V. 1-But understand this—when the words listed in verse 2-5 come upon us we have to be surprised or at a loss. Paul urges Timothy and us to be fully conversant, acquainted with last day conditions.
Then will come times of stress. With the content in mind we are being introduced to the Apostasy of the last days. In the true believer days of trial and stress.
Are professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth specifically with regard to
1. The duty of Christ (they humanize God and deify man.)
2. The redemption through Christ’s atoning and redeeming sacrifice
3. The personality of the Holy Spirit
Yet according to verse 5 though they depart from the faith, they retain the outward profession of Christianity, but deny its power.
Apostasy = rebellion against God
Apostasy differs from error concerning the truth which could be the result of ignorance and the snare of the devil. Error can and does exist with true faith.
There is hope for one in error. See Ch. 2 25-26
But there is no hope for the Apostate. Hebrews 6-4.
“It is impossible” to renew them again unto repentance. An accurate biblical description of the apostate teacher is as follows:
II Timothy 4:3
They will propagate unsound doctrine
They will discard the truth
They will accept as truth, fables
They will satisfy the intellectual cravings—the itching ears of the intelligent
II Peter 2
They will bring in damnable or destructive _____. They will deny the Lord.
They have gone in the way of Cain—bloodless religion. They follow gainsaying despise the authority of the scriptures, and the Preaching of the Holy Spirit. This mouth speaketh great swelling words. I.E. They are eloquent and persuasive and influence many.
The Broad Division of the Chapter
Paul in verse 1-9 acquaints Timothy with the prophecy of the coming apostasy. Then in v. 10-17 acquaints him with the power to withstand the apostasy.
Gives a vivid picture of the present and coming moral depravity.
V 5B-Issues us with the command to turn away from such.
V. 6-9-Graphically depicts the work of the apostates. Every informed believer is painfully aware of the fearful apostasy that is sweeping over Christianity today.
The sordid list begins with “lovers of their own selves” and ends in characteristic style, “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” V. 4
This condition can be summed up. “Lack of love for God.” The word “covetousness” is rendered in the R.S.V. “lovers of money.” To sum up the characteristics of the last days are apostates. The come with within the framework of profaning Christianity.
1. Men are lovers of their own selves-1 Timothy 6
2. Men are lovers of money
3. Men are lovers of pleasure
4. Men have no love for God
V. 5-7-Goives is a description of their religion. These apostates are not self-acknowledged pagans, but rather professed adherents of Christianity. They maintain a form of godliness, but in reality they deny the powers.
The aforementioned list has much in common with that found in Romans 1, but with this tragic difference.
Then Paul draws the picture of dark heathenism here, the picture is that of a society enjoying the light of Christian revelation.
It is a fearful picture of an apostate Christian, a new paganism, masquerading under the name of Christianity. From these wicked men we must turn away (V. 5B). These men have reached a stage of depravity, where instruction is useless and impractical. They must be avoided.
From verse 2-7 we have the conditions that will be apparent during the last days. Silly women-verse 6. Evil men-verse 13.
V. 8-Gives us an O.T. example of apostasy. Compare Exodus 7.
Describe the circumstances.
These magicians did not create nor form these serpents, but through slight of the hand and cunning they produced them. They worked in precisely the same way as magicians do today. Paul says that they opposed Moses. They sought to discredit him. By this miracle Moses was authenticating his plea for the liberation of the Israelites, demonstrating by the miracle that God was behind it all. Those sorcerers, whom Paul names Jannis and Jambres, by these actions opposed not only Moses and truth, but God. They appeared to be doing the same thing, but actually were deceivers. They did not get very far, they were unmasked and exposed as counterfeits, for Aaron’s rod swallowed up the other rods.
The point then and the point now is the opposition to the truth. So Paul says, do not be discouraged—these apostates who resist the truth will be exposed, then fully, will be made manifest to all. V. 0
If not in our lifetime, then surely when the Lord comes.
V. 10-17 Gives us the power to meet the coming apostasy. It is divided into two sections.
V. 10-13-Timothy will find strength and encouragement in remembering his past association with Paul.
4. V. 14-17-The final source of power to withstand the pressures and stress of the last days is to be found in the scripture.
Paul lists nine times which graphically describe his life and service. V. 10-11A
The teaching—conduct—purpose—faith—long suffering—love—patience—persecutions—and suffering.
Next Paul describes what “kind of sufferings” which befell him at Antioch-Iconium-Lystra V. 11B
These sufferings are fully described in Acts 13 and 14. The first missionary journey.
1. Departing from Antioch (Syria) he came to Antioch (Pisedia). The conflict was probably more spiritual. He turned from the Jews to the Gentiles.
2. Iconium-They had to flee for their lives, the people threatened to stone them.
3. Lystra-the pent up fury of the man of Ant.-Icon.-Lystra was let loose upon him, he was stoned and drawn out of the city as dead, then the disciples stood around the motionless body, he stood up and the next day he departed.
Timothy knew this, for this was him hometown. Paul’s summation of this outburst of devilish activity, “and out of them all the Lord delivered me.” For further account of Paul’s sufferings, read II Corinthians 11:24-27.
“The Lord is able.” This was encouraging to Timothy.
The explanation of his sufferings, five reasons.
1. V. 12-It is the portion of the godly. “They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
2. A further reason for suffering is the growing degeneracy of the wicked. V. 13
V. 2-5 Evil men—and imposters—verse 6-9, will go from bad to worse, they will deceive (others) and openly oppose the truth to the hurt of the true believers.
V. 14-17 (2) The second thing, perhaps the main thing that will help him to stand is “The power of the scriptures.” Romans 1:6- The power of God, Hebrews 4:12
The remembrance of Paul’s sufferings and miraculous deliverance will undergird Timothy; but his ultimate source of power to withstand the pressure of evil days and man is to be found in the scripture. Ch. 1:7
Ch. 1:5-He reminds him of the teaching and teachers, v.14. His personal knowledge of his teachers assures him of the absolute reliability of the things that he had learned.
V. 15-Stress this verse—this is the way to best apostasy. The ultimate source and authority for his ‘FAITH’ was the “Word of God.” Settled in heaven. Shall now pass away.
In salvation (present) as well as past and future Timothy had to continue to believe the veracity of the Scriptures.
V. 16-The Inspiration of the Scriptures
All scripture is inspired by God. Inspired by God—only time used in the N.T. meaning “God breathed.” It shows us that the scripture owes its origin and character to the living Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:2
For the prophecy came not in old times by the will of man: but holy man of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Israel, Jeremiah, Peter, John, Paul.
Inspiration is not mechanical. The Holy Spirit did not destroy the personality of the writers, but rather used these things to express diving truth in to present, perfect, and infallible form. Since every scripture is “God breathed,” it follows that it is profitable for:
2. instruction in doctrinal truth
3. for reproof—detecting and exposing falsehoods
4. for correction—in restoration
5. for instruction in training in righteousness = the character of quality of being right or just—for the Christian it is the text book—compass—staff—power.
“Instruction” literally mean, “child training.” Every believer needs to be educated, trained, and disciplined in righteousness. The contemplated result, “That the man of God may be complete, equipped to withstand evil, for every good work.”
Whenever the scripture is given room to work in a person’s life, it will secure for that person a continuous growing and a capacity and readiness to accomplish the perfect will of God.
To sum it up, the teaching of 2 Timothy 3:
1. Warns us of present and coming moral depravity
2. The godly shall suffer persecution
3. The final source of power to overcome is found in the Holy Scriptures