Matthew Poole's Commentary
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2 Timothy 3:1-5 The apostle foretelleth the evil characters that
should appear in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:6-9 He describeth the enemies of the truth,
2 Timothy 3:10-13 propoundeth unto Timothy his own example,
2 Timothy 3:14-17 and exhorteth him to abide in the doctrine he had
learned, commending unto him the manifold use of the
We met with this term,
last days, 1 Timothy 4:1, and
there said that the Scripture by that term understands all the time
from Christ’s ascension to the end of the world. We meet with the
term, Genesis 49:1 Isaiah 2:2 Micah 4:1 Acts 2:17 Hebrews 1:2 Jam 5:3 2 Peter 3:3.
Of these days some are later than others, but it appears by Acts 2:17Hebrews 1:2, that that whole period of time is so called.
Perilous times shall come; in the Greek it is, difficult times,
that is, times when it will be difficult for Christians to keep their
lives or estates, or any happy station in the world, with a good
conscience, by reason of the plenty of ill men that should live in
those times, and make them so difficult.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,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.
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,Without natural affection; having no kindness for such as nature obligeth them to love and honour.
Truce-breakers; men that will be held by no bonds or leagues. Or rather, implacable; so we translate the same Greek word, Romans 1:31; men so full of malice that they will admit no terms or covenants of peace.
False accusers; Greek, devils, venting their malice by informing against and accusing others, without any regard to truth.
Incontinent; intemperate, drunkards, gluttons, unclean persons, &c.
Fierce; men without any gentleness, cruel.
Despisers of those that are good; men that have no kindness for any good men, haters of them.
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;Traitors; prodotai signifies the betraying of any trust, or a falsehood to any person to whom we are obliged. It is in Scripture applied to Judas, Luke 6:16, and to the Jews that crucified Christ, Acts 7:52. The verb whence it derives is by authors applied to persons, places, and causes: it signifies that in the latter times there should be a general falsehood amongst men; see Matthew 10:21; falsehood towards their superiors, their relation, profession, &c.
Heady; rash, inconsiderate.
High-minded; blown up as bladders with an opinion of their own deserts.
Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; voluptuous men, not using what God hath given them with a moderate satisfaction and delight in them, but contrary to God’s commandments, and thereby showing that they have more love for the gratification of their sensitive appetite than the pleasing of God.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.Having a form of godliness: a form here is the same with a mask, or vizor, or appearance, an accidental form, opposed to substance and reality. It signifieth that in the latter times there should be many such as owned themselves Christians, and pretended to a right way of worshipping God, to be the church, the only church of God.
But denying the power thereof; but in practice, though not in words, denying all substantial godliness, which lieth not in assuming the empty name of Christians, and making a profession, but lies in truth, righteousness, love and peace, self-denial, mortifying our members; it being a thing attended with life and power, a man being no more a Christian than he acts and lives like a Christian.
From such turn away; from such kind of professors as were before described, the apostle willeth Timothy to turn away, both as to having any church fellowship or communion, or any intimacy of converse with them.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,For of this sort are they which creep into houses; who do not only privily enter in at the doors of houses, but pierce into the secrets of them, making it their business to pry into all families,
and lead captive silly women, and take their advantages upon women, (the weaker sex), and not the wisest of them, but gunaikaria, the diminutive word, is used to vilify; the little despicable women, of no judgment in sound religion, whom they by their tongues and pleasing errors make their captives.
Laden with sins; nor do they deal with the most pious and honest women, but such as are laden with the guilt of much sin;
led away with divers lusts; and who, being possessed of divers sinful inclinations, not only lusts of the flesh, but any other, such as pride, &c., are easily led away; lust always smoothing the way for such errors as will be principles to justify it against the reflections of conscience. Their vices, rather than sex, made them easily seduced.
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.Women that pretend to be ever learning the truth, but cannot obtain of their lusts a leave to acknowledge the truth in their practice. The word is epignwsin, which rather signifies a practical acknowledgment than a notional knowledge.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.Concerning this resistance of Moses by Jannes and Jambres, the Holy Scripture saith nothing but in this text. It is said by interpreters, that they were two brethren, the chief of Pharaoh’s magicians, who opposed Moses in the miracles he wrought, Exodus 7:11, whose names might be known in Paul’s time by tradition, or the public writings of the Jews.
So do these also resist the truth; so will corrupt teachers under the gospel resist the truth of the gospel published by Christ’s ministers.
Men of corrupt minds; men whose hearts are corrupted with sordid lusts.
Reprobate concerning the faith; adokimoi of no sound judgment as to the doctrine of faith, or not approved of God, or good men, as to their sentiments about our faith.
But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.But they shall proceed no further; God will preserve those in his church that are sincere; though they may captivate a few poor, ignorant women, they shall have no great success.
For their folly shall be made manifest unto all men; for God will in his providence so order it, that their folly or madness shall appear to all, and their party shall decline. The Divine Providence, that governs all things by the invincible light of truth, discovers and confounds the most specious and subtle seducers in his own time. And this prediction of the apostle was exactly fulfilled with respect to those primitive seducers. As theirs also was; as God by his providence laid open Jannes and Jambres.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,But thou hast fully known my doctrine: our translation here seemeth a little strange, for the Greek is: Thou hast diligently followed me in doctrine, eu de parhkolouyhdav mou th didaskalia that is: Thou wert in my company, thou wert a follower of me, and so must know what doctrine I preached; what
manner of life I lived; what my
purpose, whole scope and design, was; what
faith I taught and professed; what
long-suffering I used, both towards my malicious adversaries and my weaker brethren; what
charity or love I showed towards all men, whether friends or foes; what
patience I showed in bearing injuries.
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.What persecutions for the preaching of the gospel I was under; what
afflictions I met with at Antioch in Pisidia, Acts 13:14,45,50; at Iconium, whither he went from Pisidia; of the afflictions he met with there also, read Acts 14:1-28.
At Lystra; what persecutions I endured: the apostle went from Iconium to Lystra, Acts 14:6, there also he was persecuted, Acts 14:19. Now it seemeth that in all these motions Timothy was in Paul’s company and a follower of him, so as he was a witness to all; which assureth us that though we first read of Timothy. Acts 16:3, when he was circumcised, yet Paul knew him before.
But out of them all the Lord delivered me; yet God delivered Paul from all these, and that Timothy, being all that time in company with Paul, knew; from whence the apostle would have him take courage, exercise patience under suffering for such preaching and such living, being assured that God would deliver him also, preaching the same truth, and living the same holy life, though he met with the same troubles, persecutions, and afflictions.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.Such is the disposal of Divine Providence, such the malice of the men in the world, that though not every individual person, yet it is the usual lot of them who will keep a pure faith and a good conscience, to suffer persecution in some kind or other, either in their persons, or reputation, or estates. Men may live profanely, or may be morally honest men, and be safe enough; but if they will profess faith in Christ, or love to him in keeping his commandments, they will be exposed to troubles: the world will not endure men to live in peace, that will not live as they live, and believe as they believe.
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.Neither do thou expect that the times should mend, for men that are given up to their lusts and gohtev, such as go about to deceive others, will grow worse and worse, as the world groweth older, both in their endeavours to deceive, and in their malice and hatred to those that oppose them.
Deceiving, and being deceived; deceiving others, and being left by the just judgment of God to deceive and ruin their own souls.
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;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.
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.And that from a child; from thy infancy, by the instruction of thy mother Eunice, and thy grandmother Lois, 2 Timothy 1:5.
Thou hast known the Holy Scriptures; thou hast had a notion of the writings of Moses and the prophets, the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, for at this time no others were written.
Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation; which Holy Scriptures (without the help of the writings of Plato or Pythagoras, or any other pagan philosophers) have in them a sufficiency of doctrine to make thee, or any other, wise enough to get to heaven.
Through faith which is in Christ Jesus; but not without a faith in Christ Jesus, receiving him as thy and their Saviour, besides a faith assenting and agreeing to those holy writings as the revelation of the Divine will.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:All Scripture is given by inspiration of God: Scripture signifies no more than writing; some therefore translate this text thus: All Scripture which is inspired of God; not all writings, but all the books of the Old Testament, is yeopneustov. This is expounded by Peter, 2 Peter 1:21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And is profitable for doctrine; and it is profitable to instruct us in all propositions of truth which we need believe in order to salvation.
For reproof; elegcon, to convince us either of any truth, that we may believe it without any hesitation, or of any sin, that we may be humbled for it, without any extenuation.
For correction; for reproof, or correction, or reformation, to reprove us in what we are to be reproved, to correct us in any error, to show us the way to bring us to rights and to reform us.
For instruction in righteousness; to instruct us in the true righteousness, in which we must appear before God; for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, Romans 1:17.
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.That the man of God may be perfect; that both ministers and all godly men may be as perfect as they can be in the state of mortality, fitted for the duties of their several callings and places.
Throughly furnished unto all good works; and be prepared to every work which is good, acceptable and well-pleasing unto God, whether it be a work of piety, or justice and charity. The Scripture, as to all, is so full a direction, that Christians need not go down to the Philistines to whet their tools, nor be beholden to unwritten traditions, or to the writings of pagan philosophers, for directions what to do, how to worship God, or manage any part of their conversation, either as to their general calling, or as to their particular relations.