2 Timothy 3:14
But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned.—But Timothy, on the other hand, was to continue in the things he had learned. Evil teaching would become worse; the opposition to truth would, as the ages rolled on, become more intense; but Timothy and his successors must remember that there was to be no development in the fundamental doctrines of his most holy faith. He had (2Timothy 3:10) fully known St. Paul’s doctrine—that doctrine which St. Paul had received directly from the Holy Spirit of God.

Knowing of whom thou hast learned them.—There is some doubt whether the Greek word rendered “whom” is in the singular or plural, the older authorities being nearly equally balanced. The reading here of the singular has been adopted with the Syriac versions, Chrysostom, Augustine, and the Vulgate. The reference then is to St. Paul. If the plural, were adopted, then the reference would probably be to St. Paul and Barnabas, or to some other distinguished teacher. Some commentators believe that Lois and Eunice are here alluded to, the pious mother and grandmother of Timothy. This, however, seems unlikely: for such a reminiscence, although a touching memory and one likely to appeal to his affection, would hardly be of that weighty and important character as to warrant its introduction into this solemn exhortation; besides, any reference to home and family reminiscences would be included in the next verse: “From a child thou hast known,” &c.

2 Timothy 3:14-15. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned — That is, continue to believe and obey them; and hast been assured of — Namely, of their absolute certainty and infinite importance; knowing of whom thou hast learned them — And what convincing evidence I have given thee that I have been commissioned by God to attest and teach them. And that from a child Απο βρεφους, from an infant; thou hast known the Holy Scriptures — Of the Old Testament, which only were extant when Timothy was an infant. The apostle calls them holy or sacred Scriptures, or writings, because they were given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of holy men, because they treat on holy things, contain holy doctrines, precepts, and promises, and are designed and calculated to make people holy. It must be remembered, that Timothy’s mother and grandmother, being pious Jewish women, had trained him up from his childhood in the knowledge and belief of the writings of Moses and the prophets. And their care in thus instructing him, being commended by the apostle, shows us that little children ought to be made acquainted with the Scriptures as early as possible; and that they may derive much benefit even from that imperfect knowledge of them, and of the principles of religion, which they are capable of attaining in their tenderest years. Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation — Even the Scriptures of the Old Testament were able to make men thus wise, through faith in the Messiah, before he came. How much more are those of the Old and New Testaments, taken together, able, in God’s hand, to make us more abundantly wise unto salvation, through faith in him actually come, even such a salvation as was not known before Jesus was glorified? See 1 Peter 1:10-12.3:14-17 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.But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of - To wit, the truths of religion. Timothy had been taught those truths when a child, and he had been confirmed in them by the instructions of Paul. Amidst the errors and seductions of false teachers, Paul now exhorts him to hold fast those doctrines, whoever might oppose them, or whatever might be the consequence; compare the notes at 2 Timothy 1:13.

Knowing of whom thou hast learned them - To wit, of his mother 2 Timothy 1:5, and of Paul; 2 Timothy 1:13. The reference seems to be particularly to the fact that he had learned these truths first from the lips of a mother (see 2 Timothy 3:15); and the doctrine taught here is, "that the fact that we have received the views of truth from a parent's lips, is a strong motive for adhering to them." It is not to be supposed, indeed, that this is the highest motive, or that we are always to adhere to the doctrines which have been taught us, if, on maturer examination, we are convinced they are erroneous; but that this is a strong reason for adhering to what we have been taught in early life. It is so, because:

(1) a parent has no motive for deceiving a child, and it cannot be supposed that he would teach him what he knew to be false;

(2) a parent usually has had much more experience, and much better opportunities of examining what is true, than his child has;

(3) there is a degree of respect which nature teaches us to be due to the sentiments of a parent.

A child should depart very slowly from the opinions held by a father or mother; and, when it is done, it should be only as the result of prolonged examination and prayer. These considerations should have the greater weight, if a parent has been eminent for piety, and especially if that parent has been removed to heaven. A child, standing by the grave of a pious father or mother, should reflect and pray much, before he deliberately adopts opinions which he knows that father or mother would regard as wrong.

14. But … thou—Whatever they may do. Resuming the thread begun at 2Ti 3:10.

learned—from me and thy mother and grandmother (2Ti 1:5; 2:2).

assured of—from Scripture (2Ti 3:15).

of whom—plural, not singular, in the oldest manuscripts, "from what teachers." Not only from me, but from Lois and Eunice.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned; in the doctrines relating to faith, and the precepts relating to thy life as a minister, or as a Christian.

And hast been assured of; and hast assented to steadily, hitherto believing them.

