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6. In the Last Days

2 Timothy 3:1-9

Day One Study

1. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9. What does 2 Timothy 3:1 say the last days will be like?

Read the information below then answer the questions that follow.

Scriptural Insight: As in his previous letter, Paul warned Timothy about the collapse predicted for the last days (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3), a term which includes the entire period between the first century and Christ’s return. During this interim, according to the prediction, the world will see terrible times of societal degeneration. Paul gave an extraordinary list (cf. Romans 1:28-32) of 19 general characteristics believers should expect. Though these characteristics are cataloged under the auspices of a prediction about “the last days”, it is clear that Paul considered them to be already present in Ephesus. Though they would intensify with time, Timothy had to beware of such people and have nothing to do with them. No doubt Paul had in mind here Timothy’s official associations, since he has already instructed Timothy to be kind to everyone (cf. 1 Timothy 2:24). (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 756)

2. Imagine for a few moments that you are a person who has been transported to America from a foreign country, and you’ve only had information from TV news to tell you about the people here. What kind of impression would you have of “our days”?

3. Read 2 Timothy 3:2-5. Do you think that our days could be considered difficult? Why or why not?

It would be easy to skim over the list of negative behaviors in 2 Timothy 3:2-5, assuming that Paul is describing an especially depraved person, certainly not any one of us. However, we can learn a lot about what we ourselves are like, and what God desires us to be, if we take time to evaluate these negative behaviors.

4. Choose several from the selected ones listed below (drawn from the NIV), consider what would be the opposite of this behavior. Read the verses provided to gain insight from God’s Word about this behavior. Add other verses that apply.

Negative Behavior

Opposite of This

What God’s Word Says

Boastful

 

James 4:14-16

Proud

 

1 Peter 5:5—

Disobedient to parents

 

Ephesians 6:1—

Unthankful

 

1 Thess. 5:18—

Unforgiving

 

Luke 11:4—

Without self-control

 

Galatians 5:22,23—

Malicious gossips

 

Proverbs 16:23-24—

Slanderers

 

Proverbs 17:27—

5. Reread 2 Timothy 3:2-5. The first two vices and the last one of verse 4 all point to wrong love corrupting potentially good things.

·         What should people love (verse 4)?

·         What do these people love (verses 2, 4)?

6. Read 2 Timothy 3:5-7. How do these people seek to influence others?

7. Certainly television wasn’t even any kind of possibility in Paul’s time, but how might TV or radio programs, etc, fit this description (from 2 Timothy 3:6-7)?

8. To Live Faithfully: How then can we deal with the temptation of immoral television or radio programming, both for our children and for ourselves?

Day Two Study

9. How are the women in 2 Timothy 3:6-7 described? Write out the descriptions using your own words.

10. In what kind of situations do you think people are “always learning but never able to acknowledge, or come to the knowledge of, the truth”?

11. To Live Faithfully: How might you be able to come alongside another woman, who has some or all of the tendencies described above, and help her to be stronger? What can you do if she doesn’t want to change?

12. Read 2 Timothy 3:8-9. According to 2 Timothy 3:9, what 2 things will be evident in the lives of those who oppose the truth?

Scriptural Insight: Wherever people accept the truth of God and begin practicing it, counterfeits soon surface. That’s what Paul found at Ephesus, and what he warns Timothy about (v. 8-9). He mentions two characters, Jannes and Jambres, whose names mean “he who seduces” and “he who is rebellious”. Neither name is in the Old Testament, but Jewish legend held that these were the names of 2 Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses’ demand of Pharoah to free the Israelites (Exodus 7:11-12; 22). They tried to duplicate the miracles of Moses in an attempt to discredit him. But God showed that Moses’ authority was more powerful. (The Word in Life Study Bible, p. 751)

13. To Live Faithfully:

·         Does 2 Timothy 3:1-9 offer any warnings you think you should take to heart? If so, what are those warnings?

·         What can you plan to do, or ask God to help you do, about the warnings you have named?

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