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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 3

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

2 Timothy 3:1

Ch. 3 has a vivid description of apostasy (vs 1-9)

But know this = NIV "mark this" "be keeping this in mind" (Wuest.

Last days of what? The last days of the Jewish economy or nation. Acts 2:17.

Clearly Paul was speaking of his own time, and not a time limited to "the last days of Christianity" or just a short time before the Lord’s Second Coming.

Perilous times = grievous time, difficult, terrible, times of stress.

Verse 2

2 Timothy 3:2

There are many such "sin" lists in Paul’s writings. Here he earmark of an apostate world.

Lovers of self -- "philautoi" φιλαυτοι, selfishness.

Covetous = "lovers of money", Lit. "lovers of silver"

Boasters = boastful,

Proud = "showing oneself above others"

Blasphemers = abusive, slanderous, evil speaking, railing, arrogant

Disobedient to parents = The next three sins show a break-down of family discipline, and children spoiled and ungrateful.

Unthankful = ungrateful

Unholy = wicked, (living outside the law).

Verse 3

2 Timothy 3:3

Without natural affection = this refers to a child who does not live the parents, or a mother who does not love her children. Brutes. ἄστοργος astorgos; from ( ἄ a negative) and στοργή storgē (family affection); without natural family affection: - unloving.

Trucebreakers = unappeasable, implacable, (unforgiving), the attitude of a person unwilling to make a truce or to agree to peace, a vicious fighter who fights for the sheer enjoyment of it.

False accuser = slanderous (διάβολος - diabolos; slanderous, accusing falsely: - devil (34), malicious gossips.

Incontinent =without self-control, having no restraint of their ambitions, passions, or lusts, (we would say a person who goes "berserk", flying off the handle).

Fierce = savage, brutal,

Despisers ... = haters of good, not loving good. ἀφιλάγαθος (aphilagathos af-il-ag’-ath-os) (as a negative particle) and lover and good, ; hostile to virtue: - despiser of those that are good.

Verse 4

2 Timothy 3:4

Traitors = treacherous, a betrayer, one who goes over to the enemy.

Heady = headstrong, rash, reckless (lit. falling forward).

Highminded = swollen with conceit, conceited, haughty, to inflate with self conceit, be lifted up with pride; to be puffed up with haughtiness or pride (Thayer).

Is the next phrase two qualities or one?

Lovers of pleasure -- = has the power to rob the soul of its love for God.

Verse 5

2 Timothy 3:5

Form of godliness -- = a form, "people who went under the name of Christ" (Lipscomb); Outsiders are not primarily in view here, but those who had a form of godliness.

form of godliness . . Someone who is godly only in outward appearance. Such people look righteous but are only religious, not actually living according to God’s standards. They promote foolish controversies and ascetic practices that deny the power of godliness for true transformation. - FSB

Denying the power -- = the implication of this passage is that there is a power in the form of godliness. The admonition here is not to leave off the forms of the gospel, but not to deny the power of them through godless living.

The power = the false teachers held to a form but were not living the Christian life. What gives power to the form, is the life that is lived.

From such turn away = Avoid, have nothing to do with them. Alford says "This command shows that ...the symptoms of the last times were already present." (Lipscomb saw here reasons for withdrawal of fellowship.)

Verse 6

2 Timothy 3:6

Creep.. worm their way, sneak. (1x)

Lead captive = to capture, gain control over

Silly women = weak, gullible women

"One of the great virtues of womanhood, namely, that of trusting another, is here turned into a weakness by Satan. Eve was deceived, ..." Wuest.

[Is the male more skeptical? More of a ’wait and see’ what your character and actions really show what you are before making a judgment or decision.]

These false teachers apparently were making an appeal especially to the women at Ephesus.

[ The notorious Manson, sentenced by the State of California for murder, was supported and maintained by a small company of women whom he had deceived.]

Laden -- tormented with guilt.

Led away.. lusts = led astray by various passions ESV; swayed by various impulses, RSV;

Verse 7

2 Timothy 3:7

Ever learning -- who will listen to anybody; listening to every new thing, but never learning the word of God. "Ask for the old paths, where is the good way" Jeremiah 6:16.

Verse 8

2 Timothy 3:8

Jannes and Jambres.. Names not mentioned in the O.T. Exodus 7:11, but in other literature (Josephus) magicians who opposed Moses.

Reprobate -- RSV "counterfeit" (coins) that which does not stand the test, and so rejected. (8x) also castaway, rejected.