Knowing of whom thou hast learned them; remembering that thou hast learned them of me the apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the same as from Christ himself. But continue thou in the things,.... That is, in the doctrines of the Gospel, and not be moved away from them, either through the malice or persecutions, or the cunning sleight of men that lie in wait to deceive; and which is an exhortation suitable to the godly in all ages: and what follow are so many reasons enforcing it:

which thou hast learned: not merely in a theoretical way, as arts and sciences are learned, but in a spiritual and experimental manner; a comfortable knowledge and experience of which he had attained unto; and were not like those in 2 Timothy 3:7, who had been ever learning, and yet could not come to the knowledge of the truth: and since therefore he had learned the truths of the Gospel, and had attained to a good understanding of them, it was his duty, as it is the duty of all such, to abide by them:

and hast been assured of: the doctrines of the Gospel are certain things; they are truths without controversy; there is a full assurance of understanding of them, which men may arrive unto, and which ministers should, since they are to affirm them with certainty. Scepticism is very unbecoming one that calls himself a minister of the Gospel; and when a man is assured of the truth and reality of Gospel doctrines, it would be shameful in him to drop them, or depart from them:

knowing of whom thou hast learned them. The apostle means himself, though he modestly forbears the mention of himself: and it is another argument why Timothy should continue steadfastly in the doctrines of the Gospel, seeing he had learned them of so great an apostle of Christ; whose mission, as such, was abundantly confirmed by miracles and success, and who had received these doctrines by immediate revelation from Christ; so that it was all one as if Timothy had learned them from Christ himself. The Alexandrian copy reads the word "whom", in the plural number, as if the apostle referred to more teachers of Timothy than himself; however, he doubtless was the principal one.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Timothy 3:14. To the good testimony given to] Timothy by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:10, there is added the exhortation to stand stedfast in the truth.

σὺ δέ] said in opposition to the heretics.

μένε ἐν οἷς ἔμαθες] μένε, see 1 Timothy 2:15; John 8:31.

ἐν οἷς is equivalent to ἐν τούτοις, .

Ἔμαθες] comp. 2 Timothy 2:2.

καί] (sc. not ἐν οἶς, as Heydenreich suggests) ἐπιστώθης] not = quae tibi concredita sunt (Beza, Luther: “and is entrusted to thee”); for πιστόω does not mean “entrust to,” but confirmare. It is rightly interpreted by the Greek expositors, with whom also de Wette and Wiesinger agree; Theophylact: μετὰ πληροφορίας ἔμαθες; properly, “of which thou hast been assured,” i.e. of which thou hast been convinced for certain;[53] it serves to give “more force to ἔμαθες” (Wiesinger), by declaring that Timothy was also convinced of the truth of what he learnt (so, too, van Oosterzee, Plitt, Hofmann).

To strengthen the exhortation, Paul reminds Timothy of those from whom he learnt the truths of the gospel: ΕἸΔῺς ΠΑΡᾺ ΤΊΝΩΝ ἜΜΑΘΕς] ΕἸΔῺς, see 2 Timothy 2:23.

ΠΑΡᾺ ΤΊΝΩΝ] With the usual reading ΠΑΡᾺ ΤΊΝΟς, which Hofmann prefers, ΤΊΝΟς is not, as some think, Christ, but the apostle as teacher; but still it would be strange for Paul not to name himself directly and without periphrasis, as he usually does when speaking of himself; comp. 2 Timothy 2:2. If ΤΊΝΩΝ be the correct reading, then these teachers cannot be the ΠΟΛΛΟῚ ΜΆΡΤΥΡΕς mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:2 (Matthies), nor Paul and Barnabas (according to Acts 16:1 comp. with Acts 14:6 ff., Grotius); but only, as is shown by ἈΠῸ ΒΡΈΦΟΥς following, the grandmother and mother of Timothy, whose faith the apostle expressly mentions, 2 Timothy 1:5 (so, too, van Oosterzee and Plitt).

Timothy had already been instructed in the truth of the gospel before Paul met with him, nay, even before this instruction he had been carefully made acquainted with the holy Scriptures. This very fact, that from childhood he had been under the influence of divine truth and been nourished by the bread of life, was to be an incentive to him to adhere faithfully to this word of truth.

[53] In classic Greek πιστόω occurs specially in connection with ὅρκῳ; thus Thucydides, iv. 88: καὶ πιστώσαντες αὐτὸν τοῖς ὅρκοις, i.e. “after they had made sure of him by oath” = “after they had made him swear.” Comp. also Hom. Od. i. 21. 218; also 2Ma 7:24; 2Ma 12:25.2 Timothy 3:14. σὺ δὲ μένε: Both σύ and μένε are in strong contrast to the πονηροὶ ἄνθρωποι and προκόψουσιν of 2 Timothy 3:13. The exhortation is illustrated by 2 John 1:9, πᾶς ὁ προάγων, καὶ μὴ μένων ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ θεὸν οὐκ ἔχει. The conservatism here enjoined concerns more especially the fundamental ethical teaching common to the Old Covenant and the New. For the idiom, see note on 1 Timothy 2:15.

