2 Timothy 3:4

Sunday, 15 April 2018

…traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 2 Timothy 3:4

Paul’s lengthy list of miscreants continues on once again in this verse. Here the words begin with “traitors.” The meaning of the word is obvious. Either “traitor” or “betrayer” is an acceptable translation. The word is found only in Luke 6:16, Acts 7:52, and here.


Next, he names the “headstrong.” It is again a rare word, found elsewhere only in Acts 19:36. The word literally means, “fall forward.” Thus it is someone who is reckless, rash, or whose headstrong manner is brought on by foolhardy passion.

Paul then speaks of the “haughty.” It is a word used only by Paul, and only in the pastorals of 1 & 2 Timothy. This is its final use in Scripture. The word is tuphoó, and one can see the word “typhoon” coming from it. It signifies “to blow smoke,” or “to cloud up the air.” And so figuratively it means to have a cloudy mindset which is a moral blindness leading to poor judgment. From there, further loss of spiritual perception is the natural result.

The verse finishes up with “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” People who are pleasure-lovers have always abounded in the world. They draw more closely to the animal instincts rather than focusing on the higher morals we are endowed with. Some focus all their pleasure on fast cars, some on sexual engagements, some on living in a drunken stupor, etc. Each of these has its own word to describe it, but these things may be used in different ways. The word here indicates that such things are engaged in simply for the pleasure obtained from them. In such a pursuit, a love and sense of God is eradicated. Whatever type of pleasure is sought after can become so addictive that it becomes its own idol in our minds. When this happens, the door to God is shut and locked.

Life application: It is important for us to evaluate individual words like those Paul is using. By developing them into their full meaning, we can see what he had on his mind when choosing those particular words. From there, we can then carefully evaluate if we bear any trace of these failings and correct them in our lives. Though an in-depth study of such things can be a bit tiring, in the end, we will have benefited greatly from the knowledge we have obtained.

Gracious heavenly Father, look upon Your people whom You have redeemed, and be merciful to us as we stray, fail in our obligations, and forget to put You first in our lives. Give Your people wisdom to turn again to You, and to reestablish our walk in uprightness and holiness before Your infinite glory. Guide us in paths which You have chosen for our feet to tread upon. Amen.

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