2 Timothy 3
2 Timothy 3:10–17
In this passage, Paul advises Timothy about two types of people, how he should interact with them, and what makes them different from unbelievers. So, to start off, Paul describes the evil men by describing them in this way:
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Tim 3:2–5)
While this is quite the lamentable list of attributes, Paul condemns these people's way of life saying that they will go from bad to worse, constantly being deceived. There is nothing worth emulating about this lifestyle, it is ultimately vapid and pointless. Paul’s instruction to Timothy is to avoid these people.
The next message Paul has for Timothy is different than one of prosperity and pleasure. In verse 12 Paul states that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Paul uses his own life as an example of this when he recalls his persecution at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. This guarantee of persecution for the lives of believers goes back to what Jesus said to his followers in John 15,
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (John 15:19–20 ESV)
As Paul continues, he instructs Timothy to hold onto the Scriptures he has known since he was a child. Why does Paul give such emphasis to Timothy to stay knowledgeable in the Scriptures? Because those Scriptures that Timothy had were God-breathed and they have wisdom that will lead to salvation. And those same Scriptures Timothy had, we have today and they are able to provide us with that wisdom that leads us to salvation.
This goes to show the immense importance of the Holy Scriptures in the life of a believer. Loving God and His Word, and obeying God’s truth is ultimately what distinguishes us from a person who emulates the lifestyle of the person described at the beginning of the chapter. Those who love God’s Word and seek to live a life pleasing to Him, when living by the Scripture are a people who are complete and equipped for every good work in Christ Jesus.
The Bible teaches us the way of God. It is used to rebuke us in our sin, it will correct our understanding and lead us to righteousness. As we desire to follow after God and lead lives of righteousness, we must remember that persecution is promised for those who follow Christ. The world will love its own and hate those who are set apart for God. Secondly, we must not fear persecution because we have a good God who is greater than the world. He has given us the Bible so that we can know Him and be conformed more into his image.
Dear Lord God, we pray that we would earnestly desire to follow after Christ's example and not live like the world does. We thank you that you are greater than any persecution we may face. We stand firm in the knowledge that you have overcome and that in you we too have nothing to fear.
Increase our desire for your Word and may we look to it for instruction and correction. Equip us with your wisdom and prepare us for the good works you have for us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.