Point: Is Paul identifying Hymenaeus and Philetus with sin of seducing people with magical practices. Ephesus was a center of such magic, Acts 13:8 Acts 13:10 Acts 19:19 See "seducers" in 2 Timothy 3:13 also.

Verse 9

2 Timothy 3:9

Proceed no further = RSV.. "but they will not get very far"; their devices would not foil the truth.

Folly manifested -- = their folly will be clear [plain] to everyone.

Verse 10

2 Timothy 3:10

[New paragraph]

But thou -- = "But you have not followed error, but truth, Timothy."


Fully known -- Reminding Timothy "having followed all things closely"

Purpose = Paul’s aim in life was to preach the gospel to all the nations (gentiles). Timothy knew his endurance in doing this; "my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness."

Verse 11

2 Timothy 3:11

At Antioch -- Acts 13:45;

Iconium -- Acts 14:5-6;

Lystra -- Acts 14:19

Delivered me (με ἐῤῥύσατο). Had the apostle in his mind the clause in the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13)

Verse 12

2 Timothy 3:12

That will = Who will live (οἱ θέλοντες ζῇν) to desire, to want to, to wish.

Godly = adv. godly, Godfearingly. "It denotes living in the right attitude to God and to things divine. It can sometimes have the meaning of loyalty, or true religion."

Persecution = The “essence” of persecution consists in “subjecting a person to injury or disadvantage on account of his [beliefs].”

One only meets Satan when traveling in an opposite direction!

Why will Christians be persecuted?

(1) it teaches the only way to the Father is through Jesus; (2) it teaches a morality (a way of life) unpopular with the world; (3) it teaches a miraculous creation, a miraculous end; and a miraculous Savior who was resurrected; (4)

Why does the world hate Christians? John 15:19; Matthew 10:22; Matthew 10:38-39

Verse 13

2 Timothy 3:13

Sin, is like the cancer, or gangrene Paul mentioned, it is progressive becoming worse in each stage.

Impostors for seducers -

Seducers (γόντες) - one who gives incantations by howling, one who practices magic art, sorcerer, swindler, cheat. (ref back to 2 Timothy 3:8).

Verse 14

2 Timothy 3:14

Continue - the Pres. Act. Imperative calls for a constant and continual habit of life.

The things he had learned were from the Scriptures, as we see in vs 15 (2 Timothy 3:15).

Of whom = Gk variant. τινων referring to probably to Lois and Eunice. If it is τίνων - τίνων (τίς [546 / 493]) pronoun, interrogative, masculine or fem. , plural, genitive; "who? which? what?". If the reading is τινος (Gen Sing. Masc. ) then reference is to God or Paul. [Majority text]

It is a priceless advantage to come from a godly home that teaches God’s word and provides good examples.

Verse 15

2 Timothy 3:15

From a child = Timothy could not recall a time in his life when he had not known the Scriptures. Jewish parents had the duty their children the law when in their fifty year.

The term "sacred writings" or "holy writings" here refers to the Old Testament. Paul will use a different term in the next verse to include the inspired writings of men in the New Testament age as well.

A good deal of the NT scriptures had already been written by this time and were already being circulated ( seeColossians 4:16).

Note the formular for introducing a "thus saith the Lord" -- Ephesians 4:8; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:15

To make wise = to impart wisdom

Wise unto salvation ..= The OT pointed out and identified the Messiah when he came into the world.

Faith -- in Christ Jesus = faithful adherence to the teachings of Christ, true fidelity, and in Him.

Verse 16

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.

Verse 17

2 Timothy 3:17

Man of God = the usual term for a spokesman of God, a prophet or a preacher. Here it seems to include more than just a reference to Timothy, and more than just "preachers" but generic meaning "human beings." Coffman.

[See Lenski’s quote on these two verses. ]

Perfect = Complete, competent, sufficient, fitted,

Thoroughly furnished = thoroughly equipped. "The word is used of documents which were completely outfitted, or of a wagon which was completely outfitted or of a completely outfitted rescue boat.

Point: Paul says that by using the Scriptures the "man of God" is thoroughly equipped to do his job. Therefore, he must stick with the Holy Scriptures without adding to it or taking away.

[See study on Inspiration of the Bible.]

Matthew 4:4;

Matthew 19:5

John 10:34-36

Matthew 22:29

Luke 24:25

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/2-timothy-3.html. 2021.
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