Lucia's Blog: "THE LAST DAYS"
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Saturday, July 30, 2022

"THE LAST DAYS"

 

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."   
2 Timothy 3:1-5



As Paul wrote Timothy these words, there were churches throughout the Roman empire.  Everywhere, the unbelieving Jews grew more hostile and cunning, entering churches pretending to be believers and wreaking great havoc. The end of the Jerusalem Temple drew near, and the great persecution was growing stronger. These were "end-times" for them.

There is a lot of confusion in the "religious world" concerning the "last days." Many speculate, looking for signs to prove we are in the "last days." They claim there will be wars and terrors that would point to the end of the world and that Jesus is coming. It is amazing how many books have been sold on the subject of "The Last Days!" They have posters that say, "The End Is Near! We are in the last days!" I wonder if they really study their Bible to find out what the Bible actually teaches concerning "the last days." I want to stress that "the last days" Paul is talking about began two thousand years ago and will continue until Christ comes again (1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; Jam. 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:20; 2 Pet. 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18).  When Christ comes again, it will not be the beginning of "the last days." Why?  Because it will be the end of the "last days" when the last enemy, death, is destroyed (1 Cor. 15:23-26), at the very last trumpet (1 Cor. 15: 51-57), on the very last day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48).  

We must understand that our Lord Jesus will not come again to reign on earth for another thousand years or even one day!  

We have been living in the "last days" since Jesus came to earth.  The "last days" are the days of the Messiah, not the end of the world. You see, several centuries before the birth of Christ, the prophet Joel foretold that the Spirit of God would be poured out in the "last days."  

“And it shall come to pass afterward,  that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,  your old men shall dream dreams,  and your young men shall see visions.  29 Even on the male and female servants  in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” (Joel 2:28-29)  


In Acts 2:17, Peter quoted from Joel 2 to describe the days in which they were living at that time ("the last days").  Notice what Peter said at that point in time as living in "the last days."

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,  and your young men shall see visions,  and your old men shall dream dreams.” 


Paul begins chapter 3 of this letter to Timothy by reminding him of the great apostasy which was to occur in the church in the "last days." Timothy was living in "the last days." Paul warns  Timothy about the moral decline that would occur in "the last days" (times of difficulty or terrible times), describing the characteristics or conditions of the people during those times.  Timothy had to turn away from such people.  Paul urged Timothy to follow the sound doctrine he had learned from him and his manner of life.  Likewise, he pressed Timothy to be aware of the persecution that will befall those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.  It would be hard to live as godly Christians during the "last days." There would be terrible times for those who are trying to follow Jesus.  However, Paul urged  Timothy to continue steadfast in his faith despite all these terrible things that were about to take place.  He reminded Timothy of those things he had learned since childhood to make him wise, complete, and thoroughly equipped for every good work.  

We cannot deny that we all need encouragement during difficult times, especially amid persecution and fearful times. We all need encouragement to continue steadfast in our faith. Paul's purpose in this letter to Timothy is to strengthen his faith and to make him aware of life as a faithful disciple of Jesus. Paul encouraged Timothy not to be ashamed but rather to use his gifts or talents as a good soldier and vessel of honor in God's house.  

I am enjoying my studies of Paul's second letter to Timothy.  It strengthens my faith and gives me joy and hope during difficult times, especially persecution. God's breathed Word can accomplish this like no other written book!    

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). 


The Word of God warns us that those who want to live godly will encounter difficult times. Yet, at the same time, that same Word teaches us we can overcome trouble in life through faith in Jesus.  

God called Timothy to turn away from false teachers and to stand alone.  Timothy was to remain faithful to Jesus even in times of persecution.  We must embrace persecution! (2 Timothy 3:11–12).  We must persevere in our faith despite our circumstances. To persevere is challenging when we are enduring persecution.  It is easy to give up!   However, we must read and study the Word of God to allow His message to help and strengthen us. God's breathed Word points to our need for faith in Jesus, our Lord. His Word helps us live out our faith.  Part of living out our faith is experiencing suffering for the cause of Christ. 

