2nd Timothy Chapter 3 Study

2 Timothy 3:1: Times that are savage and hard to bear in terms of departing from iniquity and being faithful to the Lord.  The train of thought from 2:19 has never been abandoned.  Paul has only made some important comments in relation to that in between then and here.

3:2: Proud= Loving to be preeminent and conspicuous; pretentious; haughty; treating others with contempt.

Blasphemers: That would include those who use the Lord’s name in vain.

Unthankful: Not just towards God, but also towards others who do them good.  All those with an entitlement mentality, along with all who directly or implicitly say the world owes them a favor, are included here.

3:3: Without natural affection: That certainly includes those who think that anyone has a right to end the life of a child in its mother’s womb.  Even animals typically have affection for their offspring and seek to care for them rather than destroy them.

Trucebreakers are those who don’t hold up their end of agreements; those who are untrustworthy; those who are unwilling to submit to accountability (and that goes for church leaders as well who refuse to submit to reasonable Biblical accountability, as well as those who’d refuse Biblical accountability if they had an opportunity to be part of a faithful Christian church).

False accusers: Literally “diabolos” in the Greek text.  

Incontinent= without self control.  That would include alcoholics and other substance addicts.  It would also include entertainment addicts, social media addicts, etc.

Fierce: Don’t condemn Jesus cleansing the Temple here.  He was contending with real wickedness, and He acted in utter self-control within the boundaries of God’s Law in cleansing the Temple.

Despisers of those that are good: Hostile to virtue and those who practice it.

3:4: Traitors: Compromising preachers who cave into pressure to adopt unbiblical moral stances, and who cave into pressure to show partiality in other ways ,would definitely be included here.

Heady= Reckless; rash.

Highminded: Inflated with conceit; know-it-alls who are rendered stupid through the blindness their own conceit has brought upon them.  This describes many Bible college and seminary graduates.  They go to school for 4 years and get filled with information and think highly of themselves for all the things they’ve learned.  Yet often the information they learn is bad, and there is a lot they haven’t learned that they ought to know.  But they went to the Bible college- and of course those who haven’t been to Bible college couldn’t know important things which they don’t know (that last sentence was sarcasm).  The men who wrote the Bible learned a lot and taught a lot.  But not many of them, perhaps none but Paul, went to anything that remotely resembles a modern Bible college or seminary.  And even Paul had to unlearn and readjust a lot of what he had learned from his Jewish teachers.

Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God: They love pleasures to a greater degree than they love God.  Though this certainly includes fornicators, pornography users, and those who resort to other illicit means to obtain pleasure, it also applies to all who put innocent pleasures ahead of Christian duties.

3:5: Or, a shape of godliness.  The word in the Greek text is “morphosis.”  

They have a semblance of Christianity though they don’t depart from iniquity and rather display ungodly character and do evil deeds.   When those like this are numerous and are almost everywhere, false Christianity seems to be normal Christianity  Even certain wicked false Christians seem righteous compared to others.  The same can be said of false Christian teachers.  That is what makes these perilous times (and we’re sure in them now) so spiritually savage and so difficult to navigate walking in righteousness in Christ in the midst of.  

The word for “power” here is dynamis (doo-na-mis) in the Greek text (where we get our word “dynamite” from).  They profess faith in Jesus Christ yet they don’t surrender to Him to overcome their carnality and walk in the truth from as His true grace empowers one to do.  These should be shunned or avoided, at least in terms of Christian fellowship and spiritual influence.  Preachers described by what has just been said should not be followed nor listened to, no matter what good things they say.  At the same time, we should hold on to what we have already heard that is evidently in line with the truth of God’s Word, no matter who we heard it from.

3:6: Creep: They are not forthright in their agenda.  

It is not hard for me to see that women tend to be more impressed by the outward show that these types put on and are more likely to be naive enough to think that these false teachers have pure intentions- and that is especially so when their own discernment is clouded by sins in them and desires in them which they are too spiritually unstable to resist.

3:7: Knowledge here is “epignosis” which has been talked about in other studies we have.  They may know a lot, and they may even delight in Bible knowledge on the intellectual and emotional levels, yet they don’t actually deal with God as the Ultimate Authority which He is rightfully is.  This not only leaves them in their sins, it also clouds their discernment.  They lack the instruction from the Holy Spirit which comes through true knowledge (epignosis) of God.  Their priorities are also out of line.  Therefore, even though they may have a lot more academic knowledge and better speaking ability than even most authentic Christians have, they are still blind guides who lack abiding spiritual discernment of any significant value.  And as we’ll see shortly, they are also thus very susceptible to further spiritual deception.

