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

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 3.1-5

1 Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε,
1 But know this,
        ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις
        in the last days
    ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί·
    difficult times will present themselves.

2 ἔσονται γὰρ οἱ ἄνθρωποι
2 For people will be
    lovers of self,
    lovers of money,
    γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς,
    disobedient to parents,
    3 ἄστοργοι
    3 hard-hearted,
    unwilling to negotiate,
    without self control,
    not lovers of good,
    4 προδόται
    4 traitors,
    lovers of pleasure
        μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι,
        rather than lovers of God,
    5 ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας
    5 holding to a form of godliness
        τὴν δὲ δύναμιν αὐτῆς ἠρνημένοι·
        but they have denied its power. 
    καὶ τούτους ἀποτρέπου. 
    You must avoid these.


The unit is 2Ti 3.1-9, but that is a large unit to discuss. As NA27 insert a subparagraph break after 2Ti 3.5, this seems a decent point to break the comments on this unit.

Verse 1

Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε] Disclosure formula. Well, it comes close to the formal definition (verb of wishing/desiring + verb of knowing in infinitive + optional οτι/ινα, see Syntax Searching and Epistolary Form Criticism: Disclosure Form for explanation and example); this is more of a command to the addressee. Either way, it is a break from the previous section and an obvious cue that a new section has begun (cf. Van Neste, 174). Runge labels it a Meta-Comment. The resolution of the pronoun τουτο (what is to be known?) is the content of the upcoming subordinate clause.

ὅτι] optional portion of disclosure formula. Marks a subordinate clause.

ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις] prepositional phrase, fronted within the subordinate clause. Thus it establishes a frame of reference for what it is that Paul wants Timothy to know. Runge labels it a Temporal Frame.

ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί] This is in regard to times that will be difficult to endure. Note the future middle verb.

Verses 2-5

ἔσονται γὰρ οἱ ἄνθρωποι] This clause begins a very large list of negative qualities (a “vice” list). The use of γὰρ shows that this is elaboration or explanation of the previous clause; this list offers support as to why the upcoming times (the last days) will be difficult.

[vice list runs through v. 5; only vv. 4b-5 will be discussed here; though note that alpha-privatives and words with the φιλ* cognate are abundant].

φιλήδονοι μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι] comparison between “lovers of pleasure” and “lovers of God”; again with the φιλ* cognate.

ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας] participial clause, with μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας (“a form of godliness”) as the object of the clause. By all appearances, these people are godly. But the reality is otherwise.

τὴν δὲ δύναμιν αὐτῆς ἠρνημένοι] participial clause. While some might say that δὲ here is contrastive; the context itself is contrastive, not δὲ. The δὲ indicates development from the previous clause that happens to be in a contrastive context. Those being described in this vice list have the form of godliness (they appear to be godly), but they deny the power of godliness.

καὶ τούτους ἀποτρέπου] summary statement. τούτους is anaphoric, it points backwards to the vice list, basically meaning “these people, the ones who embody these sorts of things”. The verb is a middle imperative, second person singular, thus functioning as a command from Paul to Timothy (author to recipient). The idea is “avoid these people!”. The καὶ is essentially additive, showing the barest of relationship between the preceding clause and this one (thus showing relationship with the list and those who deny the power of godliness).