2 Timothy 3

2 Timothy 3:1

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.

The last days began when Jesus began his earthly ministry (see entry for Heb. 1:2). Peter believed he was living in the last days (Acts 2:17) and so did Paul. We can be sure that Paul was referring to his era because of the warning he gives to Timothy. After listing nineteen bad sorts of people that are associated with the last days he warn Timothy to “avoid such as these” (1 Tim. 3:5).

Further reading: “When are the Last Days?

2 Timothy 3:8

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.

(a) Jannes and Jambres are believed to be the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses and Aaron in the court of Pharaoh (Ex. 7:11-12). These sorcerers challenged the power of God but were ultimately forced to concede that God was with Moses (Ex. 8:19).

(b) Rejected in regard to the faith. Those who oppose the truth disqualify themselves from entering the kingdom. Although God stands ever ready to stamp the lost with his seal of acceptance, those who oppose him and reject his word judge themselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46).

2 Timothy 3:15

and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Salvation through faith. All of God’s blessings, including forgiveness, salvation, righteousness and sanctification, come to us freely by grace and are received by faith. Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. But faith is the conduit through which grace flows. See entry for Faith.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

(a) All Scripture. Paul was no doubt thinking of those books of the Hebrew Bible that we know as the Old Testament. Today “all Scripture” would include the New Testament as well. Yet even in the New Testament church, some were beginning to recognize Paul’s letters as having the authority of the scriptures (see entry for 2 Pet. 3:16).

(b) Teaching is the ability to reveal Jesus the Righteous One, and the Living Word of God (Acts 4:2, 13:12, 15:35, 18:11, 28:31, Col. 3:16). Teaching also includes the ability to unpack the scriptures (Acts 2:42).

(c) For training in righteousness. The Bible distinguishes two kinds of righteousness; the kind that is based on our works (self-righteousness) and the kind that comes from God (Christ’s righteousness). The former falls short of the perfect standard that God requires (Is. 64:6). But the good news is that God’s righteousness is given freely and is received by faith (Rom. 1:17, 3:22).

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