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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Timothy 3

Verses 1-13

  1. Intro:
    1. ​​​​​​​Maybe a proper intro from 2:26 would be, “well speak of the devil!”
    2. If Paul wanted to encourage Timothy for the work of the ministry, you’d think he would tell him “things are going to get better Tim!”
      1. But Paul doesn’t paint a false picture of the future.
        1. And, the fact that false teachers will always be lurking around the church. (6,7) (Chuck Swindoll.)
        2. Instead, prepares him for the degeneration of society. (1-5)
      2. Paul doesn’t end on that depressing not, but assures Timothy God has the final word.
  2. EXPECT TERRIBLE TIMES! (1-9)
    1. ​​​​​​​Intro: (1)
    2. Vance Havner says that our day is one of anarchy in the world, of apostasy in the church and of apathy in the individual believer. Eph. 5:16
    3. In the last days – Actually began w/the life & ministry of Christ.
      1. Read - Heb.1:1,2.
      2. The NT indicates that “the last days” refers particularly to the state of the church before the coming of Christ.
    4. Perilous times – “difficult, hard to deal with, dangerous.”
      1. It is the same Greek word for the demoniac in Mt.8:28 & translated “exceedingly fierce.”
    5. Q: So, how do we live for Christ in such exceedingly fierce times???
      1. 1st Expect Terrible Times! (2-9)
      2. 2nd Follow the Right Examples! (10-13)
      3. 3rd Stick with the Scriptures! (next week, 14-17)
    6. [1] EXPECT TERRIBLE TIMES! (2-9)
    7. If you’re looking for a soon coming paradise on earth…you are in for a rude awakening!
      1. To believe this doesn’t make us a pessimist but a realist! (Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg.798)
      2. Read any paper any day, [N.C.Times.com 7-23-05]

        CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A former school bus driver has been sentenced to five years in prison for accepting a $10 bribe to ignore two students as they sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl, authorities said. - The bus was equipped with a 911 panic button to alert authorities to problems, but Bolen never triggered the device during the assault in January. The bus drivers name was Lacey Jane Bolen, 26, of Goose Creek, she pleaded guilty Wednesday.
    8. Vices of the False-Teachers!
    9. Couplets:
    10. Lovers of themselves, lovers of money –
    11. Boasters, Proud –
    12. Blasphemers, disobedient to parents – Sounds like many cartoons today!
    13. Unthankful, unholy –
    14. Unloving, unforgiving – Their natural domestic affections were smothered.
    15. Slanderers, w/o self-control –
    16. Brutal, despisers of good(not loving) – brutal = savage, untamed beast.
    17. Traitors(used of Judas Iscariot….i.e. a Judas adjective! Lk.6:16), headstrong –
    18. Haughty(swollen w/conceit)
    19. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God(2 Greek words: philo/love & hedonai/pleasure) – They were controlled by pleasure!
    20. Note the emphasis on the wrong kind of love! (an inside-out love!)
      1. Self-Love becomes the Trademark of the last days!
      2. [1] Lovers of Themselves! (2a) – Not even hugging trees, only themselves!
      3. [2] Lovers of Money! (2b) –
      4. [3] Unloving! (3a) – True affection almost disappears; unnatural affection will prevail.
      5. [4] Without Love! (3b) –
      6. [5] Lovers of Pleasure! –
      7. [6] Not, Lovers of God! –
        1. The 2 main commandments to: love God & love their neighbor, has been turned on its head!
        2. You could sum this up w/the 1st & last statements: “they will be lovers of themselves…rather than lovers of God”
        3. When love of God is replaced w/love of self, all sorts of vices inevitably follow.
    21. (5a) To sum them up, they have a form of godliness, but no power of godliness A Bogus Godliness!
      1. A form – the last days will have plenty of Religion!
        1. Religion will be rampant!
        2. They will be experts on externals!
          1. “They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.” 1 Tim.4:3
        3. They may Believe in the bible(of course their own interpretation), be Creed-Confessing(I did that for 19 years), yet be absolute phonies…forms w/o substance! {Cotton Candy Christians}
          1. Or they are like those high-tech cryogenic flashfrozen “Dippin Dots”! It’s just not real ice cream!!!
        4. Yet it will be a mere imitation, a mere form of godliness w/o the life changing power of God!
        5. The Bible still remains to be a national best-seller, yet the crime rate increases & problems multiply.
      2. No power – i.e. the power that brought Jesus out of the grave and which enters into every soul committed to Christ.
        1. W/o such power, the Christian Religion is an empty shell. (C.A. Trenthem.)
        2. Examine their inner lives…they know nothing of practical godliness!
        3. They are Christians, no doubt, in name & yet there is neither substance nor fruit in their Christianity. (Kent Hughes; pg.224)
        4. You could say they are “Formal Christians”…they have empty form!
      3. It is still possible to be lost in today’s church!
      4. I think it is getting easier to acquire a “form of godliness”, to subscribe to all the right subcultural expressions & customs…& yet be denying its power, by the quality of our lives. (Ibid; pg.225)
    22. (5b) Only one solution! – Turn Away! Stay away!
