Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Yea, and all that will live godly.—But St. Paul would not allow it to be thought for a moment that in the fact of his enduring persecution and suffering there was anything remarkable or singular; so he adds the words of this verse, which repeat in a peculiarly solemn way the great Christian truth that eternal glory was only to be reached by man through an avenue of sufferings. “No cross, no crown,” is one of the watchwords of the faith. To the statement, “all that will live godly,” it is noticeable that the Apostle adds “in Christ Jesus:” thus telling us there can be no true piety except in communion with Him. So Bengel: “Extra Jesum Christum nulla pietas.” And piety, adds St. Paul, will ever suffer persecution; for the world is at enmity with the kingdom of God. “Because ye are not of the world . . . therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19; so, too, Matthew 10:22; Matthew 10:38-39).
This may be either an injury done to his feelings, his family, his reputation, his property, his liberty, his influence; it may be by depriving him of an office which he held, or preventing him from obtaining one to which he is eligible; it may be by subjecting him to fine or imprisonment, to banishment, torture, or death. If, in any manner, or in any way, he is subjected to disadvantage on account of his religious opinions, and deprived of any immunities and rights to which he would be otherwise entitled, this is persecution. Now, it is doubtless as true as it ever was, that a man who will live as the Saviour did, will, like him, be subjected to some such injury or disadvantage. On account of his opinions, he may be held up to ridicule, or treated with neglect, or excluded from society to which his attainments and manners would otherwise introduce him, or shunned by those who might otherwise value his friendship. These things may be expected in the best times, and under the most favorable circumstances; and it is known that a large part of the history of the world, in its relation to the church, is nothing more than a history of persecution. It follows from this:
(1) that they who make a profession of religion, should come prepared to be persecuted. It should be considered as one of the proper qualifications for membership in the church, to be willing to bear persecution, and to resolve not to shrink from any duty in order to avoid it.
(2) they who are persecuted for their opinions, should consider that this may be one evidence that they have the spirit of Christ, and are his true friends. They should remember that, in this respect, they are treated as the Master was, and are in the goodly company of the prophets, apostles, and martyrs; for they were all persecuted. Yet,
(3) if we are persecuted, we should carefully inquire, before we avail ourselves of this consolation, whether we are persecuted because we "live godly in Christ Jesus," or for some other reason. A man may embrace some absurd opinion, and call it religion; he may adopt some mode of dress irresistibly ludicrous, from the mere love of singularity, and may call it "conscience;" or he may be boorish in his manners, and uncivil in his deportment, outraging all the laws of social life, and may call this "deadness to the world;" and for these, and similar things, he may be contemned, ridiculed, and despised. But let him not infer, "therefore," that he is to be enrolled among the martyrs, and that he is certainly a real Christian. That persecution which will properly furnish any evidence that we are the friends of Christ, must be only that which is "for righteousness sake" Matthew 5:10, and must be brought upon us in an honest effort to obey the commands of God.
(4) let those who have never been persecuted in any way, inquire whether it is not an evidence that they have no religion. If they had been more faithful, and more like their Master, would they have always escaped? And may not their freedom from it prove that they have surrendered the principles of their religion, where they should have stood firm, though the world were arrayed against them? It is easy for a professed Christian to avoid persecution, if he yields every point in which religion is opposed to the world. But let not a man who will do this, suppose that he has any claim to be numbered among the martyrs, or even entitled to the Christian name.
that will, &c.—Greek, "all whose will is to live," &c. So far should persecution be from being a stumbling-block to Timothy, he should consider it a mark of the pious. So the same Greek is used of the same thing, Lu 14:28, 33, "intending (Greek, 'wishing') to build a tower … counteth the cost."
live godly in Christ—(Ga 2:20; Php 1:21). There is no godliness (Greek, "piously") or piety out of Christ. The world easily puts up with the mask of a religion which depends on itself, but the piety which derives its vigor directly from Christ is as odious to modern Christians as it was to the ancient Jews [Bengel].
shall suffer persecution—and will not decline it (Ga 5:11). Bishop Pearson proves the divine origination of Christianity from its success being inexplicable on the supposition of its being of human origin. The nature of its doctrine was no way likely to command success: (1) it condemns all other religions, some established for ages; (2) it enjoins precepts ungrateful to flesh and blood, the mortifying of the flesh, the love of enemies, and the bearing of the cross; (3) it enforces these seemingly unreasonable precepts by promises seemingly incredible; not good things such as afford complacency to our senses, but such as cannot be obtained till after this life, and presuppose what then seemed impossible, the resurrection; (4) it predicts to its followers what would seem sure to keep most of the world from embracing it, persecutions.
shall suffer persecution; it is the will of God, and the appointment of heaven; Christ has foretold it, that so it shall be; and he the head has suffered it himself, and it is necessary that his members should, that they may be conformed unto him; it is the way Christ himself went to glory, and through many tribulations his people must enter the kingdom; and this is the common lot and certain case of all the saints, in one shape or another; for though all do not suffer confiscation of goods, beating, scourging, imprisonment, or a violent death; yet all are more or less afflicted and distressed by wicked men, and are subject to their reproaches and revilings, which are a branch of persecution; and that for professing Christ, and living a godly life in him and under his influence: and since such suffer as Christians, and not as evildoers; and this is the common condition of the people of God, in this world, it should not be thought strange, but be cheerfully endured; to encourage to which is the apostle's view in this passage.Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2 Timothy 3:12. The principle here laid down is intended, like the mention of Timothy’s conduct in 2 Timothy 3:11, to incite Timothy to willing endurance of suffering.
