Today’s readings.. (Joshua 12), (Isaiah 16), (2 Timothy 2) `
“But understand this,” that is how our reading in 2 Timothy Chapter 3 starts; Paul’s thoughts flow on from the previous chapter. Chapter 3 is familiar to most as a chapter often used at talks about “the last days”. The chapter brings out two particular points. It states in the first verse that there will be times of stress, when life is perilous “in the last days” and second, that “all scripture is breathed out (inspired) by God” and is therefore “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” [v.17] and makes us “wise for salvation” and that Timothy has had the benefit of being acquainted with them from childhood [v.15] as we commented yesterday.
This shows the primary reason why we should read the Bible every day. The Bible reading system most use is invaluable for it is not wise to only read the parts we find interesting. We need a balanced meal.
Looking back again at the first verse, we see it is a flow on of thought from Chapter 2, (men have put in the chapter breaks). Paul is primarily talking about the attitude among believers in the last days! Although it also applies to some extent to the world at large, it is believers who will be “lovers of self … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” [v.2,5] While we can point to much evidence of this among the main churches and the bad press they often receive, it is vital we keep focussed on our own hearts and attitudes. The reality that we are “lovers of God” must become evident in all our thoughts and, as a result, will show in all the things we do.
The warning “the time is coming” is again put very frankly in the 4th chapter, a time when “people will not endure sound teaching … and turn away from listening to the truth …” [v.3-4] Finally, Paul completes his last letter by saying he is aware he is about to die. How wonderfully he spells out his conviction of the future in store for him in verses 7 and 8; “I have fought the good fight … I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to …” To you? To me? Let us keep the faith and make sure we are “lovers of God.”