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3. Godlessness in the Last Days

1But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power therefore. From these also turn away. 6For of these are they that creep into houses, and take captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, 7ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8And even as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth. Men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith. 9But they shall proceed no further. For their folly shall be evident unto all men, as theirs also came to be. 10But thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, 11persecutions, sufferings. What things befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. 15And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. 17That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

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14 But as for thee, continue in those things which thou hast learned Although wickedness prevail, and push its way forward, he advises Timothy nevertheless to stand firm. And undoubtedly this is the actual trial of faith, when we offer unwearied resistance to all the contrivances of Satan, and do not alter our course for every wind that blows, but remain steadfast on the truth of God, as on a sure anchor.

Knowing from whom thou hast learned them This is said for the purpose of commending the certainty of the doctrine; for, if any one has been wrong instructed, he ought not to persevere in it. On the contrary, we ought to unlearn all that we have learned apart from Christ, if we wish to be his disciples; as, for example, it is the commencement of our pure instruction in the faith to reject and forget all the instruction of Popery. The Apostle therefore does not enjoin Timothy to defend indiscriminately the doctrine which has been delivered to him, but only that which he knows to be truth; by which he means, that he must make a selection. 190190     “Par lequel mot il signifie qu’il est requis d’user de jugement et discretion en cest endroit.” — “By this word, he means that it is necessary to use judgment and discretion in that matter.” Besides, he does not claim this as a private individual, that what he has taught shall be reckoned to be a divine revelation; but he boldly asserts his own authority to Timothy, who, he was aware, knew that his fidelity and his calling had been proved. And if he was fully convinced that he had been taught by an Apostle of Christ, he concluded that therefore it was not a doctrine of man, but of Christ.

This passage teaches us, that we ought to be as careful to guard against obstinacy in matters that are uncertain, (such as all the doctrines of men are,) as to hold within unshaken firmness the truth of God. Besides, we learn from it, that faith ought to be accompanied by prudence, that it may distinguish between the word of God and the word of men, so that we may not adopt at random everything that is brought forward. Nothing is more inconsistent with the nature of faith than light credulity, which allows us to embrace everything indiscriminately, whatever it may be, and from whomsoever it proceeds; because it is the chief foundation of faith, to know that it has God for its author.

And which have been intrusted to thee 191191     “Et qui to vent commises ou desquelles plene assurance t’a este donnee.” — “And which have been intrusted to thee, or of which full assurance hath been given to thee.” When he adds, that the doctrine had been intrusted to Timothy, this gives (αὔξησιν) additional force to the exhortation; for to “commit a thing in trust” is something more than merely to deliver it. Now Timothy had not been taught as one of the common people, but in order that he might faithfully deliver into the hands of others what he had received.




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