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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Inspiration;   Minister, Christian;   Prophecy;   Scriptures;   Word of God;   Works;   Scofield Reference Index - Inspiration;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible, the;   God's Word;   Holy Spirit;   Inspiration;   Inspired, Word;   Profit and Loss;   Profitable Things;   Word;   Word of God;   Word, God's;   The Topic Concordance - Doctrine;   Instruction;   Reproof;   Scripture;   Teaching;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Doctrines of the Gospel, the;   Holiness;   Holy Spirit, the, Is God;   Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the;   Perfection;   Reproof;   Righteousness;   Scriptures, the;   Works, Good;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Inspiration;   Joshua;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Authority;   Canon;   Education;   Good works;   Guidance;   Holy spirit;   Inspiration;   Interpretation;   Perseverance;   Preaching;   Scriptures;   Teacher;   Temptation;   Trinity;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Discipline;   Elder;   Law;   Righteousness;   Scripture, Unity and Diversity of;   Timothy, First and Second, Theology of;   Word;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Hearing the Word of God;   Jesus Christ;   Works, Good;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Inspiration;   Job, Book of;   Scripture;   Word of God;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Inspiration;   Lemuel;   Maschil;   Nail;   Scriptures;   Timothy, the Second Epistle to;   Tradition;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bible, Formation and Canon of;   Bible, Hermeneutics;   Doctrine;   Inspiration of Scripture;   Nurture;   Pastorals;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Scripture;   2 Timothy;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Inspiration;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Chastisement;   Conscience ;   Discipline;   Education;   Holy Spirit (2);   Inspiration;   Numbers;   Old Testament;   Reading ;   Reproof;   Righteousness;   Scripture;   Scripture (2);   Timothy and Titus Epistles to;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Inspiration;   Scripture;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Inspiration;   Lutherans;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Canon of the Old Testament;   Chastening;   Correction;   Discipline;   Doctrine;   Give;   Inspiration;   Scripture;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Bible Canon;  
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for October 1;   Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for November 6;   Every Day Light - Devotion for December 16;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse 16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God — This sentence is not well translated; the original πασα γραφη θεοκνευστος ωφιλιμος προς διδασκαλιαν, κ. τ. λ. should be rendered: Every writing Divinely inspired is profitable for doctrine, c. The particle και, and, is omitted by almost all the versions and many of the fathers, and certainly does not agree well with the text. The apostle is here, beyond all controversy, speaking of the writings of the Old Testament, which, because they came by Divine inspiration, he terms the Holy Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:15 and it is of them alone that this passage is to be understood; and although all the New Testament came by as direct an inspiration as the Old, yet, as it was not collected at that time, not indeed complete, the apostle could have no reference to it.

The doctrine of the inspiration of the sacred writings has been a subject of much discussion, and even controversy, among Christians. There are two principal opinions on the subject:

1. That every thought and word were inspired by God, and that the writer did nothing but merely write as the Spirit dictated.

2. That God gave the whole matter, leaving the inspired writers to their own language; and hence the great variety of style and different modes of expression.

But as I have treated this subject at large in my Introduction to the Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, I must refer the reader to that work.

Is profitable for doctrine — To teach the will of God, and to point out Jesus Christ till he should come.

For reproof — To convince men of the truth; and to confound those who should deny it, particularly the Jews.

For correctionπρος επανορθωσιν. For restoring things to their proper uses and places, correcting false notions and mistaken views.

Instruction in righteousnessπρος παιδειαν την εν δικαιοσυνη. For communicating all initiatory religious knowledge; for schooling mankind. All this is perfectly true of the Jewish Scriptures; and let faith in Christ Jesus be added, see 2 Timothy 3:15, and then all that is spoken in the following verse will be literally accomplished.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Preach the Word constantly (3:10-4:5)

Paul refers to his own experiences to illustrate the truth that the person who whole-heartedly follows God must expect persecution. Timothy was well aware of this, even before he joined Paul in his work. In his own neighbourhood he had seen Paul suffer because of his devotion to Christ (10-12; cf. Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5-6,Acts 14:19; Acts 16:1-2). This shows in a clearer light the difference between the true teacher and the false. The latter gains a following only by turning away from the truth of God (13).

There is little likelihood that Timothy will be easily led astray by false teaching. From childhood he has been guided by the Scriptures, and his faith in those Scriptures gives him assurance in his salvation (14-15). He must maintain this confidence, knowing that the Scriptures are divinely given and that they are God’s means of instructing people in right belief and right living. Those who are well instructed in the Scriptures will always be ready when an opportunity arises to do good (16-17).
Since God’s servants must give him an account of their service, they should not miss any opportunity to teach the Scriptures, though they must always speak in a manner suited to the circumstances (4:1-2). Things will get worse as people turn away from those who teach the Scriptures, and listen to those who teach their own theories. This is a further reason why Timothy should endure hardship and not turn aside from the work God has given him (3-5).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness:

There are two ways of rendering this verse, as seen by a glance at the KJV, compared to this.

Every Scripture that is inspired of God (ASV).

All scripture is given by the inspiration of God (KJV).

Many scholars such as Lenski and Lipscomb insist that there is no difference in the meaning of these renditions; but such a viewpoint has always been a mystery to this writer. The passages simply do not say the same thing. "The first of these renderings necessarily implies that there are some Scriptures which are not inspired";[28] and, in context, it is impossible to suppose that Paul meant to imply that.

All Scripture ...

In distinction from the "sacred writings" (2 Timothy 3:15), "all Scripture" here means everything which, through the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the church, is recognized by the church as canonical. When Paul wrote these words, the direct reference was to a body of sacred literature which even then contained more than the Old Testament.[29]

Is inspired of God ... The Greek words here are "God-breathed," meaning that the canonical writings are absolutely trustworthy. The great prophecies of the New Testament have been and are being fulfilled. Every line of it has stood the test of centuries, shattered every attack of evil men, and yet stands enshrined in the hearts of millions as God's saving word for lost men.

Profitable for teaching ... If the church would prosper, let it teach the word of Scripture, for there is no profit in the postulations of men.

For reproof ... Only the Christian morality is the true ethic governing human behavior. The pre-Christian Gentiles forsook God, and the result was the near-universal debauchery of the human race. There can be no doubt that forsaking the New Testament ethics on such things as adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness, etc., if persisted in, will have the same final result.

For correction, for instruction ... Such uses as these could not be attributed to human works; therefore, it is in view of the holy inspiration of the Bible that Paul was able to add this and 2 Timothy 3:17.

[28] A. C. Hervey, op. cit., p. 43.

[29] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 301.

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Coffman's 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 3:16". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

All Scripture - This properly refers to the Old Testament, and should not be applied to any part of the New Testament, unless it can be shown that that part was then written, and was included under the general name of “the Scriptures;” compare 2 Peter 3:15-16. But it includes the whole of the Old Testament, and is the solemn testimony of Paul that it was all inspired. If now it can be proved that Paul himself was an inspired man, this settles the question as to the inspiration of the Old Testament.

Is given by inspiration of God - All this is expressed in the original by one word - Θεόπνευστος Theopneustos. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, God-inspired - from Θεός Theos, “God,” and πνέω pneō, “to breathe, to breathe out.” The idea of “breathing upon, or breathing into the soul,” is that which the word naturally conveys. Thus, God breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life Genesis 2:7, and thus the Saviour breathed on his disciples, and said, “receive ye the Holy Ghost;” John 20:22. The idea seems to have been, that the life was in the breath, and that an intelligent spirit was communicated with the breath. The expression was used among the Greeks, and a similar one was employed by the Romans. Plutarch ed. R. 9:p. 583. 9. τοὺς ὀνείρους τοὺς θεοπνεύστους tous oneirous tous theopneustous. Phocylid. 121. τῆς δὲ θεοπνεύστου σοφίης λόγος ἐστὶν ἄριστος tēs de theopnoustou sophiēs logos estin aristos.

Perhaps, however, this is not an expression of Phocylides, but of the pseudo Phocylides. So it is understood by Bloomfield. Cicero, pro Arch. 8. “poetam - quasi divino quodam spiritu inflari.” The word does not occur in the Septuagint, but is found in Josephus, Contra Apion, i. 7. “The Scripture of the prophets who were taught according to the inspiration of God - κατὰ τὴν ἐπίπνοιαν τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ kata tēn epipnoian tēn apo tou Theou. In regard to the manner of inspiration, and to the various questions which have been started as to its nature, nothing can be learned from the use of this word. It asserts a fact - that the Old Testament was composed under a divine influence, which might be represented by “breathing on one,” and so imparting life. But the language must be figurative; for God does not breathe, though the fair inference is, that those Scriptures are as much the production of God, or are as much to be traced to him, as life is; compare Matthew 22:43; 2 Peter 1:21. The question as to the degree of inspiration, and whether it extends to the words of Scripture, and how far the sacred writers were left to the exercise of their own faculties, is foreign to the design of these notes. All that is necessary to be held is, that the sacred writers were kept from error on those subjects which were matters of their own observation, or which pertained to memory; and that there were truths imparted to them directly by the Spirit of God, which they could never have arrived at by the unaided exercise of their own minds. Compare the introduction to Isaiah and Job.

And is profitable. - It is useful; it is adapted to give instruction, to administer reproof, etc. If “all” Scripture is thus valuable, then we are to esteem no part of the Old Testament as worthless. There is no portion of it, even now, which may not be fitted, in certain circumstances, to furnish us valuable lessons, and, consequently, no part of it which could be spared from the sacred canon. There is no part of the human body which is not useful in its place, and no part of it which can be spared without sensible loss.

For doctrine - For teaching or communicating instruction; compare the notes on 1 Timothy 4:16.

For reproof - On the meaning of the word here rendered “reproof” - ἐλέγγμος elengmos - see the notes on Hebrews 11:1. It here means, probably, for “convincing;” that is, convincing a man of his sins, of the truth and claims of religion, etc.; see the notes on John 16:8.

For correction - The word here used - ἐπανόρθωσις epanorthōsis - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, “a setting to rights, reparation, restoration,” (from ἐπανορθόω epanorthoō, to right up again, to restore); and here means, the leading to a correction or amendment of life - “a reformation.” The meaning is, that the Scriptures are a powerful means of reformation, or of putting men into the proper condition in regard to morals. After all the means which have been employed to reform mankind; all the appeals which are made to them on the score of health, happiness, respectability, property, and long life, the word of God is still the most powerful and the most effectual means of recovering those who have fallen into vice. No reformation can be permanent which is not based on the principles of the word of God.

For instruction in righteousness - Instruction in regard to the principles of justice, or what is right. Man needs not only to be made acquainted with truth, to be convinced of his error, and to be reformed; but he needs to be taught what is right, or what is required of him, in order that he may lead a holy life. Every reformed and regenerated man needs instruction, and should not be left merely with the evidence that he is “reformed, or converted.” He should be followed with the principles of the word of God, to show him how he may lead an upright life. The Scriptures furnish the rules of holy living in abundance, and thus they are adapted to the whole work of recovering man, and of guiding him to heaven.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

16 All Scripture; or, the whole of Scripture; though it makes little difference as to the meaning. He follows out that commendation which he had glanced at briefly. First, he commends the Scripture on account of its authority; and secondly, on account of the utility which springs from it. In order to uphold the authority of the Scripture, he declares that it is divinely inspired; for, if it be so, it is beyond all controversy that men ought to receive it with reverence. This is a principle which distinguishes our religion from all others, that we know that God hath spoken to us, and are fully convinced that the prophets did not speak at their own suggestion, but that, being organs of the Holy Spirit, they only uttered what they had been commissioned from heaven to declare. Whoever then wishes to profit in the Scriptures, let him first of all, lay down this as a settled point, that the Law and the Prophets are not a doctrine delivered according to the will and pleasure of men, but dictated by the Holy Spirit.

If it be objected, “How can this be known?” I answer, both to disciples and to teachers, God is made known to be the author of it by the revelation of the same Spirit. Moses and the prophets did not utter at random what we have received from their hand, but, speaking at the suggestion of God, they boldly and fearlessly testified, what was actually true, that it was the mouth of the Lord that spake. The same Spirit, therefore, who made Moses and the prophets certain of their calling, now also testifies to our hearts, that he has employed them as his servants to instruct us. Accordingly, we need not wonder if there are many who doubt as to the Author of the Scripture; for, although the majesty of God is displayed in it, yet none but those who have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit have eyes to perceive what ought, indeed, to have been visible to all, and yet is visible to the elect alone. This is the first clause, that we owe to the Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God; because it has proceeded from him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it.

