Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day.

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;  

Adam Clarke 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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman 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.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert 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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Chuck Smith 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". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

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". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

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". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John 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". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew 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". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.