2 Timothy


Paul's charge to Timothy, 2:3-4:8

iv] Paul's example in opposing the heresy


Paul continues with his instructions to Timothy on matters concerning Christian ministry. In 3:10-13 Paul affirms that Timothy, unlike the false teachers, has followed his example, both in teaching and his conduct. Then, in 3:14-17, he affirms that Timothy has been true to the gospel, encouraging him to remain firm in sound doctrine.


i] Context: See 3:1-9.


ii] Background: See 1:1-5. As noted, it is likely that the false teachers are promoting a form of nomistic law-obedience, in fact, they may well be Paul's old foes, the members of the circumcision party.


iii] Structure: Standing against heresy:

What Timothy needs to remember, v10-13:

Paul's example, his teachings and character,

tested in the flames of suffering, v10-12;

and the example of the evildoers - what to avoid, v13.

What Timothy needs to do, v14-17:

"Continue in what you have learned and become ...", v14a,

the saving truths of Scripture

made known to him since infancy, v14b-15,

the God-breathed Scriptures that serve to equip

the child of God for every good work, v16-17.


Marshall proposes an ABA format, v10-12, 13, 14-17, although the argument presents more in linear fashion, as Knight sees it, a unit consisting of two instructions, oJ de, "but you", v10 and 14:


iv] Interpretation:

Paul reminds Timothy that they have had a long association, both through good times and bad, v10-11. These troubled times have touched others as well, v12, and have been compounded by the infection of false teaching, v13. Throughout these years, Timothy has remained loyal to Paul, unlike the false teachers. So, Paul goes on to encourage Timothy to stand firm in the gospel in the face of those who promote a false gospel, v14. The necessary equipment that will enable Timothy to progress his ministry in the face of these troubles lies in a knowledge of the scriptures. Timothy must never forget that God's word has the power to teach, reprove, correct and instruct "the man of God", v15-17.


v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 3:10

The apostolic ministry-pattern of Paul, v10-17: i] Paul commends Timothy for following his example, both in teaching and conduct, v10-13. In commending Timothy, Paul gives us some insights into suffering - "godliness leads to suffering while evil continues to advance", Towner.

su de "you, however" - but/and you. The emphatic personal pronoun, nominative subject of the verb "to follow closely, with a transitional de which establishes a contrast between Timothy's loyalty to Paul and that of the false teachers. The passage revolves around this first contrast covered in v10-13, and a second contrast "but as for you", v14-17, where Paul notes Timothy's loyalty to the truth of the gospel and encourages him to "continue in" what he has learned.

parhkolouqhsaV (parakolouqew) aor. + dat. of pers. "know all about" - followed closely, imitated / cognisant of, familiar, observed. The verb takes the general meaning of "accompany" and is used here in the sense of "to study at close quarters and apply." Paul goes on to list nine elements of his apostolic example which Timothy has "followed", examples which Timothy has studied and applied.

mou gen. pro. "my" - [the teaching] of me. The genitive is adjectival, possessive - emphatic by position to cover all the following dative nouns.

th/ didaskalia/ (a) dat. "teaching" - As with the datives that follow in this verse and the next, dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "follow closely / know all about". Paul's apostolic teaching, the gospel, as opposed to that of the false teachers.

th/ agwhn/ (h) dat. "my way of life" - my manner of life. Dative of direct object, as above. A moral sense is probably intended. Paul's conduct reflects his theology.

th/ proqesei (iV ewV) dat. "my purpose" - purpose. Dative of direct object. Paul's ministry plan, in the sense of something that is planned in advance of an action. Possibly a sense of "resolve" or "single-mindedness" is intended.

th/ pistei (iV ewV) dat. "faith" - faith. Dative of direct object. Probably faith / reliance on God rather than "the faith" (what is believed); "absolute dependence on God", Knight.

th makroqumia (a) dat. "patience" - long-suffering. Dative of direct object. A patient endurance toward others, their struggle in the Christian life.

th/ uJpomonh/ (h) dat. "endurance" - [love], endurance, fortitude. Dative of direct object. Steadfastness, perseverance, sticking at the "way" throughout the difficulties of life.


