What does 2 Timothy 3:15 mean?
ESV: and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
NIV: and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
NASB: and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
CSB: and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
NLT: You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
KJV: And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
NKJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
In addition to personal teachings about Jesus from Paul and other early Christian leaders, Timothy had been trained in the Torah from an early age by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). This verse notes his lifelong immersion in the word of God. Timothy was most likely literate, something not as common in his time as it is today. He had both heard and probably read from the Torah at the local synagogue in Lystra (Acts 16:1). At the very least, his mother and grandmother instructed him in the Jewish scriptures. He had a Greek father and was not circumcised until he was an adult, but had a strong Jewish influence from his mother's side of the family.

Paul also adds the primary point of the written word of God, both Old Testament and New: leading people to a saving knowledge of God: Jesus Christ. The Old Testament writings gave wisdom for salvation, but salvation itself came through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9). Paul notes the importance of the Old Testament, while also emphasizing the saving role of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17–20).
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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