2 Timothy 3

These small group studies of 2 Timothy contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

2 Timothy 3 Inductive Bible Study

Verses 1-9

Discussion Questions

What does the phrase “having the appearance of godliness, but denying it’s power” mean?

What does it mean to avoid these types of people? If we see them on the street should we turn away from them?

What do these people do according to verse 6? Why do they target these vulnerable women? Are vulnerable men also targeted?

In verse 7, who is the one who is always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth? The weak women or the men such as these?

How can someone always be learning but never come to the knowledge of the truth?

Cross-References

Matthew 24:36-44 – No one knows the day or the hour.

Matthew 24:14 – The gospel will preached to to all nations and then the end will come.

2 Peter 3:3-4 – People will scoff and disbelieve the second coming.

Matthew 24:22 – For the sake of the elect those days were cut short.

Teaching Points

  1. The last days – We are in the last days now. Some people think that the world will get better and better until Jesus returns. This passage shows that this is not the case. There will be a lot of difficulties. There will be lots of sin. Here we see certain sins. These sins have always existed, but these sins specifically will increase to the point that they are marks of the last days.
  2. Discuss briefly each quality: Treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying it’s power.
  3. Increasing sin – We see many of these sins increasing. Almost every single one of these sins has been growing (at least in the West) over the past several decades. Many will be religious in name, but their lives will not be characterized by it. We see this happening all over the world in the church. Many pastors do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God. They do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. They do not believe in the Creation story. They do not live their lives by the truth of Scripture. Many Christians are Christians in name only. They want the psychological comfort of calling themselves Christians. It makes them feel safe. It makes them feel as if they are good. For many it is a tradition or a culture. Obviously we are not to be like this. We should stay far away from these sins as they typify those are worldly. Not only are we to not do these sins, but we are to avoid the people who practice these things. The companion of fools will suffer harm. Do not go to a church or fellowship where the people are worldly and deny the power of Scripture. We should not be attracted by the music or the programs or the buildings instead of the Word of God being taught truthfully. We can not straddle the fence. We should not try to keep one foot in this world and one foot in God’s kingdom. God wants us to be “all in” for Him. Before we go on, I would like each person to spend a moment looking over this list on their own. Consider which of these sins you struggle with the most. Let us have a moment of silent prayer. Each one of us can confess our sin to God and ask Him to help us overcome the area of our weakness.
  4. They take advantage – The men who practice these things also take advantage of the weak. They tempt women. They play on the emotions of the women. All along they have their own sinful motivation. They use the women. They exploit their need for companionship or need for security. They will use these people and then cast them aside and move on to something else. We are not to use people. We are not to take advantage of people. At the same time, we should be careful not to blindly follow others. We should be careful not to be led astray by various fleshly impulses. Use the discernment God has given you. Make use of the resources (Bible  and godly counselors) so that we ourselves will not follow these types of people.
  5. Always learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth – Learning is supposed to lead us somewhere. Studying should lead us to God. Studying or learning is a means to an end. It is a process which is meant to lead us to something else. Just as a baby does not always stay a baby, neither should we always be stuck as a student who is seeking (but never finds) the truth. Studying in university or getting various degrees is also a means to an end. What is the point of being a career student if you never put into practice what you have learned? Coming to Bible study is also a means to an end. The goal is that our lives will be changed. If you are not obeying and if it is not changing your life, it is not useful to come. We must dig deep into God’s Word to truly understand it. Then we must let the truth change our lives.
  6. Opposing the truth will end in epic failure. We don’t want to find ourselves opposed to God and His plans in any way or we will fall just as Jannes and Jambres did. For a period of time it appeared that they were opposing God successfully. They were able to imitate certain miracles. For a while they convinced Pharaoh that he could ignore God’s commands. But soon they were suffering from the same plagues as everyone else. These were men who claimed to be spiritual. They should have recognized that what was happening was actually from God and not a cheap magic trick. This was their profession. But instead of repenting and turning to God Almighty, they hardened their necks. Soon every capable minded person in Egypt could see that Moses was in the right and Jannes/Jambres were in the wrong. Their folly was exposed for all to see. Who else in the Bible openly opposed God? How did it turn out?

