(a) 2 Timothy 3:1-9. Future Error and Its Present Germs. Timothy must consider future as well as present dangers. As the Second Advent (never believed by the apostles to be far distant) approaches, the Church will be threatened by men of outrageous life. These also Timothy must avoid. The germs of the evil, indeed, are already present (6), and the statement of its developed results (2 Timothy 3:2-5) will help him to detect its first beginning. For to this type belong such teachers as privately mislead sinful women who, with fickle curiosity, merely play at seeking instruction. Their forerunners were the magicians who opposed Moses (Exodus 7:11 ff.). But their further progress shall be arrested, like theirs, by open exposure of their folly.
2 Timothy 3:8. Jannes, Jambres: Origen believed that Paul obtained these names from an apocryphal book (lamnes et Mambres liber) no longer extant. Alternatively, their source may have been unwritten tradition (see Bernard in CGT).
(b) 2 Timothy 3:10-17. Timothy's Safeguards. Grave as these dangers are, however, Timothy has a double safeguard. (a) His present difficult task does not take him by surprise. When, at Lystra (Acts 16:3), he accepted the missionary commission, he understood clearly, through his intimate knowledge of Paul's experience, all that it involved both the type of teaching, conduct, and character required, and the inevitable hardship entailed. (He knew, too, God's power of deliverance.) This suffering for Christ is an essential condition of discipleship (Matthew 16:24; Acts 14:22), and therefore Timothy must himself have anticipated it (2 Timothy 3:10-12). (b) He has the further safeguard of Divine instruction. While evil men grow worse, Timothy will gain strength from loyalty to past convictions. And these convictions rest on firm foundations: (a) the authoritative character of his Christian teachers, and (b) his lifelong knowledge of the OT, able, through faith in Christ, to bestow all wisdom necessary to salvation. For every inspired passage is of service to yield him instruction, reproof, correction, and discipline. Fortified by such experiences he will prove sufficient for every task imposed by his office (2 Timothy 3:13-17).
2 Timothy 3:11. These specific sufferings are named as being fresh in Timothy's mind when he undertook missionary responsibilities.
2 Timothy 3:14. whom: plural (mg.). Some authorities read the singular, implying Paul alone.
2 Timothy 3:15. babe: according to Jewish custom (Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, p. 117). the sacred writings: best authorities omit the. AV is inexact here. unto salvation: the only inspiration Scripture itself claims is spiritual (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16).
2 Timothy 3:16. In each change RV is preferable to AV. The words assume inspiration: their aim is to indicate its uses.