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Second Letter to Timothy
Theme: The coming apostasy and the authority of Scripture.
In this chapter Paul warns of the apostasy that will come in the last days. He also gives us the antidote for that apostasy, which is the Word of God. That is why this chapter is so important and meaningful for us today.
In this chapter the apostle Paul delivers a prophecy of the last days, showing how perilous the times will be, describing the persons that will live in them, and what will be their end; and in opposition to these men, offers himself as an example in doctrine and sufferings; and urges and encourages Timothy to persevere (hang in there), and highly commends the Holy Word of God.
There would be false teachers that would rise up in the last days, and the perilous times spoken of is compared to the magicians of Egypt for the corruption of their minds, the wickedness of their principles, and their opposition to Truth.
Apostasy in the Last Days (3:1-9)
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (KJV)
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come . . . we saw this term, last days (1 Tim.4:1). Latter times is an expression referring to the last days of the church on the Earth, but here it could refer to the days of the church beginning immediately after the life of Paul. The apostasy of the church had already begun, even at that time. John said, "Already there are many antichrists" (1 Jn.2:18). Error had entered the church. I do not think that Paul has in mind the Second Coming of Christ here, when he says "in the last days." Last days: (Gen.49:1; Isa.2:2; Mic.4:1; Acts 2:17; Heb.1:2; Jam.5:3; 2 Pet.3:3). Last days refers to the time from Jesus’ ascension to the end of the world. Perilous times shall come; meaning grievous or desperate times are coming. Some think that the church is going to bring in the Millennium or that it is going to convert the world. The Bible does NOT teach that! It teaches just the opposite! That is the wild dream of idealists which will NEVER materialize. These people live with their heads in the sand, and have NOT faced reality. I think we are speeding into the last days of the church. I believe we are now in these "perilous" days which are described in this section. I do not know how much longer it will last, but I know it will get worse, not better.
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (KJV)
For men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . people will neither love God nor men, compared to themselves. Love shall grow cold, men shall be completely for themselves; me, me, me!
Covetous . . . greedy lovers of money. They will get it any way they can, and when they have it will be as disgustingly single-minded of it.
Boasters . . . bragging on themselves, vain-glorious, boasting of what they have not.
Proud . . . lifted up in a high opinion of themselves.
Blasphemers . . . speaking evil of God and men.
Disobedient to parents . . . stubborn and rebellious against those that bare them.
Unthankful . . . both to God and men, for any kindness received from either.
Unholy . . . profane, immoral and impure.
2 Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (KJV)
Without natural affection . . . means having abnormal relationships. We are living in a day when homosexuality is being accepted as normal conduct . . . BUT: Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: (KJV)
And what about: Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. (KJV) . . . How many abortions are performed each year. How many innocent babies are killed? Is that natural affection?
Truce-breakers . . . the same word in (Rom.1:31), is rendered implacable. It may refer to those who are unwilling to enter into any agreement; or to those who never keep their word.
False accusers . . . devils, venting their malice by informing against and accusing others, without any regard to truth. These certainly do abound today!
Incontinent . . . intemperate, self-indulgent, uncontrolled, unrestrained, drunkards, gluttons, immoral, unclean persons.
Fierce . . . means savage, men with no gentleness, cruel. Today’s city streets have become asphalt jungles. Many of them are unsafe even in the daytime.
Despisers of those that are good . . . people that have no kindness for any good men, haters of them. We see evidence of that here and abroad!
2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (KJV)
Traitors . . . means the betraying of any trust, or lying to any person to whom we are obliged. It is in Scripture applied to Judas (Lk.6:16), and to the Jews that crucified Christ (Acts 7:52). It means that in the latter times there would be a universal falsehood amongst men (Mat.10:21), a falsehood to their superiors, their relation, profession, etc.
Heady . . . rash, reckless, inconsiderate.
High-minded . . . means blinded by pride or drunk with pride, puffed up with a high opinion of their own accomplishments.
Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God . . . this really does characterize mankind in our day. NEVER has there been a time when so much money has been spent in order to provide pleasure. Sports and entertainment events today are attracting millions of people. That is exactly the route Rome took when it went down. The mob was provided with food and circuses, and then Rome fell. That same thing is happening today. The government supports people who are well able to work. This is WRONG!!
Five Reasons Why Rome Fell
1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
2. Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral.
4. The building of great armaments when the great enemy was within; the decay of individual responsibility.
5. The decay of religion, fading into a mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people.
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (KJV)
Having a form of godliness . . . a form here is the same as a mask, or deceptive appearance, as opposed to substance and reality. It means that in the latter times there would be many who professed themselves to be Christians, and pretended to worship God. They go through the rituals of religion but lack love for God and knowledge of Truth.
But denying the power thereof . . . a form of godliness is very different from the power. From such as are found to be hypocrites, real Christians must withdraw. Such persons have been found within the church. There have always been crafty men, who, by pretenses and flatteries, creep into the favor and confidence of those who are too ignorant of the Truth.
From such turn away . . . from these false professors (hypocrites), Paul warns Timothy to turn away, both as to having any church fellowship or any closeness with them. From such turn away means that the believer is to avoid them. A question: If you are in a dead, cold, liberal church, and you are a true believer, what are you doing there? The Word of God says to avoid those things?
2 Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (KJV)
For of this sort are they which creep into houses . . . who do not only privately enter in at the doors of houses, but pierce into the secrets of them, making it their business to pry into all families,
And lead captive silly women . . . I think that silly women means the unwise of both sexes. There are some people who have attended Bible classes for years, but they do not know any more about the Word of God now than they did when they first began. They simply have not matured.
Laden with sins . . . they do not deal with pious and honest women, but such as are loaded with the guilt of much sin.
Led away with divers lusts . . . these silly women were possessed with many sinful inclinations, not only lusts of the flesh, but others, such as arrogance and pride, and are easily led away. Lust always smooth the way for these to justify it against the thoughts of their conscience. Their vices, rather than sex, made them easily seduced.
2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (KJV)
Ever learning . . . these silly women (people) seem to be disciples of wrong teachers. They put themselves entirely under the care of these supposedly religious teachers, but they never acquire the true knowledge of the way of salvation.
And never able to come to the knowledge of the truth . . . they may learn many things, but the Truth of the Bible they do not learn. There are many such persons in the world, who, whatever attention they may pay to religion, they never understand its simple Truth. Many obtain some contact with the doctrines of Christianity, but never become saved. Nothing is more common than for persons to be very busy and active in religion, and even to learn many things about it, who still remain strangers to the saving power of the Gospel.
2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. (KJV)
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses . . . the names of these two men are not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. They are supposedly to have been two of the magicians who resisted Moses (Ex.7:11), and who opposed their miracles to those of Moses and Aaron. It is not known where the apostle obtained their names; but they are often mentioned by the Hebrew writers, and also by other writers; so that there can be no reasonable doubt that their names were correctly handed down by tradition. It is very likely that the names of the more distinguished magicians who attempted to imitate the miracles of Moses, would be preserved by tradition.
So do these also resist the truth . . . so too will corrupt teachers under the Gospel resist the Truth of the Gospel spread abroad by Christ's ministers.
Men of corrupt minds . . . (1 Tim.6:5). These would be men of corrupt minds; men whose hearts are corrupted with sordid lusts.
Reprobate concerning the faith . . . a trouble maker as far as the Christian faith is concerned. The word rendered reprobate (Rom.1:28; 1 Cor.9:27), is rendered cast-away (2 Cor.13:5). The meaning is, that in respect to the Christian faith, or the doctrines of religion, their views could not be approved, and they were not to be regarded as true teachers of religion. They had no sound judgment as to the doctrine of faith, nor were they approved of God, or good men, as to their beliefs about our faith.
2 Timothy 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. (KJV)
But they shall proceed no further . . .God will preserve those in His church that are sincere; and even though they may charm a few poor, ignorant women, they shall have no great success.
For their folly shall be made manifest unto all men . . . for God will so order that their folly or madness shall appear to all, and their seeming success shall decline. The Divine Providence, that governs all things by the invincible light of truth, discovers and confounds the most false and subtle seducers in their own time. This prediction of the apostle Paul was fulfilled with respect to those primitive seducers, just as God by His providence exposed Jannes and Jambres.