And is profitable Now follows the second part of the commendation, that the Scripture contains a perfect rule of a good and happy life. When he says this, he means that it is corrupted by sinful abuse, when this usefulness is not sought. And thus he indirectly censures those unprincipled men who fed the people with vain speculations, as with wind. For this reason we may in the present day, condemn all who, disregarding edification, agitate questions which, though they are ingenious, are also useless. Whenever ingenious trifles of that kind are brought forward, they must be warded off by this shield, that “Scripture is profitable.” Hence it follows, that it is unlawful to treat it in an unprofitable manner; for the Lord, when he gave us the Scriptures, did not intend either to gratify our curiosity, or to encourage ostentation, or to give occasion for chatting and talking, but to do us good; and, therefore, the right use of Scripture must always tend to what is profitable. (192)

For instruction Here he enters into a detailed statement of the various and manifold advantages derived from the Scriptures. And, first of all, he mentions instruction, which ranks above all the rest; for it will be to no purpose that you exhort or reprove, if you have not previously instructed. But because “instruction,” taken by itself, is often of little avail, he adds reproof and correction

It would be too long to explain what we are to learn from the Scriptures; and, in the preceding verse, he has given a brief summary of them under the word faith. The most valuable knowledge, therefore, is “faith in Christ.” Next follows instruction for regulating the life, to which are added the excitements of exhortations and reproofs. Thus he who knows how to use the Scriptures properly, is in want of nothing for salvation, or for a Holy life. Reproof and correction differ little from each other, except that the latter proceeds from the former; for the beginning of repentance is the knowledge of our sinfulness, and a conviction of the judgment of God. Instruction in righteousness means the rule of a good and holy life.

(192) “Who is it that by nature will not desire his happiness and his salvation? And where could we find it but in the Holy Scripture, by which it is communicated to us? Woe to us if we will not listen to God when he speaks to us, seeing that he asks nothing but our advantage. He does not seek his own profit, for what need has he of it? We are likewise reminded not to read the Holy Scripture so as to gratify our fancies, or to draw from it useless questions. Why? Because it is profitable for salvation, says Paul. Thus, when I expound the Holy Scripture, I must be guided by this consideration, that those who hear me may receive profit from the doctrine which I teach, that they may be edified for salvation. If I have not that desire, and do not aim at the edification of those who hear me, I am a sacrilegious person, profaning the word of God. On the other hand, they who read the Scripture, or who come to the sermon to listen, if they are in search of some foolish speculation, if they come here to take their amusement, are guilty of having profaned a thing so holy.” — Fr. Ser.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Shall we turn now in our Bibles to Second Timothy chapter three? Paul said to Timothy,

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come ( 2 Timothy 3:1 ).

It is interesting that the Scriptures in many places speak of the last days and in every case where the Scriptures speak of the last days, you find that it is an apt description of the day and the age in which we live. And so Paul is warning Timothy of certain things that will be transpiring in the last days. And as we go down the list, it's like reading the afternoon newspaper. "Perilous times shall come." The cause of the perilous times are found in the things that people will be doing, and at the top of the list,

Men will be lovers of their own selves ( 2 Timothy 3:2 ).

Have you ever seen an age when people were more conscious of their own selves? Everything today is, you know, for the body beautiful. The emphasis of so many people is just on being beautiful, lovers of themselves. Narcissism is at an all-time peak, but with lovers of yourself comes,

covetousness ( 2 Timothy 3:2 ),

That desire for more. For after all, I'm worth it. You know, I mean, talk about lovers of selves, look at the advertising. Oh I know it costs more but . . .

Boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy ( 2 Timothy 3:2 ),

Each one of these words in the Greek is an interesting word study. We don't have the time to devote to it this evening but I would suggest that you get a good Greek lexicon and do a word study on these particular Greek words that Paul uses to describe the attitudes and the actions of people in the last days.

Without natural affection ( 2 Timothy 3:3 ),

As I read the things that are happening in our modern-cultured Orange County, as I read the reports from the social department on the child abuse, I just shake my head in disbelief because a person could not possibly do these things unless they were without natural affection. There is just a certain natural love that would keep people from doing a lot of the things they are doing today. All you can say is that they are "without natural affection".

God has put in our heart a certain natural love as a parent for a child. There is instinctively, I think, within persons that love of a parent for a child or an adult for the child because we realize the helplessness of a child, the dependency that they have. And for a person to take advantage of a child is unthinkable. And yet, it is becoming in this hedonistic society commonplace, all too commonplace, tragically commonplace.

I am reminded of the prophet of God who spoke concerning Israel, and he said, "They have sown the wind, and now they must reap the whirlwind" ( Hosea 8:7 ). I'm afraid that that is also true of us. We have sown the wind, now we're going to reap the whirlwind.

Trucebreakers ( 2 Timothy 3:3 ),

How many people who have stood before God and have pledged for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part; and yet again, the high divorce rate. "Trucebreakers". You've made a covenant and there are so many broken covenants. Some of you here are victims of broken covenants. Some of you are separated not by your own desire or wish, but because someone was a trucebreaker. They did not keep the covenant that they made. Again, it is startling. How appropriate that "trucebreakers" is for this day.

false accusers, incontinent ( 2 Timothy 3:3 ),

That is, without any sexual restraints. Boy, I'll tell you, I don't know. Living here almost in a Sodom-Gomorrah atmosphere and environment. My wife and I eat out quite a bit. We usually try to avoid it on Friday evening if we can, but sometimes our schedules are such that we just don't have time to. She doesn't have the time to prepare the meal on Friday evening and we'll go out on Friday night. But I can't believe what I see in some of these restaurants over here in the Irvine industrial business center. Friday evenings, you know, everybody out looking for their weekend companion, incontinent, no sexual restraints.

fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, [and then] lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God ( 2 Timothy 3:3-4 );

The pleasuremania of the United States. We've just experienced a tremendous demonstration of that in the Los Angeles basin in the last couple of weeks. The numbers of people who flocked to the various athletic contests, loving pleasure. Now, there's nothing wrong with enjoying life. I believe God intended that you should enjoy life.

There is nothing wrong with having pleasure. I believe that God intended you to have pleasure, but when it comes before God, it means that it has become your God and it makes a very poor God to worship or serve. Good to have pleasure but don't make it your God. They love pleasure more than they love God; that's the indictment. It has become their God and thus, they are guilty as those in the Old Testament who were worshipping Mammon, who, or rather Molech who was the god of pleasure. "Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God."

Having a form of godliness ( 2 Timothy 3:5 ),

They still, you know, pay their respects.

but they deny the power thereof: [Paul said to Timothy] from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, and led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth ( 2 Timothy 3:5-7 ).

So the Greek word that is used here to describe these that are going around, leading captive the silly women, is the same Greek word that was used to describe quackery, and that's probably they're quacks, Paul is saying. The kind of guys that went around selling snake oil or cure-alls, deceiving, defrauding people.

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: they are men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith ( 2 Timothy 3:8 ).

Now when Moses appeared before Pharaoh and he threw down his rod and it turned into a snake, you'll remember that Pharaoh's magicians threw down their rods and they also became snakes, but Moses' snake swallowed theirs. Jannes and Jambres were the names of the two magicians that withstood Moses. Now this is not given to us in the Scriptures but there are other, what are known as apocryphal books, in which these two fellows are named. And that is, it doesn't tell us in the Scripture in Exodus that that was their names but Paul gives us their names here, Jannes and Jambres who withstood the truth. And they were able to imitate the workings of God up to a point and then they came to the place where they were backed down by Moses, but "men of corrupt minds, they are reprobate concerning the faith."

The Bible tells about God giving people over to reprobate minds, men who resist God and the truth of God. Their minds become corrupted and they ultimately become reprobate concerning the faith. I watch very little, but with horror and dismay, the deterioration of a man who probably at one time had a legitimate ministry, but I've seen the gradual erosion of this person on television just right before my eyes. Still the man has become crude, blasphemous, ranting and raving, a disgrace to Jesus Christ who said, "By this sign shall men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another" ( John 13:34 ). And there's such a complete, total absence of love. The thing that amazes me is that he can attract people who will support him. "Men of corrupt minds."

The Lord said it's "what comes out of the mouth of a man, that defiles a man" ( Matthew 15:11 ). For "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" ( Matthew 12:34 ). When a man's language becomes filthy, obscene and crude, it shows that there's something wrong with him. "Reprobate concerning the faith."

But [Paul said] they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as [Jannes and Jambres] also were ( 2 Timothy 3:9 ).

In other words, you may go along for a while, but ultimately it's going to catch up with you. You may be able to deceive people for a while, but ultimately, it's going to catch up, even as it did with Jannes. And there came that place where, hey, Moses performed a miracle of God and they backed away. They said, Wait a minute, this is the hand of God, we can't, we can't touch this. And so there comes that point where they will proceed no further: "their folly becomes manifest to all men", as Jannes and Jambres also was. Jambres.

But thou hast fully known ( 2 Timothy 3:10 )

Now in contrast to this, boy, and what a contrast the Christian is to the world around him, and more and more, you know, more and more your lifestyle is different from the world. More and more the Christian is a marked person because the more corrupt the world becomes, the more the Christian stands out. The more the person who lives godly and righteous in Christ stands out. And so Paul said to Timothy, "You have fully known"

my doctrine, and my manner of life, my purpose, my faith, my longsuffering, my love, and my patience, [you know the] persecutions, and the afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, and Iconium, and Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me ( 2 Timothy 3:10-11 ).

Timothy was from Lystra. Paul met him on his first missionary journey. At that time Timothy was just a very young boy, probably in his mid-teens and yet he was attracted to Paul the apostle because of the message that Paul bore. Timothy had been schooled in the Scriptures from his early youth by his mother and grandmother, and so as Paul began to, with the Scriptures, prove that Jesus was the Messiah, with Timothy's background, he could see the truth of it. And he embraced Christianity, but he was probably standing there in Lystra when the people in the city stoned Paul until they thought he was dead and dragged him out of the city. And he was probably in the company of those that were standing around, sort of crying, as they saw Paul's limp body on the ground. And suddenly, of course, their tears were changed because Paul began to breathe and move and he stood up and he said, Let's go back in and preach some more.

Paul said, you know, what kind of a life I've lived. You know the persecutions that I experienced, but the Lord delivered me out of them all. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all" ( Psalms 34:19 ). Paul's life contrasted with the world. Christian life is a life of purpose. The world just exists, no real goal, no real meaning; you're just existing. Paul's life: one of faith. Paul's life: one of longsuffering, one of love and one of patience

Now you'd think that the world would treat a person like that very cordially. It is interesting, when Jesus in the Sermon on the mount described the Christian in the Beatitudes, after having described the traits of the Christian in the Beatitudes; you'd say, My, a man like that who is a peacemaker, who is merciful, who is hungering and thirsting after righteousness, who is meek, who is poor in spirit, surely you know the world would respect such a man. But after giving the characteristics and traits of the godly man, Jesus then in the final Beatitudes said, "Blessed are ye, when men shall persecute you, and revile you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake" ( Matthew 5:11 ).

The world really doesn't admire true Christian traits. Why? Because the true child of God brings the worldly person under conviction. They just are irritated by your love and by your patience and by your goodness because they feel guilty. Look what they did to Jesus, and Jesus said, "If they persecuted me, they're going to persecute you" ( John 15:20 ). Don't expect the world to admire your godly stance. Don't expect the world to applaud when you speak out against evil. They'll say, Crucify him, rather than applaud.

And so Paul, you know, how I've lived; my faith, my longsuffering, my love, my patience, and the persecutions and afflictions that came to me.

Yea ( 2 Timothy 3:12 ),

One of my most unfavorite promises in the Bible.

and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution ( 2 Timothy 3:12 ).

Quite a promise, isn't it? I've never found that in one of those little Bible promise books, I mean, promise things yet. That's not the kind of promises we really enjoy, is it? "My God shall supply all of your needs" ( Philippians 4:19 ). Oh, yeah, I like that one. "They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." You're in an alien world. You're a stranger. You're a pilgrim. This world is in rebellion against God. And if you align your life with God, you're going to find yourself out of alignment with the world and persecution will come.

