Translations: Chinese GB Big5

2Timothy 3:1-17 (web)

Separate from the ungodly

3:1 But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come.
3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful,
arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3:3 without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers,
without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good,
3:4 traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;
3:5 holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof.

Turn away from these, also.

3:6 For of these are those who creep into houses, and take captive gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,
3:7 always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

3:8 Even as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so do these also oppose the truth;
men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith.
3:9 But they will proceed no further.
For their folly will be evident to all men, as theirs also came to be.

Identify with the godly

3:10 But you did follow
my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, steadfastness,
3:11 persecutions, and sufferings: those things that happened to me at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. I endured those persecutions. Out of them all the Lord delivered me.
3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
3:13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

3:14 But you remain in the things which you have learned and have been assured of,
knowing from whom you have learned them.

3:15 From infancy, you have known the sacred writings
which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.
3:16 Every writing inspired by God {literally, God-breathed}is profitable

Discussion Questions

What characteristics in people make you want to be friends with them?
And what characteristics make you want to separate from them?
vs 5 From what kind of people should you separate and in what manner should you separate?
(xrefs 1Cor 5:11; 2Cor 6:14-18)
Personal Evaluation: If people were evaluate your life would they label you as one of the following?
  • narcissist
  • a lover of money 
  • boastful
  • proud
  • abusive
  • disobedient to parents
  • ungrateful
  • unholy
  • without love
  • unforgiving
  • slanders others
  • lacks self-control
  • brutal
  • no+t a lover of good
  • treacherous
  • rash
  • conceited
  • loves pleasure more than God
  • has a form of godliness 

  • (but denies its power)
    Why does godliness attract persecution?
    What role models have helped you put substance and application to your Christian faith?
    vs 10 Personal Evaluation: How might you identify with Paul in the following areas:
    Way of Life
    Am I instructing others in the truth?
    Am I deriving personal applications?
    What is my objective?
    How strong are my convictions?
    How can I meet the needs of others?
    How long can I tolerate opposition - 
    both from people and circumstances?
    And if I'm not experiencing persecution, then why not?

    vs 16,17 How might you categorize the various ways in which the scripture is useful?

    Instructing in what is right in doctrine
    Convicting of what is wrong in practice
    Convicting of what is wrong in doctrine
    Training in Righteousness
    Instructing in what is right in practice


    Last Days

    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 throughout history.

    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 world today.

    "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." Luke 6:35


    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 good.

    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 Christians.

    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

    Gullible Women

    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 attributes.

    Clearly Depraved

    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." 2Peter 2:19

    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 of them.

    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 teachers.

    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" 1Pet 2:2

    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 32:47

    The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

    Edition: Wednesday, 29-Jul-2015 18:31:54 EDT