A Sample Passage from the Comments on Second Timothy:

Chapter 3


1.  Now progressively come to know this and continue realizing it, that within [the] last (or: final) days hard seasons (difficult occasions and situations; irksome, perilous or fierce seasons or situations that are hard to deal with; hard appointed periods) will set themselves in (will take a stand within; will put themselves in place),


Paul is giving Timothy an imperative: "progressively come to know this..."  He needed to know and be warned about the hard seasons and difficult situations (note the plural) that were going to be coming to their world within the last days of that "present evil age" (Gal. 1:4).  Timothy and those to whom he had been sent (as well as the rest of the Roman Empire) were going to encounter these things in their near future – as we know from our historical perspective of those times.


The phrase "will set themselves in" or "put themselves in place" is a poetic way of saying that it would not gradually happen and would not be part of the status quo.  Something hard to handle was going to insert itself into their lives.


2. for the people (the humans; mankind) will continue being folks that are fond of themselves (self-loving; selfish), fond of silver (= have affection for money or things of monetary value which makes them stingy), empty pretenders (impostors; ostentatious self-assumers), haughty and arrogant (superior-appearing), blasphemers (abusive slanderers; folks who defame with a false image; or: light-hinderers), uncompliant and disobedient to parents, ungrateful (or: unthankful), undutiful (disloyal; without regard for divine or natural laws; malign),

3.  without natural affection, unwilling to make a treaty (implacable; not open to an agreement), devils (adversarial slanderers; folks who throw or thrust something through people to hurt or cause divisions), without strength (without [self-] control), uncultivated (wild; untamed; ferocious; fierce), without fondness for expressions of good or aspects of goodness (or: without affection for good people; unfriendly; averse to virtue),

4.  betrayers (traitors), rash (forward-falling; reckless), folks having been inflated with the fumes of conceit (or: ones being beclouded in smoke), pleasure-lovers (ones fond of [their own] gratification) rather than friends of God (ones fond of God),

5.  continuously holding (having) a form of reverence (virtuous conduct; pious awe) yet being folks having refused (or: turned their back on) and now denying its power and ability!  And so, be habitually turning your steps in a direction away from these folks and avoid them,


This is a universal list describing people who live according to their estranged human nature, being alienated from existential life in His called-out community.  Every generation, since the one spoken of by Paul here in the 1st century, seems to spawn folks like this – it is the human predicament into which we are called to bring the message of goodness, ease and well-being: Christ being birthed within them.  But this condition was also what was bringing the coming judgment upon their world, as Jesus predicted.  Vs. 4 calls to mind the rich man (a figure of the Jewish leadership in Jesus' day) of Lu. 16:19.  The friends of God would have tended, clothed, house and fed (Matt. 25:35, 36) Lazarus, in this parable in Luke.  In the days of Paul and Timothy those seasons (referred to in vs. 1) were soon to set in.


Vs. 5 described the Pharisees and Judaizers, but again, every generation produces this kind of religious behavior.  Stay away from their system of religion, but love the people.


6.  for you see, forth from out of the midst of these folks are the people repeatedly slipping-in, into the houses, (or: worming their way into households) and habitually leading into captivity little women


[note: this is the diminutive of "women," thus, perhaps: women of undeveloped character, ability, or inward stature. While the word for “woman” is feminine, the noun “little women” and the following participles are neuter – or neutral – so this rare word may be a figure for what was a cultural view for “feminine” aspects of all people, e.g., their feelings and emotions, or general receptive qualities] 


 – those having been piled on and now being heaped up with failures (errors; misses of the target; deviations from the goal; sins), being constantly, or from time to time, led by (or: in; to) various (diverse; many-colored) over-desires (or: full passions; wants and wishes that are rushed upon) [A adds: and gratifications],

7.  at all times (or: always) folks [note: again a neuter, or neutral, participle] that are constantly learning, and yet not at any time being able or having consistent power to come into a full, accurate experiential and intimate knowledge of Truth (or: reality).


Vs. 6 is similar to Judah (or: Jude) 4, 8, 10-13, 16-19 (vs. 18 giving the setting as being "the last time," which is the same situation of which Paul is here speaking).  The "houses" refers to the house "churches" of the called-out communities.  Unfortunately, we can still see these things in our own day.


Vs. 7 aptly describes the Pharisees.  And the religion which became their successor, following AD 70, continues to do the same thing – it is unable to bring them to the experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ.  But the application of these two verses are, unfortunately, timeless and universal.


