Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 3. Apostolic Life and Doctrine
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.1. This know also] Lit., ‘take notice of this,’ the present tense. Our Lord in Luke 12:39 has the same formula.
in the last days] ‘Not only the very last days, towards the end of the world, but in general (according to the Hebrew phrase) the days to come, or the future time, whether nearer or afar off. He supposeth this would begin to happen in the age of Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:5 from such do thou (thou, Timothy) turn away and avoid them,’ Bp Bull, Serm. xv. init. So Calvin, ‘universum Ecclesiae Christianae statum.’
perilous times shall come] Lit. ‘difficult,’ grievous; the meaning is well seen from the only other place where it occurs in N.T. Matthew 8:28, ‘two possessed with devils exceeding fierce,’ i.e. difficult to deal with, ‘so that no man could pass by that way.’ ‘Shall come,’ lit., will set in. Vulg. ‘instabunt,’ ‘will be upon us,’ ‘will be present.’ In Galatians 1:4 the perfect participle is used, ‘this present evil world.’
1–5. Appeal to Timothy for pure life in view of the worse days and lives to come
The same three thoughts are still in St Paul’s mind, viz. (1) his own life’s work and suffering now closed, (2) Timothy’s life and teaching as the pattern still for other ministers, (3) the false teachers to be shunned and stopped. They are blended in an old man’s artless way as each is uppermost, (3) 2 Timothy 3:1-5; (2) 5; (3) 6–9; (2) 10; (1) 10–12; (3) 13; (2) 14–17. But the main central thought—anxiety for Timothy—comes in, after the others, three times.
The connexion with chap. 2. seems to be: ‘do your best to win back those who are only in the first stage of opposition (see 2 Timothy 2:25, ‘those that are setting themselves contentiously’); there will be men ere long too far gone for this in evil living and false teaching; from these there is no help for it but to turn away.’
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,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.
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,3. without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers] Or, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, another triad which starts from another breach of the same fifth commandment, the rending of the family ties of love, and advances to a breach of the sixth commandment in a refusal to make peace, and further of the ninth commandment in calumnious attacks and slanders. The threefold contrary spirit is in the same Sermon on the Mount, Luke 6:27, ‘love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you.’ The word for ‘unloving’ occurs only in Romans 1:31, the other similarities of which seem to suggest that St Paul may have it in his mind, and be sadly tracing the decline and fall of Christian men back to the old heathen state. The word for ‘unforgiving,’ means ‘unwilling to make a truce,’ the opposite of ‘peacemakers,’ Matthew 5:9. It has been wrongly introduced in Romans 1 from this place where only in N. T. it is found, though an ordinary classical word.
incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good] Vicious or uncontrollable, unapproachable, unkindly to all good, a descending triad, in which the characters of the libertine, the churl, the worldling are painted. The three words occur nowhere else in N.T. But the exact opposites are found together in Titus 1:8, ‘temperate, a lover of hospitality, a lover of good.’
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;4. traitors, heady, highminded] The last triad again descending, false and forward and full of conceit, the spirit of one who ‘with a light heart’ (1) betrays old friends, and (2) rushes headlong on new faiths, and (3) remains to the end impenetrably wrapped in clouds of self-esteem. The second word only occurs Acts 19:36, ‘to do nothing rash’; the third has been explained 1 Timothy 6:4; cf. 1 Timothy 3:6; a purely ‘pastoral’ phrase in N.T., though thoroughly classical. Note the weight and force of the perfect participle closing the list of epithets. Cf. 2 Timothy 2:25. The A.V. ‘highminded’ has entirely changed its meaning, as Romans 11:20 shews, ‘be not highminded, but fear.’ Cf. Lightfoot, Revision of N. T. p. 175; and see note on 1 Timothy 6:17.
lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God] Both compounds only occurring here, like the similar compounds ‘self-lovers’ and ‘money-lovers’ with which the passage opens. The word for ‘pleasures’ is always in a bad sense in N.T., Luke 8:14 ‘choked with … pleasures of this life.’ So James 4:1; James 4:3; 2 Peter 2:13.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.5. having a form of godliness] The word for ‘form’ is strictly ‘formation,’ its ending implying process rather than result, the producing of the form; hence in Romans 2:20 ‘thou hast the ideally perfect presentation of knowledge and truth.’ ‘The Jew believed that he had in the law the sole embodiment, the forming, of knowledge and truth, that he could give to knowledge and truth their right form, and so was the proper teacher of the world.’ Gifford. So here holding to a presentment of godliness; full ‘profession’ though there is little enough of the substance; ‘still making out that there is the real nature of godliness.’ The stress lies on the making out, the representation, whether as here the inner reality is absent or as Romans 2:20 present. Similarly ‘a professor of divinity’ is credited with exhibiting real truth and knowledge; not so ‘a religious professor.’ Compare too our Lord’s ‘I will profess to you I never knew you,’ Matthew 7:23, with the account of ‘the defiled and unbelieving’ who ‘profess that they know God, but by their works they deny him,’ Titus 1:16. The Greek word for ‘form,’ of which our word is the causative process, means ‘embodied substance,’ standing between ‘unclothed essence’ and ‘unsubstantial appearance’; see Lightfoot, Revision of N.T. p. 77.
denying the power thereof] The power lies in the production of ‘works’ as in Titus 1:16. Cf. Bp Bull ‘to deny the power of godliness is for a man by indecent and vicious actions to contradict his outward show or profession of godliness’ Serm. xv. p. 376 (Oxf. 1846). The force of the perfect pass, participle is noted 2 Timothy 2:25 living in denial of its power.
from such turn away] The conjunction emphasises the ‘such,’ but not without affecting also the verb turn away,’ cf. 2 Timothy 3:9; ‘offenders of the first degree try to win back; but from these men, hardened in error, make it your habit to turn away,’ see 2 Timothy 3:1. In harmony with this direction is the conduct of St John at Ephesus some 10 or 15 years later, according to the tradition. ‘John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bathhouse without bathing, crying out, “Let us fly, lest even the bathhouse fall on us, because Cerinthus the enemy of the truth is within” (Iren. iii. iii. 4). Epiphanius substitutes Ebion for Cerinthus. Both Cerinthus and the Ebionites denied the reality of the Incarnation.’ Plummer, St John (Gosp.), Introduction, p. 15.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,6–9. Appeal to Timothy for pure doctrine in view of the worse doctrines to come
6. For of this sort] For of these, the reason of the warning; the mischief has begun.
which creep into] The verb occurs only here in N.T., but is classical.
lead captive] For the primary sense cf. Luke 21:24; for the derived, Romans 7:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5.
silly women] The neuter gender and the diminutive ending of the word here indicate the degraded contemptible state to which they have come. Vulg. ‘mulierculas’; ‘womanlings,’ Farrar.
laden with sins] The simple verb occurs only Romans 12:20, where it is quoted from LXX., Proverbs 25:22 ‘thou shalt heap coals of fire’; the compound verb in 2 Timothy 4:3. Why such women especially? Their burdened conscience lays them open to any proselytisers who promise relief.
led away with divers lusts] Apparently the meaning is (not ‘lusts of the flesh’ but rather) as in 2 Timothy 4:3, which Wordsworth explains of persons ‘who in their prurient craving for something new, to stimulate and gratify their diseased appetite, accumulate to themselves a promiscuous heap of self-chosen teachers.’ ‘Led’ belongs to ‘women’; it occurs with the same construction, Romans 8:14.
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.7. never able] The negative used indicates the class of persons conceived of.
the knowledge of the truth] The fall knowledge, a ‘decisive and stable apprehension,’ Alford. See note on 1 Timothy 2:4. Cf. Lightfoot, Revision N.T. p. 61, where he defines our word as ‘the advanced or perfect knowledge which is the ideal state of the true Christian,’ and quotes 2 Corinthians 6:9 ‘as unknown and yet well known.’
