|2 Timothy 3 |
1 Know this also, that in the last days perilous times will come.
2 For men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, without self control, fierce, despisers of those who are good,
4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it. Turn away from such people.1 [Their religion has a semblance or form of godliness, but without any power. They deny the power of God to cleanse them, purify them, and make them holy; therefore they have the hope of the hypocrite: to enter heaven, having died in their sins. From the Word of the Lord within: "There is no hope for anyone outside the power of God."]
6 For among them are those who creep into households, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led astray with many lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.2
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres [Egyptian magicians] withstood Moses, so these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be revealed to all men, as [the magicians] was.
10 But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,
11 Persecutions and afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra. But the Lord delivered me from them all.
12 Indeed, all who are determined to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.3 [The same sufferings are being experienced by all your brothers in the world. 1 Pet 5:9]
13 But evil men and seducers will go from bad to worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 As for you, continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15 And how from childhood you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;
17 So that the man of God may be complete and equipped for all good works.4
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
1 Even in Paul's time there were people claiming to be Christians who loved money, were heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, without self-control, boasters, full of pride, having a form of godliness, but denying the power of God to change them to become pure.
A form is a set of religious practices: singing, Bible reading, baptism, eating bread/wine, prayer books, creeds, dress, incense, tongue time, fleecing the sheep time, bells, sermons from the carnal mind, altar call time, silent time, etc. — all scheduled, planned, repeated, rehearsed — so that the practices become a ritual to be repeated and observed. The form of their attempted worship prevents the Holy Spirit from leading and controlling the experience. God is a Spirit, and those who worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24; that means that all worship must come from words supplied by the Holy Spirit; and that worship from the carnal mind, which is enmity with God, is an abomination to the Lord.
From the Word of the Lord within:
Why is calling the Bible the most evil lie in Christendom?—because then people read "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey, Luke 11:28;" thinking it means to read the Bible instead of going to Him and quietly listening for God to speak His words to them. Christendom has put a book between God and man, separating and blocking man from God's communication, changing grace, and love; thus Christendom's way is a form of godliness with no power, as He said: "Woe be to them for they have coupled an external form between God and man." Bible study looks religious: it has a form of godliness, but it is a powerless, empty shell.
Turn away from such people. That means leave your deficit sect. The false shepherds will plead for you to stay as a paying customer saying: "But you must meet with fellow believers; you cannot forsake the assembling of yourselves together," as Hebrews 10:25 plainly states, but the people in Hebrews were hoping and "exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching," the day of the Lord's return with his Kingdom, which is a personal experience of purified believers. The people in Hebrews have nothing in common with people looking forward to heaven after death and content to continue to live in sin until death. The people in Hebrews were exhorting each other, which is to rebuke sin, to be obedient, to do works of love, and to fight for the faith. If they don't share your hope of purity and the Kingdom through repentance, with faith in God to fulfill your hope, then they are unbelievers; and as Paul says: "Turn away from such people," and: But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to anything that usurps the place of God, and how they spend their free time defines to what they are devoted], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. You must not so much as eat with such a person. 1 Cor 5:11. So any, who call themselves Christians, but are guilty of immorality, or devotion to anything except God, (however they spend their free time defines their devotion), or greed, or cursing, or lying, or outbursts of anger, or drunkenness, or dishonesty, or theft; we should not associate with them or even eat a meal with them.
2 Ever learning, but never coming to the truth. Bible study, prayer groups, sect services, sermons: Many people have spent their entire lifetimes, listening to preachers, reading books, studying the Bible — but never coming to the truth. There is an eastern religion adage: Do not confuse the finger with what it points to. The Bible is the finger; it points to Christ. Here is what Christ had to say about Bible study: You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40. He is telling people that they substitute studying the Bible for coming directly to him; the Bible only testifies about him. And they think by studying the Bible to find eternal life, but the way to eternal life is to go directly to him. The words we hear are the words of eternal life, not the words we read or hear read from of the Bible. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63. So, to have eternal life, we have to listen to the Word of the Lord within and obey his spoken words with spirit to us. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The Bible only testifies of the way, the truth, and the Life. If we want the way, or truth, or life; we have to go to him. He wants us to seek Him, not seek knowledge about him from the Bible. The way to seek God is to go to him, listen to him, and treasure the words we hear him speak to us. We have made learning scriptures a rival to learning directly from God by Coming to Him. But scriptures are not wrong; it is the way we idolize scriptures that is wrong.
The Word of the Lord within told me, "The world hides in the Bible." The world hides from God in the Bible. Reading the Bible is a substitute for having God teach you, examine your heart, convict you, and cleanse you. The world hides from Christ, the Living Word who judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12. It hides from Christ the Light, who brings to light what is hidden in darkness and exposes the motives of men's hearts. 1 Cor 4:5. How sad that we think we are seeking God by reading the Bible, but He sees us as hiding from Him. We are covering our nakedness with the Bible and hiding in the tree of knowledge. Gen 3:8-10. From the Word of the Lord within: "I say this to your shame. Though you have great knowledge of the scriptures and profess them, you don't possess of whom they speak." You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life-giving. John 6:63.
3 All who are determined to lead a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. By being subjected to persecution, often supernaturally imposed, you are being purified by fire; you are learning to forgive; you are learning patience; you are learning to control your anger; you are learning to trust God in all circumstances. But as then, he who was born after the flesh persecuted him who was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Gal 4:29. See Tribulation for more.
4 Scripture makes one wise unto [to what is required for salvation] salvation. Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be complete and furnished for all good works. Scripture does not lead to salvation; scripture can point to the correct way to salvation, but does not lead. Scripture is profitable and useful to the man of God, making it easier to teach proper doctrine, correction, reproof, etc; therefore the man of God is more furnished, and therefore more completely prepared for ministering to others; but scripture can not make a man of God. Only the one-on-one teachings of the Holy Spirit can make a man of God. Memorizing the Bible is worthless without life changing, heart purifying, and soul purifying grace from the Holy Spirit's reproofs, teachings, convictions, and destruction of sin. A man of God has been perfected to be like the Teacher; otherwise that man is a blind guide.
The King James Version grossly mistranslates this verse to be, "That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works;" which none of the other English bibles do, (click to see), and neither does the subject Greek word exhrtismenov translate to a state of perfection. It is once again, (as with John 5:39-40), a major translation error in the KJV that has led many millions over the centuries to think spiritual growth and perfection can be obtained by studying the scriptures. Spiritual growth can only occur in proportion to the destruction of the selfish, sinful nature in man; and that destruction only occurs by carrying your cross and following Jesus: the inward cross of self-denial.
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter