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The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

Category Archives: timothy

book of 2 timothy chiastic structure

Without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day.

2 Timothy 1:3

Read 2 Timothy at Bible Gateway.

Before we go on to Titus, the entire book of 2 Timothy forms an amazing chiastic structures (the teaching tools of scripture explains chiastic structures for those who are unfamiliar with them):

2 Tim 1:1-4:22
1a) 2 Tim 1:1-2, Salutation + grace, mercy, peace in Jesus Christ our Lord;
1b) 2 Tim 1:3-4, Paul greatly desiring to see Timothy;
1c) 2 Tim 1:5-2:26, Stir up/ hold fast what you received/ heard + exhortation to faithful ministry;
1d) 2 Tim 3:1-13, Evil men and imposters in the last days:
— 1a) 2 Tim 3:1-9, Evil men and imposters in the last days:
—- 1a) 2 Tim 3:1, But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come;
—- 1b) 2 Tim 3:2-4, The ungodly men of the last days:
—— 1a) 2 Tim 3:2a, For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money;
—— 1b) 2 Tim 3:2b, Boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents;
—— 1c) 2 Tim 3:2c-3a, Unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving;
 —— central axis) 2 Tim 3:3b, Slanderers;
—— 2c) 2 Tim 3:3c, Without self-control, brutal, despisers of good;
—— 2b) 2 Tim 3:4a, Traitors, headstrong, haughty;
—— 2a) 2 Tim 3:4b, Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;
—- 1c) 2 Tim 3:5, Having a form of godliness but denying its power + from such turn away;
—- 1d) 2 Tim 3:6a, They creep into households + make captives of gullible women;
 —- central axis) 2 Tim 3:6b, Who are loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts;
—- 2d) 2 Tim 3:7, Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth;
—- 2c) 2 Tim 3:8a, Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth;
—- 2b) 2 Tim 3:8b, Men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;
—- 2a) 2 Tim 3:9, They will progress no further, their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was;
— 1b) 2 Tim 3:10-11, You have carefully followed me and know what persecutions I endured;
 — central axis) 2 Tim 3:11b, And out of them all the Lord delivered me;
— 2b) 2 Tim 3:12, Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution;
— 2a) 2 Tim 3:13, But evil men + impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived;
1e) 2 Tim 3:14-16, Continue in Scriptures known from childhood, profitable to reprove, correct, instruct;
central axis) 2 Tim 3:17, That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work;
2e) 2 Tim 4:1-2, Preach the Scriptures in + out of season, by them convince, rebuke, exhort;
2d) 2 Tim 4:3-4, Ungodly and deceived hearers in the last days;
2c) 2 Tim 4:5-8, Watch/ fulfill your ministry + Paul’s ministry completed in faithfulness;
2b) 2 Tim 4:9-21, Paul’s longing to see Timothy:
— 1a) 2 Tim 4:9, Be diligent to come to me quickly;
— 1b) 2 Tim 4:10-13, Instructions + news of fellow ministers;
— 1c) 2 Tim 4:14, Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him;
— 1d) 2 Tim 4:15, Beware him also for he has greatly resisted our words;
— 1e) 2 Tim 4:16a, At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me;
— central axis) 2 Tim 4:16b, May it not be charged against them;
— 2e) 2 Tim 4:17, But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me;
— 2d) 2 Tim 4:17b, So that the message might be preached fully + that all the Gentiles might hear;
— 2c) 2 Tim 4:17c-18, I was delivered from the lion + the Lord will deliver me from every evil;
— 2b) 2 Tim 4:19-20, Instructions + news of fellow ministers;
— 2a) 2 Tim 4:21a, Try to come before winter;
2a) 2 Tim 4:21b-22, Benediction + Lord Jesus Christ/ grace be with you. Amen.

The central axis of the entire book is that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Holy Scripture is the wrapping that surrounds this central point. Knowing them, being immersed in them, and receiving their instruction, reproof, rebuke, correction, and exhortation is necessary to grow up into completeness. Wrapping the Holy Scripture are the ungoldly imposters, who present themselves as men of God but are not, and their counterpart, the ungodly hearers. Neither of these know the Holy Scripture, even if they claim to, nor receive its instruction, reproof, rebuke, correction, and exhortation in godliness.

Proverbs assures us in many places all men need to be instructed and corrected by the truth and by wisdom through the course of their lives, but only wise men receive that instruction and correction (Pro 8:33, 9:9, 13:1, 19:20). May all we be also wise, and come to the Holy Scripture with a submitted heart, ready to receive the truth and act on it!

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1 timothy 2:1-8, supplications for kings

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,

1 Timothy 2:1

Read 1 Timothy 2 at Bible Gateway.

I realized something when I was working on the chiastic structure for the book of 1 Timothy, which was posted yesterday. This passage stood out to me:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions,  and  giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men,  the  Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting … 1 Tim 2:1-8

This section forms its own chiastic structure, which I did not see before:

1 Tim 2:1-8
1a) 1 Tim 2:1, Let supplications, prayers, intercessions, giving of thanks be made for all men;
1b) 1 Tim 2:2-3, For kings + all in authority, that we may lead quiet lives in godliness (civil authority);
1c) 1 Tim 2:4, God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth;
central axis) 1 Tim 2:5, There is one God + one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus;
2c) 1 Tim 2:6, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time;
2b) 1 Tim 2:7, Paul, appointed preacher, apostle, teacher in faith and truth (church authority);
2a) 1 Tim 2:8, Therefore, men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

The bookends of the structure, the A pair, concern the prayers of the men, and the B pair concern those who are in authority. On the front side, the prayer is for those in civil authority or government. On the back side, the focus is on church authority, for Paul was appointed a preacher, apostle, and teacher … he was five- fold minister of the gospel.

The church is called to pray for kings and all in authority, so that we might be left in peace to live quiet lives in all godliness. Many of us are not being left in peace today to live quiet lives in all godliness, but kings and those in authority are meddling with our daily life, passing laws and imposing expenses which make living our lives in peace difficult.

Church, I wonder if we have spent more time using our mouths to complain about and dishonor kings and those in authority, rather than intercede for them before the throne to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Out of our mouth comes cursing, not blessing.

Paul instructs the church to let the giving of thanks be made for all men, especially for kings and those in authority. We have not done this. We can thank God that He is on His throne directing the affairs of men and nations, and turning the king’s heart like water in His hand (Pro 21:1). He is smarter than we are and all things serve their purpose. Let us thank Him for it.

Paul also instructs the church to lift up holy hands in prayer without wrath or doubting. On the front side, we are to pray for those in authority, giving thanks; and on the back side, we are to pray without wrath or doubting. There is a lot to be upset about today, but beloved, perhaps we are in this mess because we have made it our business for the past generation to speak ill of kings and those in authority rather than to speak blessing and thanksgiving for them. Perhaps for the past generation we have used our mouth to speak wrath and doubting, instead of using our mouth to intercede for salvation and the gift of wisdom for them in their deliberations.

Yes we need change in this country … and I think it needs to begin with us. Let us repent of our disobedience to the Scriptures, and to the wise instruction for the church. Let us repent of fostering a culture of dishonor for our leaders (Israel did the same in the wilderness against Moses, and this did not please God). Let us forgive sins done against us by those in authority, and speak life over our leaders and our country. If God’s people, not the atheists, unbelievers, and ungodly, will humble themselves and pray and seek His face, and repent of our sin of dishonor, wrath, and doubting, and disobedience to His Word, and turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear us, and forgive US our sins, and heal our land (2 Chr 7:14).

For further reading: roadmap to national restoration (2 chr 7:14)

book of 1 timothy chiastic structure

God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:4

Read 1 Timothy at Bible Gateway.

