2 Timothy Chapter 3
Verses 1-4: “The last days” began with the birth of Christ and will culminate in Christ’s return to the earth to set up His kingdom. The prediction of “perilous times” indicates that apostasy will characterize the final days of the church age.
2 Timothy 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
“The last days”: This phrase refers to this age, the time since the first coming of the Lord Jesus (see note on 1 Tim. 4:1).
“Perilous times”: “Perilous” is used to describe the savage nature of two demon-possessed men (Matt. 8:28). The word for “times” had to do with epochs, rather than clock or calendar time.
Such savage, dangerous eras or epochs will increase in frequency and severity as the return of Christ approaches (verse 13). The church age is fraught with these dangerous movements accumulating strength as the end nears (Matt. 7:15; 24:11-12, 24; 2 Peter 2:1-2).
In previous lessons, Paul has been cautioning Timothy of false teaching that will come in the church. In this lesson, Paul speaks prophetically of the last days. This will be things that are happening primarily out of the church in society itself, but much of it taking place in the church, as well.
Perilous times would be times of great uncertainty. Possibly, a better way to say this would be to say dangerous times. I believe if you will carefully investigate this with me, you will agree this is speaking of the very days we live in.
Verses 2-4: This list of attributes characterizing the leaders of the dangerous seasons is a description of unbelievers similar to the Lord’s (in Mark 7:21-22).
2 Timothy 3:2 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”
There has never been a time when the statement “lovers of their own selves” was truer than in our society today. I believe that much of this can be blamed on Secular Humanism in the public schools. Children are taught that everything is relative to something else. They are not taught absolutes, especially of discipline. The Bible teaches absolutes.
The child, that grows up believing himself to be the center of everything, finds it difficult to put God at the center of his life. They can easily fall into being lovers of their own selves.
When you believe that you are the center of everything, then you believe that anything you want should be yours, even if it belongs to someone else. You can see that coveting is a form of loving yourself as well. Bragging seems to be the rule of the day.
Blasphemers are everywhere. The Television, movie houses, and video rentals all lean toward movies that are rated PG, R, or X which means they are full of cursing and worst. Many times, the name of God is included in the cursing, which would certainly be blaspheming.
This is so prevalent that children and adults who watch these filthy movies do not even realize this blaspheming is going on. Their brains have been so conditioned to accept it that they are immune to it. They do not take thought that their brains are like a computer recording all of these bad words to be used later, when they least expect it.
There are so many divorces in our society today that a child must think a minute or two to remember just who their parent is. Many grandparents are raising their grandchildren, because the children are on drugs, or worse.
A few parents are trying to raise their children with respect for their parents, but they are thrown in with children from problem homes in the schools to such an extent that many otherwise obedient children become disobedient because of association.
In this affluent society, children have been given so many things they did not earn; that they have the idea society owes them a living. They never have to wait for a special occasion to come to receive their wants, so they become unthankful.
To say that we are unholy in our society today is a gross understatement. Very few even know the meaning of the word. The 10 Commandments of the Bible are broken so often, that many do not even remember what they are. God is holy. He said for us to be holy, because He is Holy. To be “holy” means to live above sin.
In our society, there are fewer marriages as many people just live together. The Bible calls that adultery. Most everyone covets, because they want to keep up with the Jones’. I could go on and on. Homosexuals live together and call it an alternate life style. God calls it an abominable sin. We would have to look around us and say we are unholy as a society.
2 Timothy 3:3 “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,”
One of the disgraces of our society today is how we throw our parents away when they get old. We push their care off on someone who does not even know them. Mothers are abandoning their children. Women are destroying their unborn children. This is without natural affection.
When I was a child, a person would shake hands with you on a deal, and it was done.
People did not sue each other over slight things. Now to ensure that an agreement is legal, you must have an agreement written down and signed before witnesses. People will break a truce, if it will be an advantage to them.
We do not know our neighbors, so we accuse them of things we do not know to be true.
Incontinent means without self-control. Our rehabilitation hospitals can vouch for that. It is of national concern how to get people off alcohol and drugs. This is a society gone mad.
Fierce describes what is going on in our streets today with the drive-by shootings. This society makes fun of those who try to live holy before the Lord. I believe the reason they despise those trying to live good, is because they show them how bad they are by comparison.
2 Timothy 3:4 “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;”
True loyalty seems to be a thing of the past. For a few dollars, our best friend will do you in. The main one we are traitors to is our self. “Heady” means falling forward. The Bible would call this unstable in all thy ways. Highminded means to inflate with self-conceit. How many things in our life come before God?
