II Timothy 3:1-5 – Wuest Greek Commentary

The following is a Greek word commentary, taken from Wuest Word Studies – K. S. Wuest, on II Timothy 3:1-5

“This know” is like Paul’s, “I would have you to know” (Phil. 1:12) and, “I would you should know” (I Cor. 11:3), literally, “this be knowing,” that is, “be keeping this in your mind.” The demonstrative pronoun “this” points to the contents of verses 2-5. The expression, “in the last days,” refers to the time immediately preceding the Rapture of the Church and the second Advent of the Lord Jesus.

“Times” is kairos, which Trench defines as follows: “a critical, epoch-making period foreordained of God when all that has been slowly, and often without observation, ripening through long ages, is mature and comes to the birth in grand decisive events, which constitute at once the close of one period and the commencement of another.”

“Perilous” is chalepos, literally, “hard times,” schwere zeiten in the German language. Expositors defines: “grievous (R.V.), but not necessarily perilous to those who feel their grievousness.” Moulton and Milligan define the word as follows: “hard, difficult.” They mention an account of an audience granted by Trajan to certain Greek and Jewish envoys from Alexandria, when the Emperor does not return the salute of the Alexandrian envoys, but exclaims, “Do you give me greeting like men deserving to receive one, when you are guilty of such outrages to the Jews?” The word “outrages” is our word chalepos. The word speaks of the difficult, dangerous times which Christians, living just before the Rapture, will encounter.

“Shall come” is enistemi, “to set in.”

“Men” is anthropos, the generic, racial term referring, not to male individuals only, but to the race, mankind.

“Lovers of their own selves” is philautos, made up of phileo, “to be fond of,” and autos, “self,” thus, “fond of self.” The word agapao, referring to the love produced in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit, is not used here. It is phileo, which speaks of a fondness, a liking, an affection.

“Covetous” is philarguros,made up of phileo, “to be fond of,” and arguros, “silver,” thus “fond of money.”

“Boasters” is alazon, its root, the same as that of ale, “wandering,” its meaning, “an empty pretender, a boaster, a swaggerer.”

“Proud” is huperephanos, “to show above,” thus, speaks of one who shows himself to be above other people. Vincent defines it by the word “haughty.”

“Blasphemous” is blasphemos, “speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, reviling, railing, abusive.”

“Without natural affection” is astorgos. This is the Greek word denoting natural affection, with Alpha, which when prefixed to a word negates its meaning. The word is stergo. Benjamin B. Warfield, in his excellent article in The Princeton Theological Review of April 1918, The Terminology of Love in the New Testament, defines it as follows: It designates “that quiet and abiding feeling within us, which, resting on an object as near to us, recognizes that we are closely bound up with it and takes satisfaction in its recognition.” It is a love that is “a natural movement of the soul, something almost like gravitation or some other force of blind nature.” It is the love of parents for children, and children for parents, of husband for wife, and wife for husband. It is a love of obligatoriness, the term being used here, not in its moral sense, but in a natural sense. It is a necessity under the circumstances. This is the binding factor by which any natural or social unit is held together.

“Truce breakers” is aspondos. The word is made up of sponde, “a libation,” which is a kind of sacrifice, and which accompanied the making of treaties and compacts. The Alpha prefixed, negates the word, and it means, “refusing to enter into a treaty, irreconcilable, implacable.”

“False accusers” is diabolos, the word used for the devil, literally, “slanderers.”

“Incontinent” is akrates. Kratos means “power,” and with Alpha privative means “without power,” thus, “without power over one’s self,” thus, “without self-control.”

“Fierce” is anemeros, “not tame; savage, fierce.”

“Despisers of those that are good” is aphilagathos, literally, “not fond of that which is good,” the good being such things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Phil. 4:8). Vincent translates, “Haters of good,” R.V., “no lovers of good.”

“Traitors” is prodotes, “a betrayer or traitor.”

“Heady” is propetes, from pro, “before” and pipto, “to fall,” thus, “falling forwards, headlong; precipitous.” It describes a person who is reckless, headstrong, in the pursuit of a bad end, under the influence of passion (Vincent).

“Highminded” is tuphoo, “to raise a smoke, to wrap in a mist.” It is used metaphorically, “to make proud, puff up with pride, render insolent.” The participle here is perfect in tense, and speaks of a person who in the past has come to a state of such pride, and is so puffed up, that his mind as a permanent result is beclouded and besotted with pride.

“Lovers of pleasure, lovers of God”; the word is phileo, “to be fond of.”

“Form” is morphosis. Vincent says: “morphe, form is the expression or embodiment of the essential and permanent being of that which is expressed…yet the meaning differs in different passages. In Rom. 2:20, morphosis is the truthful embodiment of knowledge and truth as contained in the law of God. Here, the mere outward resemblance, as distinguished from the essential reality.”

“Godliness” is eusebeia, not “godlikeness,” but “reverence, respect, piety toward God.”

“Power” is dunamis, “power” in the sense of that which overcomes resistance. It is used in Rom. 1:16 of the power of God which results in salvation. Here it refers to that same power which those who only have an outward semblance of piety toward God and not the inward reality, refuse to allow access to their lives that they might be saved.

Translation. This be constantly knowing, that in the last days, difficult times will set in, for men shall be fond of self, fond of money, swaggerers, haughty, revilers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, lacking self-control, savage, haters of good, betrayers, headstrong, besotted with pride, fond of pleasure rather than having an affection for God, having a mere outward semblance of piety toward God, but denying the power of the same. And these be constantly shunning.

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