ἐν οἶς ἔμαθες καὶ ἐπιστώθης: , supplied out of ἐν οἶς, is the direct object of ἔμαθες, and remoter object of ἐπιστώθης.

ἐπιστώθης: The Latin versions blunder here, quae … credita sunt tibi. This would be the translation of ἐπιστεύθης. πιστόομαί τι means to have received confirmation of the truth of a thing. Bengel, rendering “fidelis et firmus es redditus,” compares Psalms 77 (78):8, οὐκ ἐπιστώθη μετὰ τοῦ θεοῦ τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτῆς, and 37, οὐδὲ ἐπιστώθησαν ἐν τῇ διαθήκῃ αὐτοῦ.

εἰδὼς παρὰ τίνων ἔμαθες: It has to be remembered that St. Paul is speaking of moral, not intellectual, authority. The truths for which St. Paul is contending were commended to Timothy by the sanction of the best and noblest personalities whom he had ever known or heard of. The characters of Timothy’s revered parent and teachers—of Eunice, Lois, the prophets, and Paul, to enumerate them in the order in which they had touched his life—had been moulded in a certain school of morals. Their characters had admittedly stood the test of life. What more cogent argument could Timothy have for the truth and reasonableness of their moral teaching?14. But continue thou] ‘Thou’ emphatic; ‘continue,’ better abide, i.e. make no downward progress, go not astray: the construction of the next clause illustrates the brevity of the Greek use of the relative; lit. ‘in those things which thou didst learn, and as to which thou wert fully persuaded.’ The last verb occurs here only in N.T. But it is a good classical word.

which thou hast learned] The three past tenses of this verse are aorists, and should be rendered didst learn, wert assured, didst learn. A definite time is implied when the learning and the assurance came, in that early youth.

knowing of whom] ‘Knowing as thou dost’ as in 2 Timothy 2:23. The plural ‘of what persons’ should be read. Lois and Eunice must be understood, as in 2 Timothy 1:5.2 Timothy 3:14. Σὺ δὲ, but thou) Whatever they may do. He takes up again what he began to say at 2 Timothy 3:10.—ἐπιστώθης) πίστοω, I make sure a thing on the mind: ἐν οἷς ἐπιστώθης, in which thou hast been rendered πιστὸς, faithful and firm (thou hast been assured) [out of the Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:15.—V. g.] Comp. LXX., Psalm 78:8; Psalm 78:37, where πιστοῦσθαι corresponds to נאמן.—εἰδὼςκαὶ ὄτι οἶδας, knowing—and because thou hast known) A double Ætiology [assigning of a reason; see Append.], of which the first part is to be referred to in those things which thou hast learned, the second to thou hast been rendered faithful (assured). A similar construction, διὰκαὶ ὅτι, occurs, John 2:24-25 : also ἐπιγνοὺςκαὶ ὅτι, Acts 22:29.—παρὰ τίνος, from whom) from Paul, an approved teacher, 2 Timothy 3:10-11.Verse 14. - Abide for continue, A.V. Abide thou, etc. Be not like these juggling heretics, blown about by every wind of doctrine, and always seeking some new thing, but abide in the old truths which thou hast learnt from thy childhood. Hast been assured of (ἐπιστώθης); only here in the New Testament, but found in 2 Macc. 7:24 and 1 Kings 1:36. In classical Greek it has the same sense as here (among others), "to be made sure of a thing." Of whom thou hast learned them (παρὰ τίνος ἔμαθες, or, according to another reading of nearly equal authority, παρὰ τίνων). If τίνος is the right reading, it must refer either to God or to St. Paul. In favour of its referring to God is the expression in the Prophet Isaiah commented upon by our Lord in John 6:45, where παρὰ τοῦ Πατρὸς answers to παρὰ τίνος; the promise concerning the Comforter, "He shall teach you all things" (John 14:26, etc.); and the very similar reasoning of St. John, when he is exhorting his "little children" to stand fast in the faith, in spite of those that seduced them: "Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning;" for "the anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things,...and even as it hath taught yon, abide in him" (1 John 2:24-28); and other similar passages. There would obviously be great force in reminding Timothy that he had received the gospel under the immediate teaching of the Holy Spirit, and that it would be a shameful thing for him to turn aside under the influence of those impostors. If τίνων does not refer to God, it must refer to St. Paul. If, on the other hand, τίνων is the true reading (which is less probable), it must refer to Lois and Eunice, which seems rather feeble. Hast been assured of (ἐπιστώθης)

N.T.o. Quite often in lxx. So 2 Samuel 7:16, shall be established (of the house of David): Psalm 78:37, steadfast in his covenant.

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