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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 3

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

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Verses 1-5

A Description of the Coming Apostates

Paul told Timothy to keep in mind that during the Christian age times of great stress would come for the Christ’s disciples. The great stress would come because of the attitudes men would display. They would turn from love for God to love of self and money. They would be proud, egotistical and use evil speech about others, especially God. They would so lack respect for authority that they would even be disobedient toward their parents. A complete lack of gratitude would also characterize this wicked group. Things holy would be despised by them ( 2Ti_3:1-2 ).

Love for one's own parents, or children, should come naturally, but not for this group. Such would not favor peace under any circumstances and would falsely accuse others. No self-control would be visible in their lives. Instead, Paul foretold that they would rage like wild animals and hate anything good. Betraying someone for selfish gain would be commonplace with them. They would be rash, impulsive and puffed up with conceit. Basically, their desire was to be toward enjoyment of the moment more than toward pleasing God. Christians who have such attitudes might profess to follow God, but it would be clear he had no real influence in their lives. They would deny God's power by ignoring the directions he had revealed to them. Timothy was told to turn away from such people ( 2Ti_3:3-5 ).

Verses 6-9

The Work of Apostates

The hypocritical men Paul had just described would sneak into the homes of the saints and take advantage of the unsuspecting nature of women. Particularly, the silly, or little or weak, women whose consciences are loaded down with sins and uncontrolled desires. It may be false teachers somehow promised them freedom from the guilt they felt. Whatever the case, they were able to lead them away like prisoners of war. Such women, and men who are like them, constantly crave new knowledge. So, they are ever listening for something new and never finding time to really understand the truth ( 2Ti_3:6-7 ).

Jannes and Jambres were two of the magicians who opposed Moses before Pharoah. They used deception to make it appear that they were able to work the same miracles as the man of God ( Exo_7:11 ; Exo_7:22 ). The false teachers Paul warned against were also resisting God's truth. Their minds were destroyed by false teaching and the faith they had once had in God could no longer withstand the test and was not fit for anything. The false teachers of Paul's day would be exposed just as the magicians of Moses' day were. Remember that Moses' rod which became a snake devoured all of the snakes the magicians had used in their trickery ( Exo_7:12 ). Eventually, they could not even stand before Moses because of the plague of boils ( 2Ti_3:8-9 ; Exo_9:11 ).

Verses 10-17

Power to Confront the Coming Apostasy

Paul's life stood in contrast to the lives of the false teachers and should have served as an example to Timothy and others around him. His teaching was sound and in accord with the truth ( Php_1:21 ). His goal was to reach heaven, so he remained faithful in keeping the Lord's will ( Php_3:12-14 ; 2Ti_4:6-8 ). He was patient with those who he instructed, ever striving to help them reach the goal ( 1Th_5:14 ). He had a true love for the Lord, his saints and the lost, as was manifest in the things he endured to preach. He remained steadfast in the fight against the devil. All who have read the New Testament will be aware of the persecution and suffering endured because he preached the gospel ( 2Co_11:23-27 ). It is apparent that the places and events mentioned by Paul were those Timothy had witnessed firsthand in Act_13:1-52 ; Act_14:1-28 . Significantly, Paul says Timothy knew the Lord had delivered him out of every bad situation ( 2Ti_3:10-11 ).

The forces of Satan are going to oppose the forces of God ( Joh_15:19 ; Mat_10:22 ; Act_14:22 ). If we claim to be trying to live a life with God's character being displayed in it and are not being persecuted, then we need to ask ourselves whose side we are really on. Spiritually sick men, like a malignant growth, tend to get worse as the days pass. Guthrie says the meaning here is that they have set a goal to be evil and are making great progress toward their goal. They trick others and themselves into believing they are not really evil ( 2Ti_3:12-13 ).

To avoid the downward slide into evil, Paul urged Timothy to abide in the things he had been taught. Timothy already had experienced things that would assure him of the truthfulness of the instructions he received. He had learned these truths from his grandmother, mother, Paul and, most of all, scripture (1:5; 3:10). It would not be good to follow grandmother, mother or Paul if they did not point one to the scriptures. However, Timothy had been taught from the inspired writings of the Old Testament from the time he was a child (compare Deu_6:6-9 ; Deu_11:19 ).

Wisdom, or the ability to apply knowledge, is only available from God and he has placed it in his word. The Old Testament points one to Jesus as God's anointed and the one through whom salvation comes ( 2Ti_3:14-15 ; 2Co_5:17-21 ).

Paul used the word for "scripture" which simply means writing, or, in this case, recorded divine truth. It would include all of the Old Testament books and the fifteen or so New Testament books which had already been written (see 2Pe_3:15-16 ). These holy writings are the God breathed out word, or the actual words of God. They are useful in showing God's teaching, correcting of mistakes, restoring us to a right relationship with God and teaching us how to continue to do the things God wants us to do. Guthrie says the word hina, at the start of verse 17, means Paul is going to give the ultimate purpose of the things he had just written. He went on to say the word artios, which is translated perfect, "describes a man perfectly adapted for his task." The word for throughly furnished is another way of expressing the same idea and forcefully underscores the intent of sacred writings, which is to prepare a man to do every good work ( 2Ti_3:16-17 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/2-timothy-3.html. 2014.
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