The Dangers of the Last Days.* 1But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days.a 2People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious,b 3callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, 4traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them.c 6For some of these slip into homes and make captives of women weighed down by sins, led by various desires,d 7always trying to learn but never able to reach a knowledge of the truth.e 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so they also oppose the truth—people of depraved mind, unqualified in the faith.f 9But they will not make further progress, for their foolishness will be plain to all, as it was with those two.
Paul’s Example and Teaching.* 10You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, persecutions that I endured. Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me.g 12In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.h 13But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. 14But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it,i 15and that from infancy you have known [the] sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.j 16* All scripturek is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness,* 17so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.l
* [3:1–9] The moral depravity and false teaching that will be rampant in the last days are already at work (2 Tm 3:1–5). The frivolous and superficial, too, devoid of the true spirit of religion, will be easy victims of those who pervert them by falsifying the truth (2 Tm 3:6–8), just as Jannes and Jambres, Pharaoh’s magicians of Egypt (Ex 7:11–12, 22), discredited the truth in Moses’ time. Exodus does not name the magicians, but the two names are widely found in much later Jewish, Christian, and even pagan writings. Their origins are legendary.
* [3:10–17] Paul’s example for Timothy includes persecution, a frequent emphasis in the Pastorals. Timothy is to be steadfast to what he has been taught and to scripture. The scriptures are the source of wisdom, i.e., of belief in and loving fulfillment of God’s word revealed in Christ, through whom salvation is given.
* [3:16] All scripture is inspired by God: this could possibly also be translated, “All scripture inspired by God is useful for….” In this classic reference to inspiration, God is its principal author, with the writer as the human collaborator. Thus the scriptures are the word of God in human language. See also 2 Pt 1:20–21.