Indeed, Jesus suffered.  If Jesus faced suffering, so must we (Matthew 10:24-25). As strong as Paul's faith in God was, he still needed encouragement. However, we do not have to experience suffering alone. Jesus promised to be with us in the midst of our suffering (2 Timothy 4:16-17).  We must be willing to endure sufferings for the cause of Christ and share in His sufferings and the sufferings of those who stand up for the Gospel of Christ. 


I.   DIFFICULT TIMES WILL COME: 

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

  • A Description of These Difficult Times:    
    • They Will Come in "The Last Days":

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.” (2 Timothy 3:1


The word "But" connects chapter 3 with the previous chapters.  Paul depicts an understandable picture of God's trustworthy Truth. Despite how men might try to suppress or disregard the Truth, that Truth will remain a firm foundation.  

 Often in the Bible, the "last days" refer to the time of Christ and the time that followed. The writer of Hebrews states that he was living in the "last days."

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1–2)


The Hebrew writer declares without a doubt the existence of God (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). Notice what he said in Hebrews 1:1.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.”


The writer simply states, "At many times in many ways." What do you think that implies?  It implies that God had more to say and that each prophet did not convey the final message.  Why?  Because God's whole Truth was not revealed yet. God's revelation was not complete yet.  We know from the Word of God that He spoke to the patriarchs, and later, He spoke through the prophets, dreams, and visionsHowever, God was not done revealing His Word.  

In Hebrews 1:2, the writer starts this verse with the word "But," saying,

“2 But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”


It is a Messianic reference. The Hebrew writer uses the word "But" to stress the contrast between how God spoke His revealed Word to us in the past and how He spoke His final and complete revelation through His Son Jesus.  So, why am I saying all this?  Because many of our friends use the term "last days" to speak of the end of the worldIt does not mean the end of the world!  Did you know the phrase in the "last days" was used in the Greek Septuagint in Genesis  49:1 in the exact same way to mean at some point in the future (1 Tim. 4:1)?   Many have been proclaiming the end of the world since 66 A.D Take for instance the Jehovah's Witnesses who have tried to predict the end of the world at least three times. 

There are other different and new predictions made all the time.  They all predict and warn us, saying that we are living in "the last days." They give us all kinds of predictions and signs past and present to affirm what they're saying. And though their claim is false, it is true that we Christians are living in "the last days." The only difference is that we have been living in the last days for the last two thousand years.  So when Paul tells Timothy about trouble and difficulty in "the last days," he is not speaking of a future time of more than 2,000 years away. Rather, Timothy and Paul were living in "the last days." We will continue to live in the last days until Jesus' return.   

The apostles understood they were living in the last days.  In Matthew 24:1-35, Jesus used the same language when speaking of those days.  In our context, Jesus' disciples came privately to Him and asked Him, 

“When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?' And so, Jesus answered their questions. 'And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!”' (Matthew 24:19).  


In our passage, Jesus used the words "those days" to describe the destruction of Jerusalem.  However, in Matthew 24:36 through Matthew 26:46, Jesus used the words "that day" to describe what will occur at the end of the world. "The last days" was that time the prophets looked forward when they spoke, saying, "In those days and at that time."

Even if the world continues to exist for another thousand years, we still would be living in the last days (Hebrews 1:1-2).  Notice that when Paul spoke of these "difficult times" that were to take place, he said, "in the last days." In other words, Paul at no point is saying these things that were to take place would happen just before Jesus' second coming.  When he spoke of "the last days," he was saying they were already occurring in Paul and Timothy's lifetime. Paul stresses to Timothy that he must understand that there will be difficult times in the last days. Things were going to get very difficult for the saints! The saints would have to deal with difficult circumstances because of those who opposed the will of God.  

