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Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

3:1 last days. The “last days” were obviously still far in the future from Paul’s perspective.

3:1 perilous times. “Perilous” could also be translated “fierce” or “furious.” It is used only one other time, in connection with the demoniacs in the country of the Gergesenes, describing them as “exceeding fierce” (Matthew 8:28). The world will become increasingly violent and dangerous as the end approaches.

3:2 lovers of their own selves. This catalog of characteristics of the dangerous last days begins with what is essentially a definition of modern humanists—“lovers of their own selves.” The entire list seems peculiarly descriptive of the emphases and attributes of modern evolutionary humanism. Furthermore, these characteristics seem almost a duplication of the characteristics of ancient pantheistic paganism, as outlined in Romans 1:29-31, except that the characteristics listed here in Paul’s letter to Timothy seem to be developing within the framework of the professing church rather than the pagan world. In other words, there will be little distinction between the secular world and the religious world in the last days. Note in particular the cult of self-love, now being strongly promoted by secular psychologists and increasingly prominent even in counseling methods used in modern evangelical churches, as the answer to all psychological and sociological problems.

3:2 covetous. Covetousness is idolatry, the worship of the money god, Mammon (Luke 16:9). The Greek word here used for “covetous” means “money-loving” (philarguros, “lover of silver”). Note also I Timothy 6:10; Ephesians 5:5.

3:2 proud. Humanistic pride—whether of riches, intellect, physical strength, beauty, position or anything else—is the sin of the devil (I Timothy 3:6), eventually leading in effect to self-worship, as well as self-love.

3:3 Without natural affection. The implication is that their “affections” are “unnatural.” Note Romans 1:26-27. Evidently a great and dangerous increase of perverse sexual behavior will characterize the last days.

3:3 trucebreakers. Translated “implacable” in Romans 1:31. The etymology of the word suggests people who refuse to make or honor treaties or agreements.

3:3 false accusers. The Greek for “false accusers” is diabolos, meaning “slanderers” or “devils.” Satan himself is the diabolos, the devil, the false “accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10), and there are today a multitude of people slandering Bible-believing Christians, doing the specific work of the devil.

3:3 incontinent. The Greek for “incontinent” (akrates) means “without strength,” meaning, in context, powerless to do what is known to be right.

3:4 Traitors. This word was used of Judas (Luke 6:16), who betrayed Christ, suggesting that the latter-day church harbors many Christ-betrayers.

3:4 highminded. The word means “puffed up.”

3:4 lovers of God. One need only compare the number of pleasure-seekers on the Lord’s Day to the number of people in church!

3:5 denying the power. These last-day humanists will have a pseudo-religion, but will deny its power—that is, its supernatural aspects (creation, miracles, second coming, heaven, hell, regeneration). This description would apply specifically to religious humanists, to the liberal theologians who dominate the mainline denominations, to modernists, and to most New Age cultists. See also notes on II Peter 3:3-6.

3:6 silly women. The Greek word for “silly women” is the diminutive of the word for “wife” or “woman.” The concept is that of a pseudo-woman, a woman who minimizes her feminine nature, seeking to be something she was not created by God to be. The word occurs only here.

3:7 Ever learning. This is the precise emphasis of modern “intellectual” educators. They say there is no absolute truth. They also contend that we must continually be searching for truth, but can never really find ultimate truth and should never make such a claim.

3:8 Jannes and Jambres. The names of these Egyptian magicians are not given in the Biblical account (Exodus 7:11), but are the traditional names handed down in extra-Biblical accounts. The book of Jasher says that Jannes and Jambres were sons of the false prophet Balaam.

3:8 resist the truth. The reason why the latter-day religious humanists and liberals can never “come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7) is simply because they, like Pharaoh’s wise men, “resist the truth” when they hear it (note Romans 1:28), thus acquiring a “reprobate mind.”