Paul reminds Timothy of the troubles he faced in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, Act.13:45, 50, 14:1-5, 19. Timothy was not present on these occasions, but the events would be well known to him. Paul came through these times of trial, and this because the powers of darkness are not able to frustrate God's will.

toiV diwgmoiV (oV) dat. "persecutions" - harassments, persecutions, [sufferings]. Dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to follow closely", v10.

oi|a "what kind of things" - which / such things [happened]. The relative pronoun, nominative subject of the verb "to become", refers to the troubles which Paul has endured, v10; "of the things which befell me", Cassirer.

moi dat. pro. "to me" - to me. Dative of interest / disadvantage.

en + dat. "in" - in [antioch], in [iconium], in [lystra]. Local, expressing space.

oi{ouV "the [persecutions I endured]" - what kind of [persecutions, sufferings i endured]. Qualitative relative pronoun, accusative direct object of the verb "to endure, standing in agreement with "persecutions"; "the persecutions which I endured.". Note how Paul identifies centres of persecution.

errusato (rJuomai) aor. mid. "rescued" - [and out of all the lord] delivered, rescued [me]. The Lord delivers his servants from the powers of darkness. Such deliverance does not necessarily entail a deliverance from harm, nor even death. It is just that evil does not prevail over God's will enacted through his servants.

ek + gen. "from" - out of. Expressing separation, "away from"; the sense is of Paul being brought through the troubles.


Believers who act in accord to God's will inevitably create trouble for themselves. Evil, by its very nature, rises up against the good, particularly if the good has some association with Christ.

kai .... de "in fact" - but/and also. Here probably an emphatic transitional construction.

panteV adj. "everyone" - all the ones. The "all" being "all Christians." The adjective serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb "to persecute." Timothy is here identified with Paul's troubles by means of a general principle, namely, that all believers face persecution because of their association with Christ.

oiJ qelonteV (qelw) pres. part. "who wants" - desiring, wanting. The participle is adjectival, limiting "everyone", as NIV. Those wanting to live in a godly way will be persecuted. Evil always rises up in the face of goodness; "anyone who tried to live in devotion to Christ is certain to be persecuted", NJB.

zhn (zaw) pres. inf. "to live" - The infinitive may be classified as complementary, completing the verbal sense of the participle "wanting", or as forming a dependent statement of perception expressing what is desired, namely, to live a godly life.

eusebwV adv. "a godly life" - in a godly way. Modal adverb modifying the infinitive "to live." "All who would live the religious life in Christ Jesus", Moffatt.

en + dat. "in" - in [christ jesus will be persecuted]. Local, expressing space / sphere - incorporative union.


The false teachers and their disciples will not face this type of negative reaction, for their lives easily fit with the world around them.

de "while" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point; "but wicked men and imposters", Berkeley.

gohteV (hV htoV) "impostors" - [evil men and] imposters. Nominative subject of the verb "to advance." A hapax legomenon (once only use in NT) meaning "sorcerer", but probably used here of one who habitually fools or deceives people through pretence*, an imposter, swindler, cheat. The false teachers "deceive" members of the Christian fellowship through their faulty theology and so lead them into sin. They are themselves deceived and so deceive, ie., they are blind guides.

prokoyousin (prokoptw) fut. "will go" - will advance, progress. It is extremely difficult to identify what is driving this advance into sin. Verses 1-9 give us a good description of the "evil men" (false teachers). As already noted, it is likely that these "deceivers" are nomists, pietists like the Pharisees. Nomism is the belief that law-obedience both restrains sin and promotes holiness, thus allowing full access to God's promised blessings in Christ. Paul, working from the words of Jesus, has certainly gone to great lengths to make the point that those who shape "the way" by means of the law undermine the way of grace, in that the law not only exposes sin, but promotes sin, making the believer more sinful. To counter this consequence, the nomist buries their rebellion, redefining the laws demands and covering their guilt by exposing the sin of others.

epi + acc. "from bad to [worse]" - to [the worst]. Here expressing movement up against. The phrase "progress to the worst" is idiomatic, taking the sense "from bad to worse", as NIV, etc.

planwnteV (planaw) aor. part. "deceiving" - deceiving, misleading. This participle, and the one following, is usually treated as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their going from bad to worse, but possibly temporal, "when they deceive themselves and are deceived"

planwmenoi (planaw) pres. pas/mid. part. "being deceived" - [and] being misled. The participle as above. The difficulty lies in whether to treat the participle as passive, as NIV, or middle, ie. they are self-deceived and therefore prone to mislead others; "imposters and dupes", Cassirer.


ii] An exhortation to remain true to the gospel, v14-17. In encouraging Timothy to remain true to the teachings of Scripture, Paul outlines something of the importance of Scripture.

