Today: [2 Timothy 3:] What Do You REALLY Believe about the Scriptures? In 2 Timothy 3 Paul warns that ungodliness is not just a constant among men but will increase with the passing of the centuries. As a defense, he puts forward the scriptures as an infallible guide to protect us from deception. What is your belief about the scriptures? Do you accept that they are in their entirety infallible and applicable to your life?
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[2Ti 3:1-17 KJV] 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was. 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of [them] all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
In chapter 3 of 2 Timothy the apostle speaks prophetically of the perils coming in the end times. He describes the character of the people that will be living in the earth and the consequences of their transgressions. This is a fascinating insight not only into the perspective of the early church toward our day but also into Paul’s prophetic character. Paul is not just concerned with his generation. He is looking ahead with a sense of the scope of history and the culmination of all things. In the latter days as he terms them elsewhere men will falter in godliness demonstrating the following pernicious traits:
- Lovers of their own selves.
- Disobedient to Parents
- Without Natural Affection
- Heady (Reckless)
- Lovers of Pleasure more than God.
- Holding a Form of Godliness by Denying God’s Power
Paul then gives a direct admonishing to our generation from centuries ago. We are to turn away from all such influences. Surely we can look at these warnings he provides and conclude that every generation of men is guilty of the same thing, but Paul’s insistence is that we are so close to the problem that we don’t understand just how bad things are. Jesus made such statements as well, declaring that Sodom and Gomorrah would blush at the iniquities rampant in His day:
[Mat 11:23 KJV] 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Paul not only describes this generation but gives his reasoning as to why our only recourse is withdrawal in v. 6. These are the influences that creep into our lives to lead men and women into captivity to divers lusts causing us to be a people ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The mention of women here seems clearly to be speaking not of individual females but of churches as the bride of Christ led into error by embracing the spirit of the world.
The end of these transgressors (v. 8) is to proceed no further but to be exposed as men of corrupt minds and reprobate concerning the faith. Paul then breaks with that description by setting himself forth to Timothy as an example of enduring and persistent faithfulness in the midst of opposition. Under tremendous persecution from the beginning of his ministry in Antioch as recorded in Acts 13, Paul has maintained commitment to doctrine, the purposes of God, faith, longsuffering, charity, and patience. He warns that all who live godly in Christ Jesus (v. 12) will face oppositions but warns as the centuries advance from his time down to this that evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived. What is to be our response to this? We are to continue in the things we have heard (v. 14) committed to the truth of the scriptures above all else.
If men are going to choose the path of destruction, it is because they have parted from their veneration of the word of God. Thus Paul maintains and makes an unequivocal statement regarding the infallibility and unassailable truth of the scriptures. The scriptures if we are to believe they are given by inspiration of God and a profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness to the end that men and women of God might come to maturity and be thoroughly furnished to all good works. If we vacillate in our embrace of the scriptures, we left ourselves unfurnished and unequipped for spiritual survival in the hostile environment of a fallen world. The prophetic has its place. The gifts of God are indispensable. We need the church, and we need one another but we can no more live without the word of God than we can breathe without oxygen.
Some might argue these things go without saying, but there are many strong oppositions to the word that arise not only in the world around us but from our own ranks. Statements are often made and positions are taken that weaken the application of the word including but not limited to the following:
- That was Paul’s opinion not God’s.
- That was intended for their day and not ours.
- That applies only to the ancient culture that letter was addressed to.
- That is Old Testament and has no bearing on us as believers.
- That applies to a dispensation that we are not currently living in.
- Those things have passed away.
- That is an inspired record of uninspired sayings – we may disregard those passages.
Taking these positions without deep and abiding thoughtfulness causes us to have a piecemeal canon with only a few passages in scripture embraced as having any bearing whatsoever in our lives. I spoke to a lady recently who was standing in faith for something that was undeniably and unquestionably contrary to God’s word without any ambiguity. When I pointed out to her what the scriptures said about her situation (in more than one place) she merely said she was not doctrinal and quoted several ministers and ministries well known to our day as agreeing with her position. I asked her if faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word then if what she believed for was contrary to the word how could her alleged faith be anything but total delusion? She thanked me politely and ended the phone call. That is a silly woman being led captive by a ministry that told her what she wanted to hear regardless of what the scripture declared.
In my walk with God I have often encountered scriptures that challenged my thinking. The Spirit of God consistently confronted me saying “you are going to have to make up your mind if you believe all this stuff you are reading…” If there is any truth to be found in the scriptures, we must accept all of it as relevant to our lives. We cannot glibly dismiss them just because they are not convenient for our situation or because it is fashionable to do so. We have been taught by Christian scholarship the art of claiming to venerate scriptures that we feel entirely at liberty to dismiss as having no application to our lives, and we are not enriched thereby. What about you? Are you willing to do a reset on your understanding of the scriptures? God has willingly and readily made them available to us to equip us and mature us but it necessary to maintain an unswerving commitment to the whole counsel of God as being relevant and applicable to our lives no matter what.
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