There will be difficult times because of the ungodliness of men.  Paul then goes on to list many non-Christ-like attitudesHowever, Paul urged Timothy to have nothing to do with such people but rather avoid them.  Again, Timothy was living in "the last days," the days of the great apostasy.  

  1. Such apostasy was at hand (Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 1:2;  2 Peter 3:3;  1 John 2:18; Jude 17-18).
  2. Such days were to be terrible or difficult times.  
  3. There were going to be times of danger, persecution, suffering, and many trials (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3)


  • The  Characteristics of Those in "The Last Days":  

“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

  • False Followers (Carnal-minded Brethren):

This would be happening during the days of Paul and Timothy. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, Paul describes the characteristics of those followers of Jesus during these "last days." And though Paul describes these traits among these brethren, nothing has changed, for we can find the same kind of heart today.  

    1. Lovers of self (Philippians 2:21;  2 Timothy 3:5).  They claim to love God but do not love Him because they love themselves.
    2. Lovers of money (Luke 6:14;  2 Peter 2:3).
    3. Proud and arrogant (Romans 1:30; Jude 16; 1 Timothy 4:6).
    4. Abusive (1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:20).
    5. Disobedient to their parents (Romans 1:30; Ephesians 6:1-4).
    6. Ungrateful (Proverbs 17:13; 1 Corinthians 4:7).
    7. Unholy (1 Timothy 1:9).
    8. Without love or heartless (Romans 1:31).
    9. Unappeasable and unforgiving (Matthew 18:23-35).  
    10. Slanderers (Romans 1:29-30).
    11. Without self-control (Proverbs 25:28).
    12. Brutal and cruel (Judges 1:7).
    13. Not lovers of good (Romans 1:31).
    14. Treacherous and disloyal (2 Peter 2:10).  They betray their friends.
    15. Rash and reckless (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
    16. Conceited (1 Corinthians 4:18).  They are puffed up with pride.
    17. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (Philippians 3:19;  2 Peter 2:13)
    18. Having the appearance of godliness but denying its power (1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 1:16).  They claim to be religious within the church, having some form of godliness (appearance of devotion to God). They are hypocrites who claim to have some connection to God, yet they live blasphemous and sinful lives contrary to Jesus and His Teaching.  

After Paul had finished warning Timothy about these false followers, notice the strong words he told Timothy.

“Avoid such people.”


Why must they be avoided? 

Because fake Christians (false followers) are dangerous in the church.  Consider Paul's warning to Timothy concerning these false brethren.
Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” (2 Timothy 3:5-9


Timothy must avoid those who are false Christians (deceivers), and so must we!  
    1. They win others with their erroneous way of thinking and will go to any length to do it.   
    2. They pretend they want to help but have alternative motives. 
    3. They take advantage of gullible women, that is, women weak in the faith.  
    4. The apostasy is seen as they led these women into immoral behavior (2 Thessalonians 2:7; Revelation 2:20-23). 
    5. These weak women were already "burned with sin," that is, they were already struggling with sin and thus were easy prey for these deceivers.  
    6. Sadly, these weak women (gullible women) put themselves under the care of these religious teachers and fake Christians (deceivers).  
    7. Although these deceivers were learning, they never obtained the true knowledge of the way of salvation. They might have learned some things but never learned how to walk the narrow way of the Christian faith (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).  It sounds very familiar, doesn't it!

Why would God's saints be facing difficult and dangerous times?  

The answer is evident in 2 Timothy 3:2-9.  Paul explained the reasons.   I must stress that Paul was not talking about the condition of the sinful or nonbelievers when he listed the sins that the followers of Jesus would be committing.  However, this list of sins will always be true for nonbelievers.   Those who do not belong to Jesus. Paul's warning to Timothy was going to happen within the church (2 John 1:10-11; 2 Corinthians 6:17).  Timothy must have nothing to do with these fake or false followers (deceivers and impostors, Matthew 23:3; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:5).

