“But know this, that in the last days perilous times shall come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Today, the world contains plenty of folks that fit the above description. The question is: Why do these conditions exist? Paul has a two-fold answer for us: (1) These are perilous times [times of stress] and (2) There are evil people running about causing these perilous times (2 Timothy 3:8,11).
Paul goes on to tell us that such evil people have “a form of godliness” — that is to say that they may well seem to be good folks in some ways, but they are not. He says they make a practice of deceiving gullible women (2 Timothy 3:6). They are also the type of folks that are “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Such people think they are smarter than anyone else, when in reality they know very little or nothing. They are usually people unproductive of anything but trouble.
And what is the Christian response to all of this? How must we live in these perilous times and among these evil people? Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:12: “and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.“ We might as well expect trouble to come and not be surprised when it comes to us. In fact, it will become worse (2 Timothy 3:13).
Then in 2 Timothy 3:14-17, he gives us instruction on how to successfully live in this evil environment: (1) Continue in God’s truth (2 Timothy 3:14); (2) Understand that the Scriptures will make us wise to salvation (2 Timothy 3:15); (3) The inspired Scriptures are a reliable source for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16); (4) If we live by the instruction of God’s Word, we will become mature Christians, fully able to do the work God expects of us (2 Timothy 3:17).
—Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets