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Questions to Consider
1. Recalling that 2 Timothy was written as a letter, no chapter and verse markings, read how chapter two flows into chapter three (start around 2:22). What has Paul been discussing in chapter two and how does he transition into a new, yet related, line of thought in chapter three? Notice how 3:1 functions as a pivot point between the two trains of thought.
2. When are the “last days“? (1) What word does Paul use to describe the last days? (1)
3. Study 1-9, taking care to read 2-5 as one (long) complete sentence. Notice the set and subset of people Paul describes in this passage. What is the set described in 2-5 (notice the first two words of 2)? Are these verses generally speaking of Christians or non-Christians? Which words and phrases in these verses lead you to this conclusion? What is the subset (“For among them…”) of people described in 6-9? If Paul speaks of false teachers as being a subset of non-Christians, what does this imply about the spiritual condition of most false teachers?
4. How does verse 5(b) tell us to deal with the types of people described in 2-5? Does this include false teachers? Which words and phrases in verses 4b-6a lead us to this conclusion?
5. What do the phrases “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” and “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” mean? Are these phrases describing lost people in general, or false teachers, or both?
6. Carefully examine verses 6-7. Why do you think the Holy Spirit intentionally specifies women in verse 6? Think about the women you know who have been “captured” by false teachers and how verses 6-7 describe them.
7. Look closely at 6-9. Who were Jannes and Jambres? (8- use your cross references, click here for more help). Who do the words “these men” (8) and “they” (9) refer back to (6)? Why do you think the Holy Spirit brought Jannes and Jambres to Paul’s mind when he was writing about false teachers? What are the similarities between these two men and the false teachers Paul is describing?
8. Keeping in mind that this is a letter written to a pastor, and to pastors today, why is it important for pastors to be aware of these things, and what sorts of practical actions should they take in response to these instructions and warnings?
9. Notice how verse 10 serves as another pivot point to a new line of thought. Describe the compare and contrast element Paul uses here between 1-9 and 10-17. Who/what is being compared?
10. Imagine you’re Timothy reading this letter. Make a list of the things in 10-17 that you would find encouraging as a pastor.
11. What can we learn about persecution from verses 11-13? Does God always “rescue” Christians from persecution?
12. Read verse 15 in light of 1:5, and explain the impact godly mothers and grandmothers can have on their children and grandchildren when they train them in the Scriptures.
13. Study verses 16-17. How do these verses refute the unbiblical idea that the words Jesus spoke during His earthly ministry (“red letters”) somehow carry more weight than the rest of Scripture? (Ex: “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, so it must have been OK with Him.”) How do these verses refute the unbiblical argument people sometimes make about 1 Timothy 2:12 that, “That’s not God giving that command, that’s just Paul’s personal, human opinion.”?
14. Peek ahead to the first few verses of chapter 4, and notice how chapter 3, especially verses 16-17, feed into the the thoughts in chapter 4.
Review verses 4b-9, and consider a) how the Holy Spirit describes false teachers and the spiritual damage they do to the church, and b) how the Holy Spirit instructs us to “avoid such people”. Think about how this applies to individual Believers and the church today – the music we use in worship service or listen to on Christian radio, the materials we use in Bible study and Sunday School classes and for our own personal Bible study time, the evangelical celebrities we follow and share on social media and the ones quoted by our pastors and shared by our church’s social media pages, the conferences we attend or that our church hosts, etc.
Make a list of practical ways you and/or your church can obey verse 5’s instruction to “avoid such people” and pray for God to give you and/or your church leaders wisdom in this area.
Suggested Memory Verse