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.8. Now as Jannes and Jambres] And like as; the conjunction should be translated ‘now’ only when there is more of a fresh departure; the present is only a small additional paragraph. Jannes and Jambres are nowhere else mentioned in Scripture. The Targum of Jonathan inserts their names in Exodus 7:11, Mambres which the Vulgate reads here being sometimes a later form for Jambres in the Jewish Commentaries. They were held to be the magicians who first imitated the wonders wrought by Moses and Aaron (see 2 Timothy 3:13 ‘impostors’ or ‘magicians’) but afterwards failing confessed that the power of God was with those whom they had withstood. Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxx. i. 2, mentions their story ‘est et alia magices factio a Mose et Jamne et Jotape Judæis pendens.’ He could not have derived his information from St Paul. There must have been an oral tradition or a lost book of Israelitish early history. Mr Poole (Art. Dict. Bib. from which this account is mainly taken) inclines to the latter supposition as more likely to preserve the exact names. That they are exact he thinks probable; since (1) the termination in Jambres or Mambres is like that of many Egyptian compounds ending with ra “the Sun,” as Men-kau-ra, (2) Jannes appears to be a transcription of the Egyptian name Aan, that of a king of the 15th dynasty who was probably the second predecessor of Joseph’s Pharaoh, and the most prevalent names among the Egyptians were those of kings then reigning or not long dead. The Rabbins state that Jannes and Jambres were sons of Balaam, and prophesied to Pharaoh the birth of Moses, and were authors of much mischief, subsequently perishing either in the Red Sea or in the tumult over the golden calf.
resist the truth] Rather, withstand, keeping the word.
of corrupt minds] Implies too much a natural viciousness; the perfect passive participle implies ‘having come to a corrupt state and remaining in it’ as above. In itself the word ‘corrupt’ from the Latin participle (cf. the Vulg. ‘corrupti mente)’ should have just this force, but in usage it is a mere adjective; render corrupted in mind.
reprobate] Just as in Titus 1:16, where see note.
But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.9. But they shall proceed no further] The same words as in 2 Timothy 2:16, where their advance is predicted. Here the future beyond that advance is seen. The adverbial phrase with the verb lends itself to this double meaning, being in the comparative and so capable of being rendered there ‘still farther’ and here ‘not very far.’ So in St Luke’s usage, Acts 4:17, ‘that it spread no further’; but Acts 20:9, ‘while Paul was very long discoursing’; Acts 24:4, ‘that I may not weary thee at great length’; cf. 1 Timothy 3:14, ‘quite shortly’; 2 Timothy 1:18, ‘very well’; Acts 17:22, ‘somewhat superstitious.’
manifest] Lit. ‘thoroughly manifest,’ a strong classical compound occurring only here in N. T.
their folly] The noun occurs only here and Luke 6:11, where R.V. renders ‘madness’; Ellicott, ‘wicked as well as insensate folly’; Trench, ‘the foolishness which is akin to, and derived from wickedness’ (N. T. Syn. § 75); for the adjective see note on Titus 3:3.
as theirs also was] R.V. literally, came to be; the conjunction emphasises pronoun and verb as in 2 Timothy 3:5.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine] The ms. authority on the whole favours the aorist, which suits also the aorists of 2 Timothy 3:14 and does not assert, as the perfect would, the certainty of Timothy’s settled continuance in ‘following.’ The perfect may have come in from 1 Timothy 4:6, where it is more appropriate in connexion with the present participle ‘being continuously nourished.’ On the meaning of the word see note there: thou didst closely follow.
my doctrine; manner of life] Again, teaching; cf. 1 Timothy 1:10. ‘Manner of life’ is a word occurring here only in N.T., a substantive derived from the verb used above ‘led’ 2 Timothy 3:6 and Romans 8:14, which shews how conduct is the natural derived sense; cf. Gifford’s note ‘all who are moved and guided by the Spirit and follow His guidance.’ The word is classical in the general sense of ‘guidance,’ ‘course,’ ‘training’; and occurs Ar. Eth. N. x. vii. 3, as here.
purpose] In 2 Timothy 1:9, and wherever else it is used in St Paul’s epistles, refers to God’s purpose and plan of salvation. It occurs four times in N.T. to render’ the shew-bread.’ But in Acts 11:23 it is used of Barnabas who ‘exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord,’ and this is exactly the force here.
faith] In the same general and usual sense as in 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Timothy 6:11, where ‘love’ and ‘brave patience’ also occur; for this last see also note on 2 Timothy 2:10.
longsuffering] Occurs with ‘brave patience’ or ‘endurance’ in Colossians 1:11, where Lightfoot distinguishes thus: ‘While “endurance” is the temper which does not easily succumb under suffering, “long-suffering” is the self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate a wrong. The one is opposed to cowardice or despondency, the other to wrath or revenge (Proverbs 15:18).’ In 1 Timothy 6:11 this ‘endurance’ is coupled with ‘meekness of heart’ which is rather the opposite of ‘rudeness,’ ‘harshness.’ See 2 Timothy 2:25, and note.
charity] As throughout N.T., love.
10–17. The appeal for pure life and doctrine in view both of St Paul’s own past and the evil future
The connexion is: ‘You were trained to a life the opposite of all this, in learning to copy me, in learning to rest all upon the Scriptures; see that you live the life.’
Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.11. afflictions, which came unto me] It is better to make the ‘afflictions’ go with the preceding, and make a new clause commence with the relative. So R.V. sufferings; what things befell me; what persecutions.
The Antioch meant is that in Pisidia, originally planted by the Magnesians. Seleucus the son of Antiochus re-settled it, and called it Antioch after the name of his father: which name it kept, though under Augustus made a colony with the additional name of Cæsarea. Plin. N.H. v. xxvii. 24 ‘Pisidæ … quorum colonia Cæsarea, eadem Antiochia.’ Its ruins are still to be seen, one of the most striking objects being a very perfect aqueduct of twenty-one arches. See Lewin, Life of St Paul, i. 137. For the work and sufferings at Antioch see Acts 13:14-50. The place usually understood by Antioch would be the large and important city of Antioch in Syria; but in writing to Timothy, whose home was in that district, St Paul would use the word with its well-known local meaning.
Iconium lies S.E. of Antioch at a distance of sixty miles, on the dusty highroad connecting Ephesus with Antioch of Syria. It is still called Cogni, and, like Damascus, is an oasis in the desert, by the dry plains of Lycaonia. See Acts 13:51 to Acts 14:6.
Lystra lies about forty miles to the south of Iconium, on the same road, in a hollow, on the north side of which rises Kara Dagh or the Black Mountain. Its ruins remain and are called ‘the thousand and one churches,’ it having been an episcopal see under the Byzantine emperors. This was Timothy’s birth-place. See Acts 14:6-20.
St Paul mentions these places and his sufferings there, (1) because they were the first, in his first period of ministry, (2) they were well known to Timothy and may well have led him to cast in his lot with the Apostle. See Introduction, pp. 57, 59, 62.
but out of them all] Rather, and, yet with an ascending force which marks a contrast, so that ‘and yet’ is hardly too strong; though the more exact rendering is to lay stress on ‘all’ and on ‘delivered,’ cf. Winer, iii. § 53, 3.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.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.).
