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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 3

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-17

2 Timothy 3:1 . In the last days perilous times shall come. So the Spirit expressly spake when the measure of the jews should be full, when they should even deliver up their relatives to death, and when the love of many should wax cold. Matthew 24:9; Matthew 24:12.

2 Timothy 3:2 . Men shall be lovers of their own selves. The vice of self-love breaks all the bonds of charity, and is one of the deepest marks of human depravity. Covetous, literally lovers of silver; and the love of money, says the proverb, is the root of all evil. Blasphemers, their tongues like their hearts, uttering slanders and execrations. Disobedient to parents, the first sin against nature, and followed with visitations from the heavenly Father. Unthankful. Wicked, ανοσιοι , impious, profane, unholy. The last words indicate that those characters were remotely connected with some religious profession. Probably jews, irreclaimable from habits of sin.

2 Timothy 3:3 . Without natural affection. Casting off their wives for harlots, abandoning their parents, ejecting their children. All these cruel acts are the treasuring up of wrath against the day of wrath, and are indicative of the deepest depravity.

2 Timothy 3:6-7 . Of this sort are they which creep into houses. The state of the judaizing teachers, and the whole of this dark portrait, denote the final state and morals of that devoted nation, prior to the awful destruction of Jerusalem. And when did the Lord cut off Amalek, and root out a nation without a justifying cause?

2 Timothy 3:8 . Jannes and Jambres. Two of the noted magicians who resisted Moses. Exodus 7:11. They are mentioned by pagan writers.

2 Timothy 3:10-11 . Thou hast fully known my doctrine and manner of life. Amidst a constellation of graces, the apostle names only nine. In particular, he adds the three storms which fell upon him when driven away from Antioch, Acts 13:5; and when imprisoned and arraigned for his life before the governor at Iconium, on Thecla’s conversion. Dr. Lightfoot here agrees with the biblical critics, who place Thecla’s conversion at that time. There it was that the jews and the mob pursued Paul with stones. Also at Lystra, where he was all but worshipped with sacrifices by the gentiles, and considered as a god, and was afterwards stoned by the jews. Acts 14:1-19.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 . All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Every age and nation exemplifies the truth of these words. The good man escapes from Sodom for his life. He condemns the world, and shames the wicked by his virtues, and therefore the world hate him. He touches their pride, and strikes at their unlawful gains. Our craft, says Demetrius, is in danger. The conflict discloses the carnal mind which hates the light, and hates it in the nearest relative. Let good men then associate together, and form a secure fold for the flock, against the wolves of the present age. The christian wars in faith, the wicked fight in despair, knowing that their state grows worse and worse, and that their time is short.

2 Timothy 3:15 . From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures. This is mentioned as a great privilege, and as a mark of honour to his grandmother Lois. Here is the utility of having the bible in the hands of mothers and children, of introducing our tender offspring into the society of prophets and holy men, with whom they hope to live for ever. And though they may forget in giddy life, yet the recollection may return in the day of trouble. Some priest may say, there are things in the bible not fit for children to read: wise and holy men have thought otherwise. But if that be an objection, what excuse do they make for the Greek and Roman classics? What is their apology for Priapus and Venus? The value of the bible is the promise of eternal life: it excels all books of moral science, by showing the way of salvation by faith.

2 Timothy 3:16 . All scripture is given by inspiration of God. So the prophets say one of another, and quote the words of one another. Daniel lived to show Cyrus the prophecies of Isaiah respecting himself; and the vision of the four monarchies in Daniel, chap. 8., is confirmed by providence. St. Peter coincides in the same sentiment. “Prophecy came not in old time,” he says, “by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Those men preached righteousness during the whole of their lives; but they wrote only what God spake to them, or such histories as were illustrative of divine revelation. No man can resist the truth of our Saviour’s prophecies: they shine as a cloud of glory in the christian scriptures. He foretold to the letter all that has happened to the jews; he foretold in luminous parables, and in plain words, the success of the gospel, and the suffering of his saints. From all those past demonstrations of truth, we rest on the sure promises of his future advent.

2 Timothy 3:17 . That the man of God may be perfect. Paul knew that christian ministers would read and expound the holy scriptures to the end of time, and speak according to the oracles of the living God. This is an age in which atheists and infidels are making their last struggle to put ministers of every name under their feet. But if Paul were yet alive, he would still call them men of God; and would honour them as the two witnesses, who shall yet rise from obloquy in the streets of Sodom to glory and honour. The eye of Zion shall yet see her teachers clothed with all the glory of the sanctuary, and furnished to every good work.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/2-timothy-3.html. 1835.
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