su de "but you" - An emphatic transitional construction, as v10.

mene (menw) pres. imp. "continue" - continue, abide, remain. The present tense probably indicates a general command. Timothy is to continue in the truths which he has learned through having been taught by Paul +.

en + dat. "in" - Local; expressing sphere.

oi|V dat. pro. "what [you have learned]" - the things which [you learned]. A case of relative attraction to the unexpressed antecedent toutoiV. "The things" ,toutoiV, assumed, would properly take the dative after the preposition en with the pronoun "which", taking the nominative case, a{. "You must refuse to move from the things you have been taught", Barclay.

epistwqhV (pistow) aor. pas. "have become convinced of" - [and] were convinced of, firmly believed. What Timothy, through Paul, had come to firmly believe, namely the truth of the gospel.

eidwV (oida) perf. part. "because you know" - having known. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, as NIV.

para + gen. "from" - by = from. Here expressing source; used after verbs of learning to identify the person/s from whom they have learned, cf. BAGD p615, I.3c.

tinwn (tiV ti) pro. "whom" - whom [you learned]. Here plural, although some manuscripts have a singular, implying Paul is the teacher.


Paul defines the purpose of the Scriptures as making us "wise for salvation"; they point us toward Jesus through whose faithful obedience we are saved. By iJera grammata, "Holy Scriptures / sacred writings", Paul is referring to the Old Testament, but thankfully we now have the New Testament to reveal its mysteries.

kai "and" - Here coordinative, "and".

oJti "how" - that. Here introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Timothy knows, v14; "because you know ..... that ....."

apo + gen. "from" - from [an infant, infancy]. Expressing source / origin in a temporal sense. "Infant" here refers to a child of 5 years, as this was the age from when a young person could be taught the scriptures.

iJera grammata pl. "holy Scriptures" - [you knew] the holy scriptures. Accusative direct object of the verb "to know." A very Jewish reference to the Old Testament, a reference commonly used by Paul. They are "holy" in that they have divine authority. The plural usage can apply to the scriptures as a whole, but may also refer to those texts concerning the messiah which are fulfilled in Christ.

ta dunamena (dunamai) pres. pas. part. "which are able" - the ones being able. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting by description "holy scriptures", as NIV.

sofisai (sofizw) inf. "to make you wise" - to give wisdom, make wise. The infinitive is complementary, completing the verbal sense of the participle "being able." Used here in the sense of "teach", "instruct".

eiV "for" - to [salvation]. Expressing here goal / end-view / purpose; the instruction of scripture has as its end "salvation", ie., salvation is the goal of the instruction. The teaching does not achieve salvation, but rather points "to" it, leads toward it, enabling a person to grasp it "through faith."

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of. Carrying an instrumental sense expressing means; faith is the means by which salvation is achieved, or possibly the whole process of coming to salvation is by means of faith, so Marshall, yet see below.

pistewV (iV ewV) gen. "faith" - "Faith which is in Christ Jesus." The meaning of this phrase "through faith in Christ Jesus" is unclear, particularly with the introductory preposition dia, "through". It is usually read to mean that Jesus Christ is the object of the faith, as NIV, "believing in Jesus Christ", CEV, although if such was intended the preposition eiV, "to / into", would be expected. It is possible, that the phrase identifies a faith which is given us in union with Christ, so Marshall; "the faith which is grounded in Christ Jesus", Cassirer. Although not widely accepted, there is much to support the view that "faith" is that which is exercised by (en taken as instrumental rather than local) Jesus Christ. So "faith" is best understood as Christ's faith in God, or better, Christ's "faithfulness" = Christ's obedience to the cross which serves as the ground of salvation, so Johnson, cf. Galatians 2:16, dia pistewV Ihsou Cristou: "through faith / faithfulness of Jesus Christ." Here, taken with the preposition en, the sense is "through the faithfulness exercised by Jesus Christ."

thV "-" - the. Here serving as an adjectivizer turning the prepositional phrase "in Christ Jesus" into an attributive modifier limiting "faith"; "faith which is in Christ Jesus."

en + dat. "in" - in [christ jesus]. As noted above, usually taken as local, but possibly instrumental, expressing means.


