2 Timothy 3:2
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
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(2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves.—Hofmann and others have attempted to portion out these vices into groups. But any such effort seems artificial. A certain connection seems to exist in some part; but when pressed to preserve the groups, a strained meaning has to be given to some of the terms. It seems, therefore, best simply to understand the catalogue as representing the various more prominent vices which appeared on the surface of Christian society, and threatened the very existence of the Church, even in those early times when Timothy ruled over the congregations of Christians at Ephesus. Hofmann, however, divides the catalogue contained in 2Timothy 3:2-4 into three groups, consisting of five, six, and seven terms, respectively.

Lovers of their own selves.—Selfishness well heads the dreary list. It is the true root of all sin.

Covetous.—More accurately rendered, lovers of money. This “love of money” has been happily termed “the daughter of selfishness.”

Boasters.—Those who arrogate to themselves honour which does not fairly belong to them.

Proud.—These are they who contemptuously look down on others beneath them, either in social position or wealth, or perhaps in natural gifts. The Latin, ostentatio, represents the vice which affects the first of these classes—“the boasters;” and superbia, that which affects the second class—“the proud.”

Blasphemers.—The two vices just mentioned refer to man’s conduct to his brother man; this alludes to his behaviour towards his God. The pride with which he looks down on his fellows develops itself into insolence in thought, if not in word, towards his God: and this is termed blasphemy.

Disobedient to parents.—The blasphemer of the Father which is in heaven is only too likely to train up little ones who, in their turn, will display a disobedience and disrespect of their earthly parents. The home life of the man who chooses not to know God in his heart will too easily reflect his evil thoughts and senseless pride.

Unthankful.—Or, ungrateful. The children who begin life with disobedience to their parents, with rare exceptions, are ungrateful to all others who may show them kindness in their life journey.

Unholy.—Unholy through their want of inward purity. (See 1Timothy 1:9.)

3:1-9 Even in gospel times there would be perilous times; on account of persecution from without, still more on account of corruptions within. Men love to gratify their own lusts, more than to please God and do their duty. When every man is eager for what he can get, and anxious to keep what he has, this makes men dangerous to one another. When men do not fear God, they will not regard man. When children are disobedient to their parents, that makes the times perilous. Men are unholy and without the fear of God, because unthankful for the mercies of God. We abuse God's gifts, if we make them the food and fuel of our lusts. Times are perilous also, when parents are without natural affection to children. And when men have no rule over their own spirits, but despise that which is good and to be honoured. God is to be loved above all; but a carnal mind, full of enmity against him, prefers any thing before him, especially carnal pleasure. A form of godliness is very different from the power; from such as are found to be hypocrites, real Christians must withdraw. Such persons have been found within the outward church, in every place, and at all times. There ever have been artful men, who, by pretences and flatteries, creep into the favour and confidence of those who are too easy of belief, ignorant, and fanciful. All must be ever learning to know the Lord; but these follow every new notion, yet never seek the truth as it is in Jesus. Like the Egyptian magicians, these were men of corrupt minds, prejudiced against the truth, and found to be quite without faith. Yet though the spirit of error may be let loose for a time, Satan can deceive the nations and the churches no further, and no longer, than God will permit.For men shall be lovers of their own selves - It shall be one of the characteristics of those times that men shall be eminently selfish - evidently under the garb of religion; 2 Timothy 3:5. The word here used - φίλαυτος philautos - does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means a lover of oneself, "selfish." Such a love of self as to lead us to secure our salvation, is proper. But this interferes with the rights and happiness of no other persons. The selfishness which is condemned, is that regard to our own interests which interferes with the rights and comforts of others; which makes self the central and leading object of living; and which tramples on all that would interfere with that. As such, it is a base, and hateful, and narrow passion; but it has been so common in the world that no one can doubt the correctness of the prophecy of the apostle that it would exist "in the last times."

Covetous - Greek, Lovers of silver; i. e., of money; Luke 6:14; see the notes at 1 Timothy 6:20.