"Beloved, consider it not strange concerning the fiery trials which are to try you, as though some strange thing has happened to you" ( 1 Peter 4:12 ). So don't expect the world to speak well of you or to applaud you for your living a godly life and taking a righteous stand.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived ( 2 Timothy 3:13 ).

In other words, it's not going to get better for awhile. It's going to get worse before it gets better. It will be getting better a little further down the road, but evil days are going to wax worse and worse, until the Lord takes His church out and then God judges the world for its unrighteousness and ungodliness. And then Jesus will come and establish God's righteous kingdom, but by then, those that will remain will be saying, Oh, God help us. "Blessed is he who will come in the name of the Lord" ( Psalms 118:26 ). I mean, people will have had it with the unrighteousness of the world.

Look at the rapid deterioration of our society. You can you see what's happened even in the last twenty-five years. Look at the magazines that were once really under the counter kind of stuff and sold illegally. Now they're right out where little kids can go in and pick them up and leaf through them. Look at our attitudes towards morality. Look at the lack, lackness. Look at, of course, all of these other things that have come along as the result of it. The deterioration, rapid deterioration so that a mother has to worry when she sends her little child to school because she doesn't know what some kinky character might do, exposing themselves to that beautiful little child or even worse. God help us. If the Lord doesn't come soon, we're going to destroy ourselves as we just sink in the filth. We're going to drown in our own corruption. "Evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." I think we've gone just about as far as we can. I think the next major event, Revelation 4:1 .

But continue thou in the things which you have learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus ( 2 Timothy 3:14-15 ).

Now it is interesting that as Paul is referring to the Scriptures here, he is, of course, referring to the Old Testament Scriptures. The New Testament had not yet been canonized. So he's referring to the Old Testament Scriptures, those which Timothy knew from the child and he called them the "holy scriptures," which they are, "and they are able to make you wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus." In other words, there is within the Old Testament so much concerning Jesus Christ that through the understanding and the study of the Old Testament you should logically be led to Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, "You do search the scriptures: because in them you think you have life; but actually, they are testifying of me" ( John 5:39 ). Again he said, "Lo, I have come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God" ( Hebrews 10:7 ). The volume of the book, the Old Testament, it's all about Jesus Christ. The whole concept of redemption is wrapped up in the Old Testament. The promise of the Messiah, the details of the Messiah, they are all there. And Paul said, You've known the Holy Scriptures, able to bring you to a faith in Jesus Christ, salvation through the faith in Jesus Christ.

For all scripture is given by inspiration of God ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ),

Not as some would lead you to believe, some scriptures are given by inspiration of God. And as we pointed out, the danger always of saying some scriptures, not all scriptures, is the loss of authority. And when you lose authority you have anarchy. Every man going his own way. Every man doing his own thing or every man believing as he wants. You have no authority.

So if I tell you that some scriptures are not really inspired of God, then I become the authority, not the Bible anymore, because you can't just read the whole Bible and trust it because not all of it is inspired. So I become the authority if I make such an affirmation to you. And I will tell you what scriptures are inspired and which ones aren't. Now you get out your, you know, your green and blue pens and for the inspired ones, we'll underline those with blue and we'll use red, maybe, to underline those that are not inspired, you know and, and so here I am, I'm the authority.

Well, the next liberal comes along and he says, Well, no, no, no, he was wrong on that one. He said that one isn't inspired; obviously inspired. He was wrong on that you know. Get out your pen and take out the red, put the blue one. Well soon your Bible will be so messed up you wouldn't be able to read it. And why read them anyhow if they're not inspired? "All scripture is given by inspiration of God."

Don't start messing with it. Don't start trying to cut out certain stories because they don't fit your scheme because you have a little hard, you have a hard time sort of believing that. Story of Jonah has provoked a lot of problems for people, only because of their concept of God. If you can read and buy the first verse of the Bible, you should have no problem with the rest of the Bible. If your God is big enough to create the heavens and the earth, no problem, but you see, we stumble on the very first verse. And that's what creates the problem all the way through. Our God is much too small. "And God prepared a great fish and it swallowed Jonah" ( Jonah 1:17 ). Do you have a hard time with that?

And man has prepared a great fish and they powered it with atomic engines. And a hundred and fifty men can board it and they can submerge and go under the North Pole under the arctic ice. And come up a hundred days later and be deposited at a port. Do you have a hard time accepting that man can build a great fish that can swallow men and keep them under water for several days and deposit them later at a port?

Hey, hey, wait a minute then. How big is your God? Man can do it but not God. Would you find it easier if it, if the account said, And a submarine surfaced and the captain got out on deck and, you know, they hauled Jonah in and they submerged again and headed towards Joppa and let him off the port. But you see, if you start whacking away at the story of Jonah, and say, oh, I can't really buy that. Wow, watch out now because Jesus bought it.

One day they said to Jesus, Show us a sign. He said, "A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign; but no sign will be given it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" ( Matthew 12:38-40 ). Oh, Jesus, you mean you believe that story? Didn't you know that's just a myth? That's just fable. How is it that you could be deceived, Jesus? I thought you were, you know, the Son of God and smarter than that.

Noah, the earth was really flooded? Noah escaped? Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man" ( Luke 17:26 ). Confirmed that Noah was a real person and it was a real event. So you have to be careful when you start chipping it away at one side because the whole thing will come down on you. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God."

Now when you have difficulty in your understanding of a scripture, rather than setting that aside and saying, Well, God really didn't say that; just say, hey, I really don't understand that yet. I have many scriptures that I don't understand yet. I've got a file up here that says, Wait for further information. And I filed many scriptures in that file. Now I'm not about to say God was wrong. I'm just saying, Hey, I am stupid and I lack an understanding. God is right. I don't know exactly yet what He said but when I find out I know He's going to be right. For "all scripture is given by inspiration of God."

and [as such they are] profitable ( 2 Timothy 3:16 )

And how profitable is the word of God to us today! What a blessing. They're profitable.

for doctrine ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ),

What am I to believe about God? What am I to believe about man? What am I to believe about sin? What am I to believe about angels or the future? Or life, or death, or life after death? The scriptures are profitable to establish the foundation of my beliefs. They're profitable for doctrine. I can base my beliefs upon what God has said because it is indeed God's word.

I have great difficulty with these people who develop doctrines that are contrary to what Jesus said, as though they understand more than Jesus about what's happening in the future. The Jehovah Witnesses seeking to develop their doctrine concerning hell and that it is a place of oblivion, no consciousness, no awareness. And they use the book of Job as their proof text. When Job was talking to his friends and they were talking to him about the future, and Job said, Oh, I wish I were dead. It would all be over, where, you know, the miseries would all be gone.

What's the first thing God said to Job? When God came on the scene and entered the conversation with his friends? He said, Who is this? Who is talking all these words without knowledge? Job, tell me, have you been beyond the gates of death, do you know what it's about? Well, Jesus has and He told us what to, what it's about in Luke, the sixteenth chapter. Now are you going to, you know, take the word of Jesus? Or are you going to develop a doctrine that is diametrically opposed to what Jesus said? The word of God is the foundation for doctrine. What I believe, I believe because God has said it. And my full doctrinal concepts are premised upon the scriptures. God said it.

They are profitable

for reproof, for correction ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ),

And how often the word of God has brought correction to my course of life. Easy it seems to get sort of distracted and off course. And the word of God comes and it brings a balance, it brings a correction, it brings a correct perspective.

It's profitable

for instruction in righteousness ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ):

And righteousness is just actually the act of being right or doing right or living right. It's instructing you on the right kind of life. This is the right thing to do. It's instructing us in righteousness.

That the man of God may be perfect ( 2 Timothy 3:17 ),

And the word perfect of course is always that of completeness. God wants you to be complete. The Greek word literally is fully matured or of full age, fully matured, that the man of God might be fully matured.

thoroughly furnished unto all good works ( 2 Timothy 3:17 ).

In other words, the word of God is that which thoroughly prepares me for any work that God might have for me to do. Now many people have a legitimate and proper desire to be used of God. Oh God, I want you to use my life. Good. That's proper and you should have that desire. But God prepares the instruments through which He works and the most important preparation is through the Word of God. That is where you become thoroughly equipped to do the work that God has designed and ordained for you. So if you want God to use your life, then thoroughly equip yourself in the Word of God, the study, the understanding.

That's why we're here tonight. Just to go line upon line, precept upon precept, plodding right straight through the word of God. The whole idea is that of thoroughly fitting you as an instrument that God can use. And you will find as God's word becomes a very part of your life and you begin to be guided by the word of God, that God will begin to use you in very exciting ways. But we, so often, make the mistake of going out ill-equipped or running without a message. So God's word, scripture given for inspiration, by the inspiration of God and is profitable.

Of course, this morning we pointed out that the inspiration of the Bible is proved by internal evidences, such as its total accuracy with known facts of science, when it happened to cover scientific subjects. Now though it is infallible, inerrant and inspired, I did make a mistake in my message this morning on the speed of Arcturus; it's twelve thousand miles a second, I think I said twelve million. It's twelve thousand miles a second, but that's pretty fast, too. So you see, I'm not inerrant in all, but the scriptures are.


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

1. Adherence to the truth 3:14-17

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Paul wanted to reemphasize the importance of Scripture in Timothy’s present and future ministry. His emphasis in 2 Timothy 3:15 was on its importance in Timothy’s life in the past.

There is no reason to limit the universal force of "all" to matters of salvation. When the Greek word translated "all" or "every" (pas) occurs with a technical noun such as "Scripture," it is better to render it "all" rather than "every." [Note: H. Wayne House, "Biblical Inspiration in 2 Timothy 3:16," Bibliotheca Sacra 137:545 (January-March 1980):54-56; Mounce, p. 566; Towner, The Letters . . ., p. 587.] Furthermore, the context seems to suggest that Paul had Scripture as a whole in view. [Note: See Fee, p. 279.] Paul had been speaking of the Old Testament as a whole in 2 Timothy 3:15, and he undoubtedly carried that thought over into 2 Timothy 3:16. All Scripture is divinely inspired (Gr. theopneustos, lit. God-breathed, cf. 2 Peter 1:21). This fact in itself should be adequate reason for proclaiming it. It does not merely contain the Word of God or become the Word of God under certain conditions. It is God’s Word, the expression of His person (heart, mind, will, etc.). This was the view of the Hebrew Bible that Jews in the first century commonly held. [Note: Kelly, p. 203. See also Louis Igou Hodges, "Evangelical Definitions of Inspiration: Critiques and a Suggested Definition," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 37:1 (March 1994):99-114.] "Scripture" means sacred writing and applies to all divinely inspired writings (Old and New Testaments). The Greeks used the word graphe, translated "Scripture," to refer to any piece of writing, but the New Testament writers used it only of holy Scripture. When Paul made this statement the books of our Old Testament were the inspired writings he had in view primarily. However even in Paul’s day Christians recognized some New Testament books as inspired (cf. 2 Peter 3:16).

"God’s activity of ’breathing’ and the human activity of writing are in some sense complementary (cf. 2 Peter 1:21)." [Note: Towner, The Letters . . ., p. 589.]

Scripture is useful. Therefore Timothy should use it in his ministry. It is profitable for teaching (causing others to understand God’s truth) and reproof (bringing conviction of error when there has been deviation from God’s truth). It is helpful for correction (bringing restoration to the truth when there has been error) and training in righteousness (child-training type guidance in the ways of right living that God’s truth reveals). This is a selective rather than an exhaustive list of the ways in which the Scriptures are useful.

"They are profitable for doctrine (what is right), for reproof (what is not right), for correction (how to get right), and for instruction in righteousness (how to stay right)." [Note: Wiersbe, 2:253.]

Consequently the man (or woman) of God has all that is essential to fulfill his (or her) ministry (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). The "man of God" refers to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:11) but also anyone who commits himself (or herself) to God, especially, in view of the context, those in positions of spiritual oversight. He is adequate (complete, filled out, equipped with all the essential tools he needs).

"The Christian minister has in his hands a God-given instrument designed to equip him completely for his work." [Note: Guthrie, p. 165.]

"Every good work" is the ultimate goal of our lives (Ephesians 2:10). The mastery and use of Scripture is only a means to an end, not an end in itself. God did not give us the Bible to satisfy our curiosity alone but to enable us to help other people spiritually.

