And know that until the very last day grievous times will be with us. Men shall be lovers of themselves, [which means] lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, profane, without natural bonds [weirdly configured], reneging on promises made, slanderers, unable to control themselves, wild, despicable, treacherous, reckless, wound up, ever [bent upon] seeking their own pleasure [rather] than seeking God, having a form of spiritual integrity but living in flagrant denial of its potency. Turn away from such people.
     [Why?] Because these are the self-same creepy types who extend their sticky influence in households, where they entrap [hijack, ambush] naïve [feeble] women who are already overwhelmed with a sense of their sins, leading them further away with their own desires, continually learning more and more things, but never coming to understand the truth.
     Just as Jannes and Jambres mutinied against Moses so also these [with their captives] stand irrevocably opposed to the truth, men of a [deeply] compromised outlook, wholly worthless and without the stamp of integrity, that results from having their faith tried and assessed. But that is as far as they get. Their folly shall be plain for all to see, just as was the case in times past for these others [I have just mentioned]. - II Timothy 3:1-9/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne.

 Danger sign

Paul here warns Timothy of who to avoid in going about God's work. PICTURE: Joey Banks/Unsplash

 

"In contrast to Timothy's charge to be “gentle toward all” and “humble” when dealing with his opponents (2:24-25), we have here a long list - in the form of “these are the generations of Jannes and Jambres” - itemising the characteristics and consequences of those whose stand is irrevocably opposed to the truth."

Reminding Timothy of the need to continually avoid the creepy types and their way of life, Paul adds that such purveyors of false religion will only be removed from the scene completely when God Himself brings all things into judgement, which He will do in His own time for all to see.

Here is a list of types of degradation, of perversions. It coincides with attempts by men and women to make themselves look spiritually healthy. But it is all two faced, treacherous, bent upon simply finding pleasure for oneself as the meaning and purpose of life. And we should keep in mind what Paul says about the need for the teacher of the Good News to avoid wrangling over words. Such false religion thrives on such wordy constructions.

The momentum such a “way of life” gains is from the power such redefined words have upon those already weak and feeble, the vulnerable who nevertheless are unable to tolerate the solid food of sound and nourishing doctrine.

But, as in times past, such rebellion is, when all is said and done, self-defeating.

It would seem that Paul is condemning these people along with those who mercilessly exploit them. The point is that there is no lasting endorsement [DOKIMAZO] to be gained from those who are enfeebled and unable to understand what is being taught so that they simply “go with the flow”. They are on their way to condemnation when they allow themselves to be entrapped in such unhealthy doctrines.

This work has nothing to do with exploiting the vulnerable, and Paul strictly advises Timothy that his task is to build people up in the faith and avoid wrangling over words.

This is the explanation to Timothy of how he, the workman, who is not ashamed of the endorsement [DOKIMON] he receives for his work (2:15), needs to deepen his appreciation of the contrast with those who, grasping for endorsement [ADOKIMOI] (3:15), miss it entirely.

In contrast to Timothy's charge to be “gentle toward all” and “humble” when dealing with his opponents (2:24-25), we have here a long list - in the form of “these are the generations of Jannes and Jambres” - itemising the characteristics and consequences of those whose stand is irrevocably opposed to the truth.