8.  Now, in the manner which (or: by the turn or method that) Jannes and Jambres took a stand in opposition to (or: resisted and opposed) Moses, thus, also, these are continually taking a stand in opposition to (opposing and resisting) the Truth and reality: people (humans) being ones having had the mind decayed down (ruined and spoiled down; corrupted; depraved; put into a sorry state), folks failing to meet the test (disqualified ones) on all sides of (or: about) the faith (or: = ones whose trust does not pass the test, from any angle).


Here again we see a picture of the Pharisees and Judaizers who were continuously adversarial to Paul – the agents of satan who came to strike him down.  Now Paul tells us that their minds have become ruined and decayed: they are experiencing God's judgment already (cf Rom. 1:28; John 3:36).  Their concept of faith, and understanding of trust, fails the test.  They remain under the curse of the old covenant Law, and the judgment upon Adam.  In opposing Christ, they became like the religions of Egypt that opposed Moses.  Paul reaches back to Israel's salvation history to put these opponents in an analogous context – a bit more Asian rhetoric to emphasize his point to Timothy.


9.  But they will make no further progress (will not cut a passage forward) upon more [folks] (or: Nevertheless, they won't get very far), for their mindlessness (madness; lack of understanding; folly) will be quite evident (very plain; obvious; outstanding and in clear visibility) to all, even as the [madness] of those [two, i.e., Jannes and Jambres] came to be.


The lack of understanding and mindless religion of Jannes and Jambres became evident when God's power was proved greater than theirs.  The power of the risen Christ and the pouring out of His Spirit now was obviously greater than the Jewish religion whose Glory and Power had departed, and whose temple cultus was about to vanish.


10.  Yet you, yourself, follow (or: followed) closely beside me: in the teaching, by the instruction and with the training; in the leading, by the guidance for conduct; in the purpose (or: with the fore-setting or by forth-setting; to and for the proposal; [used of setting-forth of the loaves in the holy place of the Temple: Mat. 12:4; Heb. 9:2]); in the trust, for the faith, by the conviction and with the faithful loyalty; in and by the long-waiting to be in a heat and breathe violently (or: with long-suffering patience); in and with the accepting love; in and by the steadfast remaining-under (or: with persevering, patient endurance while giving support);

11.  in (or: by) the pursuits and with persecutions; in and by the effects of the experiences and with results of the sufferings – the sort of things that were birthed in me and happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, in Lystra; the sort of pursuits and persecutions which I bear up under (or: carried-on under) and yet out of the midst of which the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] drags (or: snatched) me forth from all of them.


In vs. 10 he gives a list of practices, virtues and qualities that Timothy is (or has been) following (notice the emphatic Su, which I render as "yourself") in association with Paul (here I read Paul as using the associative genitive "me" as the object of the verb, which then corresponds to the verb prefix para ("beside") rather than the possessive genitive "my," and thus aligning vss. 10-11 with vs. 12; had he intended to say "my teaching," etc., the personal pronoun should have been in the dative – to agree with the following list of substantives).  This also better explains his use of hoia ("the sort of things that") in vs. 11.  These are qualities of the Holy Spirit, characteristics of kingdom life and aspects of the covenant living in the Breath-effect.  Here I conflated the possible functions of the dative, along with the semantic range of the nouns.  Consider the locative function, (indicating sphere of each noun, rendered "in") and the instrumental function (rendered "by'), as well as the associative function (rendered "with").  Note the definite article before each noun.  This should alert us to the fact that Paul is not using these nouns as generalities, but is referring to the specific things and qualities that pertain to covenant inclusion in the new creation within the Christ-life.  Timothy follows beside Paul (the verb is in the aorist indicative, so this is not an imperative, and it can refer to either present action, or past action) as they are being led and empowered by the Spirit – this is not a "to-do list," but rather, they are shared qualities and aspects of those who are in Christ.


Then in vs. 11 he moves to the aspects of "carrying one's cross" (Matt. 16:24-28 – note that vs. 27-28 speak of the same coming "last days" of which Paul here speaks), and the things which Timothy and should expect to have to "remain under."  He continues using the aorist tense, referring to specific things in his past, yet in the last two verbs showing that he both did, and from time to time still does experience.  Yet he ends with an expectation: the witness from his own life – the Lord's deliverance and an ongoing faithfulness (the Lord had "snatched" out of those things, but – as a timeless aorist – it is His nature that He "drags [him] forth from all of them."  Here we see an example of God's covenant righteousness in faithfully "saving" Paul out of difficult situations – right here in this life.  It was the Judaizers and the Jews of the old covenant religion who were pursuing and persecuting him.


12.  And indeed (or: And so) all those habitually resolving (intending; willing) to be continuously living in a reverent, devout and pious manner with virtuous conduct from ease and goodness within Christ Jesus will be pursued, persecuted and harassed.