καὶ πάντες δέ] καὶ … δέ, see 1 Timothy 3:10.
οἱ θέλοντες] is here emphatic: “they whose thoughts are thus directed.”
ζῆν εὐσεβῶς] the adverb εὐσεβῶς only here and in Titus 2:12.
ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] denotes the pious life as Christian in its nature; but it is to be observed that, according to the apostolic view, true εὐσέβεια is possible only in communion with Christ. Bengel: extra Jesum Christum nulla pietas. Hofmann unsuitably remarks that the emphasis should not be on ἐν Χρ. Ἰησ., but on εὐσεβῶς, for ζῆν εὐσεβῶς ἐν Χρ. Ἰησ. forms only one idea: that of the Christian life of piety.
διωχθήσονται] expresses the certainty: Christian piety cannot continue without persecution, because the world is hostile to the kingdom of God; comp. John 15:19-20; Matthew 10:22; Matthew 10:38, and other passages. Wiesinger rightly remarks: “Not to comfort himself does the apostle say this, but to show that his experience was a universal one, as something necessarily bound up with εὐσεβῶς ζῆν,” and, it should be added, to give encouragement to Timothy.2 Timothy 3:12. This verse is an interesting example of the effect of association of ideas. St. Paul’s teaching after his persecutions at Antioch, etc., had strongly emphasised this topic. St. Luke (Acts 14:22) actually repeats the very words used by the preachers, “Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God”. Consistency in the life in Christ must necessarily be always opposed by the world. θέλοντες is emphatic, as Ell. notes, “whose will is”. Cf. Luke 14:28, John 7:17.
εὐσεβῶς of course qualifies ζῇν, as in Titus 2:12. There is a similar extension of thought, from self to all, in 2 Timothy 4:8.12. Yea, and all] The force of the two conjunctions is shewn in note on 1 Timothy 3:10.
that will live godly] Whose will is, compare Luke 16:26, ‘they whose will is to pass from hence to you.’ ‘In Christ Jesus.’ The whole phrase is nearly the equivalent of ‘to lead a godly and a Christian life’ (Baptismal Service, Pr.-Bk.).2 Timothy 3:12. Καὶ πάντες δὲ, yea and all) all, and they alone. The third mark, to have persecutors; so far should persecution be from being a stumbling-block to any one. At the beginning of persecution, it does not yet appear that that is the mark of an apostle: it at length appears from the help that is afforded, and from the endurance of them. In this, however, is the third mark of an apostle: ὑπομονὴ, patience, is a great thing in the eyes of the apostle; he prefers it to all the others. All other things may be taken from a man, so that he may suffer their utter loss and he himself fall away; but when he has ὑπομονὴ, all things are preserved. Hence Timothy might at the same time gather that he would also suffer persecution. There is a similar transition from Paul to all godly men, ch. 2 Timothy 4:8.—οὶ θέλοντες, those wishing or willing) Consider therefore whether you are willing; comp. the word wishing (intending), Luke 14:28. Even a persevering will has a beginning.—εὐσεβῶς ζῇν) to live godly; the whole energy of their life being devoted to Christian piety, Php 1:21.—ζῇν, to live) to pass life, Galatians 2:14.—ἐν Χριστῷ in Christ) There is no godliness out of Christ Jesus. [And indeed the world easily wears that mask of religion which depends on itself; but the piety which flourishes directly from Jesus Christ is very hateful, as it was to the old Jews, so to the modern Christians, who are without any token of good.—V. g.]—διωχθήσονται, shall suffer persecution) Nor will they indeed refuse it, Galatians 5:11. They shall proceed to worse and worse, 2 Timothy 3:13, stands in opposition to this future.Verse 12. - Would for will, A.V. Yea and all (καὶ πάντες δὲ). As though he had said. "Mine is not a solitary example of a servant of God being persecuted; it is the common lot of all who will live godly in Christ Jesus" (comp. John 15:20 and 1 Peter 4:1, 12, 13).
Whose will is to live, or who are bent on living.
Only here and Titus 2:12. Comp. κατ' εὐσέβειαν according to godliness, 1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:1; and ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ in all godliness, 1 Timothy 2:2. See also 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:11, and on godliness, 1 Timothy 2:2.
Shall suffer persecution (διωχθήσονται)
In this sense only here in Pastorals.
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