What does 2 Timothy 3:12 mean?
ESV: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
NIV: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
NASB: Indeed, all who want to live in a godly way in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
CSB: In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
NLT: Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
KJV: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
NKJV: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Verse Commentary:
Based upon Paul's own experiences (2 Timothy 3:11), Paul could confidently point out that faithfulness to Christ leads to persecution from the ungodly world. This stands in stark contrast with the "prosperity gospel" of our time, which teaches that faithfulness to God leads to material blessings in this life. Paul taught that godly living included persecution. His own life served as a living testimony to this teaching. Even at the time of this letter, Paul was in prison, awaiting pending death for his faith.

The other apostles and many in the early church also experienced persecution for living a godly life in Christ Jesus. Traditionally, all of the apostles were martyred for their faith except for John, who was instead exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. Hebrews 11 speaks of the suffering many of God's people have endured, concluding, "And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:39–40). The awards for God's people are eternal rather than mere earthly blessings, though God may choose to provide material blessings, as well.
Verse Context:
Second Timothy 3:10–17 draws a strong contrast between the worldly, wicked behaviors of false teachers, and the conduct Timothy has seen from Paul. Not only has Timothy seen Paul's suffering for the sake of Christ first-hand, he has often experienced it alongside his friend, as well. This adds to the validity of Paul's teachings, which he strongly encourages Timothy to hold to. Above all, Timothy is to rely on the most secure, reliable, unchanging defense against error and false teaching: the ''God-breathed,'' inspired, written Scriptures.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 3 presents two sections with very different themes. In the first, Paul describes in detail the sins associated with apostasy: the abandonment of truth. Echoing the themes of prior chapters, Paul instructs Timothy to avoid not only these sins, but the people who participate in them. In the second section, Paul draws a contrast between these false teachers and his own example, as well as the faithful conduct of Timothy. Paul's capstone advice against false teaching and apostasy is the written word of God: the most powerful resource for any Christian leader.
Chapter Context:
In prior chapters, Paul has encouraged Timothy through an appeal to his lifelong spiritual heritage. He has also instructed Timothy to remain focused on the work of God, rather than pointless bickering. Here, Paul will present more warnings about the attitude of false teachers and those who reject God in favor of their own preferences. Just as he taught previously, Paul warns Timothy in no uncertain terms to avoid these behaviors and those who participate in them. This chapter is the high point of Paul's letter, leading to his final instructions to Timothy found in chapter 4.
Book Summary:
Second Timothy is the last New Testament letter written by Paul. Paul writes these words while awaiting execution by Rome. At this time, around AD 67, Timothy was leading the church in Ephesus. Paul writes to Timothy in order to encourage him. Paul is facing the worst of all hardships: his own impending death. So, he encourages Timothy to stand strong in his faith, with a reliance on the written Word of God. This letter echoes many of the themes Paul uses in his other letters.
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