Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus)
Lesson 22 Faithfulness in Perilous Times (2Tim 3:1-17)
TOC | Previous | Next

Lesson 22

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Perilous Times (3:1-9)

Nature of evil men (1-5)

Works of evil men (6-9)

Imitation of Paul’s Doctrine and Example (3:10-12)

Increasing Wickedness (3:13)

Exhortation to Continue in the Sound Doctrine (3:14-17)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Perilous times, turn away, carefully followed, doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, godly, continue, Scriptures, wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, inspiration of God, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, man of God, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

II.    General Analysis

1. The first paragraph (1-9) is about the wickedness of men, and the third paragraph (13) speaks of the increase of wickedness. The second and the fourth paragraphs (10-12; 14-17) both begin with the words “but you,” followed by commands to Timothy to continue in what is good. The purpose of this contrasting alternation is to first forewarn Timothy about the wickedness of men and then to remind Timothy not to bow to wickedness but be faithful to the sound doctrine.

III. Segment Analysis

1. Because of the prevalence of wickedness, the godly will be persecuted and the society at large will be unsafe to live in. In terms of spiritual perils, the increasing influence of sin will deceive many people and cause them to forsake the faith (cf. Mt 24:9-13).

2a. Lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power (2-5).

2b. It is necessary to know that we are living in perilous times so that we can be ready to face persecutions from the ungodly. When we do come across such people in society, we need not be surprised or disheartened, given that this has been prophesied long ago.

Another reason for understanding wickedness in the last days is to guard ourselves against these sins. The descriptions of men’s wickedness is such an apt description of modern society. Even believers may have been influenced unknowingly and be guilty of some of these sins. It is, therefore, crucial that we constantly examine ourselves, especially given such an exhaustive list by Paul.

3. In this self-centered world, many people have no regard for God nor His commandments. They live according to what their hearts and flesh desire rather than for God’s will. As believers, we must not be conformed to the pattern of this world. It is important to always examine the choices we make and ask whether we are doing things to please God or to please ourselves. If we truly love God, we will deny ourselves in order to carry out God’s will.

4. True godliness involves the transformation of the whole being, including mind and body (Rom 12:1-2). This is possible only if we submit to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. We must let the transforming power of God change us from within into a new creation, rather than be like the hypocrites who only display superficial godliness but have not experienced true conversion.

5. They creep into households and make captives of gullible women (6). Through their deception, they mislead with their false teachings those who are ignorant.

6. The reason that these women can never come to the knowledge of truth is that they have no genuine desire to obey the sound doctrine. They have been loaded down with sins and led way by various lusts. Their learning is superficial and is completely futile.

Therefore, if we want to understand the truth and not be deceived by false doctrines, we must first examine whether we have the motivation to obey God. If we still want to indulge in our sins and lusts and have no intention to submit to God, our superficial diligence in studying God’s word will not bring us any closer to His will.

7.       1. Doctrine—Paul imparted the knowledge of the truth, either verbally or through writing.

          2. Manner of life—Paul taught Timothy by personal example.

          3. Purpose—Paul’s life has a clear goal, which is to allow God’s will to be accomplished through him, and he has given his whole life for this very purpose.

          4. Faith—Paul knows whom he has believed and has committed himself to Jesus Christ.

          5. Longsuffering—Paul has demonstrated great patience by lifting the weak, correcting those who opposed, and restoring those who sinned.

          6. Love—The sincere and deep love for all men has been Paul’s motivation in all his work.

          7. Perseverance, persecutions, afflictions—Paul has gone through constant and various hardships during his ministry. He carries the death of Jesus Christ in his body (2Cor 4:8-10), sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

          8. The Lord’s deliverance—Paul uses himself as a living testimony of God’s grace and deliverance, assuring Timothy that God will be his ever-present help through his afflictions.

8.       1. Teach, exhort, and remind them through words.

          2. Be an example in our lives, with genuine faith and love in Christ Jesus, practicing what we preach.

          3. Bring them along in the ministry to demonstrate how to serve and handle difficulties.

          4. Give them the opportunity to serve and experience or witness for themselves the grace of God.

9. If we determine to live godly lives, we must be ready to suffer persecution. Persecution, in one form or another, is guaranteed. It is a matter of when, not if.

10. Evil men and impostors will grow worse, deceiving and being deceived (13). But Timothy must continue in the things which he has learned and been assured of (14).

This passage reminds us that we should not be surprised or disheartened, thinking God is not looking when we suffer persecution for living godly lives or if we see more and more evil men arising. Wickedness will continue to increase. But even so, we ought to continue to hold firm to our beliefs.

11. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (literally “God-breathed”) (16). In other words, the Scriptures were written under God’s direction and guidance, and they are not from the writers’ own will (cf. 2Pet 1:20-21). Just as God breathed into Adam the breath of life and Adam became a living being (Gen 2:7), He has breathed into the Scriptures and made the Scriptures His living word.

12.      1. The Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (15). The Scriptures testify about Christ (Jn 5:39). Through the Scriptures, we can come to the knowledge of the Savior and put our faith in Him for salvation.

          2. The Scriptures make the man of God complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (17). The Scriptures accomplish this purpose through doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (16). The Scriptures reveal to us God’s will, rebuke us when we have sinned, show us where we are wrong, and guide us unto the right path. So through learning and applying the Scriptures, we can be transformed into clean and useful vessels of God, equipped for every good work.

13. In commanding Timothy to continue in the faith, Paul reminds Timothy that from childhood Timothy has known the Holy Scriptures. While wickedness will increase, Timothy must not depart from the sound doctrine as revealed through the Scriptures, which are able to make him wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus and make him complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In these perilous times, when sins continue to increase and false teachings abound, it is necessary for every servant of God to remain true to the teachings of the Scriptures, which are inspired by God. Then our faith will not be shaken, but we will keep our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. We will not fall prey to the increasing wickedness of the world, but we will be complete and equipped for every good work.

PDF Download