Before we go on to Titus, the entire books of 1 and 2 Timothy form amazing chiastic structures (the teaching tools of scripture explains chiastic structures for those who are unfamiliar with them):

1 Tim 1:1-6:21
1a) 1 Tim 1:1-2, Paul to Timothy, a true son: Grace, mercy, peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ;
1b) 1 Tim 1:2-20, Timothy’s charge: guard sound doctrine from which some have strayed:
— 1a) 1 Tim 1:2-6, To Timothy:
—- 1a.1) 1 Tim 1:2-3, To Timothy, a true son: charge some that they teach no other doctrine;
—- 1a.2) 1 Tim 1:4, Fables + endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification;
—- 1a.3) 1 Tim 1:5-6, Purpose of Law: pure love + good conscience + sincere faith, some having strayed;
— 1b) 1 Tim 1:7-9, The excellence of the Law toward the unrepentant;
— 1c) 1 Tim 1:9-10, Meant for the lawless, unrighteous, those things contrary to sound doctrine;
— 1d) 1 Tim 1:11, According to the gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust;
 — central axis) 1 Tim 1:12, I thank Christ Jesus;
— 2d) 1 Tim 1:12, He enabled me, counted me faithful, put me into the ministry;
— 2c) 1 Tim 1:13, Although formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man;
— 2b) 1 Tim 1:13-17, The excellence of the King and His mercy toward the repentant;
— 2a) 1 Tim 1:18-20, To Timothy:
—- 2a.1) 1 Tim 1:18, This charge I commit to you, my son Timothy;
—- 2a.2) 1 Tim 1:18, Prophecies concerning you, which cause you to wage the good warfare;
—- 2a.3) 1 Tim 1:19-20, Having faith + good conscience, which some rejected + shipwrecked their faith;
1c) 1 Tim 2:1-8, Prayers + intercession for those in authority (exercise of authority):
— 1a) 1 Tim 2:1, Let supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men;
— 1b) 1 Tim 2:2-3, For kings + all in authority, that we may lead quiet lives in godliness (civil authority);
— 1c) 1 Tim 2:4, God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth;
 — central axis) 1 Tim 2:5, There is one God + one Mediator between God + men, the Man Christ Jesus;
— 2c) 1 Tim 2:6, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time;
— 2b) 1 Tim 2:7, Paul, appointed preacher, apostle, teacher in faith and truth (church authority);
— 2a) 1 Tim 2:8, Therefore, men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
1d) 1 Tim 2:9-15, Proper exercise/ care of church authority:
— 1a) 1 Tim 2:9-10, Proper adornment for women (modesty and good works);
— 1b) 1 Tim 2:11, Let a woman learn in silence with all submission;
 — central axis) 1 Tim 2:12a, I do not permit women to teach or have authority over men;
— 2b) 1 Tim 2:12, Let a woman be in silence;
— 2a) 1 Tim 2:13-15, Proper order for women (men in authority over women).
1e) 1 Tim 3:1-13, Qualification of bishops + deacons:
— 1a) 1 Tim 3:1, If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work;
— 1b) 1 Tim 3:2-5, Qualifications of a bishop;
— 1c) 1 Tim 3:6, Not a novice, lest he be prideful/ fall into the same condemnation as the devil;
 — central axis) 1 Tim 3:7, Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside;
— 2c) 1 Tim 3:7, Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil;
— 2b) 1 Tim 3:8-12, Qualifications of a deacon;
— 2a) 1 Tim 3:13, Those who have served as deacons obtain good standing + great boldness in the faith.
1f) 1 Tim 3:14-15, I write that you may know how to conduct yourself in the house of God;
central axis of the book) 1 Tim 3:16, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels; Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory;”
2f) 1 Tim 4:1-16, Instruction for Timothy as church pastor:
— 1a) 1 Tim 4:1-5, Some will depart from the faith, heeding deceiving spirits + doctrines of demons;
— 1b) 1 Tim 4:6-8a, Instruct + good minister + word and doctrine + exercise godliness:
—- 1b.1) 1 Tim 4:6a, Instruct the brethren in these things,