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.13. But evil men and seducers] The word ‘seduce’ in A.V. occurs nine times in Old and New Testament always in the general sense of ‘lead astray’; everywhere except here it is used to represent the Greek word for this cognate to the English word ‘planet’ ‘the wanderer,’ (cf. Jude’s ‘wandering stars’) and almost immediately following here ‘deceiving,’ cf. 1 Timothy 4:1 and note. R.V. in these places varies between ‘seduce’ and ‘lead astray.’ The word so rendered here is properly ‘enchanter,’ from the cries of incantations used. So ‘magicians,’ and more generally ‘impostors.’ Compare for the general sense, the most probable here, the use of the verb by Plato, Phæd. 81, 13, ‘the soul having served and loved the body and been bewitched by it through desires and pleasures.’ Some think there may be a reference to the magic arts, such as those of Jannes and Jambres; and certainly Ephesus had an evil repute in this respect itself, cf. Acts 19:13; Acts 19:10. ‘Ephesian letters’ was a common expression for charms made up of magic words and worn as amulets.
shall wax worse and worse] The same verb as in 2 Timothy 3:9. The ‘progress’ is a ‘rake’s progress,’ step after step leading and being led astray. Compare Revelation 18:23, ‘with thy sorcery were all the nations deceived,’ 2 John 1:7, ‘many deceivers are gone forth into the world … this is the deceiver and the antichrist.’
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;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.
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.15. from a child] Lit. from a babe; the word occurs four times in St Luke’s ‘Gospel of the Infancy,’ ch. 1 and 2, and again Luke 18:15; Acts 7:19.
thou hast known] Lit. ‘thou knowest,’ the perfect having this present force, and the Greek idiom in a phrase like this using the present where we use the perfect definite. The meaning is that there has been a continued knowledge present always ‘from a babe’ and present now. So in John 15:27, ‘ye are, i.e. have been, with me from the beginning,’ cf. Winer, iii. § 40.
the holy scriptures] Lit. ‘the sacred writings’ of the Old Testament. It was a requirement of the Rabbis that a child should begin to learn the Law by heart when five years old. ‘Raf said to Samuel, the son of Schilath, a teacher, “Do not take the boy to be taught before he is six years old, but from that year receive him, and train him as you do the ox, which, day by day, bears a heavier load.” Philo, a contemporary of our Lord, says, “They are taught, so to speak, from their very swaddling clothes by their parents, masters and teachers, in the holy laws, and in the unwritten customs, and to believe in God, the one Father and Creator of the world,” (Legal. ad Caium, § 16). At the age of thirteen he became a “son of the Law,” and was bound to practise all its moral and ritual requirements.’ Geikie, Life of Christ, i. 173.
The original word for ‘scriptures’ is used of Moses’ writings John 5:47, where Westcott well points out that it ‘appears to mark the specific form rather than the general scope of the record’ which is denoted by the word used in 2 Timothy 3:16.
which are able] Present participle, in harmony with the present sense of ‘thou hast known,’ and marking the abiding continuous power of the Holy Scripture.
to make thee wise] The verb occurs here only in N.T.; its participle in 2 Peter 1:16, ‘cunningly devised’; the tense is aorist according to the proper use of the aorist, to give the idea of the verb in its most general form, ‘the scriptures have this capacity of making wise.’
through faith which is in Christ Jesus] See note on 1 Timothy 3:13; the clause belongs to the verb ‘make wise,’ not to the noun ‘salvation.’ The doctrine and scheme of Christianity is required to illuminate the precept and history of the Old Testament. ‘In vetere Testamento latet novum, in novo vetus patet.’ Ellicott quotes Hooker, Eccl. Pol. i. 14. ‘The Old did make wise by teaching Salvation through Christ that should come, the New by teaching that Christ the Saviour is come.’ Cf. also Art. vii. in the English Prayer Book, ‘The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ.’
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:16. All scripture] The word for ‘Scripture’ occurs fifty-one times in N.T., always, except 2 Peter 3:16, of the recognised Old Testament Scriptures, the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, or of one or more of them; in 2 Peter 3:16 the reference is to St Paul’s epistles and to ‘the other Scriptures.’ The A.V. of a.d. 1611 is therefore not wrong (though many printed copies have altered it) in rendering the word as ‘Scripture’ with a capital S; for it is by itself the recognised technical term.
