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Home » Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

Learn from Me, Learn from Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:10-17)

Submitted by on Friday, 4 June 20102 Comments

  • Reading I: 2 Timothy 3:10-17
  • Resp. Psalm: Ps. 119
  • Gospel Reading: Mark 12:35-37


Fundamentalists claim that 2 Tim. 3:16-17 gives the ground for the absolute authority of Scriptures.

All scriptures is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and for training in righteousness so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

They miss the point of the citation however in that they don’t seem to see that there is also the voice that is recommending the Scriptures as “capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (3:15)”.  It is the voice of the apostle, Paul.  In other words, Scriptures does not have sole authority in matters of faith and morals since it comes with the authority of the Apostle.  The immediate context of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 bears this out.  In fact, beginning 3:14, Paul exhorts Timothy to “remain faithful” to what he has learned since “you know from whom (= Paul) you learned it.”   Immediately following this and introduced by kai (and), is the reminder that since his childhood, Timothy has known the Scriptures.

14You then remain in what you have learned
knowing from whom you learned it
15and that from the time you were a baby
you have known the Holy Scriptures1
which are capable of forming you in wisdom2unto salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.

Notice that in this sentence flow, the main verb "remain faithful in what you have learned" is followed by the reference to two sources from which Timothy has learned, from Paul and from the Holy Scriptures listened to since infancy. The statement about the Scriptures’ divine inspiration is an elaboration of the idea that Scriptures are capable of forming in wisdom (sophizein)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 then cannot be used to prove the absolute authority of Scriptures since the passage itself speaks of another authority, that of the apostle, and only confirms what Catholics have been saying all along:  that apostolic tradition and Scriptures go together.

2 Timothy 3:10-17
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
10But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,
11Persecutions, afflictions: such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra: what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.
13But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse: erring, and driving into error.
14But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned, and which have been committed to thee: knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,
17That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.
Mark 12:35-37
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
35And Jesus answering, said, teaching in the temple: How do the scribes say, that Christ is the son of David?
36For David himself saith by the Holy Ghost: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
37David therefore himself calleth him Lord, and whence is he then his son? And a great multitude heard him gladly.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
16All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,
17That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.

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  1. This is such a graphic description:  one can imagine the baby Timothy sitting on the lap of his mother Eunice during worship. []
  2. sophisai, from the verb sophizein, litterally “to make wise” []


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