2 Timothy 3:1-7 (A Form of Godliness)

2Ti 3:1-5     When are the “last days” that Paul speaks of in 2Ti 3:1?  See Heb 1:1-2, 1 Jn 2:18.  Did Paul consider himself and Timothy to be living in the last days?  See 2Ti 3:5.  Are we living in the last days?  See also 2Ti 3:13, 2 Pet 3:3-4, Jude 1:18-19.  What does Paul mean by “difficult” in 2Ti 3:1?  Cf. KJV “perilous” and see Mat 8:28 for the only other occurrence of this word, where it is translated as violent (NASB) or fierce (KJV).  What is it that will make the last days difficult or perilous?  See 2Ti 3:2-4.  How accurate is Paul’s description in these verses of people today?  In what way have people become increasingly “lovers of self”, even over the past 50 years?  “lovers of money”?  “boastful” and “arrogant”?  “revilers” (lit. blasphemers)?  “disobedient to parents”?  “ungrateful”?  “unholy”?  “unloving” (KJV “without natural affection”, i.e., without normal human & esp. familial affection)?  “irreconcilable” (lit. without a treaty or truce; NIV = unforgiving; RSV = implacable)?  “malicious gossips”? “without self-control” (intemperate)?  “brutal” (savage; lit. untamed)?  “haters (lit. ‘not lovers’) of good”?  “treacherous” (KJV “traitors”; cf. Lk 6:16, Acts 7:52)?  “reckless” (see Acts 19:36 “rash”)?  “conceited” (KJV = highminded)?  “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”[1]?  Notice that Paul used many of the same descriptors in Rom 1:29-31 that he uses here in 2Ti 3:1-4; what was his estimation there of the state of the souls of those whom he was describing?  See Rom 1:28.  In spite of the true state of their souls, what does 2Ti 3:5 tell us about the outward appearance of those Paul just described in 2Ti 3:1-4?  What does Paul mean by a form of godliness?  See Is 58:1-4, Ez 33:30-32, Mat 7:15, 23:27-28, Mk 7:6-7.  Is a form of godliness true godliness?  What is the key element of true godliness that those with only a form of godliness deny?  See also 1 Cor 4:20.  What does Paul say our response to such people should be?  See also Tit 3:10, 2 Jn 1:10-11.  How do the qualifications for a true overseer contrast with the characteristics of false disciples described here?  See Tit 1:7-8.

2Ti 3:6-7     What does 2Ti 3:6 teach us about the missionary tactics of those who have been captured alive in the devil’s snare to do his will (2Ti 2:26)?  Notice from the NASB text note and the KJV rendering that those whom Paul describes “creep” into households; NIV = “worm their way”; what sort of creatures “creep” or “worm” their way into something?  See also Gal 2:4, Jude 1:4.  Consider that one of the best ways to keep roaches and other creeping things out of our houses is to keep them meticulously clean; what does this teach us about the way to keep false teachers out of our spiritual houses?  Whom especially do false teachers, who have themselves been taken captive, target to take captive, and why?  See 1 Tim 2:12-14.  What does Paul mean by “weak women”? Note: KJV = “silly women”, NIV = weak willed women; lit. the diminutive form of women meaning “little women”.  Do his words apply to females only?  Note that the Greek word used is in the neuter and not the feminine gender; see also Is 19:13-16, Jer 50:37, 51:30, Nah 3:11-13.  What do 2Ti 3:6-7 teach us about the sort of people who are easy prey to false teachers?  See also 2 Pet 2:18-19.  What does it mean to be “led on by various impulses”?  Note: KJV = led away with divers lusts; NET = led along by various passions; NIV = swayed by all kinds of evil desires.  In 2Ti 3:7 what does it mean to “come to the knowledge of the truth”?  See 2Ti 2:25, 1 Tim 2:4, Heb 10:26.  Is “the knowledge of the truth” a mere intellectual knowledge about the truth?  See Tit 1:1, Jn 14:6, 17:3.  In what way is 2Ti 3:7 the spiritual fulfillment of the curse promised in Hosea 4:10-11 for covenant disobedience?  See also Lev 26:26, Is 65:13, Amos 8:11-12, Micah 6:14-15. How does 2Ti 3:7 describe so many people today who attend church, Bible studies, various conferences, and even Bible school or seminary?  See Ez 33:30-32.  Does it describe us?


1. Most of America’s Christian families find plenty of time for football practice, baseball practice, soccer practice and their associated games; for cheerleading, gymnastics, music lessons; time with friends, movies, hunting; hours and hours for television; leisure to spend on concerts, evenings out to dinner, professional sporting events; yadda, yadda, yadda. But when it comes to Biblical worldview training, the calendar is too full and interest is minimal, to say the least. How upside down are those priorities?  (Brannon Howse, Code Blue: Churched Students and Families in Final Throes of Worldview Crisis).

At the turn of the Nineteenth Century, one of America’s leading newspapers addressed the following question to many notable persons in Great Britain:  “What in your opinion is the chief danger, social or political, that confronts the coming century?”  The General (of the Salvation Army, William Booth), who was invited among others to reply to the question, sent the following:  “In answer to your enquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration; politics without God; and Heaven without Hell.” (The War Cry – 5 January 1901 p7, col.2.)

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