Boasters - see the notes at Romans 1:30.

Proud - see the notes at Romans 1:30.

Blasphemers - see the notes at Matthew 9:3.

Disobedient to parents - see the notes at Romans 1:30.

Unthankful - see Luke 6:35. The word here used occurs in the New Testament only in these two places. Ingratitude has always been regarded as one of the worst of crimes. It is said here that it would characterize that wicked age of which the apostle speaks, and its prevalence would, as it always does, indicate a decline of religion. Religion makes us grateful to every benefactor - to God, and to man.

Unholy - see the notes at 1 Timothy 1:9.

2. men—in the professing Church. Compare the catalogue, Ro 1:29, &c., where much the same sins are attributed to heathen men; it shall be a relapse into virtual heathendom, with all its beast-like propensities, whence the symbol of it is "a beast" (Re 13:1, 11, 12, &c.; 17:3, 8, 11).

covetous—Translate, "money-loving," a distinct Greek word from that for "covetous" (see on [2502]Col 3:5). The cognate Greek substantive (1Ti 6:10) is so translated, "the love of money is a (Greek, not 'the') root of all evil."

boasters—empty boasters [Alford]; boasting of having what they have not.

proud—overweening: literally, showing themselves above their fellows.

blasphemous—rather, "evil-speakers," revilers.

disobedient to parents—The character of the times is even to be gathered especially from the manners of the young [Bengel].

unthankful—The obligation to gratitude is next to that of obedience to parents.

unholy—irreligious [Alford]; inobservant of the offices of piety.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves; that is, the generality of men shall be persons that will neither love God nor men, in comparison with themselves; charity, which seeketh not her own, shall wax cold, men shall be wholly for themselves.

Covetous; lovers of silver immoderately, so as they will get it any way, and when they have it will be as sordidly tenacious of it.

Boasters; vaunting of themselves, vain-glorious, boasting of what they have not.

Proud; lifted up in an opinion of themselves.

Blasphemers; speaking evil of God and men.

Disobedient to parents; stubborn and rebellious against those that bare them.

Unthankful, both to God and men, for kindnesses received from either.

Unholy; profane and impure.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves,.... Not in a good sense, as men may be, and as such are who love their neighbours as themselves, and do that to others they would have done to themselves; and who take all prudent and lawful care to preserve the life and health of their bodies, and seek in a right way the salvation of their immortal souls: but in a bad sense, as such may be said to be, who only love themselves; their love to God, and Christ, and to the saints, being only in pretence, not in reality; and who do all they do in a religious way, from a principle of self-love, and to selfish and mercenary ends; either to gain glory and applause from men, or to merit something for themselves at the hands of God, without any view to the glory of God, the honour and interest of Christ, and the good of others; and ascribe all they have and do to themselves, to their industry, diligence, power, free will, worth, and merit, and not to the grace of God: and this character may be seen in the principles and practices of the church of Rome, in their doctrines of merit and free will, in works of supererogation &c. "Coveteous"; lovers of silver, greedy of filthy lucre, doing nothing but for money; everyone looking for his gain from his quarter; making merchandise of the souls of men; and which are reckoned among the wares of Babylon, the Romish antichrist, Revelation 18:13. "No penny, no pater noster".

Boasters; of their wealth and riches, of their honour and grandeur; I sit a queen, &c. Revelation 18:7, of their numbers, of their holiness, of the infallibility of their popes, of their having the true knowledge, and certain sense of the Scriptures, and of having all power in heaven and in earth.

Proud; as have been the popes of Rome; exalting themselves above all that is called God, above all princes, kings, and emperors of the earth; deposing one, excommunicating another, treading upon their necks, obliging them to hold their stirrups while they mounted their horses; the pride of the popes, cardinals, priests, and the whole clergy of the church of Rome, is notorious.

