2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

E W Rogers, Oxford

Part 9 of 14 of the series Paul's Pastoral Epistles

Category: Exposition

We have labelled this chapter "be constant" because of the exhortation in verse 14. The taunt of many that we have submitted ourselves to the teaching of our mothers and our grandmothers is apt to injure our personal pride and our desire to be regarded as independent thinkers. We are prone, therefore, to cast overboard our early training. But Paul exhorts Timothy to continue in the things which he had learned and been assured of. He had not only been taught them but, by personal examination, had assured himself of their veracity. Why then abandon them? Lois, Eunice and Paul had been his early tutors. From his childhood he had been acquainted with the "sacred writings" (J.N.D.: "sacred letters") and he is enjoined now to continue.

The Holy Scriptures are the infallible guide which is bequeathed by Paul to Timothy and to us all. They are sacred in nature. As to their capacity, they are able to make one wise to salvation (salvation in the most comprehensive sense, both present and future). They are Christocentric and designed to inculcate faith in the Lord Jesus. In origin, they are God-breathed; men from God spake as they were borne along by the Holy Spirit. In utility, they are profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction and training in righteousness. Their purpose is that the man of God may be perfect, complete, up-to-date, fitted out for every good work.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God", that is, is warm with His very breath; hence Scripture has today as much power as when it was first uttered. The translation of this verse has been the subject of much discussion and we shall not reconsider the subject here. Our preference is for the A.V., though one would never dare to say that the R.v. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable . . ." is wrong. It all depends how one interprets the word "scripture", whether exclusively of the Holy Bible or whether more extensively of "writing" in general. In Scripture itself the word "scripture" is only used for the sacred writings, but Paul's statement here is so worded that it embraces what we now call the New Testament, as well as the Old, and certainly, however we translate it, excludes all uninspired writings (uninspired by God, that is).-

The Last Days. This chapter commences with a reference to the "last days". Though this term may apply particularly to the last phase of the present period just prior to the return of the Lord Jesus, 1 John 2. 18 shows clearly that it may be interpreted to embrace our own present era. It is clear from verse 5 that Timothy was living in them. . Their features show that the decalogue would be spurned. Men infringed the first item by loving themselves rather than God. They infringed the third by being blasphemers; the fifth by being disobedient to parents; the seventh by being unholy; the ninth by slander; the tenth by being covetous. If Romans 1 describes heathendom, this describes spurious Christianity which retains a religious form but in practice denies its power. Like Jannes and Jambres, such people resist the truth, their minds are corrupted, and as regards the faith they are altogether spurious (counterfeit). They are false religionists who prey upon the guilty consciences of silly women, creeping into their houses knowing that they will listen to anybody, though they never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Paul is assured that, like as these ancient magicians were halted and their folly exposed, so it will be with these deceiving teachers (see Exodus 7. 8-12; 9. 11). The action of Elymas the sorcerer should be compared with all this, Acts 13. 8.

Paul reminds Timothy of what his own behaviour had been, which was in strong contrast to this. His had been a life of persecution, suffering, endurance and deliverance. He could promise nothing better either for Timothy or for any who would wish to live godly in Christ Jesus. In fact things will gradually get worse and worse, and evil men will increasingly deceive others while they themselves are also being deceived. The godly would more and more find a strong tide of opposition to them. Notwithstanding, Timothy should continue and not allow himself to be deflected.

Paul not infrequently called attention to himself, aware that his conduct had pleased the Lord and had set a worthy example for others to imitate, v. 10. Paul had proved the truth of Psalm 34. 19. Read also Matthew 16. 24 and Acts 14. 22.

There are 8 articles in
ISSUE (1974, Volume 25 Issue 4)

Almost All Things

The Book of Ruth

Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities

‘Highly Exalted’

Leading in Prayer


2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

Zacharias and Elizabeth

There are 14 articles in this series

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 1: ‘Be Courageous’

2 Timothy 2: ‘Be Careful’

2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

2 Timothy 4: ‘Be Considerate’

Titus 1: God is Faithful

Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects

Titus 3: The Christian and the State

There are 90 articles by this author

To Spread the Gospel - the Believer’s Responsibility







The Purpose of God

Paul’s Prayer

What a Change!

The Epistle to the Ephesians

The Mystery

Ministry in the Church

Gathered Threads

Some Practical Lessons

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 1: ‘Be Courageous’

2 Timothy 2: ‘Be Careful’

2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

2 Timothy 4: ‘Be Considerate’

Titus 1: God is Faithful

Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects

Titus 3: The Christian and the State

The Believer’s Responsibility in Regard to the Spread of the Gospel

The Infallible Christ

Will the Church go through the Great Tribulation?

The Man of God out of Judah

Having been Gathered Out

‘For Me to Live is Christ’

Short Papers on Some Fundamental Truths

After all This

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 1)

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 2)

Evidences of New Birth

The Inspiration of Scripture

On the being of God - The Holy Trinity

The Attributes of Divine Persons

Eternal Punishment

Gospel Preaching: the Message, Motive and Method

The Believer’s Responsibility in regard to the Spread of the Gospel. 2 KINGS 7 : 9.

Question: What is the meaning of “being crafty, I caught you with guile”? (2 Cor. 12: 16)

Question: Ought Christians to testify to all whom they meet?

Question: Is it wise to submit to being called “Plymouth Brethren”?

Question: Assembly Ceasing to Exist

Question: Delivering unto Satan

Question: Does the pre-eminence of Christ Guarantee that the Saved will Outnumber the Unsaved?

Question: The Activities of The Holy Spirit in the Eternal State

Question: Is the Devil PERSONALLY able to operate in more than one place at a time?

Question: Are the instructions in James 5. 14 applicable to-day?

Question: What was wrong with the desire of the sons of Eli for roast flesh Instead of boiled flesh?

Question: Does John 14. 6 imply that the unevangelised heathen will be lost?

Question: Conviction of Sin?

Question: Attitude of Young Believers in Assembly

Question: Why did blind Bartimeus address the Lord Jesus as “Jesus, thou Son of David”?

Question: Were the “miracles” of Peter and Paul examples of faith comparable with... Heb. 11?

Question: Ministry before the Breaking of Bread?

Question: Necessary to be Baptised to Break Bread?

Question: Concerning “He that believeth on Me the works that I do shall he do also.”

Question: In what sense have believers been crucified with Christ?

Question: The Publishing of Able Brethren's Addresses to Conventions, etc.?

Question: Why are the Proverbs Neglected as a Basis for Practical Ministry?

Prayer to the Lord Jesus


The Ministry Of Reconciliation 2 Cor. 5. 19-21

Question: Does 1 Cor. 14. 34 apply to all meetings when brethren are present?

Question: How far are we justified in speaking of God as Father when preaching the gospel?

Question: What are we to understand by the “spiritual body” referred to in 1 Cor. 15?

Question: To what does the phrase, “that which is perfect,” refer in 1 Cor. 13?

Question: How is it that many of the laws in the O.T. appear to be quite cruel?

Question: If believers go to be with Christ immediately at death how can they be raised?

Question: What happens to the believer when he dies before the Lord returns?

Question: Sins of the believer at the Judgement Seat of Christ?

Question: Satan disputing with Michael?

Victory And Defeat

Paul’s thorn in the flesh

Evidences of New Birth

Coming Judgements

The Millennium

The Consummation

Our Hope

Events in Heaven with the Saints

Events on Earth

The Apocalyptic Letters - Introduction