We should translate Every Scripture probably, as is the proper rendering when there is no article. The word ‘Scripture’ is without the article also in John 19:37; 1 Peter 2:6; 2 Peter 1:20. Those who retain the rendering ‘All Scripture’ with A.V. would lay stress on the technical use of the word shewn above, so that it may be treated as a proper name, comparing Acts 2:36, ‘all (the) house of Israel.’ But this is unnecessary, especially as the three places where the word occurs without the article in the singular have the meaning ‘a Book or passage of Scripture’ and they are in date as late as or later than this Epistle.
given by inspiration of God] One word in the original, a passive verbal, occurring only here in N.T., and meaning ‘filled with the breath of God’ so as to be ‘living oracles,’ Acts 7:38. Cf. 2 Peter 1:21, ‘holy men of God moved by the Holy Spirit.’ Compare also the following passage written about a.d. 95, at the same time as the last N.T. book, St John’s Gospel: ‘Search the Scriptures, the true Scriptures, the Scriptures of the Holy Ghost: ye know that there is nothing unrighteous, nothing counterfeit written in them.’ Clem. Rom. ad Cor. c. 45.
There are two ways of taking this adjective, either as an attribute (so R.V.) or a predicate (so A.V.); either ‘Every Scripture, inasmuch as it is inspired of God, is also useful &c.’ or ‘Every Scripture is inspired and is profitable &c.’ In the latter case the second predicate comes in tamely. In the one case inspiration is assumed, in the other it is asserted.
profitable for doctrine] For teaching.
for reproof] The noun occurs only Hebrews 11:1, ‘the proving of things not seen.’ The corresponding verb is used five times by St Paul in these epistles, e.g. 2 Timothy 4:2.
correction] Only here in N.T. though a good classical word, cf. Dem. c. Timocr. 707, 7 ‘they shall lose their promotion to the Areopagus for putting down the amendment of the laws.’
for instruction in righteousness] Lit. discipline which is in righteousness; the verb ‘disciplining’ has occurred, 1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:25, where see notes. It occurs with ‘reprove’ in the letter to the church at Laodicea, Revelation 3:19, where R.V. ‘chasten.’ ‘Which is in righteousness’ just as ‘faith which is in Christ Jesus’ above; the definite article indicates the definite sphere of exercise for the discipline and the faith. See note on 1 Timothy 1:2, where without the article the preposition and its case are shewn to be very nearly equivalent to an adjective. Ellicott well sums up the meaning ‘that Holy Scripture teaches the ignorant, convicts the evil and prejudiced, corrects the fallen and erring, and trains in righteousness all men, especially those that need bringing to fuller measures of perfection.’
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.17. the man of God] As in 1 Timothy 6:11.
perfect] In the sense in which, for example, Confirmation is sometimes said to make ‘a perfect Christian,’ i.e. one perfectly equipped and supplied with the full measure of gifts and graces through the Holy Spirit. The word for ‘perfect’ here occurs nowhere else in N.T. It is derived from an adverb meaning ‘exactly,’ and so occurs in Homer, Il. xiv. 92, of speaking ‘exactly to the purpose,’ in Theophrastus H. P. 2. 5. 5, of being ‘full-grown.’ Complete, then, as R.V. renders, is more correct than A.V. So when the word is compounded with hand, foot, mind, we get ‘perfect of hand,’ ‘of feet,’ ‘sound of mind,’ &c.
throughly furnished] The perfect participle again expressing the resulting and abiding state; the verb is from the same root as the adjective; hence R.V. rightly preserves the play upon the words by rendering furnished completely. It only occurs again in Acts 21:5, ‘we had accomplished,’ completely finished, the days. Another compound occurs Luke 6:40, ‘Every one, when he is perfected, shall be as his master.’