"The divine inspiration of the Scriptures is stated in the Pastorals more forcefully than anywhere else in the NT." [Note: Ralph Earle, "1 Timothy," in Ephesians-Philemon, vol. 11 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 345.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Barclay's Daily Study Bible

Chapter 3

TIMES OF TERROR ( 2 Timothy 3:1 )

3:1 You must realize this--that in the last days difficult times will set in.

The early Church lived in an age when the time was waxing late; they expected the Second Coming at any moment. Christianity was cradled in Judaism and very naturally thought largely in Jewish terms and pictures. Jewish thought had one basic conception. The Jews divided all time into this present age and the age to come. This present age was altogether evil; and the age to come would be the golden age of God. In between there was The Day of the Lord, a day when God would personally intervene and shatter the world in order to remake it. That Day of the Lord was to be preceded by a time of terror, when evil would gather itself for its final assault and the world would be shaken to its moral and physical foundations. It is in terms of these last days that Paul is thinking in this passage.

He says that in them difficult times would set in. Difficult is the Greek word chalepos ( G5467) . It is the normal Greek word for difficult, but it has certain usage's which explain its meaning here. It is used in Matthew 8:28 to describe the two Gergesene demoniacs who met Jesus among the tombs. They were violent and dangerous. It is used in Plutarch to describe what we would call an ugly wound. It is used by ancient writers on astrology to describe what we would call a threatening conjunction of the heavenly bodies. There is the idea of menace and of danger in this word. In the last days there would come times which would menace the very existence of the Christian Church and of goodness itself, a kind of last tremendous assault of evil before its final defeat.

In the Jewish pictures of these last terrible times we get exactly the same kind of picture as we get here. There would come a kind of terrible flowering of evil, when the moral foundations seemed to be shaken. In the Testament of Issachar, one of the books written between the Old and the New Testaments, we get a picture like this:

"Know ye, therefore, my children, that in the last times

Your sons will forsake singleness

And will cleave unto insatiable desire;

And leaving guilelessness, will draw near to malice;

And forsaking the commandments of the Lord,

They will cleave unto Beliar.

And leaving husbandry,

They will follow after their own wicked devices,

And they shall be dispersed among the Gentiles,

And shall serve their enemies."

(Testament of Issachar, 6: 1-2).

In 2Baruch we get an even more vivid picture of the moral chaos of these last times:

"And honour shall be turned into shame,

And strength humiliated into contempt,

And probity destroyed,

And beauty shall become ugliness ...

And envy shall rise in those who had not thought ought of


And passion shall seize him that is peaceful,

And many shall be stirred up in anger to injure many;

And they shall rouse up armies in order to shed blood,

And in the end they shall perish together with them." (2Baruch 27).

In this picture which Paul draws he is thinking in terms familiar to the Jews. There was to be a final show-down with the forces of evil.

Nowadays we have to restate these old pictures in modern terms. They were never meant to be anything else but visions; we do violence to Jewish and to early Christian thought if we take them with a crude literalness. But they do enshrine the permanent truth that some time there must come the consummation when evil meets God in head-on collision and there comes the final triumph of God.


3:2-5 For men will live a life that is centred in self; they will be lovers of money, braggarts, arrogant, lovers of insult, disobedient to their parents, thankless, regardless even of the ultimate decencies of life, without human affection, implacable in hatred, revelling in slander, ungovernable in their passions, savage, not knowing what the love of good is, treacherous, headlong in word and action, inflated with pride, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. They will maintain the outward form of religion, but they will deny its power. Avoid such people.

Here is one of the most terrible pictures in the New Testament of what a godless world would be like, with the terrible qualities of godlessness set out in a ghastly series. Let us look at them one by one.

It is no accident that the first of these qualities will be a life that is centred in self. The adjective used is philautos ( G5367) , which means self-loving. Love of self is the basic sin, from which all others flow. The moment a man makes his own will the centre of life, divine and human relationships are destroyed, obedience to God and charity to men both become impossible. The essence of Christianity is not the enthronement but the obliteration of self.

Men would become lovers of money (philarguros, G5366) . We must remember that Timothy's work lay in Ephesus, perhaps the greatest market in the ancient world. In those days trade tended to flow down river valleys; Ephesus was at the mouth of the River Cayster, and commanded the trade of one of the richest hinterlands in all Asia Minor. At Ephesus some of the greatest roads in the world met. There was the great trade route from the Euphrates valley which came by way of Colosse and Laodicea and poured the wealth of the east into the lap of Ephesus. There was the road from north Asia Minor and from Galatia which came in via Sardis. There was the road from the south which centred the trade of the Maeander valley in Ephesus. Ephesus was called "The Treasure-house of the ancient world," "The Vanity Fair of Asia Minor." It has been pointed out that the writer of Revelation may well have been thinking of Ephesus when he wrote that haunting passage which describes the merchandise of men: "The cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls" ( Revelation 18:12-13). Ephesus was the town of a prosperous, materialistic civilization; it was the kind of town where a man could so easily lose his soul.

There is peril when men assess prosperity by material things. It is to be remembered that a man may lose his soul far more easily in prosperity than in adversity; and he is on the way to losing his soul when he assesses the value of life by the number of things which he possesses.

THE QUALITIES OF GODLESSNESS ( 2 Timothy 3:2-5 continued)

In these terrible days men would be braggarts and arrogant. In Greek writings these two words often went together; and they are both picturesque.

Braggart has an interesting derivation. It is the word alazon ( G213) and was derived from the ale, which means a wandering about. Originally the alazon ( G213) was a wandering quack. Plutarch uses the word to describe a quack doctor. The alazon ( G213) was a mountebank who wandered the country with medicines and spells and methods of exorcism which, he claimed, were panaceas for all diseases. We can still see this kind of man in fairs and market-places shouting the virtues of a patent medicine which will act like magic. Then the word went on to widen its meaning until it meant any braggart.

The Greek moralists wrote much about this word. The Platonic Definitions defined the corresponding noun (alazoneia, G212) as: "The claim to good things which a man does not really possess." Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, 7: 2) defined the alazon ( G213) as "the man who pretends to creditable qualities that he does not possess, or possesses in a lesser degree than he makes out." Xenophon tells us how Cyrus, the Persian king, defined the alazon ( G213) : "The name alazon ( G213) seems to apply to those who pretend that they are richer than they are or braver than they are, and to those who promise to do what they cannot do, and that, too, when it is evident that they do this only for the sake of getting something or making some gain" (Xenophon: Cyropoedia, 2, 2, 12). Xenophon in the Memorabilia tells how Socrates utterly condemned such impostors. Socrates skid that they were to be found in every walk of life but were worst of all in politics. "Much the greatest rogue of all is the man who has gulled his city into the belief that he is fit to direct it."

The world is full of these braggarts to this day; the clever know-all's who deceive people into thinking that they are wise, the politicians who claim that their parties have a program which will bring in the Utopia and that they alone are born to be leaders of men, the people who crowd the advertisement columns with claims to give beauty, knowledge or health by their system, the people in the Church who have a kind of ostentatious goodness.

Closely allied with the braggart, but--as we shall see--even worse, is the man who is arrogant. The word is huperephanos ( G5244) . It is derived from two Greek words which mean to show oneself above. The man who is huperephanos ( G5244) , said Theophrastus, has a kind of contempt for everyone except himself. He is the man who is guilty of the "sin of the high heart." He is the man whom God resists, for it is repeatedly said in scripture, that God receives the humble but resists the man who is proud, huperephanos ( G5244) ( James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Proverbs 3:24). Theophylact called this kind of pride akropolis (compare G206 and G4172) kakon ( G2556) , the citadel of evils.

The difference between the braggart and the man who is arrogant is this. The braggart is a swaggering creature, who tries to bluster his way into power and eminence. No one can possibly mistake him. But the sin of the man who is arrogant is in his heart. He might even seem to be humble; but in his secret heart there is contempt for everyone else. He nourishes an all-consuming, all-pervading pride; and in his heart there is a little altar where he bows down before himself.

THE QUALITIES OF GODLESSNESS ( 2 Timothy 3:2-5 continued)

These twin qualities of the braggart and the arrogant man inevitably result in love of insult (blasphemia, G988) . Blasphemia is the word which is transliterated into English as blasphemy. In English we usually associate it with insult against God, but in Greek it means insult against man and God alike. Pride always begets insult. It begets disregard of God, thinking that it does not need him and that it knows better than he. It begets a contempt of men which can issue in hurting actions and in wounding words. The Jewish Rabbis ranked high in the list of sins what they called the sin of insult. The insult which comes from anger is bad but it is forgivable, for it is launched in the heat of the moment; but the cold insult which comes from arrogant pride is an ugly and an unforgivable thing.

Men will be disobedient to their parents. The ancient world set duty to parents very high. The oldest Greek laws disfranchised the man who struck his parents; to strike a father was in Roman law as bad as murder; in the Jewish law honour for father and mother comes high in the list of the Ten Commandments. It is the sign of a supremely decadent civilization when youth loses all respect for age and fails to recognize the unpayable debt and the basic duty it owes to those who gave it life.

Men will be thankless (acharistos, G884) . They will refuse to recognize the debt they owe both to God and to men. The strange characteristic of ingratitude is that it is the most hurting of all sins because it is the blindest. Lear's words remain true:

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is

To have a thankless child!"

It is the sign of a man of honour that he pays his debts; and for every man there is a debt to God and there are debts to his fellow-men, which he must remember and repay.

Men will refuse to recognize even the ultimate decencies of life. The Greek word is that men will become anosios ( G462) . Anosios does not so much mean that men will break the written laws; it means that they will offend against the unwritten laws which are part and parcel of the essence of life. To the Greek it was anosios ( G462) to refuse burial to the dead; it was anosios ( G462) for a brother to marry a sister, or a son a mother. The man who is anosios ( G462) offends against the fundamental decencies of life. Such offence can and does happen yet. The man who is mastered by his lower passions will gratify them in the most shameless way, as the streets of any great city will show when the night is late. The man who has exhausted the normal pleasures of life and still unsated, will seek his thrill in pleasures which are abnormal.

Men will be without human affection (astorgos, G794) . Storge is the word used especially of family love, the love of child for parent and parent for child. If there is no human affection, the family cannot exist. In the terrible times men will be so set on self that even the closest ties will be nothing to them.

Men will be implacable in their hatreds (aspondos, G786) . Sponde is the word for a truce or an agreement. Aspondos ( G786) can mean two things. It can mean that a man is so bitter in his hatred that he will never come to terms with the man with whom he has quarrelled. Or it can mean that a man is so dishonourable that he breaks the terms of the agreement he has made. In either case the word describes a certain harshness of mind which separates a man from his fellow-men in unrelenting bitterness. It may be that, since we are only human, we cannot live entirely without differences with our fellow-men, but to perpetuate these differences is one of the worst--and also one of the commonest--of all sins. When we are tempted to do so, we should hear again the voice of our blessed Lord saying on the Cross: "Father, forgive them."

THE QUALITIES OF GODLESSNESS ( 2 Timothy 3:2-5 continued)

In these terrible days men will be slanderers. The Greek for slanderer is diabolos ( G1228) which is precisely the English word devil. The devil is the patron saint of all slanderers and of all slanderers he is chief. There is a sense in which slander is the most cruel of all sins. If a man's goods are stolen, he can set to and build up his fortunes again; but if his good name is taken away, irreparable damage has been done. It is one thing to start an evil and untrue report on its malicious way; it is entirely another thing to stop it. As Shakespeare had it:

"Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls:

Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands:

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him

And makes me poor indeed."

Many men and women, who would never dream of stealing, think nothing--even find pleasure--in passing on a story which ruins someone else's good name, without even trying to find out whether or not it is true. There is slander enough in many a church to make the recording angel weep as he records it.

Men will be ungovernable in their desires (akrates, G193) . The Greek verb kratein ( G2902) means to control. A man can reach a stage when, so far from controlling it, he can become a slave to some habit or desire. That is the inevitable way to ruin, for no man can master anything unless he first masters himself.

Men will be savage. The word is anemeros ( G434) and would be more fittingly applied to a wild beast than to a human being. It denotes a savagery which has neither sensitiveness nor sympathy. Men can be savage in rebuke and savage in pitiless action. Even a dog may be sorry when he has hurt his master, but there are people who, in their treatment of others, can be lost to human sympathy and feeling.