Nothing is surprising about these characteristics mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:2-5 among sinful and carnal-minded brethrenThey are evident among those who defy Jesus.  Paul declared that these would be difficult times because those who claim to be followers of Christ would be practicing such sinful things. They would behave just like nonbelievers.  Today is no different, for we will always have faithful and unfaithful followers of Christ. 

For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” (2 Timothy 3:6-9)


Verses 6-9 tell us why they are dangerous. In verse 6,  
    1. We see that they take advantage of others, especially the weak. 
    2. They worm their way into relationships and homes.  
    3. They target the guilty and those who are weighed down by sin, taking advantage of the circumstances.  

Paul warned Timothy about these false and carnal-minded brethren
(deceivers).  He also warns us today to avoid these people because they are dangerous! 

In verse 7, Paul stops and tells us something about these deceivers (false, carnal brethren).  Notice what Paul said.

“7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”

    1. These weak and carnal-minded brethren are always learning, as Paul said, but are not able to take a stand in their faith or draw the correct conclusion from what they're reading in the Scriptures.   
    2. Sadly, their supposed knowledge does not help them or do any good in their lives and way of thinking. Why?  Because they never do what they learn.  You see, false and carnal-minded brethren (deceivers) are not doers of the Word.  And though they might hear the Word over and over, the Word cannot penetrate their hearts to transform or change their bad habits and sinful behavior.  
    3. They allow the flesh to rule them, and they oppose the Truth.  
    4. Again, God calls us to avoid them, for they are corrupted in their mind, and thus, their faith is worthless.  

These false brethren or false teachers cannot thrive and flourish because their folly and carnality will be evident to everyone (verses 8-9).

“8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth,  men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.” 


Jannes and Jambres opposed the miracles God was doing through Moses and Aaron and resisted God's designated leadership (Exodus 7:8-13; Exodus 7:19-23; Exodus 8:5-7; Exodus 8:16-19).  Jannes and Jambres worked miracles by the power of darkness, not God's power.  One of the distinct characteristics Paul warned Timothy in "the last days" of those false brethren and false teachers was the apparent ability to perform miracles by the power of darkness and the willingness of other brethren to receive them as authentic (2 Corinthians 11:15:  2 Thessalonians 2:9: Revelation 13:13-15).  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed the Truth regarding God and His authority, these false teachers among the brethren will oppose the Truth about Christ and His authority.  Does that not sound familiar? 

The minds of these false brethren and false teachers are depraved and focused on evil (1 Timothy 6:5).  They teach false doctrine and disagree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus.  They do not promote godliness.  God commands us to reject false teachers (their carnal mindset and falsehood).  He commands us to expose them and avoid them. (John 12:48; Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5).  Jannes and Jambre were eventually exposed before all.  Their ungodliness and falsehood were exposed before everyone (Exodus 7:11-12; Exodus 8:18; Exodus 9:11).  Those who oppose the Truth and are corrupted in mind must be disqualified regarding the faith.  

  1. Time eventually will reveal or expose their carnality and falsehood.  
  2. We cannot pretend to be something we are not for too long.  
  3. Our carnality and sins will find us out sooner or later.  
  4. They will come out to the light.  


Paul lists these carnal and false brethren's behavior in 2 Timothy 3:2-5. Sadly, the consequences of these brethren's behavior become evident.   The world and the church will see and understand what they are and what they teach. And though they might hide and deceive many for a while, the truth about them will eventually become evident to those with an honest and sincere heart.  


II.   A REMINDER AND FINAL CHARGE TO TIMOTHY:

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:10-13)


  • Paul's Example:

Paul's life and faithful service to God is such an inspiration to me!! 

Timothy knew Paul's teachings, sound doctrine, life manner, purpose, love, faithfulness, and perseverance (verses 10-11). Timothy was like a son to PaulPaul spent several years teaching Timothy.  They served the Lord together (Philippians 2:20; Philippians 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Timothy 4:6). Timothy knew Paul's faithfulness and longsuffering for the sake of the Gospel.  He knew Paul could endure everything for the sake of the elect of God. Paul was longsuffering even with those who opposed him. Indeed,  Paul is an excellent example of longsuffering and endurance, for he loved others just as Jesus our Lord (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Romans 5:3-4).  