Paul now gives us a creedal statement about the scriptures. He states that "all" the separate parts of the scriptures (the Law, Prophets and Writings) are inspired and thus, are useful. He points to four uses: a negative and positive teaching use and a negative and positive life-style use. The Old Testament scriptures are useful to teach sound doctrine and to expose untruth. They are also useful for ethics, correcting evil-behaviour and training in right-behaviour. As Marshall notes, it is not clear whether the enabling is for "the man of God" in his / her own Christian life, or for his / her teaching and admonition of other people. Marshall opts for the former, but Paul could intend either.

pasa grafh "all scripture" - Nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be. "Scripture" may be taken as a collective noun indicating the whole of scripture, or as a reference to selected passages. Up to this point in the New Testament, the word is used to refer to the Old Testament. The adjective "all" underlines the idea of a single whole, but it could also mean "every", in the sense of "every individual part", ie., The Law, Prophets and Writings. It is possible that Paul is extending the cover of "scripture / sacred writings" to include New Testament tradition, written or oral, particularly the gospel, given that it is "the word of God", cf., Mounce p568.

qeopneustoV adj. "is God-breathed" - This predicate adjective takes a passive sense, ie., scripture is a consequence of God's inspirational act. It is generally accepted that it is a predicate adjective (as opposed to an attributive adjective, "god-breathed scripture") with the verb "is" understood. With the use of this word, Paul has defined the divine character of scripture.

kai wfelimoV "and is useful" - and profitable. Given that "useful" is probably also a predicate adjective, kai is best taken as the conjunction, "and", rather than the adverb, "also" ("god-breathed scripture is also profitable"). Paul is saying that scripture is God's word and is therefore useful for ...... and as such serves to equip "the man of God" for their ministry.

proV + acc. "for" - toward. Expressing purpose; "for the purpose of." Stott suggests that the first two prepositional phrases introduced by proV deal with belief and the second two conduct; "creed and conduct", Stott.

didaskalian (a) "teaching" - The scripture is useful for sound instruction because of its inspired content.

elegmon (oV) "rebuking" - [toward] reproof. Scripture is useful for refuting error.

epanorqwsin (iV ewV) "correcting" - [toward] correction. Setting right, probably in regard to truth, but possibly conduct.

paideian (a) "training" - [toward] training, instruction, discipline. Stott and others see this phrase as promoting a growth in right living, that we might "grow in holiness." The word "correcting" tends to take the sense of training to promote right behaviour, but "instruction in righteousness" could also mean instruction in the way to righteousness, in the sense of right-standing in the sight of God. So, a means of justification may be the intention here, rather than a means of sanctification, and in any case, sanctification as a growth in holiness is, in itself, fallacious. Sanctification is commonly defined as "the progressive realisation of the person we are in Christ." True, but the word "progressive" can lead to error where obedience to the law is used as the mechanism to "progress" Christ-likeness, holiness. We are on safer ground if we hold that, as a product of justification, sanctification is a state of holiness, which, in the renewing power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, we seek to realise in our daily life; albeit, always imperfectly.

thn "-" - The article serves as an adjectivizer turning the prepositional phrase "in righteousness" into an attributive modifier limiting "training"; training which is in righteousness."

en + dat. "in" - in [righteousness]. Local, expressing space / sphere; the training is that which realises righteousness in the sphere of a person's daily life, but possibly reference / respect, "in respect to righteousness." The righteousness in mind is "righteous behaviour", Marshall; "right conduct", Knight.


Biblical truth serves to equip Christian ministers. The term "man / servant of God" may apply to all believers, but is most likely referring to the prophet, pastor/teacher. The "good work" is probably the work of proclamation - the ministry of the Word, but see notes v16.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Either a purpose clause "in order that", or hypothetical result, "so that." Most commentators opt for purpose, but a hypothetical result has much going for it. The inspired scriptures are useful and as a natural consequence, a by-product even, they equip Christian ministry.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - [the man] of god [may be proficient]. The genitive is adjectival, relational. Given the context, the term refers to Christian ministers such as Timothy, rather than just any Christian.

proV + acc. "for" - for [every kind of good work]. Probably expressing purpose; "in order to do every good work."

exhrtismenoV (exartizw) perf. pas. part. "thoroughly equipped" - having been equipped. "Able to meet all demands", BAGD. The participle may be classified as attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the verbal phrase "may be proficient"; "so that the man of God may be well fitted and adequately equipped for all good work", Berkeley. Given that Paul uses the cognate verb with the perfective prefix ek of artioV, "proficient", the participle virtually functions as the nominative complement of "proficient"; "in order that the man of God may be proficient, [namely] fully equipped for every good work", Mounce.


2 Timothy Introduction



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