THE QUALITIES OF GODLESSNESS ( 2 Timothy 3:2-5 continued)

In these last terrible days men will come to have no love for good things or good persons (aphilagathos, G865) . There can come a time in a man's life when the company of good people and the presence of good things is simply an embarrassment. He who feeds his mind on cheap literature can in the end find nothing in the great masterpieces. His mental palate loses its taste. A man has sunk far when he finds even the presence of good people something which he would only wish to avoid.

Men will be treacherous. The Greek word (prodotes, G4273) means nothing less than a traitor. We must remember that this was written just at the beginning of the years of persecution, when it was becoming a crime to be a Christian. At this particular time in the ordinary matters of politics one of the curses of Rome was the existence of informers (delatores, compare G1213) . Things were so bad that Tacitus could say: "He who had no foe was betrayed by his friend." There were those who would revenge themselves on an enemy by informing against him. What Paul is thinking of here is more than faithlessness in friendship--although that in all truth is wounding enough--he is thinking of those who to pay back an old score would inform against the Christians to the Roman government.

Men would be headlong in words and action. The word is propetes ( G4312) , precipitate. It describes the man who is swept on by passion and impulse to such an extent that he is totally unable to think sensibly. Far more harm is done from want of thought than almost anything else. Many and many a time we would be saved from hurting ourselves and from wounding other people, if we would only stop to think.

Men will be inflated with conceit (tetuphomenos, G5187) . The word is almost exactly the English swelled-headed. They will be inflated with a sense of their own importance. There are still Church dignitaries whose main thought is their own dignity; but the Christian is the follower of him who was meek and lowly in heart.

They will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Here we come back to where we started; such men place their own wishes in the centre of life. They worship self instead of God.

The final condemnation of these people is that they retain the outward form of religion but deny its power. That is to say, they go through all the correct movements and maintain all the external forms of religion; but they know nothing of Christianity as a dynamic power which changes the lives of men. It is said that, after hearing an evangelical sermon, Lord Melbourne once remarked: "Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life." It may well be that the greatest handicap to Christianity is not the scarlet sinner but the sleek devotee of an unimpeachable orthodoxy and a dignified convention, who is horrified when it is suggested that real religion is a dynamic power which changes a man's personal life.


3:6-7 For from among these there come those who enter into houses, and take captive foolish women, laden with sins and driven by varied desires, ready to listen to any teacher but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

The Christian emancipation of women inevitably brought its problems. We have already seen how secluded the life of the respectable Greek woman was, how she was brought up under the strictest supervision, how she was not allowed "to see anything, to hear anything, or to ask any questions," how she never appeared, even on a shopping expedition, alone on the streets, how she was never allowed even to appear at a public meeting. Christianity changed all that and a new set of problems arose. It was only to be expected that certain women would not know how to use their new liberty. There were false teachers who were quick to take advantage of that.

Irenaeus draws a vivid picture of the methods of just such a teacher in his day. True, he is telling of something which happened later than this, but the wretched story would be the same (Irenaeus: Against Heresies, 1, 13, 3). There was a certain heretic called Marcus who dealt in magic. "He devotes himself specially to women, and those such as are well-bred, and elegantly attired, and of great wealth." He tells such women that by his spells and incantations he can enable them to prophesy. The woman protests that she has never done so and cannot do so. He says: "Open thy mouth, speak whatsoever occurs to thee, and thou shalt prophesy." The woman, thrilled to the heart, does so and is deluded into thinking that she can prophesy. "She then makes the effort to reward Marcus, not only by the gift of her possessions (in which way he has collected a very large fortune), but also by yielding up to him her person, desiring in every way to be united to him, that she may become altogether one with him." The technique would be the same in the days of Timothy as it was in the later days of Irenaeus.

There would be two ways in which these heretics in the days of Timothy could exert an evil influence. We must remember that they were Gnostics and that the basic principle of Gnosticism was that spirit was altogether good and matter altogether evil. We have already seen that that teaching issued in one of two things. The Gnostic heretics taught, either that, since matter is altogether evil, a rigid asceticism must be practiced and all the things of the body as far as possible eliminated, or that it does not matter what we do with the body and its desires can be indulged in to the limit because they do not matter. The Gnostic insinuators would teach these doctrines to impressionable women. The result would often be either that the woman broke off married relationships with her husband in order to live the ascetic life, or that she gave the lower instincts full play and abandoned herself to promiscuous relationships. In either case home and family life were destroyed.

It is still possible for a teacher to gain an undue and unhealthy influence over others, especially when they are impressionable.

It is Paul's charge that such people are "willing to learn from anyone, and yet never able to come to a knowledge of the truth." E. F. Brown has pointed out the danger of what he calls "intellectual curiosity without moral earnestness." There is a type of person who is eager to discuss every new theory, who is always to be found deeply involved in the latest fashionable religious movement, but who is quite unwilling to accept the day-to-day discipline--even drudgery--of living the Christian life. No amount of intellectual curiosity can ever take the place of moral earnestness. We are not meant to titillate our minds with the latest intellectual crazes; we are meant to purify and strengthen ourselves in the moral battle to live the Christian life.

THE OPPONENTS OF GOD ( 2 Timothy 3:8-9 )

3:8-9 In the same way as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these also oppose the truth, men whose minds are corrupt, and whose faith is counterfeit. But they will not get much further, for their folly will be as clear to all as that of those ancient impostors.

In the days between the Old and the New Testaments many Jewish books were written which expanded the Old Testament stories. In certain of these books Jannes and Jambres figured largely. These were the names given to the court magicians of Pharaoh who opposed Moses and Aaron, when Moses was leading the children of Israel out of their slavery in Egypt. At first these magicians were able to match the wonders which Moses and Aaron did, but in the end they were defeated and discredited. In the Old Testament they are not named, but they are referred to in Exodus 7:11; Exodus 8:7; Exodus 9:11.

A whole collection of stories gathered round their names. They were said to be the two servants who accompanied Balaam when he was disobedient to God ( Numbers 22:22); they were said to have been part of the great mixed multitude who accompanied the children of Israel out of Egypt ( Exodus 12:38); some said that they perished at the crossing of the Red Sea; other stories said that it was Jannes and Jambres who were behind the making of the golden calf and that they perished among those who were killed for that sin ( Exodus 32:28); still other stories said that in the end they became proselytes to Judaism. Amidst all the stories one fact stands out--Jannes and Jambres became legendary figures typifying all those who opposed the purposes of God and the work of his true leaders.

The Christian leader will never lack his opponents. There will always be those who have their own twisted ideas of the Christian faith, and who wish to win others to their mistaken beliefs. But of one thing Paul was sure--the days of the deceivers were numbered. Their falsity would be demonstrated and they would receive their appropriate reward.

The history of the Christian Church teaches us that falsity cannot live. It may flourish for a time, but when it is exposed to the light of truth it is bound to shrivel and die. There is only one test for falsity--"You will know them by their fruits." The best way to overcome and to banish the false is to live in such a way that the loveliness and the graciousness of the truth is plain for all to see. The defeat of error depends not on skill in controversy but in the demonstration in life of the more excellent way.


3:10-13 But you have been my disciple in my teaching, my training, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, my persecutions, my sufferings, in what happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra, in the persecutions which I underwent; and the Lord rescued me from them all. And those who wish to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted; while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceived themselves and deceiving others.

Paul contrasts the conduct of Timothy, his loyal disciple, with the conduct of the heretics who were doing their utmost to wreck the Church. The word we have translated to be a disciple includes so much that is beyond translation in any single English word. It is the Greek parakolouthein ( G3877) and literally means to follow alongside; but it is used with a magnificent width of meaning. It means to follow a person physically, to stick by him through thick and thin. It means to follow a person mentally, to attend diligently to his teaching and fully to understand the meaning of what he says. It means to follow a person spiritually, not only to understand what he says, but also to carry out his ideas and be the kind of person he wishes us to be. Parakolouthein ( G3877) is indeed the word for the disciple, for it includes the unwavering loyalty of the true comrade, the full understanding of the true scholar and the complete obedience of the dedicated servant.

Paul goes on to list the things in which Timothy has been his disciple; and the interest of that list is that it consists of the strands out of which the life and work of an apostle are woven. In it we find the duties, the qualities and the experiences of an apostle.

First, there are the duties of an apostle. There is teaching. No man can teach what he does not know, and therefore before a man can teach Christ to others he must know him himself. When Carlyle's father was discussing the kind of minister his parish needed, he said: "What this parish needs is a man who knows Christ other than at secondhand." Real teaching is always born of real experience. There is training. The Christian life does not consist only in knowing something; it consists even more in being something. The task of the apostle is not only to tell men the truth; it is also to help them do it. The true leader gives training in living.

Second, there are the qualities of the apostle. First and foremost he has an aim in life. Two men were talking of a great satirist who had been filled with moral earnestness. "He kicked the world about," said one, "as if it had been a football." "True," said the other, "but he kicked it to a goal." As individuals, we should sometimes ask ourselves: what is our aim in life? As teachers we should sometimes ask ourselves: what am I trying to do with these people whom I teach? Once Agesilaus, the Sparta king, was asked, "What shall we teach our boys?" His answer was: "That which will be most useful to them when they are men." Is it knowledge, or is it life, that we are trying to transmit?

As members of the Church, we should sometimes ask ourselves, what are we trying to do in it? It is not enough to be satisfied when a church is humming like a dynamo and every night in the week has its own crowded organization. We should be asking: what, if any, is the unifying purpose which binds all this activity together? In all life there is nothing so creative of really productive effort as a clear consciousness of a purpose.

Paul goes on to other qualities of an apostle. There is faith, complete belief that God's commands are binding and that his promises are true. There is patience. The word here is makrothumia ( G3115) ; and makrothumia, as the Greeks used it, usually meant patience with people. It is the ability not to lose patience when people are foolish, not to grow irritable when they seem unteachable. It is the ability to accept the folly, the perversity, the blindness, the ingratitude of men and still to remain gracious, and still to toil on. There is love. This is God's attitude to men. It is the attitude which bears with everything men can do and refuses to be either angry or embittered, and which will never seek anything but their highest good. To love men is to forgive them and care for them as God forgave and cares--and it is only he who can enable us to do that.

THE EXPERIENCES OF AN APOSTLE ( 2 Timothy 3:10-13 continued)

Paul completes the story of the things in which Timothy has shared, and must share, with him, by speaking of the experiences of an apostle; and he prefaces that list of experiences by setting down the quality of endurance. The Greek is hupomone ( G5281) , which means not a passive sitting down and bearing things but a triumphant facing of them so that even out of evil there can come good. It describes, not the spirit which accepts life, but the spirit which masters it.

And that quality of conquering endurance is necessary, because persecution is an essential part of the experience of an apostle. Paul cites three instances when he had to suffer for Christ. He was driven from Antioch in Pisidia ( Acts 13:50); he had to flee from Iconium to avoid lynching ( Acts 14:5-6); in Lystra he was stoned and left for dead ( Acts 14:19). It is true that these things happened before the young Timothy had definitely entered on the Christian way, but they all happened in the district of which he was a native; and he may well have been an eyewitness of them. It may well be a proof of Timothy's courage and consecration that he had seen very clearly what could happen to an apostle and had yet not hesitated to cast in his lot with Paul.

It is Paul's conviction that the real follower of Christ cannot escape persecution. When trouble fell on the Thessalonians, Paul wrote to them: "When we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction; just as it has come to pass, and as you know" ( 1 Thessalonians 3:4). It is as if he said to them: "You have been well warned." He returned after the first missionary journey to visit the Churches he had founded, "strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" ( Acts 14:22). The Kingdom had its price. And Jesus himself had said: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake" ( Matthew 5:10). If anyone proposes to accept a set of standards quite different from the world's, he is bound to encounter trouble. If anyone proposes to introduce into his life a loyalty which surpasses all earthly loyalties, there are bound to be clashes. And that is precisely what Christianity demands that a man should do.

Persecution and hardships will come, but of two things Paul is sure.

He is sure that God will rescue the man who puts his faith in him. He is sure that in the long run it is better to suffer with God and the right than to prosper with men and the wrong. Certain of the temporary persecution, he is equally certain of the ultimate glory.

He is sure that the ungodly man will go from bad to worse and that there is literally no future for the man who refuses to accept the way of God.

THE VALUE OF SCRIPTURE ( 2 Timothy 3:14-17 )

3:14-17 But as for you, remain loyal to the things which you have learned, and in which your belief has been confirmed, for you know from whom you learned them, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that will bring you salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. All God-inspired scripture is useful for teaching, for the conviction of error, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.