      1. Have nothing to do with them”(NIV); “Avoid such people”(ESV).
    23. Gullible Gals! (6,7)
      1. Let’s read about their “Women’s Ministry”!
      2. They were most effective among gullible gals. (not women in general)
        1. Women who were undisciplined & probably full of guilt from their sins.
        2. Which made their ears itching to hear the next best thing to repentance. Anything but Repentance!
      3. Creep into households – by stealth. They were religious sneaks.
    24. Jannes & Jambres! (8,9)
      1. Jannes & Jambres were magicians in Pharaoh’s court who imitated the miracles that Moses performed. (Ex.7:8-13)
        1. Though they are not named there. [Are named in Jewish Targums (Aramaic translation); & even Pagan Writers mention them]
        2. Were able to duplicate: Aaron’s rod to a snake; Water to Blood; Frogs; but not the lice! Read Ex.8:18,19
      2. These teachers opposed the truth w/the same level of intensity that the Egyptian magicians that opposed Moses & Aaron.
        1. Oh, they may dress the same, have the same religious paraphernalia, own the same brand of a leather bound Holy bible, but they enslave people!
    25. Satan is the great imitator, & his imitation gospel & church will spread in the last days.
      1. But just as Jannes & Jambres were eventually exposed as frauds before God’s power… so false teachers will surely be exposed by the light of God’s Word.
        1. Eph.4:13b-14 (New Century Version) “We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection. Then we will no longer be babies. We will not be tossed about like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to fool us. They make plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong path.”
      2. Their folly will be clear to everyone!
    26. [2] FOLLOW THE RIGHT EXAMPLES! (10-13)
    27. So, where do you find the strength & wisdom & guidance to resist & overcome such opposition?
      1. Well, 1 way is watching mentors that are a genuine example!
      2. The 2nd again is the Instruction of Scripture(we’ll look at next week).
    28. For many yrs Monterey, a California coast town, was a pelican’s paradise.

      As the fishermen cleaned their fish, they flung the offal to the pelicans. The birds grew fat, lazy, and contented. - Eventually, however the offal was utilized, and there were no longer snacks for the pelicans. When the change came the pelicans made no effort to fish for themselves. They waited around and grew gaunt and thin. Many starved to death. They had forgotten how to fish for themselves. The problem was solved by importing new pelicans from the south, birds accustomed to foraging for themselves.They were placed among their starving cousins, and the newcomers immediately started catching fish. Before long, the hungry pelicans followed suit, and the famine was ended. Bits and Pieces, June 23, 1994, p. 17 (Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)
    29. (10,11) Carefully followed my doctrine(teaching), manner of life(conduct), the purpose that motivated his life(Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the graceof God), faith(that sustained him in trial), the longsuffering, love(Toward all), & perseverance(endurance, to the end) he showed…even when persecuted!
      1. And the wonderful way God took care of him through it!
      2. I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen.
        1. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine.
    30. Paul names 3 cities in the area of Timothy’s home, so Timothy would be familiar w/them. (Pisidian Antioch)
      1. Timothy, remember Lystra? – Acts 14. he was there with Paul when they stoned him & dragged him out of the city, supposing him dead.
        1. What a memory for Timothy, how Paul was rescued right before his eyes by God!
        2. And he was delivered time & time again, & he would do the same for Timothy if he willed to do so.
      2. Actually God “always” rescues His people…either in this life, or by taking them to heaven!
        1. And God’s final rescue of Paul was the best of all! (Kent Hughes; pg.233)
    31. No Ivory Tower experience here for Paul!
      1. He knew what it was to suffer hardship for the gospel.
      2. Although the enemies of the faith may have seemed victorious for the moment, they would not gain ultimate victory because they were opposed to God!
      3. If Jannes & Jambres were ministers of Satan’s work, then Paul is our best example of a worker for the Lord!
    32. Paul had been a divine object lesson to young Timothy.
      1. Q: Who are you being a Divine Object lesson to?

Verses 14-17

  1. Intro:
    1. 1.1.Prayer:
      Lord, Your Word is durable - outlasting all its critics, surviving allthe attempts of its enemies to exterminate it.
