Home Library Donate

2Timothy 3:13-17

Thursday Evening Bible Study

June 7, 2018


The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul being confined under house arrest in his own apartment in Rome.

We believe that Paul was released after a couple of years, and would travel to Ephesus, Macedonia, Crete, Nicopolis, and then be rearrested in Troas and taken back to Rome.

In AD 64 Nero burned Rome, blamed it on the Christians, and kicked off a period of persecution.

This time, Paul would be confined in the Mamertine Prison.

Everyone has abandoned Paul except for his friend Luke the physician.
(2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV) Only Luke is with me.
It’s from here that Paul writes this letter, his final letter somewhere around AD 66-67, just prior to his death.
Paul is hoping that Timothy would come to him, but that isn’t going to happen.
Paul will shortly be taken outside the city of Rome where he will be beheaded.

In three weeks we have a treat for you…

Video:  I Can Only Imagine teaser trailer

Paul’s second letter to Timothy was written around AD 66-67 while Paul was in prison in Rome, being held in chains in the Mamertine prison.

These are Paul’s last words, written just days away from being led out of the city where he will be beheaded.

The account is recorded in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

“Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death. They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.”
(don’t forget this when we get to the end tonight…)

Paul has expressed a concern for doctrinal purity throughout the letter.

Some were teaching strange doctrines.

Timothy needed to be “rightly dividing” the Word.

Timothy, as a servant of God, needed to be able to help those who were going off track in doctrine.

3:13-17 The Answer to Heresy

:13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

:13 evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse

evilponeros – full of labors, annoyances, hardships; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad

will growprokopto – to beat forward; to lengthen out by hammering (as a smith forges metals); metaph. to promote, forward, further; to go forward, advance, proceed; metaph. to increase, make progress

worsecheiron – worse; comparative of kakos (“bad”)

impostersgoes – a wailer, a howler; a juggler, enchanter (because incantations used to be uttered in a kind of howl); a deceiver, imposter

This is the only place in the NT that this word is used.
The Greek playwright Euripides (400 BC) used this word in his play “The Bacchae” – and there’s a line spoken by King Pentheus who is upset at the immorality that has crept into his city through the worship of Dionysus –
Euripides calls Dionysus a goes, one who entices people into immoral actions using pious words.
And having bound them in iron fetters, I will soon stop them from this ill-working revelry. And they say that some stranger has come, a sorcerer, a conjuror from the Lydian land, [235] fragrant in hair with golden curls, having in his eyes the wine-dark graces of Aphrodite. He is with the young girls day and night, alluring them with joyful mysteries. If I catch him within this house, [240] I will stop him from making a noise with the thyrsos and shaking his hair, by cutting his head off.[1]


Heresy Forecast

Paul has been warning Timothy about the presence of heresy.
Paul has reminded Timothy that there have been deceivers in the past.
(2 Timothy 3:8 NKJV) Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses…
Paul has reminded Timothy that there were men in Ephesus in the present that he needed to be on guard with like –
(2 Timothy 2:17 NKJV) And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort
He’s also warned of the future –
(2 Timothy 3:1 NKJV) But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
Those perilous times include these evil men and imposters.
Those perilous times included people –

(2 Timothy 3:5 NKJV) having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

And now he simply warns Timothy that this is the direction things will go in.
Evil men and imposters will continue to increase.
As men and women who are trying to serve the Lord like Timothy, we need to remember Paul’s word to Timothy about how to deal with these “imposters” –
(2 Timothy 2:24–26 NKJV) —24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

:13 deceiving and being deceived

deceivingplanao – to cause to stray; to lead away from the truth, to lead into error


Dealing with Deception

Believers are often warned about being deceived, including us.
(1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV) Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

What’s this a warning about?

Our walk with the Lord is affected by the kind of people we hang around with.

(Galatians 6:7 NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

What’s this a warning about?

Our sinful actions have consequences.

(1 John 1:8 NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

What’s this a warning about?

We can’t ignore the fact that we are still sinners and we sin.

We can sometimes find ourselves getting mad at those who are in the cults, focusing only on the fact that they are leading others astray.
We forget the fact that they too have been deceived.

(Galatians 6:1 NKJV) Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Video: It’s not about the nail
Sometimes we can be that gal with the nail. We don’t want to acknowledge the problem in our life and we live under deception.
We need compassion on those who are deceived, because we know what it’s like, we too can be deceived in other things, and we are simply learning to live our lives in real truth.

:14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

:14 continue in the things which you have learned

continuemeno – to remain, abide

Present imperative

learnedmanthano – to learn, be appraised

been assured ofpistoo – to make faithful, render trustworthy; to be firmly persuaded of; to be assured of

Almost all the translations translate this as “continue”, which is good, but the word is used in other places in ways we don’t always grasp.

(John 15:7 NKJV) If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
For years I used to think there was something magical about this word “abide”, as if I am achieving some sort of cosmic power level that makes me a successful Christian.
It’s all about “continuing”, staying put, keep going in the same direction.

:14 knowing from whom you have learned them

Who has Timothy learned about the Lord from? Paul.

(2 Timothy 3:10 NKJV) But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,

:15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

:15 from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures

holyhieros – sacred, consecrated to the deity, pertaining to God

scripturesgramma – a letter; any writing, a document or record; the sacred writings (of the OT)

childhoodbrephos – an unborn child, embryo, a fetus; a new-born child, an infant, a babe


Teach the kids

Timothy had been taught about the Lord from an early age.
Luke tells us that Timothy’s father was Greek, and his mother was a Jewish woman who believed. (Acts 16:1)
(Acts 16:1 NKJV) Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.
It doesn’t sound as if Timothy’s father may have been a believer.
Paul mentions his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice (2Tim. 1:5) being the ones that knew the Lord first.
(2 Timothy 1:5 NKJV) when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
Lois and Eunice were the ones who taught Timothy the Scriptures.

The Scriptures they taught young Timothy was what we call the Old Testament.

Kids can learn and be used.
They may not always get the story straight the first time.


Nine-year-old Joey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school. “Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he used his walkie - talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.” “Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?” his mother asked. “Well, no, Mom. But if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never believe it!”


Elkanah and his wife Hannah dedicated their young baby Samuel to the Lord. When he was weaned, they left him at the Tabernacle with the high priest to be taught and serve the Lord.

(1 Samuel 3:1 NKJV) Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.

Then came the day that God first spoke to little Samuel.

(1 Samuel 3:4 NKJV) that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!”

Samuel didn’t understand what was happening, but the high priest finally figured out that God had been speaking, and the high priest taught Samuel what to do.

It was the beginning of an amazing lifetime of ministry.

Naaman’s servant girl

The Syrian army had been raiding the land of Israel and making slaves of the prisoners they took, including a young girl who was given the job of serving General Naaman’s wife.

This little girl knew God and what he could do. When Naaman became ill with leprosy, she spoke up.

(2 Kings 5:3 NKJV) Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”

It’s an amazing story how God would use the prophet Elisha to heal Naaman, but it all started with a little servant girl who was taught about God.

God uses kids that are taught about Him.
(Psalm 8:2 NLT) You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
Listen to little Mary Margaret tell the story of Jonah running from the Lord…
Video: The Story of Jonah

You know, Mary Margaret didn’t learn to do this all on her own.  She was taught.

Whether it’s your own kids, your grandkids, or helping out in the Children’s Ministry – it’s very important to God’s heart that kids are taught about the Lord.

:15 able to make you wise for salvation through faith

are abledunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

make … wisesophizo – to make wise, teach; to become wise, to have understanding

Paul is talking about the Old Testament Scriptures.

They tell the story of salvation.
We are sinners.

(Psalm 14:3 NKJV) They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

The Messiah would pay for our sins.

(Isaiah 53:5 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

We find salvation life through faith.

