What does 2 Timothy 3:13 mean?
ESV: while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
NIV: while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
NASB: But evil people and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
CSB: Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.
NLT: But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
KJV: But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Persecution against godly people is to be expected in this world; it's one of the few constants in life (2 Timothy 3:12). In contrast, the sins of "evil people and impostors" can be expected to get worse and worse. What Timothy was currently experiencing from these false teachers and evil people would not get any better. Such people would continue their "deceiving and being deceived."
Paul often raised an alarm against the deceptions of false teachers. In Romans 16:18 he taught, "For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive." In Ephesians 5:6 he wrote, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." He often warned against spiritual deception (1 Corinthians 3:18; 6:9; Galatians 6:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). James (James 1:16, 26) and John (1 John 1:8; 2:26; 3:7; 2 John 1:7) also provided similar warnings. Deception was a major problem even in the earliest churches and continues to be an area of concern today.
Second Timothy 3:10–17 draws a strong contrast between the worldly, wicked behaviors of false teachers, and the conduct Timothy has seen from Paul. Not only has Timothy seen Paul's suffering for the sake of Christ first-hand, he has often experienced it alongside his friend, as well. This adds to the validity of Paul's teachings, which he strongly encourages Timothy to hold to. Above all, Timothy is to rely on the most secure, reliable, unchanging defense against error and false teaching: the ''God-breathed,'' inspired, written Scriptures.
Chapter 3 presents two sections with very different themes. In the first, Paul describes in detail the sins associated with apostasy: the abandonment of truth. Echoing the themes of prior chapters, Paul instructs Timothy to avoid not only these sins, but the people who participate in them. In the second section, Paul draws a contrast between these false teachers and his own example, as well as the faithful conduct of Timothy. Paul's capstone advice against false teaching and apostasy is the written word of God: the most powerful resource for any Christian leader.
In prior chapters, Paul has encouraged Timothy through an appeal to his lifelong spiritual heritage. He has also instructed Timothy to remain focused on the work of God, rather than pointless bickering. Here, Paul will present more warnings about the attitude of false teachers and those who reject God in favor of their own preferences. Just as he taught previously, Paul warns Timothy in no uncertain terms to avoid these behaviors and those who participate in them. This chapter is the high point of Paul's letter, leading to his final instructions to Timothy found in chapter 4.
Second Timothy is the last New Testament letter written by Paul. Paul writes these words while awaiting execution by Rome. At this time, around AD 67, Timothy was leading the church in Ephesus. Paul writes to Timothy in order to encourage him. Paul is facing the worst of all hardships: his own impending death. So, he encourages Timothy to stand strong in his faith, with a reliance on the written Word of God. This letter echoes many of the themes Paul uses in his other letters.
Accessed 2/25/2024 10:17:33 AM
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