II Timothy: Chapter 3

In the conclusion of chapter 2, Paul gives a positive word of encouragement to Timothy in dealing with those that were in opposition to the truth. Paul states that it is better to correct with patience; teaching and correcting with a gentle spirit will perhaps bring about the desired response. Sounds like the age-old saying: “you can kill more flies with honey.” Proverbs 16:24 puts it this way... “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing for the bones.”

However, Chapter 3 begins with a very strong contrast to those words as Timothy receives a strong warning.

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9

Several years ago, there was a very sobering article about “today’s youth,” that made its circulation into many inboxes across the nation. The article portrayed the unraveling of society through the blatant disobedience and disrespect of the youth of today and the failure to recognize the value of our social norms such as politeness, respect for others and for those in authority. The article caused quite a stir as readers related to the contents of the article with much concern over the travesty of today’s youth. It was not until the conclusion of this article that the writer was revealed as an Ancient Greek philosopher.

It goes without saying; generational issues and challenges have been a topic of concern long before our current society. What troubles me most in Paul’s discourse on the blight of society, is verse five, “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.”  

Throughout our study on Timothy, our overall theme has been Lifestyle Christianity - how we live our lives, reveals what we truly believe about God. So, what does it really mean to have a form of godliness and how can we recognize the real from the hypocritical?  How also can we guide our young people against a backdrop of evil and what may be even less apparent but perhaps more dangerous, to have a form of godliness.

Write down your thoughts below.

Jesus had some strong words for the Pharisees of his day for those who had a form of godliness.  Read Matthew 23:25-28. 

In Jesus’ response, he condemns the Pharisees for their outward appearance of godliness but describes the inside as being full of dead man’s bones! Christianity that is true and pure is to radiate from the inside out - it is real and genuine. Paul warns Timothy, and the church of all generations, to beware of fake Christianity. Beware of making Christianity about what we do, not who we are!

James, the brother of Jesus also addresses this topic in James 1:22-28. In these verses, James asks us to measure our Christianity by the effectiveness of God’s Word on our lives. He moves on from that thought in chapter 2 to discuss what it means to have genuine faith. If this generation wants to impact the world in which we live, we need to live out what we believe and show ourselves to the world as a true beacon of light.

Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17

In these verses, Paul summarizes his own suffering for the sake of the gospel. His life and commitment stand in stark contrast to those that are living a life of self-fulfillment. We are blessed in this nation, to be able to freely and publicly serve our Lord and Savior. Perhaps the downside of that freedom is that we can so easily take for granted the gift we have been given.  Chapter 3 concludes with a word of encouragement for Timothy to recognize the blessing of his salvation and the power of God’s Word through the Holy Scripture. We are reminded that we are not left alone and without resources...

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17