Paul concludes this section with an appeal to Timothy to remain loyal to all the teaching he had received. On his mother's side Timothy was a Jew, although his father had been a Greek ( Acts 16:1); and it is clear that it was his mother who had brought him up. It was the glory of the Jews that their children from their earliest days were trained in the law. They claimed that their children learned the law even from their swaddling clothes and drank it in with their mother's milk. They claimed that the law was so imprinted on the heart and mind of a Jewish child that he would sooner forget his own name than he would forget it. So from his earliest childhood Timothy had known the sacred writings. We must remember that the scripture of which Paul is writing is the Old Testament; as yet the New Testament had not come into being. If what be claims for scripture is true of the Old Testament, how much truer it is of the still more precious words of the New.

We must note that Paul here makes a distinction. He speaks of "all God-inspired scripture." The Gnostics had their own fanciful books; the heretics all produced their own literature to support their claims. Paul regarded these as man-made things; but the great books for a man's soul were the God-inspired ones which tradition and the experience of men had sanctified.

Let us then see what Paul says of the usefulness of scripture.

(i) He says that the Scriptures give the wisdom which will bring salvation. A. M. Chirgwin in The Bible in World Evangelism tells the story of a ward sister in a children's hospital in England. She had been finding life, as she herself said, futile and meaningless. She had waded through book after book and laboured with philosophy after philosophy in an attempt to find satisfaction. She had never tried the Bible, for a friend had convinced her by subtle arguments that it could not be true. One day a visitor came to the ward and left a supply of gospels. The sister was persuaded to read a copy of St. John. "It shone and glowed with truth," she said, "and my whole being responded to it. The words that finally decided me were those in John 18:37: 'For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.' So I listened to that voice, and heard the truth, and found my Saviour."

Again and again Scripture has opened for men and women the way to God. In simple fairness, no man seeking for the truth has any right to neglect the reading of the Bible. A book with a record such as it has cannot be disregarded. Even an unbeliever is acting unfairly unless he tries to read it. The most amazing things may happen if he does, for there is a saving wisdom here that is in no other book.

(ii) The Scriptures are of use in teaching. Only in the New Testament have we any picture of Jesus, any account of his life and any record of his teaching. For that very reason it is unanswerable that, whatever a man might argue about the rest of the Bible, it is impossible for the Church ever to do without the Gospels. It is perfectly true--as we have so often said--that Christianity is not founded on a printed book but on a living person. The fact remains that the only place in all the world where we get a first-hand account of that person and of his teaching is in the New Testament. That is why the church which has no Bible Class is a church in whose work an essential element is missing.

(iii) The Scriptures are valuable for reproof. It is not meant that the Scriptures are valuable for finding fault; what is meant is that they are valuable for convincing a man of the error of his ways and for pointing him on the right path. A. M. Chirgwin has story after story of how the Scriptures came by chance into the hands of men and changed their lives.

In Brazil Signor Antonio of Minas bought a New Testament which he took home to burn. He went home and found the fire was out. Deliberately he lit it. He flung the New Testament on it. It would not burn. He opened out the pages to make it burn more easily. It opened at the Sermon on the Mount. He glanced at it as he consigned it to the flames. His mind was caught; he took it back. "He read on, forgetful of time, through the hours of the night, and just as the dawn was breaking, he stood up and declared, 'I believe'."

Vincente Quiroga of Chile found a few pages of a book washed up on the seashore by a tidal wave following an earthquake. He read them and never rested until he obtained the rest of the Bible. Not only did he become a Christian; he devoted the rest of his life to the distribution of the Scriptures in the forgotten villages of northern Chile.

One dark night in a forest in Sicily a brigand held up a colporteur at the point of a revolver. He was ordered to light a bonfire and burn his books. He lit the fire, and then he asked if he might read a little from each book before he dropped it in the flames. He read the twenty-third psalm from one; the story of the Good Samaritan from another; from another the Sermon on the Mount; from another 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. At the end of each reading, the brigand said: "That's a good book; we won't burn that one; give it to me." In the end not a book was burned; the brigand left the colporteur and went off into the darkness with the books. Years later that same brigand turned up again. This time he was a Christian minister, and it was to the reading of the books that he attributed his change.

It is beyond argument that the Scriptures can convict a man of his error and convince him of the power of Christ.

(iv) The Scriptures are of use for correction. The real meaning of this is that all theories, all theologies, all ethics, are to be tested against the Bible. If they contradict the teaching of the Bible, they are to be refused. It is our duty to use our minds and set them adventuring; but the test must ever be agreement with the teaching of Jesus Christ as the Scriptures present it to us.

(v) Paul makes a final point. The study of the Scriptures trains a man in righteousness until he is equipped for every good work. Here is the essential conclusion. The study of the Scriptures must never be selfish, never simply for the good of a man's own soul. Any conversion which makes a man think of nothing but the fact that he has been saved is no true conversion. He must study the Scriptures to make himself useful to God and to his fellow-men. No man is saved unless he is on fire to save his fellow-men.

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Barclay, William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". 1956-1959.

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture -- Every Scripture ..= Many scholars like Lenski say there is no difference in these renderings (translations). Most translations follow "All Scripture."

All Scripture would include the NT sacred writings as well as the Old Testament. As Paul has already referred to the OT in vs. 15, he now deliberately includes the Sacred Writings of the New Covenant as well.

Inspired of God -- God breathed. "God-breathed, breathed into by God, inspired. The rabbinical teaching was that the Spirit of God rested on and in the prophets and spoke through them so that their words did not come from themselves, but from the mouth of God and they spoke and wrote in the Holy Spirit. The early church was in entire agreement with this view." (Rienecker, LKGNT)

INSPIRATION - 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21, 1 Corinthians 14:37, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Galatians 1:11-12, Matthew 17:5, Luke 1:68-70,

Doctrine = teaching; We must teach scripture.

Reproof = rebuke- for the purpose of “refutation” of a false statement or argument. PPC

"Only the Christian morality is the true ethic governing human behavior. The pre-Christian Gentiles forsook God, and the result was the near-universal debauchery of the human race. There can be no doubt that forsaking the NT ethics on such things as adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness, etc., if persisted in, will have the same final result." Coffman.

Correction = setting a person on a straight course.

Instruction = training, instructing believers in God’s ways.

Doctrine = tells us what is right.

Reproof = tells us what is not right

Correction = tell how to get right

Instruction = tells how to stay right.


2 Timothy 3:16,

Deuteronomy 18:20,

Revelation 22:18-19,

Deuteronomy 4:2,

Numbers 24:12-13,

Luke 16:15,

Proverbs 14:12.

The final revelation - Galatians 1:8-9,

John 16:13,

2 Peter 1:3.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. 2021.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,.... That is, all holy Scripture; for of that only the apostle is speaking; and he means the whole of it; not only the books of the Old Testament, but of the New, the greatest part of which was now written; for this second epistle to Timothy is by some thought to be the last of Paul's epistles; and this also will hold good of what was to be written; for all is inspired by God, or breathed by him: the Scriptures are the breath of God, the word of God and not men; they are "written by the Spirit", as the Syriac version renders it; or "by the Spirit of God", as the Ethiopic version. The Scriptures are here commended, from the divine authority of them; and which is attested and confirmed by various arguments; as the majesty and loftiness of their style, which in many places is inimitable by men; the sublimity of the matter contained in them, which transcends all human understanding and capacity ever to have attained unto and discovered; as the trinity of persons in the Godhead, the incarnation of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, c. The purity and holiness of them before observed, show them to be the word of him that is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity as also their harmony and agreement, though wrote by different persons, in different places, and ages, and at sundry times, and in divers manners; what seeming inconsistencies are observed in them may, with labour and industry, by divine assistance, be reconciled. The predictions of future events in them, as particularly concerning Josiah and Cyrus, by name, long before they were born, and especially concerning Jesus Christ, and which have had their accomplishment, and many others in the New Testament both by Christ and his apostles, are a proof that they could not be the writings of men, but must have the omniscient God for their author; the impartiality of the writers of them, in not concealing the mean extract of some of them, the sins of others before conversion, and even their sins and failings afterwards, as well as those of their nearest relations and dearest friends, strengthens the proof of their divine authority; to which may be added, the wonderful preservation of them, through all the changes and declensions of the Jewish church and state, to whom the books of the Old Testament were committed; and notwithstanding the violence and malice of Heathen persecutors, particularly Dioclesian, who sought to destroy every copy of the Scriptures, and published an edict for that purpose, and notwithstanding the numbers of heretics, and who have been in power, as also the apostasy of the church of Rome; and yet these writings have been preserved, and kept pure and incorrupt, which is not the case of other writings; nor are there any of such antiquity as the oldest of these: to which may be subjoined the testimony of God himself; his outward testimony by miracles, wrought by Moses and the prophets, concerned in the writings of the Old Testament, and by the apostles in the New; and his internal testimony, which is the efficacy of these Scriptures on the hearts of men; the reading and hearing of which, having been owned for the conversion, comfort and edification of thousands and thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand: and

is profitable for doctrine; for the discovering, illustrating, and confirming any doctrine concerning God, the being, persons, and perfections of God; concerning the creation and fall of man; concerning the person and offices of Christ, redemption by him, justification by his righteousness, pardon by his blood, reconciliation and atonement by his sacrifice, and eternal life through him, with many others. The Scripture is profitable for ministers to fetch doctrine from, and establish it by; and for hearers to try and prove it by:

for reproof; of errors and heresies; this is the sword of the Spirit, which cuts all down. There never was, nor is, nor can be any error or heresy broached in the world, but there is a sufficient refutation of it in the Scriptures; which may be profitably used for that purpose, as it often has been by Christ and his apostles, and others since in all ages:

for correction; of vice; there being no sin, but the evil nature of it is shown, its wicked tendency is exposed, and the sad effects and consequences of it are pointed out in these writings: for instruction in righteousness; in every branch of duty incumbent upon men; whether with respect to God, or one another; for there is no duty men are obliged unto, but the nature, use, and excellency of it, are here shown: the Scriptures are a perfect rule of faith and practice; and thus they are commended from the usefulness and profitableness of them.

Copyright Statement
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 3:16". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Marks of Perilous Times; Excellence of the Scriptures. A. D. 66.

      10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,   11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.   12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.   13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.   14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;   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.   16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:   17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

      Here the apostle, to confirm Timothy in that way wherein he walked,

      I. Sets before him his own example, which Timothy had been an eye-witness of, having long attended Paul (2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Timothy 3:10): Thou hast fully known my doctrine. The more fully we know the doctrine of Christ and the apostles, the more closely we shall cleave to it; the reason why many sit loose to it is because they do not fully know it. Christ's apostles had no enemies but those who did not know them, or not know them fully; those who knew them best loved and honoured them the most. Now what is it that Timothy had so fully known in Paul? 1. The doctrine that he preached. Paul kept back nothing from his hearers, but declared to them the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), so that if it were not their own fault they might fully know it. Timothy had a great advantage in being trained up under such a tutor, and being apprised of the doctrine he preached. 2. He had fully known his conversation: Thou hast fully know my doctrine, and manner of life; his manner of life was of a piece with his doctrine, and did not contradict it. He did not pull down by his living what he built up by his preaching. Those ministers are likely to do good, and leave lasting fruits of their labours, whose manner of life agrees with their doctrine; as, on the contrary, those cannot expect to profit the people at all that preach well and live ill. 3. Timothy fully knew what was the great thing that Paul had in view, both in his preaching and in his conversation: "Thou hast known my purpose, what I drive at, how far it is from any worldly, carnal, secular design, and how sincerely I aim at the glory of God and the good of the souls of men." 4. Timothy fully knew Paul's good character, which he might gather from his doctrine, manner of life, and purpose; for he gave proofs of his faith (that is, of his integrity and fidelity, or his faith in Christ, his faith concerning another world, by which Paul lived), his long-suffering towards the churches to which he preached and over which he presided, his charity towards all men, and his patience. These were graces that Paul was eminent for, and Timothy knew it. 5. He knew that he had suffered ill for doing well (2 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:11): "Thou hast fully known the persecutions and afflictions that came unto me" (he mentions those only which happened to him while Timothy was with him, at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra); "and therefore let it be no surprise to thee if thou suffer hard things, it is no more than I have endured before." 6. He knew what care God had taken of him: Notwithstanding out of them all the Lord delivered me; as he never failed his cause, so his God never failed him. Thou hast fully known my afflictions. When we know the afflictions of good people but in part, they are a temptation to us to decline that cause which they suffer for; when we know only the hardships they undergo for Christ, we may be ready to say, "We will renounce that cause that is likely to cost us so dear in the owning of it;" but when we fully know the afflictions, not only how they suffer, but how they are supported and comforted under their sufferings, then, instead of being discouraged, we shall be animated by them, especially considering that we are told before that we must count upon such things (2 Timothy 3:12; 2 Timothy 3:12): All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution: not always alike; at that time those who professed the faith of Christ were more exposed to persecution than at other times; but at all times, more or less, those who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. They must expect to be despised, and that their religion will stand in the way of their preferment; those who will live godly must expect it, especially those who will live godly in Christ Jesus, that is, according to the strict rules of the Christian religion, those who will wear the livery and bear the name of the crucified Redeemer. All who will show their religion in their conversation, who will not only be godly, but live godly, let them expect persecution, especially when they are resolute in it. Observe, (1.) The apostle's life was very exemplary for three things: for his doctrine, which was according to the will of God; for his life, which was agreeable to his doctrine; and for his persecutions and sufferings. (2.) Though his life was a life of great usefulness, yet it was a life of great sufferings; and none, I believe, came nearer to their great Master for eminent services and great sufferings than Paul: he suffered almost in every place; the Holy Ghost witnessed that bonds and afflictions did abide him, Acts 20:23. Here he mentions his persecutions and afflictions at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra, besides what he suffered elsewhere. (3.) The apostle mentions the Lord's delivering him out of them all, for Timothy's and our encouragement under sufferings. (4.) We have the practice and treatment of true Christians: they live godly in Jesus Christ--this is their practice; and they shall suffer persecution--this is the usage they must expect in this world.

