What does 2 Timothy 3:3 mean?
ESV: heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
NIV: without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
NASB: unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
CSB: unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good,
NLT: They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
KJV: Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
NKJV: unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
Verse Commentary:
In verse 2, Paul began to list some of the evil traits associated with the "last days"—the era of the church, which continues through today. Paul continues here by adding six additional traits to the eight already noted.

First, evil people will be "heartless," from the Greek astorgoi. This term is the combination of the negative a, meaning "not" or "against," with the root word storge. That Greek root word refers to a natural, affectionate love. Storge is typically summarized as "parental love." In this context, it not only means those who fail to show proper love to children. It also means those who are inhumane towards others.

Second, evil people will be "unappeasable," from the Greek word aspondoi. This means those who refuse to hold to agreements, who cannot be convinced to agree on anything. Some translations use the word "irreconcilable."

Third, these wicked people will be "slanderous." This Greek term is diaboloi, which means one who lies, slanders, or makes false accusations. This is the root of English words such as diabolic. From a Christian standpoint, this is one of the titles of Satan: "The Devil," meaning the one who lies and slanders others. A hallmark of this fallen world is the tendency to tear down others with gossip, lies, and hateful speech.

Fourth, these evil people will be "without self-control." Self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). The presence of self-control is mentioned frequently by Paul as an important trait in the life of a Christian (1 Corinthians 7:5, 9; 9:25; Galatians 5:23; 1 Timothy 2:9, 15; 2 Timothy 1:7). Self-control implies a person who is not selfish or arrogant, as mentioned in verse 2.

Fifth, evil people will be "brutal," from the Greek word anēmeroi. This most literally means "savage or untamed." Paul's use of it here might refer to physical violence, but it certainly implies a wild and un-controlled attitude.

Sixth, Paul says that evil people will be known for a hatred for godly things. Interestingly, Paul uses the Greek word aphilagathoi, which suggests a very personal aspect to this hate. In other words, these evil people do not merely despise "goodness," they specifically dislike "good people." This certainly agrees with Jesus' warning to the disciples: those who love God will be hated by the world (John 15:18–21).
Verse Context:
Second Timothy 3:1–9 is Paul's extensive list of godless traits, which will characterize false teachers and unbelievers. In verses 2 through 5, Paul will list nineteen separate qualities which are to be condemned. Among these are selfishness, arrogance, slander, hedonism, and denial of the truth of God. According to Paul, despite the apparent success of these false teachers, they will eventually be seen for what they are, and punished. Timothy, like other believers, should steer clear of such people.
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.
Accessed 4/24/2024 6:15:23 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.