Blasphemers; of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ; sitting in the temple as God, as antichrist does, showing himself that he is God; assuming that to himself which belongs to God only, which is to forgive sin; calling himself Christ's vicar on earth; taking upon him to enact new laws, and to dispense with the laws of God, and Christ; and has a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies against God, his name, his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven, 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Disobedient to parents: as many of the votaries of the antichristian church have been; who have withdrew themselves from under the care of their parents, and their fortunes too out of their hands, when they have been in their power; and have shut themselves up in cloisters, monasteries, and nunneries, without the leave and consent, or knowledge of their parents.

Unthankful: to God, for what is enjoyed by them, ascribing all to themselves, and to their merit and good works; and to men, to the princes of the earth, by whom they were first raised to, and supported in their dignity; as the popes of Rome were by the Roman emperors, and whom they in return tyrannized over, and dethroned at pleasure.

Unholy; notwithstanding his holiness the pope at the head of them their holy father, and holy mother church, and holy priests, and holy orders they talk of; yet are without the fear of God, or any regard to him, living most unholy lives and conversations, Daniel 11:37.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, {a} unholy,

(a) Who make no account, either of right or honesty.

2 Timothy 3:2-5. Ἔσονται γὰρ οἱ ἄνθρωποι] The article οἱ is not to be overlooked. Luther is inaccurate: there will be men; Nouveau Test. à Mons: il y aura des hommes. The article points to the generality, but, as Matthies rightly observes, not exactly “all without exception, rather taking the average, as a general rule.”

Bengel: majore gradu et numero tales, quam unquam, in ecclesia.

Mack is incorrect: “the people of whom I am speaking.”

φίλαυτοι (ἅπ. λεγ.). It may be explained from Arist. ad Nicom. ix. 8: τοὺς φιλαύτους ἐν αἰσχρῷ ἀποκάλουσι. Heinrichs, on the analogy of 1 Corinthians 10:24, says: ζητῶν τὰ ἑαυτοῦ, μὴ τὰ τοῦ ἑτέρου.

φιλάργυροι] only elsewhere in Luke 16:14; the substantive occurs in 1 Timothy 6:10.

ἀλάζονες, ὑπερήφανοι] Romans 1:30; the first expresses boastfulness without intending contempt for others; the second, pride and haughtiness with contempt for others; see Meyer on that passage. Hofmann’s explanation of ἀλάζων is not appropriate: “he who attributes to himself an honour which is not his.”

βλάσφημοι] “slanderous;” not quite “blasphemous” (Matthies). In 1 Timothy 1:13 a definite reference to divine things is given by the context.

γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς] Romans 1:30.

ἀχάριστοι] elsewhere only in Luke 6:35 (Sir 16:29; Wis 19:17).

ἀνόσιοι] 1 Timothy 1:9. Beza: quibus nullum jus est nec fas.—2 Timothy 3:3. ἄστοργοι] Romans 1:31, especially of the natural affection between parents and children: caritate a natura ipsa nobis insita orbati, Heinrichs.

ἄσπονδοι] Romans 1:31; both those who make no covenant (Luther: “irreconcilable”) and those who do not keep a covenant made, “covenant-breaking.” Hofmann says: “one who is destitute of moral sense of justice;” but that does not give the reference peculiar to the word.

διάβολοι] 1 Timothy 3:11.

ἀκρατεῖς (ἅπ. λεγ.), “having no control over one’s passions;” 1 Corinthians 7:5 : ἀκρασία; the opposite is ἐγκρατής, Titus 1:8.

ἀνήμεροι] (ἅπ. λεγ.). Oecumenius makes it equivalent to ὠμοί, ἀπάνθρωποι; synonymous with ἀνελεήμονες, Romans 1:31.

ἀφιλάγαθοι (ἅπ. λεγ.); the opposite: φιλάγαθοι, Titus 1:8. Theophylact: ἐχθροὶ παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ. Luther wrongly: “unkindly.”—2 Timothy 3:4. προδόται] Luke 6:16; Acts 7:52; here: “men among whom there is no fidelity” (Wiesinger).

