vs 16,17 How might you categorize the various ways in which the
scripture is useful?
2Tim 3:1 But mark this: There will
be terrible times in the last days.
This is not to say that the "last days" themselves lie in the
future, but rather that in these last days there will be
terrible times. For all the way back in Acts 2 Peter applies a
verse starting "In the last days"
as beginning from Pentecost. Likewise Heb 1:2 "in these last days he has spoken to
us by his Son" Furthermore the context of this chapter
implies these are things Timothy would encounter.
Peter follows the same sentiment. "First
of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers
will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires."
2Peter 3:3 And such was the case throughout the history of
Christianity. Likewise those vices Paul will go on to mention in
verses that follow have been characteristically portrayed
To be noted that Paul associated "terrible times" not with
natural disasters, but rather due to the wickedness of people.
Even today, after so much history, people continue to
misidentify the main problem with the world. The main problem
with the world is not environmental or economic. The solution is
not more science, more education, more funding, more
regulations. The problem is the wickedness of people. The
solution is the gospel.
Last Day Vices - Part 1
2Tim 3:2 For men will be lovers of
themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
"Lovers of themselves"
is "philautos" - literally to like oneself. These are those who
say to love others you must first love yourself. But in fact
this often turns into a justification for narcissism. Jesus
said, "The man who loves his life will
lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will
keep it for eternal life." John 12:25 and "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his
father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and
sisters— yes, even his own life— he cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:26 The attitude of the narcissist is that of
vanity. It's looking out for #1, namely themselves. The live for
themselves, seeking their own pleasures. Their purpose in life
is to please themselves. Everything else is secondary. And such
is characteristic of a good percentage of the people in the
"Lovers of Money"
are the greedy and covetous, a vice reflected in most people in
the world today. "The love of money is a
root of all kinds of evil." 1Tim 6:10 "You
cannot serve both God and Money." Mt 6:24 So "keep your lives free from the love of money
and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Heb 13:5
Pride & Boasting
As humility is the most essential of all virtues, so Pride is
the foundation of all vices. It is reflected by all one does and
says, such as in boastfulness. But it says in Pr 27:2 "Let another praise you, and not your own
mouth; someone else, and not your own lips."
This word in Greek is derived from a combination of two words
"harm" and "reputation". For example to blaspheme God is
to speak of Him in a way that damages His reputation. A double
example of this is Acts 6:11 where it is written that, "they secretly induced men to say (of
Stephen), 'We have heard him speak blasphemous words
against Moses and God.'" Here these claim Stephen
blasphemes Moses and God while in fact these men themselves were
blaspheming Stephen by doing so.
Disobedient to Parents
Non-compliance to authority figures at a young age is not only
bad of itself, but leads to a person maturing to become on
non-compliant to authority figures later on which damages others
as well as oneself.
Unthankfulness to God results in corruption of the mind and
heart as Paul says in Rom 1:21 "For
although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor
gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their
foolish hearts were darkened." Or another word to
describe this attribute is being "ungrateful". Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend
to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your
reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High,
because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
A general term referring to a lifestyle separate from God rather
than one separated unto God.
Last Day Vices - Part 2
2Tim 3:3 unloving,
unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal,
despisers of good,
All these attributes, along with the others mentioned in vs 2-5
are vices opposite to Christian virtues. Love is highest of
virtues. Unforgiveness is a result of one thinking too highly of
themselves and therefore too highly of offenses brought against
them, despite willingness to make restitution. Slanderers are
those who bear false witness, which so characteristic of the
children of the devil that the Greek word used is translated
"devil" 35 of the 38 times it's used in the KJV.
The lack of self-control is characteristic of the wick, which
lead to brutality and savage behavior. Such is characteristic
of terrorists and others who commit acts of atrocity. These
despise and oppose the good. The hostility Jesus and his
apostles faced was due to such people who despise and oppose the
Last Day Vices - Part 3
2Tim 3:4,5 traitors, rash,
haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having
a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such
people turn away!
Judas was a primary example of a traitor. Traitors are those who
feign friendship and end up stabbing you in the back. A rash
person makes a rush to judgment, or otherwise makes decisions
quickly without sufficient thought and research. Those who live
life simply for the purpose of "fun" are lovers of pleasure. If
it's not fun, they won't do it. And if it's fun they'll do it
regardless of the negative consequences on themselves and
others. And this list includes "religious" people, but who are
"religious" in name only, such as nominal Christians. They like
to be called "Christian", but don't like to live like
Paul tells Timothy to shun such people, speaking with regards to
friendships which would affirm their behavior. This does not
include relationships with those outside the faith. But to shun
Christians who misbehave. For
Paul writes, "I have written you in my
letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at
all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the
greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would
have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you
must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but
is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a
drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What
business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are
you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.