      It is miraculous in its results - transforming the lives of those who read and believe
      it.It is marvelous in its harmony - agreeing in all its parts, written over a period of 1600 years, by about 40 different authors.
      It is Fabulous in its preservation - maintaining its accuracy and reliability down through the centuries.
    2. Position Wanted: I would like a job as tutor, teacher and advisor to your family. I will never take a vacation. I will never be out of humor.I don't drink or smoke. I won't borrow your clothes or raid your refrigerator. I will be up in the morning as early as anyone in the household and will stay up as late as anyone wishes. I will help solve any problems your children might have. I will give you the satisfaction of knowing that no question your children ask will go unanswered. For that matter, I will answer any of your own questions on subjects that range from "How we got here?" to "Where are we headed?" I will help settle bets and differences of opinion. I will give you information that will help you with your job, your family and all of your other interests. In short, I will give you the knowledge that will insure the continued success of your family. I am your Bible. Do I get the job?
    3. I had my bible rebound: I could write anything on it in gold writing. I chose one thing to place on it…“Holy Bible” [It’s ok if you have your name on it]
      1. Why? – Often when we say less, it says more!
      2. Holy(set apart) & Bible(book) – It is set apart, unique, exclusive, & matchless from any other writing!
    4. Last Week: Q: How do we live for Christ in such exceedingly fierce times?
      1. 1st Expect Terrible Times! (2-9)
      2. 2nd Follow the Right Examples! (10-13)
      3. 3rd Stick with the Scriptures! (Now this week, 14-17)
    5. Q: What is our only weapon against the spiritual warfare of vs.13?
      1. The only answers to Satan’s lies is God’s truth!
    6. Q: What is the longest ch. in the bible? (Ps.119)
      Q: What is its theme? (the Word) [every vs of the 176 vss speak of it, except 1-3]
      Q: What is unique about that Psalm? [it uses the 22 letters of the Heb alphabet; in effect saying, the Word of God is everything from A to Z]
  2. STICK WITH THE SCRIPTURES! (14-17)
    1. This section sums up the whole purpose of the bible!
      1. Salvation(14,15) & Christian Living(16,17)
    2. Our sub-points will coverWhat the bible will do for us! It will:
      1. Assure us of God’s word;
        Make Us – wise for salvation;
        Teach Us – what’s right;
        Show Us – what’s wrong;
        Correct Us – How to be right;
        Instruct Us – How to stay right;
        Complete Us – for eternity;
        Equip Us – for every good work.
    3. [1] SALVATION! (14,15)
    4. “What the brush is to the artist in painting a picture, what the hammer is to the carpenter in driving a nail, what water is to the laundress in washing clothes, so the Bible is to God in saving souls.” (Donald Grey Barnhouse)2.5.
    5. (14) Assure Us – of God’s Word!
    6. Continue – the “pres. imp.” calls for a constant & continual habit of life.
    7. Learned & been Assured of – They did not merely teach him the facts of the bible; they gave him assurance & spiritual understanding.(i.e. his mom, grandmother, & best friend Paul)
    8. (15) Make Us – wise for salvation!
    9. Childhood - the Jewish parents’ duty was to teach their children the law when in their fifth year. (LKGNT)
      1. Start your children young…getting them into the Word. 2.10.1.1. [Great children’s devotions] bible stories.
      2. You know your pastors, Sunday School teachers, fathers, mothers, grandparents. You know they have taught you, you know their lives match the teaching of their lips. (Kent Hughes) [lips & lives!]
    10. Holy Scriptures – O.T.
    11. [2] CHRISTIAN LIVING! (16,17)
      1. Spurgeon said, “The scriptures were not given for our information, but for our transformation!”
    12. All – not some!
      1. Not Concept, or Thought Inspiration, but Verbal Inspiration!
      2. Concept, or Thought Inspiration = only the concept, or thoughts, of men were given by inspiration. {Trouble w/this? Pick & chose}
      3. Verbal Inspiration = the very words were given by the H.S.(the writers weren’t left absolutely to themselves in the choice of words they should use)
      4. Not Partial Inspiration, but Plenary/Full Inspiration!
      5. Partial Inspiration = The bible only “contains” the word of God.
        1. This implies the bible contains much that is not inspired.
        2. And then who decides which is, or isn’t?
      6. Plenary/Full Inspiration = It holds All Scripture to be inspired. [Plenary = full and complete and not limited in any respect]
    13. Inspiration – God-Breathed, filled with the breath of God. Out-breathed!
      1. Just as we must expel breath from our mouths when we speak, so ultimately Scripture is God speaking.
      2. Mt.4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”.
      3. Yet, though the Bible is the Vox Dei (the voice of God) & the Verbum Dei (the Word of God) that doesn’t suggest it was written by God’s own hand nor fell from a parachute from heaven. (R.C.Sproul; Essentials; pg.15.)