—- 1b.2) 1 Tim 4:6b, And you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ;
—- 1b.3) 1 Tim 4:6c-7a, Nourished in the Word + good doctrine which you have carefully followed;
—- 1b.4) 1 Tim 1:7b-8a, Exercise yourself toward godliness which is profitable;
— 1c) 1 Tim 4:8b, The promise of eternal life;
— 1d) 1 Tim 4:9, This word is faithful and true;
 — central axis) 1 Tim 4:10a, For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach;
— 2d) 1 Tim 4:10b, We trust in the living God;
— 2c) 1 Tim 4:10c, The Savior of all men, especially those who believe;
— 2b) 1 Tim 4:11-15, Command and teach + good example + word and doctrine + exercise gift:
—- 2b.1) 1 Tim 4:11, These things command and teach;
—- 2b.2) 1 Tim 4:12, Be an example to the believers in word and conduct;
—- 2b.3) 1 Tim 4:13, Give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine;
—- 2b.4) 1 Tim 4:14-15, Exercise the gift in you … that all may see your progress;
— 2a) 1 Tim 4:16, Take heed to yourself + doctrine, so you will save yourself + those who hear you.
2e) 1 Tim 5:1-19, Qualifications of true widows/ treatment of elderly + elders:
— 1a) 1 Tim 5:1a, Do not rebuke an older man;
— 1b) 1 Tim 5:1b-2, Exhort older men as fathers, women as mothers (younger as brothers/ sisters);
— 1c) 1 Tim 5:3-10, Care of real widows + family to provide for their own widows:
—- 1a) 1 Tim 5:3, Honor widows who are really widows;
—- 1b) 1 Tim 5:4, But widows with children, let them repay their parents; as is good + acceptable;
—- 1c) 1 Tim 5:5, She is really a widow who is left alone, trusting in God + continuing in prayers;
 —- central axis) 1 Tim 5:6, But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives;
—- 2c) 1 Tim 5:7, These things command, that they may be blameless;
—- 2b) 1 Tim 5:8, Anyone not providing for his household has denied faith + worse than unbeliever;
—- 2a) 1 Tim 5:9-10, Real widows: 60+, been wife of one man, known for good works;
— 1d) 1 Tim 5:11-12, Refuse younger widows as they desire to remarry + cast off their first faith;
 — central axis) 1 Tim 5:13, “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not;”
— 2d) 1 Tim 5:14-15, Charge younger widows to marry + some already turned aside;
— 2c) 1 Tim 5:16, Let believers relieve their own widows + that the church may relieve real widows;
— 2b) 1 Tim 5:17-18, Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor;
— 2a) 1 Tim 5:19, Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
2d) 1 Tim 5:20-25, Proper exercise/ care of church authority;
2c) 1 Tim 6:1-2a, Proper honor between bondservants and masters (exercise of authority);
2b) 1 Tim 6:2b-21a, Timothy’s charge: teach sound doctrine from which some have strayed:
— 1a) 1 Tim 6:2b-5a, Teach + exhort; those obsessed with disputes over words, destitute of the truth;
— 1b) 1 Tim 6:5b-14, Flee the desire to be rich:
—- 1b.1) 1 Tim 6:5b-10, Warning to flee the desire to be rich;
—- 1b.2) 1 Tim 6:11, Flee these/ pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness;
—- 1b.3) 1 Tim 6:12, Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life;
—- 1b.4) 1 Tim 6:13-14, I urge you in the sight of God that you keep this commandment without spot;
 — central axis) 1 Tim 6:15-16, Jesus Christ, King of kings + Lord of lords, to whom be honor Amen;
— 2b) 1 Tim 6:17-20a, To those who are rich in this present age:
—- 2b.1) 1 Tim 6:17, Commandment to those who are rich in this present age;
—- 2b.2) 1 Tim 6:18-19a, Let them be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share;
—- 2b.3) 1 Tim 6:19b, That they may lay hold on eternal life;
—- 2b.4) 1 Tim 6:20a, O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust;
— 2a) 1 Tim 6:20b-21a, Avoid profane + idle babblings of what is falsely called knowledge;
2a) 1 Tim 6:21b, Grace be with you. Amen.

