remarkable instance of the kindness of God, if any person, from his earliest years, has thus acquired a knowledge of the Scriptures.

Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation It is a very high commendation of the Holy Scriptures, that we must not seek anywhere else the wisdom which is sufficient for salvation; as the next verse also expresses more fully. But he states, at the same time, what we ought to seek in the Scripture; for the false prophets also make use of it as a pretext; and therefore, in order that it may be useful to us for salvation, it is necessary to understand the right use of it.

Through faith, which is in Christ Jesus What if any one give his whole attention to curious questions? What if he adhere to the mere letter of the law, and do not seek Christ? What if he pervert the natural meaning by inventions that are foreign to it? For this reason he directs us to the faith of Christ as the design, and therefore as the sum, of the Scriptures; for on faith depends also what immediately follows.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.