Verses 10-17

Discussion Questions

How does the passage starting in verse 10 connect to the previous passage? What is the focus of these verses?

In what ways had Timothy followed Paul’s example?

How was Paul persecuted at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra?

How do verses 10-17 connect with the overarching theme of 2 Timothy?

What does Paul mean that “from them all the Lord rescued me?” Does it mean he didn’t have to face persecutions anymore?

What promise is in verse 12? Is this one of the top cited promises of God in Scripture? Why or why not?

What should Timothy do knowing that he would be persecuted (14?)

From whom had he “learned it?” And why was this important?

What were the sacred writings he had been familiar with?

What exhortation for our own lives can we draw from this?

Imagine you are explaining verses 16 and 17 to an unbeliever, what would you say? So were the biblical authors like a pen in God’s hand, or like a scribe? What important biblical doctrine or doctrines can we get from these verses? What implication do they have for us?

Cross-References

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On Persecution

John 15:18 – If the world hates you, it has hated me before it hated you.

1 Peter 4:12-14 – Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you.

1 Peter 3:14-17 – It is better to suffer for doing good.

Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

Hebrews 12:3 – Jesus is our example so we don’t give up.

1 Peter 4:19 – Entrust our souls to God when we are persecuted.

Romans 8:35-37 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

On Inerrancy of Scripture

2 Peter 1:20-21 – Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 40:8 – The Word of the Lord endures forever.

Matthew 5:18 – Not a dot will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Matthew 24:35 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Teaching Points

  1. Verses 10-11 are in start contrast to 2-3. These two verses show the things we should be pursuing. Timothy had learned these character qualities from Paul. Let’s look at each of these one by one.
  2. Persecutions and sufferings – Jews from Antioch and Iconium chased Paul down and stoned him, leaving him for dead at Lystra. Timothy was supposed to “follow” these persecutions. As he followed Paul’s teaching, conduct, and purpose it would inevitably lead him to persecution (as we learn in verse 12). Timothy was not to let this sway him. In fact, this is the overarching theme of the entire book of 2 Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy to be strong in God’s grace and that he was not given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and faith. He wasn’t to be ashamed of Paul or afraid that he would face a similar fate. Instead he was to continue on the path God had prepared for him. He was to persevere. He was to stand firm. He must never give up, never compromise, never quit.
  3. The godly in Christ will be persecuted. This says “all” will be. Do not be surprised when persecution comes. We should expect it. Since we expect it we should prepare for it. We should be ready. Like Paul told Timothy, we should be strong in grace. We should not be ashamed of the Lord or of His people. Are we ready to give our lives for Christ? Are we ready to give our freedoms? Am I ready? While it seems like that day is far away, the world is changing. Governments are becoming increasingly opposed to the gospel. In our lifetimes we may see a large number of Christians all around the world being imprisoned or martyred for their faith. We should strengthen our relationship with God now so that we will be able to stand firm on the solid rock when the storms come. Application: We must not allow pressures or persecutions to keep us from identifying with Christ or serving Him. We must not be surprised when they come. We must develop a deep relationship with Christ so that the root we have in Him will allow us to stand unshaken when the storm winds blow.
  4. We are not to fall for imposters or deceivers (13). How can we keep from being deceived? How could Eve have kept from being deceived in the garden?
  5. Instead we are to continue on doing the things we have learned. A major theme of this book is Paul telling Timothy he should keep doing what he should do. Don’t give up. Don’t compromise. Don’t stop. Push forward. Each of us knows a lot. You know so many principles from the Bible. Many of us have studied 10 or 20 books of the Bible together for as much as 10 years. Are we doing the things we have learned? Imagine what kind of people we would be if we obeyed all!! I want to be that kind of person. How about you? As we will see in verses 16-17, the things we have learned are from God, which means they are true. God never lies. Since His Word is truth we should obey it.
  6. All Scripture is inspired by God – Not just part or most. All. He gives His Word for a specific reason. Here we see four purposes of God’s Word. If we focus on one to the exclusion of the others, we are not handling God’s truth correctly. If we focus on three, but miss one we are not using God’s Word correctly. We must do all four. If so, we will be properly equipped for every good work and we can properly equip others. What is one way you can show a deeper respect or love for Scripture?

Applications

How can you obey what you have learned in this lesson in your own life?

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