      II. He warns Timothy of the fatal end of seducers, as a reason why he should stick closely to the truth as it is in Jesus: But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, c., 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 Timothy 3:13. Observe, As good men, by the grace of God, grow better and better, so bad men, through the subtlety of Satan and the power of their own corruptions, grow worse and worse. The way of sin is down-hill; for such proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Those who deceive others do but deceive themselves; those who draw others into error run themselves into more and more mistakes, and they will find it so at last, to their cost.

      III. He directs him to keep close to a good education, and particularly to what he had learned out of the holy scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14; 2 Timothy 3:15): Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned. Note, It is not enough to learn that which is good, but we must continue in it, and persevere in it unto the end. Then are we Christ's disciples indeed, John 8:31. We should not be any more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive,Ephesians 4:14. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines; for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace,Hebrews 13:9. And for this reason we should continue in the things we have learned from the holy scriptures; not that we ought to continue in any errors and mistakes which we may have been led into, in the time of our childhood and youth (for these, upon an impartial enquiry and full conviction, we should forsake); but this makes nothing against our continuing in those things which the holy scriptures plainly assert, and which he that runs may read. If Timothy would adhere to the truth as he had been taught it, this would arm him against the snares and insinuations of seducers. Observe, Timothy must continue in the things which he had learned and had been assured of.

      1. It is a great happiness to know the certainty of the things wherein we have been instructed (Luke 1:4); not only to know what the truths are, but to know that they are of undoubted certainty. What we have learned we must labour to be more and more assured of, that, being grounded in the truth, we may be guarded against error, for certainty in religion is of great importance and advantage: Knowing, (1.) "That thou hast had good teachers. Consider of whom thou hast learned them; not of evil men and seducers, but good men, who had themselves experienced the power of the truths they taught thee, and been ready to suffer for them, and thereby would give the fullest evidence of their belief of these truths." (2.) "Knowing especially the firm foundation upon which thou hast built, namely, that of the scripture (2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 3:15): That from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures."

      2. Those who would acquaint themselves with the things of God, and be assured of them, must know the holy scriptures, for these are the summary of divine revelation.

      3. It is a great happiness to know the holy scriptures from our childhood; and children should betimes get the knowledge of the scriptures. The age of children is the learning age; and those who would get true learning must get it out of the scriptures.

      4. The scriptures we are to know are the holy scriptures; they come from the holy God, were delivered by holy men, contain holy precepts, treat of holy things, and were designed to make us holy and to lead us in the way of holiness to happiness; being called the holy scriptures, they are by this distinguished from profane writings of all sorts, and from those that only treat morality, and common justice and honesty, but do not meddle with holiness. If we would know the holy scriptures, we must read and search them daily, as the noble Bereans did, Acts 17:11. They must not lie by us neglected, and seldom or never looked into. Now here observe,

      (1.) What is the excellency of the scripture. It is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16), and therefore is his word. It is a divine revelation, which we may depend upon as infallibly true. The same Spirit that breathed reason into us breathes revelation among us: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men spoke as they were moved or carried forth by the Holy Ghost,2 Peter 1:21. The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but what they received of the Lord that they delivered unto us. That the scripture was given by inspiration of God appears from the majesty of its style,--from the truth, purity, and sublimity, of the doctrines contained in it,--from the harmony of its several parts,--from its power and efficacy on the minds of multitudes that converse with it,--from the accomplishment of many prophecies relating to things beyond all human foresight,--and from the uncontrollable miracles that were wrought in proof of its divine original: God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will,Hebrews 2:4.

      (2.) What use it will be of to us. [1.] It is able to make us wise to salvation; that is, it is a sure guide in our way to eternal life. Note, Those are wise indeed who are wise to salvation. The scriptures are able to make us truly wise, wise for our souls and another world. "To make thee wise to salvation through faith." Observe, The scriptures will make us wise to salvation, if they be mixed with faith, and not otherwise, Hebrews 4:2. For, if we do not believe their truth and goodness, they will do us no good. [2.] It is profitable to us for all the purposes of the Christian life, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. It answers all the ends of divine revelation. It instructs us in that which is true, reproves us for that which is amiss, directs us in that which is good. It is of use to all, for we all need to be instructed, corrected, and reproved: it is of special use to ministers, who are to give instruction, correction, and reproof; and whence can they fetch it better than from the scripture? [3.] That the man of God may be perfect,2 Timothy 3:17; 2 Timothy 3:17. The Christian, the minister, is the man of God. That which finishes a man of God in this world is the scripture. By it we are thoroughly furnished for every good work. There is that in the scripture which suits every case. Whatever duty we have to do, whatever service is required from us, we may find enough in the scriptures to furnish us for it.

      (3.) On the whole we here see, [1.] That the scripture has various uses, and answers divers ends and purposes: It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction of all errors in judgment and practice, and for instruction in righteousness. [2.] The scripture is a perfect rule of faith and practice, and was designed for the man of God, the minister as well as the Christian who is devoted to God, for it is profitable for doctrine, &c. [3.] If we consult the scripture, which was given by inspiration of God, and follow its directions, we shall be made men of God, perfect, and thoroughly furnished to every good work. [4.] There is no occasion for the writings of the philosopher, nor for rabbinical fables, nor popish legends, nor unwritten traditions, to make us perfect men of God, since the scripture answers all these ends and purposes. O that we may love our Bibles more, and keep closer to them than ever! and then shall we find the benefit and advantage designed thereby, and shall at last attain the happiness therein promised and assured to us.

Copyright Statement
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
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible

Turning to the SECOND EPISTLE, we find that, although there is the same grand truth of the Saviour God maintained, the state of things had become sensibly worse, and the hour for the apostle's departure from the world was drawing near. Accordingly, there is a depth of feeling that one may safely say far exceeds the first epistle, although it had shown so much tenderness and care both for Timothy and the faithful of those days. But now there were other reasons for it, namely, that Christians were neglecting godliness and order. They had been long accustomed to the truth, and alas! human nature began to show itself out in indifference. There was no longer the freshness of a new thing; and where the heart was not kept up in communion with the Lord, the value of divine things was less felt, if it did not quite fade away. Accordingly, in much grief of heart, the apostle writes to his tried and trembling child in the faith, and seeks to strengthen him, above all things not to be discouraged, and to make up his mind to endure hard things. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise." (2 Timothy 1:1.) It is not "the commandment," as of authority, but "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." The crumbling away of everything here was before the apostle; and accordingly it is one of the peculiar features of this second epistle, that he brings out that which never can decay which was before there was a world to dissolve namely, that life which was in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Thus the apostle comes to the close of his ministry, and touches upon the line of St. John. There is no part of John's doctrine more strikingly characteristic than life in Christ. Now we see that when Paul was touching the confines of that difficult and most perilous moment when John was to be left alone, he brings out as his last note that very truth which John was to develop with special care and fulness. "To Timothy, my dearly-beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers," what singular language this from Paul! How comes it so? Paul "the aged," as he says, was just about to leave this world. Activity of service was no longer before him. This he had known most extensively, but it was closed; no longer had he before him any prospect of having to fight the battles of the church of God. He had fought the good fight of faith. Others must do that kind of work in future. But now before his heart just as in principle before the dying Lord Himself, wonderful to say two things come together: a deeper sense of what is in God, as revealed in Christ Himself, before there was any creation at all; and on the other hand so much the deeper sense also of what could be owned in nature. Now these seem to many very difficult indeed to combine. They appear to think that if you hold life in Christ to be the one thing that is most precious, to be the prize that your heart reverts to, all owning of anything short of this would be out of place; but it is exactly the contrary. When the Lord was entering on His ministry He says, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" But when dying upon the cross, He calls to John to behold His mother. We find a precisely similar kind of combination in Paul. Of course it was infinitely higher, it is needless to say, in the Master; but the servant was as closely as possible following in His steps.

It is beautiful to trace this double working and current of the apostle that is, what is imperishable, above and beyond nature; and, along with this, the utmost value put on everything that he would own in those naturally bound up with him those of either family that feared God. "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers, with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears." He had not said a word about them before. There was infirmity in the character of Timothy. There might be a mixture of timid shrinking from pain and shame. He was one that needed to lean on an arm stronger than his own. It was a part of his lot. Thus it was that God had made him: there was no use denying it. But the apostle at the same time owns, and loves to own, that which another might perhaps despise. There was no despising natural links or spiritual here, far from it.

Timothy, again, winced under trials, too sensitive to slights, disappointments, and the manifold griefs that came upon him. But the apostle remembered it all, felt deeply for if not with him, and greatly desiring to see him once more. His own desire after going to the Lord did not prevent this, but the reverse: "that I may be filled with joy: when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." I refer to this just to remark that such links as these, which are connected with nature, all come before the apostle's mind, at the very moment when a spurious feeling would have judged it precisely the time to banish and forget them. There are persons who think that the approach of death is intended to blot out everything here. Not so the apostle Paul. In that large heart which weighed so justly and with single eye, there was a deepening feeling as to all that he saw around him; there was a realizing of the importance of things of which he had said not a word before. For him the light of eternity already shone strongly on present things, instead of taking him completely out of them. And this, I believe, is much to be considered.

"I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear" (it was what Timothy was manifesting), "but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord" (there must, I suppose, have been some ground for the exhortation), "nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Here we have him recurring to that which was entirely outside nature, and before its very platform existed. At the same time there is the carrying on his full notice of everything found here below that would be a source of comfort to one who anticipated the ruin of Christendom.

Afterwards he also speaks of his own work and of that which he was suffering. Instead of hiding either from Timothy, he points all out to him. He wants to accustom his mind to expect hardship instead of shirking it. He tells him further to "hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." At the same time he shows also his sense of the kindness of a particular individual and his family. "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but, when. he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me." It appears it was not merely in Rome. "The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." The same tone of mercy is equally promised in this #epistle as in the last. "And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well."

In the second chapter he turns to another theme, he instructs and exhorts Timothy as to communicating (not authority, or status, or gift, but) truth to others. It is not a question here about elders, but what would abide all the same when elders could not be duly appointed. He is now looking at the state of disorder in the house of God, instead of contemplating it in its public integrity, as in the first epistle. There was a state of things coming when it would be impossible to have local charges chosen according to the full sanction which they had in apostolic days. Indeed it may be well to remark here, that we never read of Timothy appointing bishops or elders. Possibly he did appoint them; but there is no scriptural proof of it. Titus, we know, did so; but God took care that it should never be positively stated about Timothy. The peculiar task confided to the latter was care of doctrine much more than of outward order. As far as appointment went, Titus had a commission to establish elders in each city of Crete; but not so Timothy, as far as the inspired records speak.

