2 TIMOTHY 3
“There will be terrible times in the last days!” The term ‘last days’ means the entire period between Christ’s first coming – as a baby – and his return later as the Living God. The entire ‘Christian’ era represents these days, and there will be no subsequent ‘phase’ of earthly life before he returns to usher in the New Age of the fullness of God’s kingdom on earth.
Then comes a long list of human vices – summed up as people loving themselves and their pleasures and hating other people and, most of all, hating God.
“…Having a form of godliness but denying its power… gaining control over gullible women who are loaded down with sins… always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (vv5-7). This section reminds me of Jehovah’s Witnesses who come knocking on my door from time to time. It is not exclusively referring to them, of course, but to all heretics who distort the gospel to suit their own organization (however well-meaning) and who even completely re-write the bible when it contradicts their doctrines. Heresies are not complete lies, but an imbalance of the truth – emphasizing one aspect of the gospel and down-playing another. Only by reading the whole of scripture and holding it all together, do we avoid corrupting the gospel we have been entrusted with. That is one reason that we promote ‘The Big Picture’ reading plan – it gives you a balanced diet!
“…How from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (vv15-17). So, if you want to work in a FoodBank, read the scriptures daily; if you want to be a top city banker, read the scriptures; if you want wisdom to operate cranes, deliver babies, remove babies from their parents, be a good parent, obey your parents, manage your business, educate students, build a godly home, administer a church… then you know what’s good for you!
Timothy had had these scriptures read to him and discussed with him even when he was an infant. He trusted his grandmother, his mother, and Paul, who had discipled him into a saving knowledge of Jesus. He had believed from a very young age – which is the best thing of all. Parents who expose their children to the scriptures and – vitally – also apply them to their lives are probably the most effective influences of all on their children’s lives and for their salvation. Don’t ever leave “children’s work” to the church; it’s your job!