What excuses do we make for not worshipping in church? I can think of a few. How about golf, fishing, hunting, football, basketball, gardening, movies, etc. I could go on and on. Anything that you enjoy more than fellowshipping with God falls into this category, (even work).
Verses 5-9: “A form of godliness” is mere religion without “power” or spiritual life. Paul commands Timothy to “turn away” from these false teachers who prey upon “silly women laded with sins,” who are especially susceptible to false teachers. “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”, condemns not intense study but some esoteric quest for truth apart from God’s Word.
“Jannes and Jambres.” According to Jewish tradition, these were the two magicians in Pharaoh’s court who attempted to duplicate Moses’ miracles (Exodus 7:11; 9:11).
2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
“Having a form of godliness … denying the power”: “Form” refers to outward shape or appearance. Like the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees, false teachers and their followers are concerned with mere external appearances (Matt. 23:25; Titus 1:16). Their outward form of Christianity and virtue makes them all the more dangerous.
We may appear to be a Christian to the world; we may even profess to being a Christian. My question is, if you were on trial for being a Christian, could you be convicted by the evidence in your life? Would God declare you a Christian, by the condition of your heart, or would he say get away from me, I never knew you? (Matt. 7:23).
Is the power of God working in you? God never changes. Do you believe that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, or have you put limits on the power of God?
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,”
“Silly women”: Silly in virtue and the knowledge of the truth, and weighed down with emotional and spiritual guilt over their sins, these women were easy prey for the deceitful false teachers (see notes on 1 Tim. 2:13-14; 5:11-12).
This to me, is speaking of someone who pretends to be of God convincing those (silly women), who are not grounded in the Word of God, to follow a false teaching. We see some religions today which are actually very sensual in nature. Could that be what this is talking about? Lust does not have to be just sex; it can be flesh desires for anything that is forbidden of God.
The only way to be smart enough not to fall for something appealing to your flesh is to know the Word of God and get your flesh under the control of the spirit. Do not listen to the lust of the flesh. Let the Spirit of God direct your decisions.
2 Timothy 3:7 “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
“The knowledge of the truth”: (1 Timothy 2:4), uses this same phrase, equating it with being saved. Here Paul identified those women (verse 6), and men who were often jumping from one false teacher or cult to another without ever coming to an understanding of God’s saving truth in Jesus Christ.
The present age, since the coming of Jesus Christ, has been loaded with perilous false teaching that can’t save, but does damn (verses 14, 16-17; 1 Tim. 4:1).
This statement, coupled with the statement above, makes you realize that this could be false doctrines that appeal to the flesh of mankind. The women are more vulnerable, because they have more time to listen to these false teachings. If the teaching appeals to your flesh, beware. It is probably not of God, if it appeals to the flesh.
Some people are constantly looking for something new. They read every how-to book they can find and never read their Bible. The Bible has the answers to all of life’s problems. Look there first. Then read your other books. The Bible is the Truth.
Let me stop here, and ask you, have you not seen our society in this warning on the last days? It seems to me that each thing fits our society to a T. Next, I might ask, what are you going to do about it? We must stop and take stock of ourselves, and do what we can to change the world around us.
Pray for God to become real in your life. Let Jesus be your Lord, as well as your Savior. Before you get involved in anything, ask yourself is this sound by Bible standards? Read the guidebook to a happy, productive, holy life. It is as near as your hand, it is the Holy Bible.
2 Timothy Chapter 3 Questions
- What kind of times will there be in the last days?
- What does this mean?
- Men shall be lovers of their _____ _________.
- What does the author think is behind people being in love with themselves?
- What is wrong with Secular Humanism?
- How does loving yourself cause you to covet?
- What is causing the blasphemy of our day?
- What is our brain really?
- Why are children being disobedient to parents?
10.What is wrong with being an affluent society?
11.What does “holy” mean?
12.What does the Bible call living together without benefit of marriage?
13.What does the Bible call the homosexual lifestyle?
14.What is one of the disgraces of our society?
15.Describe “without natural affection”.
16.What is a trucebreaker?
17.What does “incontinent” mean?
18.Give some examples of the incontinent.
19.What could drive-by shootings be called?
20.What are the people called who are trying to live for God?
21.What does “heady” mean?
22.What excuses do you make to God for not fellowshipping with Him?
23.If you were on trial for being a Christian, could you be convicted by the evidence in your life?
24.Who are being led away in verse 6?
25.Who are leading them away?
26.If the message is appealing to your flesh, what should that tell you?
27.Have you seen our society in this lesson today?