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men." (2 Timothy 2:1.) We must not be afraid of a manifest duty because it has been abused. There are those who shrink from helping on others in order to the work and doctrine of the Lord. This I cannot but consider as a proof of want of faith. What is a man well taught in the truth for, if not to communicate his knowledge to others that are faithful, but not equally instructed in the word of God? Surely if it is an urgent call to convey what we know of Christ and the truth to those that know nothing, it is a great privilege to help to contribute a greater knowledge of the truth to those that know little. The great thing is to do the will of God, let others say what they please; and so the apostle Paul exhorts Timothy. It is to be supposed that the younger labourer cowered somewhat, unwilling to incur the odious charge, so easily made but hard to refute, of setting himself up and taking the place of some great one. This might deter a sensitive saint from his duty. But, says the apostle, "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." This was to touch the right chord in his heart. Had the Lord Jesus not sent him? Why then yield to the enemy? Assuredly he would rejoice to scare Timothy from the field of serving Christ, and would shrink from no means to secure it.

"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." He would not have him to be spreading doubtful opinions; but what he had heard from the apostle himself he need not scruple to give out freely. Let me remark, that there are comparatively few indeed that receive truth without help of others directly from God. A great many certainly flatter themselves that they are thus favoured; but the cases are uncommon where it is more than pretence. The fact is that God loves to make His children mutually dependent; and if we are only humble, there are very few saints from whom we may not derive some good, though not always in the same way. Nor do I at all see that any Christians should be above learning, if others can teach. At any rate the apostle presses this very strongly on Timothy. He was to communicate the things he had learnt of Paul, that they might be able to teach others also.

Next he comes to a more personal need. "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." To take pains and to endure are requisite even in what pertains to this life. "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life" (he must be unencumbered, and undivided in his object); "that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." He must take care of the manner in which he strives. And then again "the husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits." Rather he must "labour before he partake of the fruits." That is, he must first labour, and then partake of the fruits. God takes care of His people, and ensures them a blessed end. At the same time He will have them undividedly for Himself; and He is also jealous of the way in which they seek even the ends of God.

Then the apostle puts before them a blessed model of that which he had before his own soul. "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel." This is a very striking word. For he does not say Jesus Christ simply in. His connection with the church, but "of the seed of David," the fulfiller of the promises, and object of the prophecies. Even if we look at Him so, He was raised from the dead. Resurrection is the form and character of the lowest blessings of which Jesus is the dispenser; much more is He risen to exalt God in the highest. Death and resurrection, then, are thus put before this servant of God; the more remarkably, because the point here is a practical and not a doctrinal question. He was to remember, then, "that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil-doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound." Paul suffered as he taught: a single eye to Christ and His grace made him consistent. "Put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings."

It was thus Paul treated the proud reasonings and speculations of man; withal briefly touching on those that had gone entirely astray Hymenaeus and Philetus. It was not merely now that they had made their consciences bad and slipped away from faith. Their own word would eat as a canker, and do harm to others as well as to themselves, "who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." This was to reverse the lesson of a risen Christ, and to open the way for all laxity. It was a kindred error, though in an opposite direction, to that which false teachers sought to infuse among the Thessalonians: there that the day of the Lord was come, producing panic; here that the resurrection was past, leading, to ease. The one was suited to upset the young, the other to beguile the old.

Then the apostle brings out most important directions for the days that were then coming in, but now come, and more. Questions are before him more serious than a maintenance of order. How are we to walk so as to please the Lord when disorder reigns, claiming to be the only true order? In a measure, no doubt, the truth is in Christendom, and only there; for one cannot look for the truth in Judaism or heathenism now. Judaism had its divine institutions and hopes, but the truth is found in Christendom only: nevertheless in Christendom, who fails to discern Jewish elements and heathenish enormities? How is a man to walk in such a state of things as this? In the former epistle, Timothy was told how to behave in the house of God, as yet in order; but now we are told how to behave in such a state of things as the present disorder. "The foundation of God standeth sure [or, the firm foundation of God standeth], having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name" not of "Christ," but "of the Lord depart from iniquity." I must do so, if I own Him only in the indispensable truth of His Lordship if I own Him simply as the One that has authority over my soul. And a less confession than this God never permitted the church to accept; nor in fact in Jerusalem itself was less ever accepted than the naming the name of the Lord. God had made Jesus to be Lord and Christ, preached Peter on that day of power, when as yet much lay hid, and the great instrument of the revelation of the mystery was still shrouded in the darkness of midnight. But, if one confesses the name of the Lord, the word is imperative: "let him depart from iniquity." The disorder might be so great that we might make mistakes in our anxiety; but "The Lord knoweth them that are his." On the other hand, if a soul confesses the name of the Lord, he must have done with iniquity.

This of itself indicates that the epistle provides for a time when it is no longer simply a question of recognising persons coming out of the world. It is needful to exercise judgment now. One must try disorders and prove profession. Truth and holiness and endurance are wanted, not authority or outward order. Why cannot a man be as simple now as in apostolic times? Why not baptize at once every soul around? It would not be accordant with the mind of God. It is a duty in the present state of confusion to use scriptural means; and here we have our warrant, as in the epistles we find more. Whatever therefore may be right in certain cases, the assembly of God ought never to be forced to put every case on the same dead level ought never to be bound by any special process, as if it were unalterable. The cause of this is the present confusion, and accordingly the apostle brings a picture of it before Timothy's mind.

"In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." That is, it is not enough that I should walk with the Lord individually, but I must clear myself of association with that which is contrary to His name. Such is the meaning of purging himself. It is not the question of discipline dealing With evil ways; but here we are in a state of things where we are in danger of being mixed up with vessels unto the Lord's dishonour. Nothing can sanction this. I am not at liberty of course to leave Christendom, I dare not get out of the great house at all; indeed I cannot (at any rate without becoming an apostate) leave the house of God, however bad its state may be. This is evidently not the true remedy to abandon the confession of Christ: only an apostate could think of it. On the other hand, it is unholy to tamper with evil. Therefore it is incumbent for the Christian to look to this gravely, never to be dragged by the fear of breaking unity into accrediting what dishonours the Lord. Now this is in particular a difficulty for saints, when they have revived before the soul the blessedness of maintaining the unity of the Spirit. It can never cease to be a Christian's duty to maintain the unity of the Spirit; but it is not maintaining the unity of the Spirit to couple with the name of the Lord that which is fleshly and sinful. It is well to be exclusive of sin, but of nothing else. It is well to maintain the largest heart for everything that is really of Christ. But we must exclude that which is contrary to His name; and the very same desire to prove one's love, one's faith, one's appreciation of Christ, will make one anxious not to be dragged into that which is not for His glory. "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."

But then another thing. He lets Timothy know that while he laid this on others, he must look carefully to his own ways. "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace." It is not simply now to follow these, as urged in the first epistle (1 Timothy 6:11); but he adds a most characteristic word in the second epistle. And this, I apprehend, is the reason. He forbad his going on in association with those that dishonour the Lord with vessels to dishonour; but he tells him to follow these things "with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Therefore, isolation is never desirable, though it may be sometimes necessary. But no man ought to separate himself from the children of God, unless it be a dire necessity for the Lord; it is clearly not according to Christ. It seems to me, I confess, that if there were simplicity of faith, the Lord would give one eyes to see some at least that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.

Thus we have everything cared for here; the state of confusion is clearly depicted, as it then was beginning, and as results have proved yet more. How gracious of the Lord to point out the path for the saint, separate from that which grieves the Lord, yet enjoying all that He sees good for us of the privileges of Christianity! Otherwise this might have seemed to be (what unbelief taunts and stigmatizes it, spite of His sanction) pride of heart and presumption. And the comfort is that, if prepared to cleave to the will of the Lord alone, we shall have, through His grace, fellowship with the true-hearted. "Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And a servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle toward all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness correcting those that oppose, if perhaps God may give them repentance for acknowledgment of the truth, and they may for his will wake up out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him." This was always the becoming tone; but now it is imperiously necessary, as well as wise and good.

Then in 2 Timothy 3:1-17 he proceeds to show us not merely a picture of the condition that Christianity will fall into, but, besides, a state of things that would be produced by this confusion. Here we find the perilous times fairly brought before us. "Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." Things are very much taking this direction of late, and at the present moment. Take what is called physical Christianity a stupid, gross, and heathenish phrase, but just enough to show where people are drifting to. It answers not a little to the kind of thing ,;et forth here. As we know, there may be over it all a certain form of godliness, but underneath it is really wickedness. This the apostle guards Timothy against, and indeed ourselves, he warns him how seduction would go on more and more, but "from such turn away." No matter what the reasons or excuses for joining with them, "turn away."

Then he points out the two principal guards for the faithful, in such a perilous state. The first is the moral character of the source or channel whence Timothy had derived what he knew. "Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions." It is the whole spiritual experience, so to speak, of the apostle. He was to continue in the things which he had learned, and had been assured of, knowing of whom he had learned them a very important point. Persons sometimes say it does not matter who taught; but God does not treat the matter so lightly. It is often a very great safeguard for the saint of God; for, after all, it makes no small difference who says this or that. A word altogether unbecoming in one mouth might be most proper in another. The apostle well knew that the God who had brought these glorious truths to man, the God that had manifested His grace, had given a witness of their reality in the man from whom he had learned them; and this was meant to have an enduring effect on the conscience and heart of Timothy. For it is not dogma pure and simple, it is not mere instruction; and we may thank God for it. It is an immense blessing that we have the truth not only in a book, but in a practical shape, the truth that comes out of the heart and from the lips of living men of God. Accordingly the apostle reminds Timothy of this.

At the same time there is not the smallest slight of the only and abiding standard. He brings out the infinite value of the Scriptures, that is of what was written, the one transcendent resource for perilous times when we have not the presence and personal help of apostles. It is not merely what had been preached, but what is in a permanent shape for the good of the saints of God here below, which elicits the remarkable assertion of its peculiar worth. "Every scripture" for this is the proper force of the passage "Every scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

The closing chapter (2 Timothy 4:1-22) then gives his solemn charge, and at the same time his own expression of what was before him. As Timothy was about to enter upon a new phase of his ministry, without the apostle's presence or living counsel, the latter charges him with great emphasis, "before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." And the reason why he makes it so urgent not to be turned aside was, that the time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they should heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they should turn away their ears from the truth, and should be. turned unto fables. "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Thus he looks not to the coming of the Lord to receive him to Himself, but to the "appearing of the Lord," which is the usual side of the truth taken in these epistles. The reason is obvious. The coming of the Lord will in no way manifest the faithfulness of the servant; His appearing will. At "that day" will be the display of whatever has been endured, as well as done, for the Lord's sake.

With this prospect he comforts Timothy no less than his own spirit; but at the same time he speaks as to joining him, with a glance at one that had forsaken him. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me." He was comparatively alone. If he does not hide the sorrowful view of an old fellow-labourer's cooling in zeal, with all its dangers, the consolation is also before Timothy both of those that go on in faithful labour, and of one at least restored. "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." So we find that God knows how to temper the bitter with the sweet, always doing the right thing in the right place and time.

Thus he comforts Timothy at the same time that he admonishes him. In the midst of all, he is told to bring the cloak that he left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, but especially the parchments. This again has stumbled the minds of men. They cannot understand an inspired apostle talking about a cloak in the midst of a divinely given pastoral charge. The reason is manifest: they themselves savour of the things of men, and not of God. There is nothing that more shows God than His ability to combine that which is eternal with care for the smallest things of this life. It was not then an indifferent matter to God. The Holy Spirit would make it to be most practical and precious. Be assured, that if you do not bring the Spirit of God into these matters, perhaps your cloak, perhaps a book, will become a snare to you. To many a man and woman has a little bit of dress done no small injury, just because they think it is too little for the Spirit of God to direct them in. "The cloke," then says he, "that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books," not only the clothing, but even that which he is to read, "especially the parchments;" what he was going to write on, probably. "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words."

Finally, we have his assertion of the blessed Lord's care, and his confidence in Him that He would preserve him from all evil to His heavenly kingdom; closing this solemn and touching epistle (it would seem the last words he wrote) with salutations to various saints.

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Bibliographical Information
Kelly, William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible. 1860-1890.