(Genesis 15:6 NKJV) And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

(Habakkuk 2:4b NKJV) But the just shall live by his faith.

And now for the greatest tool for Timothy in his fight against heresy…

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

:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God



allpas – individually; each, every, all, the whole, everything

Paul doesn’t say “some Scripture” is given by inspiration, but ALL.
A phrase you will hear some liberal theologians use is, “The Bible contains the Word of God.”

This might sound okay, but what they’re really saying is, “Not all of the Bible is the Word of God.”

Paul says, “ALL” Scripture.

If I am going to claim that “some” things are inspired, then I’m going to face a problem.  How do I know what is inspired and what isn’t?  I find myself at the mercy of the “scholars” (so-called).

scripturegraphe – a writing, thing written; the Scripture

Paul had in mind the Old Testament when he’s writing this.
Yet at the time that Paul is writing this, Peter wrote,
(2 Peter 3:15b–16 NKJV) —15 …as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Did you catch how Peter was describing Paul’s writings?  He’s calling them “Scripture”.

It wouldn’t be long before the Church realized that the writings of what we call the “New Testament” were Scripture.
Some would say this didn’t happen until the Council of Nicea (AD 325), but that’s just when it became official.
Yet within a few short years after Paul’s writing, the early church fathers recognized the New Testament writings as inspired and authoritative.

given by inspiration of Godtheopneustos (“God” + “breathed”) – inspired by God

Peter wrote,
(2 Peter 1:21 NKJV) for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit worked through the individual human authors, taking advantage of their individual unique personalities, but moving in such a way to make sure the message was transmitted without error.
There is one exception, that inerrancy is “in the original autographs”. 
We don’t have the original manuscripts in Paul’s handwriting.  We just have copies of copies.  And there are some small discrepancies between the copies, attributed to copyist errors.  But we believe we can get pretty close to the original, and in these there is no error.

How can I know that God is behind this book, and it’s not just written by a bunch of crazy fanatics?

One of the things that sets the Scripture apart from any other set of religious texts is the fulfillment of prophecy.
No other religious document contains the size and scope of the prophecies in the Bible.
The first coming of the Messiah alone is a subject that spans over 300 prophecies, including such specific things as:

The place of his birth – Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2)

(Micah 5:2 NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

Being preceded by a messenger (John the Baptist) (Is. 40:3)

(Isaiah 40:3 NKJV) The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zec. 9:9)

(Zechariah 9:9 NKJV) “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Betrayal by a friend (Ps. 41:9)

(Psalm 41:9 NKJV) Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

Death by crucifixion (Ps. 22)

(Psalm 22:16 NKJV) For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;

His resurrection (Ps. 16:10)

(Psalm 16:10 NKJV) For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

There are many other prophecies in Scripture – predictions of things to take place, hundreds and thousands of years before they would. Such as …

Abraham’s descendants being slaves in Egypt for 400 years before being delivered. (Gen. 15:13)

(Genesis 15:13 NKJV) Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.

The unbelievable fall of the city of Tyre to the Babylonians (Eze. 26:4)

(Ezekiel 26:4 NKJV) And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.

The Jews being taken to Babylon for 70 years (Jer. 25:11)

(Jeremiah 25:11 NKJV) And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

The name of the Persian king who would allow the Jews to return – Cyrus (Is. 44:28)

(Isaiah 44:28 NKJV) Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ’

Only God knows the future, and only God gives us hints of things to come.
(Isaiah 48:3 NKJV) “I have declared the former things from the beginning; They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.

:16 profitable for doctrine

profitableophelimos – profitable, useful, beneficial

Paul gives Timothy four things that the Scriptures are beneficial for.

doctrinedidaskalia – teaching, instruction

Doctrine isn’t limited to fancy theological words like “supralapsarianism” (the incorrect teaching that God had decreed both the election and damnation of all prior to creation)
It’s simply the subject of what’s being “taught”.
One of the things Jesus did in the “Sermon on the Mount” was to quote Old Testament Scripture, and then elaborated upon it.
(Matthew 5:27–28 NKJV) —27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
At the end of the Sermon…
(Matthew 7:28–29 NKJV) —28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

We could just as easily say they were astonished at His “doctrine”.