    • Do Not Be Shaken And Embrace Persecution:

Why is Paul telling Timothy these things quoted in 2 Timothy 3:10-13?  Because Paul wanted to make Timothy aware of how he had lived a godly life despite his sufferings and persecution.  Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted. That is a truth that the faithful of God must embrace!  Paul told Timothy these things to warn him of false brethren and false teachers who would hurt him shortly.  Timothy needed to watch out for them and avoid them. Isn't it something that these false brethren, deceivers, and false teachers were also the reason for Paul's suffering!  How sad that our worst persecutors come from within, our brethren!  Again, this persecution that Paul is warning Timothy about would come from those who claimed to be followers of Jesus.  It would be coming from those he trusted because they claimed to be followers of Jesus, his brethren.  

Paul suffered great persecution in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (Acts 13:44-52; Acts 14:1-20; Acts 16:1).  He praised God for rescuing him from his persecution.  Paul assured Timothy that persecutions and trials were to be expected by all who wanted to live godly and holy lives.  Any faithful Christian must expect opposition, suffering, and persecution (Psalm 34:19; John 15:19;  Matthew 10:22;  Matthew 10:38-39; Acts 14:22).  

Paul urges Timothy and us not to let evil persecutors shake our faith (verses 11-12).  Notice what Paul says in verse 13,

“13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”


It is a fact that evildoers and imposters will go from bad to worse, as in Paul's and Timothy's days.   It is sure to happen to us today!  Evildoers and imposters go from bad to worse.  The persecution these Christians endured went from bad to worse (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).  Today, God's faithful children will have to endure the same.  Notice that Paul declared that these evildoers and impostors will deceive others and be deceived at the same time.  They will deceive others into believing that they are true and righteous when, in fact, they are false and unrighteous.   

Sadly, evil will continue, and things will not get better.  Evil will not stop. Why?  

    1. Because evildoers and impostors will never stop coming along.  
    2. They will go on from bad to worse.  
    3. They will continue deceiving and being deceived because they do not love the Truth. 
    4. They are very dangerous! Thus we must avoid them, for they are like gangrene that spreads, causing a lot of harm and destruction.  


In Today's world, we have many so-called Christians who claim to be prophets, perform miracles and heal othersThey are nothing but deceivers and impostors!  They deceive many into believing that they are truthful and sincere as they claim to be from GodThey end up deceiving themselves with their own dangerous deceptions, for they do not love the Truth of God (1 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; 1 Timothy 4:1; Titus 3:3; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:26).  We must not go by the motives of others, we must test them by God's Truth! (1 John 4:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:21).


III.    THE POWER AND VALUE OF THE SCRIPTURES

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)


In 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Paull encourages Timothy to continue steadfast in what he has firmly believed.  Those things he had been assured of, knowing from who he had learned them (verse 14). Paul reminds Timothy of what he learned from his childhood in the Holy Scriptures.  I can relate to this since I had a wonderful and God-fearing mother who instilled in me the value and those principles found in the Scriptures! Timothy was taught the power, the value, and instruction of the Scriptures (Romans 15:4).

    1. Timothy's grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice had done a great job raising him in the instruction of the Word of God (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5).  
    2. Timothy had learned the inspired Truth of God, which made him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:3-5; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 3:16).  
    3. The wisdom that Timothy learned from the Old Testament Scriptures would prepare him to endure and face all persecution and suffering  (John 15:10;  Romans 8:18;  2 Timothy 1:13;  John 8:31; Titus 1:9).
    • So what was Timothy to do in the last days he was living?  
    • Like Timothy, what must we do?   
    • How must we continue steadfast in our faith when facing difficult days that we must expect to happen? 

