Paul Kretzmann Commentary - 2 Timothy 3:14 - 3:17

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - 2 Timothy 3:14 - 3:17

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The Purpose of Holy Scriptures.

v. 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

v. 15. 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.

v. 16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

v. 17. that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

These words place Timothy in direct opposition to the hypocrites and false teachers; for his faith and the work of his ministry are emphasized: Thou, however, remain in the things thou hast learned and hast been convinced of, knowing from whom thou hast learned. Timothy is not to think that there is any such thing as development of doctrine, advancement in the truth by means of human philosophy and investigation. He has learned the truth of the Word of God, and that truth is an eternal truth. Of this Gospel-message he has been made certain; as Paul had taught it, he had been so fully persuaded of its truth that his faith rested upon it as upon the most solid foundation. Moreover, Timothy knew who it was that had taught him, he was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that Paul was a teacher sent from God, who did not disseminate his own ideas and opinions, but knew exactly what the content of the Gospel was, namely, the message of redemption through the merits of Jesus Christ.

But Paul, in his great humility, does not take all the credit for Timothy's instruction, but, as in chap 1, 5, refers also to other teachers: (Knowing) also that from infancy thou knowest the Holy Scriptures, that are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. From his earliest childhood, from his infancy, Timothy had enjoyed the glorious privilege of being instructed and trained in the words of salvation. The term used by the apostle is one which was commonly used to designate the writings of the Old Testament, as they were in use among the Jews at that time. Timothy's grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, had taken special care to have the boy learn these writings, as was the custom among the faithful Jews in those days. The knowledge which Timothy had was taken from the Word of God and rested upon the Word of God; his learning had given him a thorough familiarity with the wonderful truths of God. Note that the instruction of Timothy in religion was not postponed to late childhood or youth, but was undertaken as soon as he was able to learn. No wonder that he had the knowledge which could give him the proper wisdom, namely, that which leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. In the Word of Holy Writ there is the power of God unto salvation, because it teaches that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Through this knowledge and certainty, however, which assures every individual believer that Christ is his Redeemer, he gains that knowledge which gives him salvation. The apostle expresses himself in such a manner as to imply that Timothy and every true Christian uses the Gospel continually. The joyful confidence of faith will remain firm and unmoved only if the Christian continues in the Word of the Lord day after day, always refreshing and deepening his knowledge, always providing new fuel for the lamp of his faith.

What the apostle has stated concerning the Holy Scriptures, of the power of God in them, of their glorious purpose and blessing, he now summarizes in a powerful sentence, which is a strong bulwark for the inspiration of the Old Testament. He writes: All Scripture, inspired by God, is also profitable. The term used by the apostle is so general that it seems to include not only the books of the Old Testament, as in use in the Jewish Church, but also the writings then being penned by inspiration of God, the gospels and the letters of the various apostles and evangelists. At any rate, there can be no doubt that the so-called Old Testament canon is the inspired Word of God. St. Paul writes that Scripture was inspired by God, not in the manner of a mechanical transmission, but in such a way that God breathed His holy Gospel, His Word, into the minds of the writers, incidentally making use of their intellect, of their mental ability and equipment, in producing a series of books which plainly show the peculiarities of the writers, and yet are, word for word, the product of God Himself.

Of this Scripture now, which has the unique distinction of having been inspired by God in the manner just indicated, the apostle writes that it is profitable for doctrine, for teaching. Its truths are so clear and simple that this Book is a text-book of the eternal truths for all time. It is profitable and therefore should be used for reproof, for the refutation of error, for the exposure of transgression. Because there are so many heresies that are continually arising, because false doctrine persists in rearing its head, therefore it is necessary that the Christian, and especially the teacher, be able to point out the falseness of all claims of that kind, from clear texts of the Bible itself. Holy Writ should be used for correction, for setting men right again after they have fallen, to bring them back to a normal condition. It is the duty of Christians to reveal the transgressions of God's holy will, to insist upon the removal of sins and weaknesses, always, of course, in the manner prescribed by the Word of God. For instruction in righteousness Holy Writ should be used, it should enable a person to lead a life in thorough conformity with the righteousness of life that pleases God. The Word of God in this respect performs the function of a good schoolmaster, one that not only shows the right way, but also trains, encourages, urges the pupils on in their efforts to make headway. Day after day a Christian is sitting at the feet of the Holy Spirit, receiving from Him all the instructions which he needs to enable him to walk in the paths of rectitude.

In this way the final object of the Word of God in this life will be realized, namely, that perfect be the man of God, toward every good work fully equipped. It is not that the apostle is dreaming of moral perfection, but that he wants every Christian, and especially every Christian teacher, to live up to the requirements of his office and station according to God's will. The man of God, every person that bears the honoring title of a man of God, every believer that has become the special property, the child of God, through faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, is here included. Thoroughly instructed, furnished, equipped toward every good work, that is the ideal which the apostle holds before our eyes. Believers find their greatest delight in performing the will of God, in doing such works as will please Him. That is the wonderful value and power of the inspired Word of God.


The apostle characterizes the errorists of the last days, also as to their methods, briefly sketches the lessons of his own tribulations, and gives a wonderful summary of the benefit and value of the inspired Word of God.