|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:14-17 Those who would learn the things of God, and be assured of them, must know the Holy Scriptures, for they are the Divine revelation. The age of children is the age to learn; and those who would get true learning, must get it out of the Scriptures. They must not lie by us neglected, seldom or never looked into. The Bible is a sure guide to eternal life. The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what they received of God, 2Pe 1:21. It is profitable for all purposes of the Christian life. It is of use to all, for all need to be taught, corrected, and reproved. There is something in the Scriptures suitable for every case. Oh that we may love our Bibles more, and keep closer to them! then shall we find benefit, and at last gain the happiness therein promised by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the main subject of both Testaments. We best oppose error by promoting a solid knowledge of the word of truth; and the greatest kindness we can do to children, is to make them early to know the Bible.
Verse 15. - Babe for child, A.V.; sacred writings for Holy Scriptures, A.V. And that from a babe, etc. Another consideration urged as a reason for standing fast. He was no novice in the Scriptures. His mother and grandmother had been careful to imbue him with that sacred literature which should make him wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, from his very earliest years. Surely he would not throw away such a precious advantage. The sacred writings (τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα); literally, the holy letters, or learning. An ordinarily educated child learns γράμματα (John 7:15), in contradistinction to the uneducated, who are ἀγράμματοι (Acts 4:13). But Timothy had learnt τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα, whose excellence is described in the next verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures,.... And therefore must know that the doctrines he had learned were agreeable to them; and so is another reason why he should continue in them. The Jews very early learned their children the holy Scripture. Philo the Jew says (w), "from their very infancy"; a phrase pretty much the same with this here used. It is a maxim with the Jews (x), that when a child was five years of age, it was proper to teach him the Scriptures. Timothy's mother being a Jewess, trained him up early in the knowledge of these writings, with which he became very conversant, and under divine influence and assistance, arrived to a large understanding of them; and it is a practice that highly becomes Christian parents; it is one part of the nurture and admonition of the Lord they should bring up their children in: the wise man's advice in Proverbs 22:6 is very good. From hence the apostle takes occasion to enter into a commendation of the sacred writings; and here, from the nature and character of them, calls them the
holy Scriptures; to distinguish them from profane writings; and that because the author of them is the Holy Spirit of God; and even the amanuenses of him, and the penmen of them, were holy men of God; the matter of them is holy, both law and Gospel; and the end of writing them is to promote holiness; the precepts, promises, and doctrines contained in them are calculated for that purpose; and even the account they give of the sins and failings of others, are for the admonition of men: and next these Scriptures are commended from the efficacy of them:
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. Men are not wise of themselves; they are naturally without an understanding of spiritual things; and the things of the Spirit of God cannot be known by natural men, because they are spiritually discerned; particularly they are not wise in the business of salvation, of which either they are insensible themselves, and negligent; or foolishly build their hopes of it upon their civility, morality, legal righteousness, or an outward profession of religion: but the Scriptures are able to make men wise and knowing in this respect; for the Gospel is one part of the Scriptures, which is the Gospel of salvation, and shows unto men the way of salvation. The Scriptures testify largely of Christ, the Saviour; and give an ample account both of him, who is the able, willing, suitable, complete, and only Saviour, and of the salvation which is wrought by him; and describe the persons who do, and shall enjoy it: not that the bare reading of the Scriptures, or the hearing of them expounded, are able to make men wise in this way; but these, when accompanied with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, are; when he who endited the Scriptures removes the veil from their eyes, opens their understandings, and gives them light and knowledge in them: and then may persons be said to be wise unto salvation, when they not only have a scheme of it in their heads, but are in their hearts sensible of their need of it, and know that there is salvation in no other but in Christ; and when they look to him for it, to his righteousness for justification, to his blood for peace, pardon, and cleansing, to his sacrifice for atonement, and to his fulness of grace for a continual supply, and to him for eternal life and glory; when they rejoice in him and his salvation, and give him all the glory of it: the apostle adds,
through faith which is in Christ Jesus: wisdom to salvation lies not in the knowledge of the law the Jew boasted of; nor in the works of it, at least not in a trust and confidence in them for salvation; for by them there is no justification before God, nor acceptance with him, nor salvation: but true wisdom to salvation lies in faith, which is a spiritual knowledge of Christ, and a holy confidence in him; and that salvation which the Scriptures make men wise unto, is received and enjoyed through that faith, which has Christ for its author and object; which comes from him, and centres in him, and is a looking to him for eternal life.
(w) De Legat. ad Caium, p. 1022. (x) Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. from a child—literally, "from an infant." The tender age of the first dawn of reason is that wherein the most lasting impressions of faith may be made.
holy scriptures—The Old Testament taught by his Jewish mother. An undesigned coincidence with 2Ti 1:5; Ac 16:1-3.
able—in themselves: though through men's own fault they often do not in fact make men savingly alive.
wise unto salvation—that is, wise unto the attainment of salvation. Contrast "folly" (2Ti 3:9). Wise also in extending it to others.
through faith—as the instrument of this wisdom. Each knows divine things only as far as his own experience in himself extends. He who has not faith, has not wisdom or salvation.
which is in—that is, rests on Christ Jesus.
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