Now he makes vs. 11 quite plain: we will all be pursued, persecuted and harassed.  He speaks of no exceptions.


13.  Now people of a bad condition and of an harmful disposition (useless and malicious humans who bring misery and hard labor), as well as sorcerers (folks who wail and cast spells; or: impostors and swindlers; those who juggle a situation), will cut a path forward upon the worse (or: will advance and make progress from bad to worse), repeatedly leading [folks] astray (or: causing [folks] to wander [from the Path]) and progressively being led astray (or: caused to wander).


Just as we will be persecuted, those who are "of a bad condition" will continue on from bad to worse.  Those of false religions, or perhaps here the Judaizers, will repeatedly lead folks astray, while themselves being progressively caused to wander.


Consider the semantic range of meaning for "sorcerers."  The first parenthetical definition describes being in an ecstatic state of emotion or spirit, while speaking to situations or about people.  This can be seen in many religions and in a variety of circumstances.  The second and third definitions more describe social and commercial manipulations in order to gain advantage.


People can be led astray by false religious practice (e.g., impostors who pose as prophets, while speaking from their own imaginations) as well as by false and unjust economic schemes.  Teachings which give support to controlling the people by a select few have led multitudes astray.


14.  Yet you, yourself, be constantly remaining within what you learned and in those things of which you were persuaded and became convinced (became assured), having seen, and so knowing, from whose (what folks') side you learned [these things],

15.  and that from an infant (babe) you have seen and thus know [the] sacred Scriptures (or: Temple writings): the ones being constantly able (those continuously having power) to give you wisdom – [that leads you] into deliverance (wholeness, good health, rescue and salvation) through Jesus' faith, resident within Christ (or: through means of the faith and trust that [exists] in Jesus [the] Anointed; by the faith which is Jesus, in union with an Anointing).

Consider well this imperative: "be constantly remaining within" what Paul had taught him.  Don't go to other religions or philosophies.  Vs. 15 advises him to stay with the Scriptures – get wisdom from them, not the mystery religions or even the writings of the rabbis.  The Scriptures continue having power and are constantly able to give wisdom and bring deliverance and wholeness.  But note how he ends this imperative: all this comes through Jesus' faith, which is resident within Christ, and is accessible through union with the Anointing.  It was His faith that accomplished our salvation; this same faith resides with Christ.


The last two phrases have the name Jesus in the genitive, corresponding with "through," and thus my final rendering of apposition "the faith which is Jesus," along with the genitive of possession, "Jesus' faith."  The Greek of "resident within Christ" puts "Christ" in the dative because of the preposition en (resident within), so I have separated the terms Jesus and Christ.  However, many grammarians overlook this and simply render it as in my second option, "in Jesus [the] Anointed."  May His Spirit unveil the correct understanding to us, or as often, cause us to see that both are correct.


16.  All Scripture [is] God-breathed, and [is] beneficial to furtherance toward instruction (or: Every inspired-of-God [temple] writing [is] also profitable {of advantage; [gives] augmentation} with a view to teaching and training), toward (with a view to) testing unto proof (or, negatively: exposure; laying bare), toward full restoration to straightness (or: straightening-up upon;

= improvement), toward child-training (education; discipline) of the person within the Way pointed out (the one in rightwised [covenantal] relationships with fair and equitable dealing),

17.  to the end that God's [corporate] Person (or: the person belonging to God; the human having his origin in God; humanity in relation to God) may be exactly fitted (can exist being precisely prepared; would be entirely suited), being one having been completely furnished and equipped toward every good work (with a view to every virtuous and excellent action).


Again Paul directs us to stay with the Scriptures, reminding us that they are "God-breathed," and thus beneficial in all the ways that he lists.  The Greek graphe (writing) is here used to refer to the temple writings, not writing in general.  It became a technical religious term for the Jewish, and later the Christian, religions.


The parenthetical rendering of the first clause shows that the Scriptures were beneficial for teaching and training.  The phrase "toward (with a view to) testing unto proof (or, negatively: exposure; laying bare)," has historically been abusively misused, but when done in love and in quest for right understanding can lead "toward full restoration to straightness (or: straightening-up upon; = improvement)."  The Scriptures are best used in this way through the Holy Spirit applying them to us, personally.  Following the Reformation, Christians made use of them to give children a general education, as well as to instruct them in the things of Spirit and life in the kingdom – or, as I have rendered it "within the Way pointed out."


Humanity in relation to God needs the Scriptures so that they can be exactly fitted, precisely prepared and entirely suited, being completely furnished and equipped with a view to doing good works and acting in excellence (e.g., social and environmental responsibility; bringing and existential expansion of God's reign with our communities), and to rightly bearing the image of God.

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