The answer is given in verses 14-17 of our text.  Consider how we can continue steadfast in our faith in the face of suffering and persecution.
    1. Continue steadfastly in the teachings we have heard and learned (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
    2. Depend only on the teachings from the Scriptures as we walk through these difficult times. 
    3. Listen to Pau's words in verse 15. "The sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The teachings of the faithful Word of God will make us wise for every good work and unto salvation.
    4. Do not be shaken by false teachers, evildoers, and impostors. 
    5. Do not give up your faith because of the false or fake faith of others. 
 
And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)


When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy around  A.D. 66/67, almost all the New Testament Scriptures had been written.  The term "Scripture" in verse 16 refers to all the books of our Bible today (2 Peter 3:15-16).  The term "the sacred writings," in 2 Timothy 3:15, refers to the Hebrew Scriptures.  When Paul wrote to Timothy, the sacred writings would have been the Hebrew Scriptures. The sacred writings would have been Genesis through Malachi, The Old Testament. But notice that Paul says that those books can make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus. Are you aware that every book in the Old Testament is not just stories about people in the past or the nation of Israel?  Every book in the Old Testament can make us wise for salvation and draw us to faith in Jesus.  Sadly, those 39 books in the Bible are often neglected!  Those books in the Old and New Testament have as much saving power to help us grow and strengthen our faith.  Personally, the Psalms and Proverbs help and strengthen me in my daily walk with God.  

All scripture is breathed out by God (verses 16-17). "Breathed out" is what the word "inspired" means. 

  1. Every word from every book in the Bible comes out of God's mouth.  
  2. Like the apostles and prophets, those who were moved or carried along by the Holy Spirit wrote down God's breathed words (2 Peter 1:20-21). 
  3. God spoke through the Holy Spirit to the writers of the Old and New Testaments
  4. They were inspired to write down God's words which help us to live out our faith.  
  5. Inspiration is God's self-revelation of His own purpose and will. 
  6. God's Word is beneficial for teaching, rebuke, correction, and for training in righteousness. 
  7. The Scriptures give us wisdom unto eternal life.  
  8. We must allow the Word of God to transform our lives (Romans 12:2; Hebrews 4:12).  


Second Timothy 3:16-17 further affirms the purpose of that inspiration. 
    "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

  1. When we read and study the Word Of God, we allow that Word to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness.  
  2. God's Word exposes our sins. 
  3. God's Word corrects our path. 
  4. God's Word trains us in righteous living. 
  5. God's Word can cleanse us and make us vessels for honorable use, set apart, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work.

Therefore, study and love that Word with all your heart, mind, and soul!
 

When we apply God's Word correctly, it will lead us to salvation and help us live righteously and holy before God and those around us (Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; John 12:48; 2 Peter 1:3).  We have everything we need to help us through life through the inspired Word of God, no matter what our circumstances might be (2 Timothy 2:21; Hebrews 13:21).  The Scriptures can help us become mature or complete through its instructionThus we must start being grounded in God's Word to remain strong and faithful and be approved by God. 


CONCLUSION:

From the days of Sinai, God has given a body of instruction (His Law) by which His people can know how to live and please Him. For Israel, that body of instruction was found in the Law of Moses, the Old CovenantThat covenant was only for Israel and not the Gentiles (Deut 5:1-3). When God sent His Son, He established a new covenant that included Jew and Gentile (Hebrews 8; Eph 2:11-22). Though all the Bible is inspired, only the New Covenant (or New Testament) is authoritative for men today.  The New Testament is the perfect law of liberty.  Those who continue steadfast in their faith will be blessed in what they do (James 1:25; Colossians 3:17). It means that we must do everything within the scope of the Lord's authority as given in the New Covenant. 

The Bible claims to be inspired (2 Timothy 2:16-17).  All Scripture is "God-breathed" (Genesis 2:7: John 20:22).  It is the Greek word, "Theopneustos," which means God-inspired.  It is the only time this word is used in the New Testament. One of the most essential functions of the Holy Spirit's work deals with God's divine revelation and how men were able to know God's mind.  