'Expel the wicked man from among you.'" 1Cor 5:9-13
2Tim 3:6,7 For of this sort
are those who creep into households and make captives of
gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various
lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge
of the truth.
As politically incorrect as it may be to say this, women, being
the "weaker vessel" (1Peter
3:7) are characteristically more gullible than man, and
thus, for example are restricted from teaching men. "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have
authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was
formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it
was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner."
1Tim 2:12-14 And conversely women characteristically
have a learning disability in comparison to men. Thus
educational standards and statistics have been on the decline in
the US in step with the increasing influence of feminism.
Eve was a precedent reflected the gullible nature of
women. Paul writes, "I am afraid that
just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds
may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion
to Christ." 2Cor 11:3 And why the expression "old wives' fables" in 1Tim 4:7?
Why not "old husbands' fables"? Because women are prone to such
things, coming up with fables and falling for them much as young
children do. Furthermore women are prone to being attracted to
wicked men, much as Eve chose the devil over Adam. And the
wicked men Paul is speaking of take advantage of these
2Tim 3:8,9 Just as Jannes and
Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth— men
of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are
rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the
case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
Traditionally, Jannes and Jambres were the Egyptian sorcerers
who opposed Moses before Pharaoh. (Ex 7:11,12,22) And
with this in mind and given the context of the previous chapter
he may be alluding to false teachers. Like wise Peter writes of
this sort, "They are presumptuous,
self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,
whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not
bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. But
these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and
destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand,
and will utterly perish in their own corruption" 2Peter
2:10-12 And as he also says, "They
promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of
depravity— for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him."
A fundamental attribute of such men is they oppose the truth.
Truth is not their priority. "Since
they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of
God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought
not to be done." Rom 1:28
These people don't get very far before their folly becomes
evident to everyone. And as such they are not really that much
threat to the Christian community. These are not the most
dangerous type of wolf. The really dangerous ones are those far
more sly to disguise themselves better, introducing heresy in a
more subtle manner.
Paul a Role Model
2Tim 3:10,11 You, however, know
all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith,
patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings— what
kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra,
the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all
Making disciples is not just about passing on information, its
about being a role model as well. The experiences most
significant to Paul were the times he suffered persecution and
was rescued, much as Jesus' experiences we highlight His being
persecuted to death and His resurrection from the dead. Paul is
likely writing this as an encouragement insomuch as Timothy
would be facing persecution, not only from his association with
Paul, but because his ministry included confronting false
Likewise Paul writes of the Thessalonians, "You, brothers, became imitators of God’s
churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered
from your own countrymen the same things those churches
suffered from the Jews" 1Th 2:14
Here's a rhetorical question, can a Christian really say that
have experienced fellowship with Christ without having weathered
through a storm of persecution?
You will be Persecuted
2Tim 3:12,13 In fact, everyone who
wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse,
deceiving and being deceived.
This principle of persecution is an inevitable outcome of trying
to live a godly life. Why is that? Primarily because the godly
convict others of sin. Jesus said, "The
world hates me because I testify that what it does is evil."
John 7:7 And if the world doesn't hate you, that could
likewise be the reason. Jesus said, "If
the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If
you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it
is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out
of the world. That is why the world hates you." John
15:18,19 And thus if you are a genuine Christian, prepare
to be persecuted, for Jesus Himself predicted, "You will be hated by all for My name’s sake.
But he who endures to the end will be saved." Mt 10:22 But take courage, "Blessed are you when men hate you, when they
exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for
joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how
their fathers treated the prophets." Luke 6:22,23
There are those who intentionally feign the faith, posing as
imposters for the sake of misleading the Christian community.
Eventually they believe their own lies. There was a cult in the
church as Jerusalem which Paul confronted. He characterized them
in this manner, "This matter arose
because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy
on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves."
Gal 2:4 And whole denominations rise up built upon
false doctrines, persecuting fellow Christians outside of their
sect. Though in early stages of development it may be difficult
to discern, but by their fruits you will recognize them.
Learn and Apply the Word
2Tim 3:14-17 But as for you,
continue in what you have learned and have become convinced
of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how
from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are
able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ
Jesus. All Scripture is
God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting
and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The practice of Christian life is largely about abiding in the
Word - learning it, and putting it into practice, and Timothy
was fortunate to have role models abiding in the Word all the
way from his youth to till now been Paul's student and
apprentice. Jesus said, "If you abide in
My word, you are My disciples indeed." John 8:31 We enter into the faith through the word. "faith
comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard
through the word of Christ." Rom 10:17 And we
were "born again, not of corruptible seed
but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and
abides forever" 1Peter 1:23 So "like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual
milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation"
How well are you planning to know the scriptures? How much time,
energy and effort are you willing to set aside to devote
yourself to Bible study for the purpose of developing
convictions and deriving applications? "They
are not just idle words for you— they are your life." Deut