3:8: Even though the Bible doesn’t say it, it was known among the Jews that Jannes and Jambres were the names of the Egyptian sorcerers who contended with Moses in the Book of Exodus.  They had a counterfeit power to the real power of God.  The perilousness of our times is that there are many like this who claim to serve Jesus Christ instead of openly worshiping and serving Pagan gods like Jannes and Jambres did.  The word for reprobate here is “adokimos” in the Greek text.  It is obviously where we get our word “undocumented” from.  Many now think they are being nice to illegal aliens by calling them undocumented instead of illegal.  Yet the source of the word undocumented in the Bible is also a very harsh term.  And illegal and undocumented are both true terms in terms of those who have entered a nation illegally.

3:9: Jannes and Jambres were proven to be counterfeits and rivals to the true God.  They had something, but it was not the power of the true God.  And false Christian teachers will be proven as such to those who pay attention over time and are honest.  The truth of God’s Word will prevail, even in this life, and these teachers will be proven to be at odds with it.  Their evil ways will be openly exposed, the inevitable errors in their doctrine will be exposed and proven to indeed be errors, and they will be openly proven to be imposters who are not authentic servants of the real Jesus Christ.  This can take time though.  Yet those with godly discernment should be able to discern them for what they are before their error is demonstrated publicly in a more obvious way- without being so stringent that they also condemn a faithful shepherd of Christ or someone who is really doing their best to be so with much less than ideal understanding.  Paul is exhorting Timothy now in relation to this, and he is instructing Timothy on walking straight and being a good shepherd himself.  Timothy has two very powerful advantages to this end: Seeing Paul’s example and knowing the Scriptures since he was a child.  Since we have a Bible available to us, we have advantages too.  We can, at least now, whatever our age is, familiarize ourselves with the Scriptures and walk in their light like our eternity depends on it (and it does).  That Bible also includes the things about the Apostle Paul, and about other faithful people, who are model examples of following Jesus Christ, which God in His wisdom saw fit to include there.  

3:10-11: See Acts chapters 13 and 14 for the Biblical account of that especially trying period for Paul in his missionary journeys.  Timothy had also seen how Paul was upheld in the great trials he went through and delivered out of them.

3:12: This is related to enduring hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ talked about in chapter two of this book.  

Shall suffer persecution”; it is not inevitable for faithful Christians in every circumstance, but it will happen to those who are being faithful at some point in some way.  They must be steadfast even then (refer back to 2:11-12).  

3:13: Seducers= Deceivers or imposters.

3:14: Even Timothy’s great spiritual advantages in his knowledge of Jesus Christ, and his current excellence in his Christian race, didn’t put him beyond the need to be exhorted like this nor make him immune to falling away.  Remember how Paul exhorted him in 1 Timothy 6:10-12: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

3:15: And consider that this is said when the only official Scriptures were the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament).  Jesus essentially told the Jews who didn’t receive Him as the Messiah that the Scriptures, which they claimed to believe, accuse them before the Father- because the same Scriptures testify of Him- and they will not come to Him that they might have life.

3:16: The Scriptures teach what is true, they convince about what is true and they diagnose sin and error, they show how to get on track when one has strayed from the way of truth, and they show the nuances of going forward in the way of truth and not straying from it. 

3:17 That is, that the man of God may be fitted or complete unto all good works.  

Those who won’t repent and surrender to Jesus Christ in order to walk in the light of His Word might yet try to pick and choose which parts they’d like to implement in their life.  Yet they’ll still be unapproved to God ;and they’ll lack wisdom even in doing that.  

Don’t the false Christians and false Christians teachers who live in sin quote the Bible?  Yes, but as was talked about in the last study on 2 Timothy chapter two, they don’t make a straight cut with the Word of truth.  They don’t follow others who do so either.  God’s Word will be vindicated to the salvation and vindication of those who diligently seek to understand His Word and walk in its light without turning back.  And it will be vindicated by those who don’t enter and continue in the way of righteousness by the disapproval and condemnation which will be laid upon them- even if they waved the Bible around, extolling it, claiming to live by it, and even more so yet if they claimed to be a minister of the Word.

2 Corinthians 13:8: “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”

Psalm 50:14-23: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.  But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?  Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.  When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.  Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.  Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.  These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.  Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.  Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation (his conduct; his overall manner of life) aright will I shew the salvation of God.”

Aaron’s email is: [email protected]