προπετεῖς] (Acts 19:36), qui praecipites sunt in agendo (Bengel), “foolhardy.” Hofmann’s is too weak: “inconsiderate.”

τετυφωμένοι] 1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:4, “puffed up,” not merely “made stupid” (Hofmann).

φιλήδονοι μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι (both words ἅπ. λεγ. Philo, de Agricult.: φιλήδονον καὶ φιλοπαθὴ μᾶλλον ἢ φιλάρετον καὶ φιλόθεον ἐργάζεσθαι); such paronomasia are often found in the N. T.; see Wilke’s Hermeneutik, vol. II. p. 346: “rather hunting after pleasure than seeking after God.”[44]—2 Timothy 3:5. ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας] μόρφωσις, Romans 2:20, in a different meaning from here; see Meyer on that passage. We must not, like Beza, understand it to be vera forma et effigies pietatis, sicut in lege proponitur; it rather denotes the external form in general. But as Paul contrasts it here with δύναμις, it acquires the signification of mere appearance in distinction from true nature.

τὴν δὲ δύναμιν αὐτῆς ἠρνημένοι] δύναμις in contrast with μόρφωσις: “the living, powerful nature of genuine blessedness” (Heydenreich).

ἠρνημένοι] 1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:12 : “they show that they do not possess the δύναμις, and do not wish to possess it.”

This ends the enumeration of the characteristics which Paul uses to describe the men in the last times.

Romans 1:30-31 is similar to this passage; Wiesinger (following Olshausen) aptly remarks: “it is a new heathendom under a Christian name which the apostle is here describing.”

A definite connection between the ideas cannot be established,[45] but in both passages kindred ideas are placed together. Thus the two first are compounded with φίλος; then follow three expressions denoting arrogance; to γονεῦσιν ἀπαθεῖς there is added ἀχάριστοι; this word begins a longer series of words beginning with privative, and the series is interrupted by διάβολοι; the next expressions: προδόται, προπετεῖς, seem to form a paronomasia; to προπετεῖς there is added the kindred notion τετυφωμένοι; some more general notions close the list. But this very confusion brings out more vividly the varied manifestations of the evil one. It is to be observed, however, that the list begins with φίλαυτοι, that accordingly only such qualities are enumerated as have their root in φιλαυτία, and that hypocrisy is the last mentioned, as the means by which the selfish man seeks to conceal his selfishness by a show of piety.

Heydenreich wrongly tries to establish in the particular expressions a special reference to the peculiar nature of the heretics.

As the closing word, Paul adds the exhortation: καὶ τούτους ἀποτρέπου] ἀποτρέπου, ἅπ. λεγ. (1 Timothy 6:20 : ἐκτρέπεσθαι), is kindred in meaning with παραιτοῦ, 2 Timothy 2:23 : “from these things turn away, these things avoid.”

This exhortation shows that Paul in single phenomena of the day already recognised the approach of the καιροὶ χαλεποί which were to come fully in the future.

[44] Theod. v. Mopsu.: φίλαυτοί εἰσιν οἱ πάντα πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτῶν ὠφέλειαν ποιοῦντες, ἀλαζόνες καυχώμενοι ἔχειν ὃ μὴ ἔχουσιν, ὑπερήφανοι μεγάλα φρονοῦντες ἐπὶ τοῖς οὖσιν, βλάσφημοι κατηγορίαις χαίροντες, ἀνόσιοι ἐπιμέλειαν τοῦ δικαίου μὴ ποιούμενοι, ἄστοργοι περὶ οὐδένα σχέσιν ἔχοντες, ἄσπονδοι οὐ βέβαιοι περὶ τὰς φιλίας, οὐδὲ ἀληθεῖς περὶ ἃ συντίθενται, διάβολοι ταῦτά τε ἐκεῖ, ἐκεῖνα ἐνταῦθα λέγοντις ἐπὶ τῷ κατεργάζεσθαι μάχην, ἀκρατεῖς ἥττους τῶν παθῶν, ἀνήμεροι οὐδεμιᾶς χρησσότητος ἐπιμελούμενοι, τετυφωμίνοι μεγάλα φρονοῦντες ἐπὶ τοῖς μὴ προσοῦσι.