2 Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, (KJV)
But thou hast fully known my doctrine . . . Paul’s doctrine is the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Manner of life . . . literally, leading, guidance; then, the method in which one is led; his manner of life (1 Thes.2:1).
Purpose . . . plans, or intentions.
Faith . . . loyalty, or faithfulness.
Long-suffering . . . by the evil desires of others, and their efforts to damage him (1 Cor.13:4).
Charity . . . love (1 Cor.13:1).
Patience . . . a calm, meek temper, which bears evils without murmuring or discontent.
Nine things of Paul fully known:
1. Doctrine . . . teaching
2. Manner of life . . . his conduct in view of his teachings (2Tim. 3:10)
3. Purpose in spreading these teachings
4. Faith in God and his teachings (2Tim. 3:10)
5. Longsuffering with those who oppose his teachings (2Tim. 3:10)
6. Divine love motivating his life (2Tim. 3:10)
7. Patience in suffering for his teachings
8. Persecutions he endures for Christ (2Tim. 3:11)
9. Afflictions (Rom. 7:5) because of his teachings (2Tim. 3:11)
2 Timothy 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (KJV)
Persecutions . . . see the meaning of this word (Mat.5:10).
Afflictions . . . trials and tribulation of other kinds than those which arose from persecutions. The apostle met them everywhere (Acts 20:23).
Which came unto me at Antioch . . . the Antioch mentioned here referred is not the place in Syria (Acts 11:19); but a city of the same name in Pisidia, in Asia Minor (Acts 13:14). Paul there suffered persecution from the Jews (Acts 13:46).
At Iconium . . . (Acts 13:51). On the persecution there (Acts 14:3).
At Lystra . . . (Acts 14:6). At this place, Paul was stoned (Acts 14:19). Timothy was a native of either Derbe or Lystra, cities near to each other, and was no doubt there at the time of this happened (Acts 16:1).
But out of them all the Lord delivered me. . . . see more of the places referred to in the Acts of the Apostles. http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_acts.htm
When Paul was at Lystra, he was stoned and left for dead. I think he was dead and God raised him up from the dead. Paul said that God intervened in his behalf: "But out of them all the Lord delivered me." Timothy knew of these things because he and his family were from that area.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (KJV)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution . . . Paul refers to his own persecutions, to say that his case was not unusual. It was common to all who tried to serve their Redeemer faithfully; and therefore, Timothy must not think he might escape from it. The apostle had a specific reference, no doubt, to his own times; but he has put his remark into the most general form, as applying to all periods. It is no doubt true at all times, and always will be, that they who are TRUE, devoted Christians, who live as the Saviour did, and who carry out His doctrines, will experience some kind of persecution. The heart of persecution consists in subjecting a person to injury or disadvantage because of his beliefs.
2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (KJV)
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse . . . it is the character of evil men to get worse and worse with each passing day. Timothy was not to expect that he would be exempt from persecution (verse 12), just as he was not to expect any change for the better in the wicked men referred to. He was to expect that bad men and seducers would grow worse and worse, and they have!
Deceiving . . . conning others into believing something to be true and right, which is false and wrong (Isa.5:20). This was done by deceptive and seductive means.
And being deceived . . . these ones in error were under delusion themselves. The supporters of error are often themselves just as much under deception, as those whom they inflict upon. They are often very sincere in the belief of error, or if they are insincere, they are equally deluded in supposing that they can make error pass for Truth before Almighty God, or that they can deceive the Searcher of hearts (Ps.44:21; Jer.17:10). The worst victims of delusion are those who try to delude others.
Thirty characteristics of wicked Men:
1. Lovers of themselves (2Tim. 3:2). Caring only for self; selfish. Only here
2. Covetous (2Tim. 3:2). lust of money. Only here and Lk. 16:14
3. Boasters (2Tim. 3:2). braggarts; self-exalted. Here and Rom. 1:30
4. Proud (2Tim. 3:2). self-important. Rom. 1:30
5. Blasphemers (2Tim. 3:2). Mt. 12:31
6. Disobedient to parents (2Tim. 3:2). Head-strong children (2Tim. 3:2; Rom. 1:30)
7. Unthankful (2Tim. 3:2). ungrateful. Here and in Lk.6:35
8. Unholy (2Tim. 3:2). Greek: without piety; no reverence for God.
9. Without natural affection (2Tim. 3:3). Living in unnatural affection sins; perverts; homosexuals; sodomites; performing abortion. Rom. 1:31
10. Trucebreakers (2Tim. 3:3). Rom. 1:31
11. False accusers (2Tim. 3:3). slanderer; adversary. Jn. 6:70; 8:44
12. Incontinent (2Tim. 3:3). no control of appetites and passions. Only here
13. Fierce (2Tim. 3:3). wild; savage; uncivilized. Only here
14. Despisers of good men (2Tim. 3:3). unfriendly to good men. Only here
15. Traitors (2Tim. 3:4). betrayers. Here and in Lk. 6:16; Acts 7:52
16. Heady (2Tim. 3:4). rash; hasty; reckless; headstrong. Translated "rashly" in Acts 19:36
17. Highminded (2Tim. 3:4). senseless; conceited; silly. 1Tim. 3:6
18. Lovers of pleasure (2Tim. 3:4). Sensual gratification is their god (2Tim. 3:4)
19. Having a form of godliness (2Tim. 3:5). a appearance of being righteous. Here and Rom. 2:20. Their religion is only in their creed and formal confession of faith, NOT in their hearts.
20. Denying the power of godliness (2Tim. 3:5). No godliness, no faith. From such turn away.
21. Use their deceptive display of piety to gain entrance into homes to deceive (2Tim. 3:6)
22. Capture for their own pleasure silly (foolish) women whom they deceive (2Tim. 3:6)
23. Ever learning errors but never learning the truth (2Tim. 3:7)
24. Resist truth (2Tim. 3:8)
25. Have corrupt minds (2Tim. 3:8)
26. Reprobate (wrong-doer; degenerate) concerning faith (2Tim. 3:8)
27. They are evil (2Tim. 3:13).
28. They seduce women; enticing them to surrender chastity (2Tim. 3:6,13).
29. They increase in evil (2Tim. 3:13).
30. They deceive and are themselves deceived (2Tim. 3:13).
2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (KJV)
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of . . . Timothy had been taught the Truths of God’s Word when he was a child, and he had been confirmed in them by the instructions of Paul. In the middle of the errors and seductions of false teachers, Paul now urges him to hold fast those doctrines, no matter who might oppose them, or whatever might be the consequence (2 Tim.1:13).
Knowing of whom thou hast learned them . . . from his mother (2 Tim.1:5), and from Paul (2 Tim.1:13). Remembering that you have learned them of me the apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the same as from Christ Jesus Himself.
2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)
And that from a child . . . from your childhood, by the instruction of thy mother Eunice, and thy grandmother Lois (2 Tim.1:5).
Thou hast known the Holy Scriptures . . . Timothy had a general idea of the writings of Moses and the prophets, the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, for at this time no others were written.
Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation . . . the Holy Scriptures have in them enough doctrine to make any one wise enough to get to Heaven.
Through faith which is in Christ Jesus . . . NOT without faith in Christ Jesus, receiving Him as Saviour, in addition to a faith assenting and agreeing to those holy writings as the revelation of the Divine will. The only cure against a world of apostasy is the Word of God. The only resource and recourse for the child of God is the Word of God.
Paul tells Timothy to continue in the things he has learned. He had learned the Holy Scriptures because his grandmother and mother were Jewish women and had seen to it that Timothy grew up on the Word of God. Only the Word of God is able to make someone wise unto salvation.
What kind of salvation is Paul talking about? Timothy was already saved. My friend, salvation occurs in three tenses. The past tense: I have been saved from sin. The present tense is: I am being saved from sin. The third tense is future: I shall be saved from sin.
#1. In the past tense, we have been saved. Christ bore a judgment death for us. When we believe on Him, we pass from death to life, and we are no longer under condemnation . . . "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus..." (Rom.8:1).
#2. We are also being saved. Jesus is working out a salvation in us, and this part will not be perfected in this life. Paul is saying that the Scriptures not only tell us we pass from death to life and have eternal life (Jn.5:24) and become a child of God (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8), but He saves us in this present evil world. He enables us to grow and gives us deliverance here on Earth. I firmly believe that the continual study of the Word of God is the only help that any of us has. It alone is able to make us "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim.3:15). Only the Word of God can make us wise enough to live down here.