        1. The Spirit of God, enabled the men of God, to write the Word of God! (www)
        2. See - 2 Pet.1:20,21. [for the Spirit of God is the Breath of God!]
          1. Though penned by man its ultimate source is God.
      4. Revelation = means God’s presence in the events of history.
      5. Inspiration = means His presence in the recording of those events. (C.A. Trentham; Studies in Timothy; pg.128.)
      6. Illumination = spiritual Illumination refers to the influence of the H.S. common to all Christians.
      7. Revelation = 2 ways.
      8. [1] God revealed something to the mind of the author(like creation account to Moses)
      9. [2] They recorded what they observed, or that fell upon their ears (like Luke’s careful investigation).
      10. Infallible & Inerrant – It is incapable of making a mistake, it always tells the truth.
      11. Not Natural Inspiration – They would say, “The bible is inspired the way Shakespeare was inspired!”
        1. No, David said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”.
        2. The Spirit’s operation was in & upon the writers.
      12. Not Verbatim Inspiration – Go did not dictate his messages to the writers. They were not robbed of their individuality, personalities, or memories.
      13. Not Mechanical Inspiration – The writers were not passive instruments or machines.
      14. Inspiration then is the process whereby God breathed out His Word…in which He is its source & superintendent!
    14. (16a) Teach Us – what’s right!
    15. Doctrine – teaching.
      1. Q: Where do you find instruction for right living?
        1. {Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Oprah, Rush, Bill O’Reilly}
        2. Oh, they have pretty good instruction at times.
      2. But, the only inspired source of instruction is the Word of God!
    16. (16b) Show Us – what’s wrong!
    17. Reproof – proving, convicting, i.e. for refuting error& rebuking sin.
      1. In Judaism reproof was especially important, where it had to be done privately & gently first. (IVP Bible Background Commentary; pg.630)
      2. Scripture can show sinners their failures, clarify the point of doctrine, & lead them to a new sense of peace & wholeness. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.58.)
    18. (16c) Correct Us – How to be right!
    19. Correction – setting up straight(the setting upright on their feet).
      1. Scripture can help the misguided & disobedient of their errors & restoring them to the right paths. (Ibid; pg. 58.)
      2. If we accept Scriptures reproofs we will start straightening out!
    20. (16d) Instruct Us – How to stay right!
    21. Instruction – training in righteousness.
      1. Moral training that leads to righteous living!
      2. Same word as Eph.6:4 “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” where a system of discipline is used by the parent to develop Christian Character in a child.
      3. Here, it refers to a system of discipline that leads to a holy lifestyle.
    22. Wiersbe observed an interesting comparison with the order of the epistles:
      1. Doctrine/Romans; Reproof/1 & 2 Corinth; Correction/Gal.; Instruction in Rt/Eph & Col.
    23. (17a) Complete Us – for eternity!
    24. Complete – capable, sufficient, i.e. able to meet all demands.
      1. It’s becoming matured in the things of God!
      2. The bible transforms the “child” of vs.15 into the mature person in Christ in vs.17.
        1. It equips the saints to become servants! (www)
    25. (17b) Equip Us – for every good work! [super-equipped!]
    26. Thoroughly/Adequately equipped – completely outfitted, fully furnished, fully equipped, fully supplied. (LKGNT)
      1. Q: Ever show up on a job sight & forget some tools?
      2. Q: Ever put together a bicycle, swing set, or a BBQ & then were lacking some parts?
      3. Q: Ever have to buy the stripped down model of automobile, when you really wanted the fully loaded model?
      4. Q: Ever go to cook or bake something where half way through you realized you were missing a couple ingredients?
        1. We don’t like it – and God isn’t any different?
        2. It’s the difference in an unfurnished vs. furnished apartment!
        3. God wants you Christian…“completely outfitted, fully furnished, fully equipped, fully supplied” so He can use you to your fullest potential!
        4. What a tragedy for any Christian to be labeled spiritually unprepared for a task when the means of preparation are readily at hand!
    27. We must study & practice the Word of God!
      1. Study books tell us how, but the Bible gives us the motivation & power to live what we learn.
    28. End: Ps.19:7-11. [1 Sam.14:24-30 Jonathon, honey on a rod]
    29. If you are cold, let it WARM you,
      If you are asleep, let it WAKE you,
      If you are a backslider, let it WARN you,
      If you are defiled, let it WASH you.
      If you are disobedient, let it WHIP you.
      If you are uncertain, let it WITNESS to you.
      If you are unsaved, let it WIN you!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-timothy-3.html. 2017.