2 Timothy 3:1 – 17
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 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. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 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 of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The Apostle Paul begins by referencing “the last days.” This begs the question… Does Paul expect Timothy to be someone living under the opposition spoke of in Scripture? It is quite possible. Paul was always expecting Christ to return even though he counseled wisdom in such matters (1 and 2 Thessalonians).
Paul is speaking to Timothy and telling him what to look for in the world while he is waiting for Jesus to return (“the last days”). The list of characteristics in verses 2-7 is quite a list! He is to watch for those who claim to follow God, but live differently than he was shown. He will be mixing with these folks and he should be aware. Paul wants Timothy to know what is true and teach it. More importantly… Paul wants Timothy to live his faith and to endure whatever opposition comes because of his faith in Christ.
Timothy in these verses is given details by how to structure his way of life and what to look for of those that will stray. Others may not “stray” so much as they are simply evil and will have influence with people around them.
Paul emphasizes leaning into godly living during persecution.
The Apostle Paul seems to lump together evil folks, charlatans (those who appear as believers but are not), and deceivers (those who appear as believers, but are not on purpose). In the face of these types of folks, Paul tells Timothy to stick to the Word. If Timothy sticks to the Word and what he has learned thus far, then in the midst of hard persecution he will endure.
Deceivers, Paul states, want to be deceived themselves in order to hold on to their pleasures. Thus, their hearts and minds are dangerous. Though they appear religious, they in fact want pleasures and seek to fill their desires. They are no different than Adam and Eve who ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What was good in their eye is what they were after… same with these folks. They want to be blessed, yet they don’t listen to God.
So, such people find teachers that say what they want to hear. Those deceiving teachers say they can have what their eye desires rather than what God says is good. I might add God, says He is good. We reflect God through good works as we acknowledge Him in our daily action. Paul tells us to aim our actions based on Scripture.
In the end, he tells Timothy to hold fast to the word of God. Holding fast to the Scriptures is the one trustworthy means of living life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. By way of the word, Timothy can guide and direct himself and others. He can be rebuked by God and honor God and the same goes for people around him. He can help others and himself conform to the living way of King Jesus.