[45] Hofmann does indeed seek to establish an order in accordance with definite points of view, but he does not accomplish this without much ingenuity and many inaccurate interpretations.

2 Timothy 3:2. οἱ ἄνθρωποι: mankind in general, not οἱ ἄνδρες. This list of human vices should be compared with that given in Romans 1:29 sqq.; ἀλαζόνες, ὑπερήφανοι, γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς, ἄστοργοι are common to both passages. φίλαυτοι appropriately heads the array, egoism or self-centredness being the root of almost every sin, just as love which “seeketh not its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5) is “the fulfilment of the law” (Romans 13:10). φιλαυτία is used favourably by Aristotle in the sense of self-respect (Nic. Eth. ix. 8. 7). But “once the sense of sin is truly felt, self-respect becomes an inadequate basis for moral theory. So Philo (de Prof. 15) speaks of those who are φίλαυτοι δὴ μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι” (Dean Bernard, in loc).

φιλάργυροι: covetousness (πλεονεξία, Romans 1:29) naturally springs from, or is one form of, selfishness; but we cannot suppose with Chrys. that there is a similar sequence intended all through.

Other compounds of φιλ.- in the Pastorals, besides the five that occur here, are φιλάγαθος, Titus 1:8, φίλανδρος, φιλότεκνος, Titus 2:4, φιλανθρωπία, Titus 3:4, φιλόξενος, 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8.

ἀλαζόνες, ὑπερήφανοι: elati, superbi. The ἀλαζών, boastful, betrays his character by his words; the ὑπερήφανος, haughty, more usually by his demeanour and expression.

βλάσφημοι: abusive, railers (R.V.); not necessarily blasphemers (A.V.).

γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς and ἀχάριστοι naturally go together; since, as Bengel observes, gratitude springs from filial duty.

2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves] ‘The article is generic; the men who shall live in those times,’ Alford. Self-lovers, money-lovers; the first pair of adjectives in the description go naturally together; the first of the words occurs only here in N.T., the second only in Luke 16:14, ‘the Pharisees also who were lovers of money.’ The first and an almost exact synonym of the second occur together in Ar. Pol. ii. v. where Plato’s question is being discussed whether there ought to be private property or not. ‘It is clear then that the better plan is for the property to be held separately while the produce is common. Besides even for the pleasure of the thing it makes an unspeakable difference to regard a piece of property as one’s own. Indeed it is probably no mere chance that makes each of us hold himself first in his regard. It is human nature. But being a self-lover is rightly blamed. By this is not meant loving oneself, but doing so too much; just as we speak of the man who is a money-lover, since all love what belongs to them. But to support and succour friends or guests or comrades is a very delightful thing and this requires our having property of our own. The “community” idea robs us of the virtue of generosity in the use of property.’ See note on 1 Timothy 6:10.

boasters, proud, blasphemers] R.V. better, boastful, haughty, railers. Theophrastus (Characters c. 23) describes (‘boastfulness’ to be ‘an endeavour to pass for a man of greater consequence than one really is.’ In the next chapter he describes ‘haughtiness’ to be ‘a contempt for every one but a man’s self.’ The climax is (1) a spirit of vain glory in themselves, (2) an overweening treatment of others, (3) actual abuse and reviling of others. The first word describes a man who sins against truth, the second a man who sins against love, the third a man who sins against both. Cf. Romans 1:30; 1 John 2:16 (and Westcott’s note); Trench, Syn. § 29. For this general meaning of ‘railers’ rather than ‘blasphemers,’ cf. 1 Timothy 6:4 ‘envy, strife, railings.’

disobedient to parents] Or, in one word, unfilial; this with ‘unthankful, unholy,’ makes another triad: breakers of the fifth commandment go on to be breakers of the tenth; and thus throwing aside the second table go on to throw aside also the first, ‘unfilial, unthankful, unholy.’ The word for ‘unthankful’ occurs elsewhere only Luke 6:35 in the Sermon on the Mount. For ‘unholy’ see notes on 1 Timothy 1:9.