To be continued …

2 timothy 4, keeping faith

Read 2 Timothy 4 at Bible Gateway.

Most of this chapter forms its own chiastic structure:

2 Tim 4:1-8
1a) 2 Tim 4:1, I charge you before Christ, who will judge the living + dead at His appearing;
1b) 2 Tim 4:2, Preach the word in + out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, w/patience + teaching;
1c) 2 Tim 4:3a, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
1d) 2 Tim 4:3b, But according to their own desires, because they have itching ears;
central axis) 2 Tim 4:3c, They will heap up for themselves teachers;
2d) 2 Tim 4:4a, They will turn their ears away from the truth;
2c) 2 Tim 4:4b, And be turned aside to fables;
2b) 2 Tim 4:5-7, Fulfill ministry + keep the faith until the end (chiasm):
 — 1a) 2 Tim 4:5, Be watchful, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry;
 — central axis) 2 Tim 4:6, I am poured out as a drink offering + the time of my departure is at hand;
 — 2a) 2 Tim 4:7, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith;
2a) 2 Tim 4:8, Crown of righteousness from the Righteous Judge on the Day of His appearing.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

As the time of Paul’s departure was approaching, he was able to say that he had fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith, and that a crown of righteousness was awaiting him from the Righteous Judge. In order for young Timothy to have the same testimony at the time of his departure, Paul charged him to know and preach the truth of the Word of God. As we saw in the previous chapter, even though we will always be growing in the truth of God’s Word, there is settled doctrine, an unchanging foundation of truth upon which we build. The gullible women who are led astray by ungodly preachers never arrive that this unchanging foundation of settled doctrine.

This unchanging foundation of settled truth will fall out of fashion, and the pressure will be on to compromise preaching in the face of it. For in those days, the sound and settled doctrine of the unchanging Word of God will no longer be endured by many, but rejecting truth, they will turn aside to fables, and will desire teachers who will teach them these fables. The teachers who succumb to this pressure will be many, so that they may be heaped up by those with itching ears.

Timothy, Paul says, stick to the Word, and preach it uncompromisingly when it is in season and when it is out of season. Patiently teach the sound doctrine and the unchanging foundation of truth. Watch carefully so that your message remains true, and when affliction comes because you have not succumbed, endure it without wavering to the end, as I, Paul, have done before you. Then when the time of your departure draws near, you will also be able to say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.

2 timothy 3, the profitable scriptures

Read 2 Timothy 3 at Bible Gateway.

The rest of 2 Tim 3 forms a separate chiastic structure (the structure for 2 Tim 3:1-13 is posted here):

2 Tim 3:14-17
1a) 2 Tim 3:14, Continue in that which you learned + been assured of;
1b) 2 Tim 3:15a, From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures;
central axis) 2 Tim 3:15b, Making wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus;
2b) 2 Tim 3:16, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God + profitable for instruction in righteousness;
2a) 2 Tim 3:17, That the man of God may be complete.

All Scripture is breathed out by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

Paul is saying something amazing about Timothy: that he has known the Holy Scriptures from childhood, which made him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Of course, the Holy Scriptures that Paul is talking about is the Old Testament, for that was the only Scriptures the church had at first, the New Testament not having been written yet.

Since the Old Testament teaches salvation by grace through faith, the same gospel as the New Testament, and since Moses wrote about Jesus (Joh 5:46), it makes sense that knowing and believing all the Old Testament Scriptures from childhood prepares someone to receive salvation through faith. Paul hints at the same here:

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal 3:24

The Law serves an integral purpose to prepare a person to receive Christ through faith. There is such a problem in our churches of raising our children to remain in the faith upon reaching adulthood. We don’t teach the authority and truth of the Law and the Old Testament to our children in our churches, and losing our children is the fruit this lapse is bearing.

