Second Timothy 3.14-17

[This is part of a running series on translating Second Timothy. See the introductory post for more information — RB] 

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 3.14-17

14 Σὺ δὲ μένε
14 But you remain
    ἐν οἷς ἔμαθες καὶ ἐπιστώθης,
    in what you learned and became convinced of,
    εἰδὼς παρὰ τίνων ἔμαθες,
    knowing from whom you learned,
    15 καὶ ὅτι
    15 that
        ἀπὸ βρέφους [τὰ] ἱερὰ γράμματα οἶδας,
        from infancy you knew the sacred writings,
            τὰ δυνάμενά σε σοφίσαι
            which are able to make you wise
                εἰς σωτηρίαν
                into salvation 
                    διὰ πίστεως 
                    through faith 
                        τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. 
                        which is in Christ Jesus.

16 πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος
16 All scripture is breathed out by God and useful
    πρὸς διδασκαλίαν,
    for teaching,
    πρὸς ἐλεγμόν,
    for rebuke,
    πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν,
    for improvement,
    πρὸς παιδείαν
    for training
        τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ,
        which is in righteousness,
    17 ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος,
    17 so that the man of God might be capable,
        πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος.
        having been equipped for all good work.


The unit is 2Ti 3.10-17. NA27 insert a subparagraph break after 2Ti 3.13, which was a decent point to break the section for posting. See Second Timothy 3.10-13 for previous section.

Verse 14

Σὺ δὲ μένε] again, note the superfluous Σὺ (cf. v. 10 in previous post) which serves to bring Timothy back into focus. Note also the imperative verb.

ἐν οἷς ἔμαθες καὶ ἐπιστώθης] prepositional phrase, modifying the imperative verb. Specifies the content of what Timothy is to remain in. The two finite verbs in the prepositional phrase agree in everything but voice (the first active voice, the second passive). These provide the bounds of understanding the relative pronoun: “in what you learned and became convinced of”.

εἰδὼς παρὰ τίνων ἔμαθες] Note repetition of verb ἔμαθες; it adverbially modifies imperative verb; εἰδὼς is further modified by the prepositional phrase. Paul has covered the basics in Timothy’s learning, not only reminding him of what he’s learned but the examples he’s learned from (Paul, and Lois and Eunice, among others — the pronoun is plural here).

Verse 15

καὶ ὅτι] This clause is provides further modification to εἰδὼς (cf. Marshall ICC 788).

ἀπὸ βρέφους [τὰ] ἱερὰ γράμματα οἶδας] The prepositional phrase is fronted in the clause creating a temporal frame. Paul is stressing not only the content of Timothy’s knowledge of the truth, but the duration. He’s known this stuff since he was knee-high to a grasshopper.

τὰ δυνάμενά σε σοφίσαι] Participial clause, providing purpose of the sacred writings. Note again the articular, substantive participle + infinitive structure.

εἰς σωτηρίαν] prepositional phrase, modifying the previous clause, showing the end of “being made wise”.

διὰ πίστεως] prepositional phrase. This could be modifying the previous prepositional object or, as the previous prepositional phrase, modifying the verbal idea of the previous clause. Most see it as the former, though annotate it as the latter. Paul uses this prepositional phrase 12 times (Ro 3.22, 30, 31; 2Co 5.7; Ga 2.16; 3.14, 26; Eph 2.8; 3.12, 17; Co 2.12; 2Ti 3.15) and it evokes the image of “salvation through faith” in Eph 2.8. It seems reasonable to see this prepositional phrase modifying the previous prepositional object.

τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] Here the article functions like a pronoun; the structure clarifies the source of the faith by use of the article with prepositional phrase.

Verse 16

πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος] The clause has no explicit verb, the verb “to be” (εστιν) is implied. The conjunction καὶ joins the two adjectives, θεόπνευστος and ὠφέλιμος, which agree in case, number and gender; θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος functioning as a predicate adjective structure. This attributes these qualities to the subject of the clause, “all Scripture/writings”. A series of four prepositional phrases follows; each providing some further information on how scripture can be helpful (ὠφέλιμος).

πρὸς διδασκαλίαν] prepositional phrase functioning adjectivally, modifying ὠφέλιμος. Scripture is helpful because it informs teaching.

πρὸς ἐλεγμόν] prepositional phrase functioning adjectivally, modifying ὠφέλιμος. Scripture is helpful because it rightly sheds light on those things worthy of rebuke.

πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν] prepositional phrase functioning adjectivally, modifying ὠφέλιμος. Scripture is helpful because it provides the basis of correction or improvement.

πρὸς παιδείαν] prepositional phrase functioning adjectivally, modifying ὠφέλιμος. Scripture is helpful for training.

τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ] Here the article functions like a relative pronoun, it is further modified by a prepositional phrase. This qualifies the training; it is not just any training, it is training which is in righteousness.

Verse 17

ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος] subordinate clause. From the perspective of traditional sentence diagramming, this is modifying the verb implied in v. 16 (εστιν). What is traditionally translated “the man of God” here is generic; ἄνθρωπος need not take an exclusively male referent.

πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος] participial clause with prepositional phrase modifying the participle. The prepositional phrase is fronted, marking it as the most important material in the clause. The whole structure modifies the primary verb in the subordinate clause ().


  1. Brian LePort says:

    I am just beginning to read through this blog and I appreciate the content that you all have posted here. Thanks for taking the time to share your work!

  2. Rick Brannan says:

    Thanks, Brian. Glad it’s helpful!

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