2 Timothy 3:2. Ἔσονται οἱ ἄνθρωποι, men shall be) Such shall be of higher rank and of greater number in the Church than ever formerly: 2 Timothy 3:5. They shall be worse even than those who had abused the light of nature alone, Romans 1:29, etc.: where we explain many things in the notes, which are here repeated.—φίλαυτοι, lovers of their own selves) The first root of evil.—φιλάργυροι, lovers of money) The second root.—γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς, disobedient to parents) The character of the times is to be gathered even especially from the manners of the young.—ἀχάριστοι, ungrateful) The obligation of a grateful mind is next to that of filial duty.

Verse 2. - Self for their own selves, A.V.; lovers of money for covetous, A.V.; boastful for boasters, A.V.; haughty for proud, A.V.; railers for blasphemers, A.V. Men (οἱἄνθρωποι); men in general, the bulk of men in the Church; for he is speaking, not of the world at large, but of professing Christians. Lovers of self (φίλαυτοι); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX.; but used by Aristotle in a striking passage (quoted by Alford), where he distinguishes those who are φίλαυτοι in a good sense, and those who are justly blamed for being φίλαυτοι, i.e. selfish and greedy. The Christian character is exactly the opposite (see 1 Corinthians 10:24; 1 Corinthians 13:5). Lovers of money (φιλάργυροι); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 16:14, though not uncommon in classical Greek; φιλαργυρία is found in 1 Timothy 6:10. Boastful (ἀλάζονες); as Romans 1:30, and in classical Greek. It the derivation of the word is ἄλη, wandering, we may compare the περιερχόμενοι of Acts 9:13, "vagabond Jews." Such vagabonds were usually boasters. Hence ἀλαζών came to mean "a boaster." Haughty, railers. Υπερηφανία and βλασφημία are coupled together in Mark 7:22; and ὑπερηφάνους and ἀλάζονας in Romans 1:30. In the New Testament βλάσφημος and βλασφημία are most commonly used of evil speaking against God and holy things; but not always (see Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:4). Here apparently it means generally "evil speakers." Unthankful (ἀχάριστοι); as Luke 6:35. Found occasionally in the LXX., and common in classical Greek. The ingratitude which they showed to their parents was a part of their general character. We ought to take special note of this passive sin - the not being thankful for good received from God and man. Unholy (ἀνόσιοι); as 1 Timothy 1:9 (where see note). 2 Timothy 3:2Lovers of their own selves (φίλαυτοι)

Better, lovers of self. N.T.o. lxx. Aristotle, De Repub. ii. 5, says: "It is not loving one's self, but loving it unduly, just as the love of possessions."

Covetous (φιλάργυροι)

Better, lovers of money. Only here and Luke 16:14. For the noun φιλαργυρία love of money, see on 1 Timothy 6:10. Love of money and covetousness are not synonymous. Covetous is πλεονέκτης; see 1 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:6. See on Romans 1:29.

Boasters (ἀλαζόνες)

Or swaggerers. Only here and Romans 1:30. See on ἀλαζονείαις boastings, James 4:16.

Proud (ὑπερήφανοι)

Or haughty. See on ὑπερηφανία pride, Mark 7:22.

Blasphemers (βλάσφημοι)

See on 1 Timothy 1:13. Better, railers. See also on, βλασφημία blasphemy, Mark 7:22.

Unthankful (ἀχάριστοι)

Only here and Luke 6:35.

Unholy (ἀνόσιοι)

Only here and 1 Timothy 1:9 (note).

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