#3. I shall be saved from sin. But as we look into the future we know a day is coming when "...it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him..." (1 Jn.3:2). One day . . . NO more sin! So hard to believe, but it is true! We will be like Jesus who never sinned! Jesus, sinless: (Isa.53:9; Mat.27:4,19,23-24; Jn.8:46; Lk.23:41,47; 2 Cor.5:21;Heb.4:15; 7:26-27; 1 Pet.2;22; 1 Jn.2:1; 3:5).
Seven Things the Word of God Is Able to Do
1. Make us wise unto salvation (2Tim. 3:15; Rom. 1:16; Jas. 1:21).
2. Produce faith (2Tim. 3:15; Rom. 10:17).
3. Make Jesus Christ known to us (2Tim. 3:15; Jn. 5:39; 1Cor. 15:1-8).
4. Build us up (Acts 20:32).
5. Give us an inheritance (Acts 20:32).
6. Produce profit in doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2Tim. 3:16).
7. Make the man of God perfect (2Tim. 3:17).
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (KJV)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . Scripture means writing; This is expounded by Peter: 2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
And is profitable for doctrine . . . and it is profitable to instruct us in all plans of Truth which we must believe in order to receive salvation.
For reproof . . . to rebuke or persuade us of any truth, that we may believe it without hesitation, or of any sin, that we may be grieved and humbled by it.
For correction . . . for restoration, to correct us in any error, to show us the way to bring us to what is right and to improve and reform us.
For instruction in righteousness . . . to instruct us in true righteousness, in which we must appear before God; for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith (Rom.1:17).
2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (KJV)
That the man of God may be perfect . . . perfect means, to bring to an end; to make complete, to mature. The idea is, that whatever good work the man of God desires to do, or however perfect he aims to be, he will find no lack in the Scriptures, but will find there the best instructions that he needs. A TRUE believer can never advance so far, that he would be forsaken by his guide (God and His Word).
Throughly furnished unto all good works . . . the man of God can be prepared to do every work which is good, acceptable and well-pleasing unto God. The Scripture is our directions to live a godly life. It is our directions on what to do, how to worship God, how to manage any part of our lifestyle; thoughts, words and deeds!
Twenty-one Names for the Bible
1. The Scripture (Mk. 15:28; Jn. 7:38)
2. The Scriptures (Lk. 24:27; Jn. 5:39)
3. The Promises (Rom. 9:4-5; 15:8)
4. The Oracles of God (Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12; 1Pet. 4:11)
5. The Lively Oracles (Acts 7:38)
6. The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Lk. 24:25,44)
7. The Law of the Lord (Ps. 1:2)
8. The Law and the Prophets (Mt. 5:17; 11:13; Acts 13:15)
9. The Book of the Lord (Isa. 34:16)
10. The Word of God (Mk. 7:13; Rom. 10:17)
11. The Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17)
12. The Old and New Testament (2Cor. 3:6-15)
13. The First and Second Covenant (Heb. 8:7)
14. The Word of Christ (Col. 3:16)
15. The Word of Life (Php. 2:16)
16. The Scripture of Truth (Dan. 10:21)
17. The Word of Truth (2Tim. 2:15)
18. The gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16)
19. The Word of Faith (Rom. 10:8)
20. The Word of the Lord (2Th. 3:1)
21. The Word of Righteousness (Heb. 5:13)
Nine Ways the Bible Was Given
1. Audible voice of God (Ex. 19:19; Dt. 5; Mt. 3:16-17; Jn. 12:28)
2. Angels (Acts 7:38; Heb. 2:2)
3. Prophets (Acts 3:21; Heb. 1:1)
4. Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1; Rev. 1)
5. Apostles (Acts 1:2; Eph. 4)
6. Visions (Isa. 6; Dan. 7-8; Ezek. 1)
7. Dreams (Dan. 2; Mt. 1:20; 2:12)
8. Revelation (see Revelation)
9. Inspiration (2Tim. 3:15-17)
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