A Bible study through 2 Timothy
Imposters. Evildoers. People wearing the appearance of godliness, but denying the very power of God. These are all signs of the end days during which darkness and evil prevails. While Paul wrote about this over two thousand years ago, we are seeing the type of people he described in our world. However, in the face of such moral decline and wickedness among humanity, what should we as Christians be doing? How do we respond and live in the midst of these types of people?
Paul gives us a powerful exhortation on this point. However, he starts in an unusual manner. Before giving Timothy, and consequently us, instructions on how to handle and respond when working with difficult people, he reminds Timothy that every Christian is guaranteed suffering. No one is exempt. In fact, Paul writes:
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
~2 Timothy 3:12-13
Not the most encouraging message! Paul basically says that everyone who seeks to live uprightly will be punished while those who flagrantly do evil and sin will prosper. That’s probably not what you want to hear! However, Jesus also told us to expect persecution and basically promised this reality to us when He said, “In this world you will have persecution.” However, Jesus also gave us hope, because immediately after promising us persecution in this world He said, “but take heart for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
What assurance! So here in 2 Timothy, Paul is echoing what Jesus taught and giving Timothy and us a reality check and a reminder of facts that in this fallen world those who seek to live godly lives will be persecuted. However, Paul doesn’t end the conversation there. He goes on to give young Timothy instructions on how to live and navigate these difficulties. Paul writes:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
~2 Timothy 3:14-17
In the midst of persecution and trials, we can equip ourselves to continue in godliness and pursuing good by holding fast to truth. Paul exhorted Timothy to continue in what he learned about God and came to believe, to not forget the truths and revelations he had received about God, and to immerse himself in God’s Word. Likewise, we also can and should heed Paul’s counsel.
Why is it so important to be thoroughly versed in truth? Because as Paul powerfully stated, the Bible is God’s very words and hold immeasurable power to teach, correct, train, guide, and equip us for every good work. God’s Word is what changes and transforms our minds and subsequently our lives so we can live as the approved workmen and clean vessels we are called to be.
Therefore, as you face persecution, ridicule, or people who oppose you for your faith, remember Paul’s message here in 2 Timothy 3 and hold fast to truth. It is the only way we will remain anchored in our faith and firmly rooted in what we believe. It is also the only way we will know how to respond to those who make our lives difficult and continue in faithful service to our King.
So immerse yourself in the living Word of God! Be intimately familiar with God’s promises and truths, standing firm in your faith and unmoved from the hope you profess. In difficult, evil days such as these, hold fast to truth!