2 Timothy 3:1–17comment (0)
April 25, 2013
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1–17
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Be Guided By God’s Word
2 Timothy 3:1–17
Secular adults rarely if ever think of Scripture as inspired by God or able to help them very much. They are not looking for a Bible to guide them. On the other hand, Christians claim to believe the Bible is God’s Word. Some believers, however, live with little understanding of the nature of the Scripture as inspired by God, neither do they regularly seek the guidance of Scripture. Other Christians regularly read, study and apply the Bible to their lives and testify that it achieves its purpose in their lives. All adults can benefit from a study of Scripture’s claim concerning its inspiration and purpose. This week’s lesson will help adults affirm the inspiration of Scripture and assist them in seeking the guidance of Scripture in specific areas of their lives.
Know What to Avoid (1–5)
The Apostle gives Timothy a description of conditions that will exist in the world prior to the Lord’s coming in power and glory to set up His kingdom. The phrase “the last days” refers to the time in which we are living, the time between the first and second comings of Christ. During these last days, Paul says there will come recurrent cycles of distress, dangerous and savage. We are experiencing such a time now as the nations of the world face financial collapse.
Paul lists at least 19 characteristics of people during this time. All 19 are characteristics of rebellion and lawlessness, arrogance and disobedience. These people are all tied together by the appearance of being religious, the outward form of religion without the reality of relationship with Christ. Because sinful people express their hostility against God in such terrible ways, Timothy is to be aware of them and to turn away from them. We are to be alert to many who express their hostility toward God.
Distinguish Truth from Lies (6–9)
Among the corrupt people of the last days, Paul singles out a particular group, the leaders and teachers of false religion. Paul looked to the past and the present, citing two examples of persons who resist truth. His detailed description of their character and methods finds a fulfillment in the cults of our present day. The bad examples were two. (1) Timothy’s contemporaries were people who “wormed” their way into households and deceptively took advantage of the problems that people have, promising them quick and easy solutions. They had a counterfeit faith and their purpose was to promote a lie and to resist the truth of God’s Word. (2) The example from the past is found in Exodus 7–9 where the Egyptian magicians opposed Moses by imitating the miracles Moses performed. Jewish tradition says that the magicians were Jannes and Jambres. They withstood the truth of God by presenting a cheap perversion and sometimes by resorting to magical arts. They were finally exposed and made fools of by the judgments of God.
Be Prepared for Persecution (10–13)
In marked contrast to the false teachers was the life of Paul. Timothy had traveled and ministered with Paul. He could testify to the fact that Paul was a man faithful to God and His word, even in times of persecution (Acts 13–14). From Paul’s life, Timothy learned that faithful believers can expect persecution and suffering at the hands of a Christ-rejecting world.
Be Equipped for Right Living (14–17)
From childhood Timothy had been taught the Scriptures that lead to salvation in Christ. The nature of Scripture is that it is inspired by God (“breathed out by God”). God so superintended the writing of Scripture that without violating the human writer’s personality, background, education or writing skills, the writer wrote exactly what he wanted written and exactly what God wanted written. The nature of the Scripture is the basis for the purpose of Scripture. That purpose is to completely and fully equip every believer for life and service to the God of Scripture.