3:12 will live godly. There is no exception; all who determine to live godly in Christ “shall suffer persecution.” This persecution may be physical, but perhaps more often will be social or intellectual. It will come in some form (Philippians 1:29).

3:13 seducers. This phrase refers to spiritual seducers in particular. The word (Greek goes) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but apparently suggests occult deceivers of some kind, and all sorts of these are proliferating all over the world in the so-called New Age movement.

3:14 continue. Despite all the perilous times and persecutions of the last days, plus all the false teachers and seducing spirits, believers must simply continue believing and obeying the Word of God. The same word (Greek meno) is often translated “abide” and “remain.”

3:14 of whom. Paul can confidently and without boasting cite his own example to young Timothy (see II Timothy 3:10-11), for he had continued faithful, despite the most severe opposition and persecutions one could imagine (II Corinthians 11:23-33) right to the point of martyrdom.

3:15 from a child. Timothy had been trained in the Old Testament Scriptures by his mother and grandmother (II Timothy 1:5) before any of them knew about Christ, but all three received Christ when they heard the gospel. This is a powerful testimony to the value of teaching God’s Word to young children.

3:15 Christ Jesus. The Scriptures in and of themselves do not bring salvation, but it is through the Scriptures that we learn of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (note James 1:18; I Peter 1:23-25). The Scriptures are the initiation of our salvation, then they become the medium of our spiritual growth (II Timothy 3:16) and finally of our ultimate perfection (II Timothy 3:17) in Christ.

3:16 All scripture. “All Scripture”—that is, every individual “scripture”—is included in this reference, not just the thoughts, but the actual writings, the words written down. Thus the words, not just the “thoughts,” are inspired of God. This one verse repudiates the idea of “partial inspiration” and also that of so-called “dynamic inspiration.” The true doctrine is plenary verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Since God is omniscient, the Scriptures are, therefore, infallible and free from error of any kind.

3:16 inspiration of God. “Given by inspiration of God” is all one word in the Greek, theopneustos, meaning “God-breathed.” This word refutes any idea of human inspiration (such as a poet, or musician might claim). The Scriptures, by whatever particular methods God may have used in their various parts, including the individual human abilities and researches of the various human writers (whose abilities He had created and whose researches He had guided), as they finally came from their Spirit-guided minds and pens, are in effect God-breathed.

3:16 doctrine. “Doctrine” is the same as “teachings.” All that the Bible teaches is true and profitable for study.

3:16 reproof. “Reproof” means “conviction” or “evidence” (as the word is translated in Hebrews 11:1). The Scriptures themselves give abundant internal evidence of their own divine inspiration.

3:16 correction. “Correction” means “setting right.” This is the only occurrence of this particular word (Greek epanorthosis) in the New Testament.

3:16 instruction in righteousness. “Instruction” (Greek padeia) is translated “nurture” in Ephesians 6:4 and “chastening” in Hebrews 12:5,7,11. The Scriptures not only teach doctrine, but also provide evidence of their truth, correction of any mistaken notions, and then any needed conviction and discipline warranted for our training as babes in Christ.

3:17 perfect. The word used here for “perfect” (Greek artios) is found nowhere else in the New Testament. It seems basically to mean “new” or “fresh,” which most expositors interpret as “complete.” Perhaps, however, it refers to our ultimate perfection in Christ, when “we shall be like Him” (I John 3:2), with all sin removed and the age-long effects of the curse taken away. He has promised: “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), and that must include us as well, even our bodies (Philippians 3:20-21). We shall then, indeed, be as fresh and perfect as Adam was when he was first created—even more so, as perfected in Christ. No doubt, the “man of God” shall be as perfect then as “the law of the LORD is perfect” now (Psalm 19:7), for the Holy Scriptures are now, and will eternally be, our spiritual food (Matthew 4:4; 24:35).

3:17 throughly furnished. “Throughly furnished” is one word in the Greek, meaning “completely equipped.” We need nothing more than God’s complete Word for our complete life.

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