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20, 21). 


God's Sacred Book did not come through man's wisdom but by God's revelation. When Paul spoke of inspiration, he used a Greek compound word meaning "God-breathed." Paul believed that in reading the Scriptures, one must hear the voice of God as though God were speaking directly to him.

“For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. 12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ."  (Galatians 1:11, 12)


God's Word passed from His mind to man's mind through inspiration and revelation.  To inspire means "to breathe into." God "breathed into" men the things that they wrote down
  1. God's Word is inerrant (incapable of error, 1 Corinthians 14:33).  
  2. It is also infallible (a perfect, certain, and sure guide or instruction, Luke 1:4). 
  3. It is our sword of offense and defense (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).  
  4. It is sufficient for all man's needs (2 Peter 1:11).  
  5. It can save men's souls (Romans 1:16).  
  6. The Word of God leads, directs, and instructs us to God's path of righteousness. 

God's Divine Word is the only medium through which the Holy Spirit works today.  The Holy Spirit does not give us latter-day revelations, personal conversations and delivers no textual changes or amendments. Why would there be a need for any other work of the Spirit? 
  1. God's revealed Word gives men everything that pertains to life and godliness.  
  2. The Divine Word, already delivered, leads men to every good work (2 Peter 1:3).  
  3. It is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25).  
  4. It was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).  
  5. The only way to hear and be led by the Spirit is to open and study God's Sacred Book.  

All Christians must use the teaching or instruction of the Scriptures to teach (Romans 4:23; Romans 15:4; 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:13, 16).  The Scriptures are also useful for rebuking, for they can convince people of their sins, the Truth, and the faith to lead them to repentance (John 16:8; Hebrews 4:12).  The Scriptures are also useful for correcting, for they lead to correction or change of life.  They will keep us from going in the wrong direction (James 1:22–25).  The Scriptures are also useful for training in righteousness, for they will help us do what is right (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).

The Scriptures will help us maintain our faith amid persecution and difficult times.  The only way to energize our faith amid persecution and difficult times is by holding on to the teachings of God's Word.  Thus we must ground our life and spend time in God's Word.  There is no other way.  We need God's Word like oxygen in our lungs so that God may approve us.  

Paul gave Timothy instructions and warnings to keep him from abandoning his faith.  

  1. He had to be godly, devout, and sincere in his faith (1 Timothy 4:7-8).  Not just go through the motions.  
  2. Timothy had to trust in God (1 Timothy 4:10).
  3. He had to be a faithful example to others in all areas of life (1 Timothy 4:12).
  4. He had to be completely dedicated in faith, not half-hearted (1 Timothy 4:13-15). 
  5. Take heed to himself and sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
  6. He had to practice what he preached (1 Timothy 4:16).
  7. He had to flee sin and follow after righteousness and godliness (1 Timothy 6:11).
  8. He had to keep God's commandments until the day of the Lord (1 Timothy 6:14).
  9. Not be ashamed of his faith or the Gospel.  He had to be bold (2 Timothy 1:8; 11-14).
  10. He had to be diligent to be approved by God (2 Tim. 2:15).


Today Christians must hear and heed these things.   There is a real danger when one's faith is not genuine.  Genuine faith comes when one hears, believes, and obeys these words unto salvation (Romans 10:17). The Bible warns us that one can fall from Grace.  Many fail to study God's Word and grow in grace and knowledge.  Christians must "long for spiritual milk..." (1 Peter 2:2), so they may grow in faith.  We must examine ourselves by the standard of God's Word (2 Corinthians 13:5).  We must serve God faithfully and continue steadfast in our spiritual growth (2 Peter 1:5-10).