Jesus even boldly says:

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” Joh 5:46-47

Beloved, God is smarter than we are, and His instruction to parents, particularly fathers, is:

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deu 6:6-9

God is speaking here particularly of the Torah. He knows that our children need this intimate knowledge and authority of the Law in order to bring them to Christ, in order to make them wise for salvation through faith. Believers, and especially fathers, we must repent of our anti- Torah and anti- Old Testament bias which is not a bias taught by Scripture, but learned from man. We must repent of claiming to be wiser than God and embracing the foolishness of man over the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:20-21). We must repent of rejecting Genesis, Torah, and the Old Testament, and once again embrace the wisdom of God and the word of God, and teach its authority, and obey its authority from the very first verse. If the generation of the parents repent and obey (Deu 30:1-6), they will see the generation of the children be raised up in wisdom and faith in Christ Jesus.

2 timothy 3, out of them all the Lord delivered me

Read 2 Timothy 3 at Bible Gateway.

There are two important chiastic structures in this chapter. The first is a complex one:

1a) 2 Tim 3:1-9, Evil men and imposters in the last days:
— 1a) 2 Tim 3:1, But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come;
— 1b) 2 Tim 3:2-4, The ungodly men of the last days:
—— 1a) 2 Tim 3:2a, For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money;
—— 1b) 2 Tim 3:2b, Boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents;
—— 1c) 2 Tim 3:2c-3a, Unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving;
 —— central axis) 2 Tim 3:3b, Slanderers;
—— 2c) 2 Tim 3:3c, Without self-control, brutal, despisers of good;
—— 2b) 2 Tim 3:4a, Traitors, headstrong, haughty;
—— 2a) 2 Tim 3:4b, Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;
— 1c) 2 Tim 3:5, Having a form of godliness but denying its power + from such turn away;
— 1d) 2 Tim 3:6a, They creep into households + make captives of gullible women;
— central axis) 2 Tim 3:6b, Who are loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,
— 2d) 2 Tim 3:7, Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth;
— 2c) 2 Tim 3:8a, Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth;
— 2b) 2 Tim 3:8b, Men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;
— 2a) 2 Tim 3:9, They will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was;
1b) 2 Tim 3:10-11, You have carefully followed me and know what persecutions I endured;
central axis) 2 Tim 3:11b, And out of them all the Lord delivered me;
2b) 2 Tim 3:12, Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution;
2a) 2 Tim 3:13, But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

2 Timothy 3:12

First, the evil men and imposters of the last days. What are these evil men posing as, that makes them imposters? I believe they are posing as ministers of God or spiritual leaders of some kind, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. How on earth do they creep into households, making captives of gullible women? I believe one way is through the television, in these last days. What makes the women gullible, or susceptible to being deceived, is that they have a thirst for knowledge, but never arrive to a firm foundation of settled doctrine. Everything is always subject to change, based on the latest teaching they have heard. So how do these evil men profit from these gullible women? By some variation of, “Send your gift for the latest teaching, or for the biggest return from God.” If that is you or someone you know, I would pray for them, for deliverance from captivity and from being deceived, for deliverance from secret sins or guilt (perhaps they are only burdened because they have not forgiven themselves for that which God has already forgiven them), for settling them on a firm foundation in Christ, and for making the folly of the ungodly manifest to them also.

It is amazing to me that slander is the central axis of the embedded chiastic structure describing the ungodly and evil men of the last days. Slander is maligning the character or reputation of another. Webster’s says slander is the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation. One of the Ten Commandments is, Do not bear false witness, right up there with not stealing and not murdering.

Our country is full of political operatives whose job it is to defame and damage the reputations of their political opponents. Journalists and media bureaucrats do this all the time also, by suppressing stories beneficial to those they oppose or damaging to those they support and vice versa. And not just in politics, but church leaders who speak the truth, such as Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, are also routinely maligned by others who do not agree with them. I have even heard wives slander their husbands, all under the guise of getting together with the girls over coffee and catching up! As believers, when we speak about our leaders and those in authority, let our words be truthful and edifying, imparting grace to those who hear. Let us pray for them rather than curse them. And if we are unsure of the truth, it is better to keep silent than to slander.

Jannes and Jambres are the Egyptian court magicians who duplicated Moses’ first signs before Pharaoh, so that he was encouraged to harden his heart to Moses’ message. They bore false witness in their own way, for by their actions they made Moses’ message appear false, when it was Thus saith the Lord.