There are lots of things you could hear pastors teaching from at church.
I remember as a child going to a church where the pastor based his messages on the songs of Simon and Garfunkel.
The Scriptures are profitable for “teaching”.  This is why we don’t spend too much time talking about psychology or self-help methods – we teach the Scriptures.

They are also profitable for…

:16 for reproof

reproofelegchos – a proof; conviction

fromelegcho – to convict; generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted

; by conviction to bring to the light, to expose

Jesus said that people doing bad things don’t like to be “convicted”
(John 3:20 NKJV) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
Jesus used this word in talking about what to do when someone has sinned against you:
(Matthew 18:15 NKJV) “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
Paul wrote,
(Ephesians 5:11 NKJV) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

The Scripture is profitable for “reproof”, to bring conviction in those who need to make a change in their life.

The issue of them changing their life is not about your opinion, or about what offends you.
When they argue with what you’re saying, it’s not your opinion, it’s what God says.
The issue is about learning to get your life into align with God’s standards.

The Bible is also profitable for…

:16 for correction

correctionepanorthosis (“upon” + “straighten”) – restoration to an upright or right state; correction, improvement of life or character

The root of this word (orthos) means “straight”, and we see it used in:

(Acts 14:8–10 NKJV) —8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.

Just like the word “reproof”, this is about helping people to “stand straight” in their lives, in their character.

The writer to the Hebrews uses the root orthos to show how the Scripture can be profitable for correction.

(Hebrews 12:12–17 NKJV) —12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Sometimes people are walking down paths that AREN’T “straight”, and instead of seeing healing in their lives, they end up more lame than before.
I believe what follows next elaborates on this – and it’s from the Scripture –
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Esau was at constant odds (not peace) with his brother Jacob.
His life was filled with bitterness, and that bitterness defiled many.
If we want to have “straight” paths for our feet, if we want to “straighten up”, then we need to learn to deal with things like bitterness and fornication.
We learn these things from the Scriptures.

The Bible is also profitable for …

:16 for instruction in righteousness

in righteousnessdikaiosune – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

instructionpaideia – the whole training and education of children, discipline

 (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body; whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.; instruction which aims at increasing virtue; chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)
This is the word that the writer to the Hebrews calls “chastening”, the difficult times God allows us to go through to help us mature.
(Hebrews 12:11 NKJV) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The point of this word is about maturity.  It’s about growing up.  It’s about the journey from being a “child” to being an “adult” when it comes to areas of “righteousness”, or doing the right things for God.
Those of us who are a little “older” in the Lord have a responsibility to help those who are “younger” to grow up.  Kind of like a dad.  What’s important is just how you do it…
Video:  What Dad’s Can’t Do

God’s Word is really good to help others grow up.

:17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

:17 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work

completeartios – fitted; complete, perfect; “special aptitude for given uses”; specially adapted; able to meet all demands

The word for “thoroughly equipped” is a related word, just a more intense form.

thoroughly equippedexartizo – to complete, finish; to furnish perfectly; to finish, accomplish, (as it were, to render the days complete)

God has good works for us to be doing.

(Ephesians 2:10 NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Our “blessing in Hebrews uses a related word for “complete”:

(Hebrews 13:20–21 NKJV) —20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

How can we be ready to do all the good things God has planned for us?

It’s kind of like Iron Man “suiting up”.
Video:  Iron Man – suit up scene
How do we “suit up” for what God has for us?
Through His word.
It’s how He “equips” us.

[1] Euripides. (1850). The Tragedies of Euripides, translated by T. A. Buckley. Bacchae. (T. A. Buckley, Ed.). Medford, MA: Henry G. Bohn.