Paul warned Timothy of those who have the appearance of holiness and devotion to God but deny the power of godliness. Their words and actions contradict God's Word. God commands us to turn away from them so that we may not be influenced by them (1 Cor. 15:33).  Those who deny the power of godliness represent those who creep into the hearts of faithful brethren. But they are erring brethren, like the prophets of old who proclaimed "peace, peace, when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14).  False brethren pervert the Truth because they are never able to come to an understanding of the Truth.  Godliness leads to reverence and respect for the authority of God's divine revelation. Truth takes diligence and interest on the part of the student or disciple ( 2 Tim. 2:15). These erring, and false brethren never learn Truth because they are not genuinely interested in God's Truth (John. 14:17; Rom. 8:7; 1 Tim. 6:4-5). They are interested in strife, conflict, and selfish ambition

To resist or oppose the Truth (the Gospel, Eph. 1:13) is to reject the authority of God (Acts 7:51).  Those who oppose the Truth show themselves to have a "corrupt mind, reprobate concerning the faith." Their thinking is polluted and delusional by self-interest.  However, the true elect of God (His faithful followers) will not allow false teachers (impostors) to go any further because they look for Bible authority in all they do.  Their lack of understanding of the Scriptures makes them foolish.  Those who give diligence to God's Truth and wisdom can spot them.  When our words and actions do not measure up to divine revelation, the faithful of God know because they have put their doctrines to the test (Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Jn 4:1ff).  These men are foolish because they refuse the whole counsel of God.  The faithful of God must expose them for their error and folly.  

Paul reminded Timothy of his apostolic example (Phil. 4:9).  Paul compared these false brethren to the ungodly who do not respect the authorized words of God yet claim to be pious or godly.  Paul compelled Timothy not to follow his own opinions or man's teachings but rather Paul's teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecutions, and sufferings.  Timothy followed Paul's conduct, doctrine, and consequential treatment (i.e., persecution). Timothy was persecuted for his faith. Paul endured persecutions at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (Acts 13:50; 14:5-7, 19). Nevertheless, the Lord delivered Paul out of all these persecutions.  Paul encouraged Timothy to fight the good fight of faith, knowing that the Lord would also deliver him.   He wanted Timothy to be aware that he was not the only one who suffered for the Truth, but everyone who wants to teach and live the Truth will certainly suffer.  You see, evildoers hate to have their sins exposed.  Persecution is inevitable for the child of God who wants to be godly and righteous (Jn. 15:18ff; Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess. 3:1-4).

Paul warned Timothy that the days ahead for him and the church would be difficult and grievous because of evildoers and impostors from within (2 Timothy 3:1,13). Wicked men persecute the righteous of God for their unwavering stand in Truth.  They will make things more and more difficult for the godly children of God (Hebrews 10:32ff).  Evildoers and false teachers not only deceive others with their error but also deceive themselves. When one clings to error or false teaching, he will likely be deceived, believing it is truth. When one abides in the doctrine of Christ, there is salvation (1 Jn. 9).   

In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Paul warned Timothy about those brethren who would reject the Truth.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 


Bible study and the correct application of its truth are vital to maintain our faith, our spiritual survival, and salvation. Please take Peter's words to heart in his letter to the brethren in 2 Peter 3:17, 18.  

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”


May we follow the excellent example of Paul's life and devotion to God.  May we follow his teachings of sound doctrine, purpose, love, faithfulness, and perseverance. May we handle the Word of God with awe and reverence because it comes from His mouth. May we never allow our faith and hope to be shaken even amid persecution and grievous times.  May we continue steadfast in what we have firmly believed.  May we study God's Word diligently to grow in Grace and knowledge.  May we long for spiritual milk to help us grow in our faith and understanding of the Truth.  May we examine ourselves by the standard of God's Word.  May we serve God faithfully and continue steadfast in our spiritual growth. May we never take for granted the value and instruction of the Scriptures.  May we apply ourselves to Bible study to correctly handle the Word of Truth. And finally,  may we never be carried away by false teaching and lose our own stability.  


~Luci


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