What does 2 Timothy 3:3 mean?In verse 2, Paul began to list some of the evil traits associated with the "last days"—the era of the church, which continues through today. Paul continues here by adding six additional traits to the eight already noted.
First, evil people will be "heartless," from the Greek astorgoi. This term is the combination of the negative a, meaning "not" or "against," with the root word storge. That Greek root word refers to a natural, affectionate love. Storge is typically summarized as "parental love." In this context, it not only means those who fail to show proper love to children. It also means those who are inhumane towards others.
Second, evil people will be "unappeasable," from the Greek word aspondoi. This means those who refuse to hold to agreements, who cannot be convinced to agree on anything. Some translations use the word "irreconcilable."
Third, these wicked people will be "slanderous." This Greek term is diaboloi, which means one who lies, slanders, or makes false accusations. This is the root of English words such as diabolic. From a Christian standpoint, this is one of the titles of Satan: "The Devil," meaning the one who lies and slanders others. A hallmark of this fallen world is the tendency to tear down others with gossip, lies, and hateful speech.
Fourth, these evil people will be "without self-control." Self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). The presence of self-control is mentioned frequently by Paul as an important trait in the life of a Christian (1 Corinthians 7:5, 9; 9:25; Galatians 5:23; 1 Timothy 2:9, 15; 2 Timothy 1:7). Self-control implies a person who is not selfish or arrogant, as mentioned in verse 2.
Fifth, evil people will be "brutal," from the Greek word anēmeroi. This most literally means "savage or untamed." Paul's use of it here might refer to physical violence, but it certainly implies a wild and un-controlled attitude.
Sixth, Paul says that evil people will be known for a hatred for godly things. Interestingly, Paul uses the Greek word aphilagathoi, which suggests a very personal aspect to this hate. In other words, these evil people do not merely despise "goodness," they specifically dislike "good people." This certainly agrees with Jesus' warning to the disciples: those who love God will be hated by the world (John 15:18–21).