2 Timothy 3:7-12
2 Tim 3:7 (KJB)
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Ever - Always
Able - Have power to do or have capacity for
Here Paul gives the reality of being a false teacher. They may continually study and learn all kinds of theories and philosophies but they will never lead them to the truth. This is because the false teacher is an unbeliever and as we see in the word “able” in this verse, they do not have the capacity nor power to learn the truth. This is because if a person is an unbeliever, they do not have the Holy Spirit living in them. (Rom 8:9 KJV) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible is a closed book. You may glean some moral principles or surface principles but you will never get to the heart of what the Bible is all about without the Holy Spirit teaching you. This is why unbelievers who try to teach the Bible, teach only a few moral truths but never come to the truth about what the Bible is all about. (John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. As long as the person remains unsaved, they cannot come to the truth void of the Holy Spirit.
2 Tim 3:8 (KJB)
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
Withstood & Resist - Same word in the Greek - To oppose or stand against
Corrupt - Having been utterly corrupted
Reprobate - Depraved, disqualified, or unworthy
(Exo 7:10-12 KJV) And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. {11} Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. {12} For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. The wise men of Egypt, who were, in reality, sorcerers in Satanism had opposed Moses at Pharaoh’s Court. God had allowed Satan to be able to imitate only a few of the plagues for the purpose of hardening Pharaoh’s heart. (Exo 7:13 KJV) And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. Once that purpose was accomplished, Satan was no longer allowed to imitate the plagues. Jannes and Jambres would be good representatives of the kingdom of Satan who are always ready to oppose or stand against the true Gospel. Just as they resisted the truth of Moses in the court of Pharaoh, the false teachers also resist or withstand the truth which is taught from the Bible by introducing or attempting to amalgamate false teachings with Bible teachings to give their teachings some credence. However, their false gospel comes from two sources a corrupt mind making them reprobate or disqualified because they are walking in darkness and without the benefit of salvation, they will teach from a depraved, unsaved mind and their teachings will never save anyone, even themselves. This is why Paul had told Timothy to pay attention to his doctrine so it will saved him and those who hear him, which is a big difference from the false gospels of the false teachers.
2 Tim 3:9 (KJB)
But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
Shall proceed - Advance, gain, or profit
Folly - Foolishness
For the first few plagues, the sorcerers in Pharaoh’s court were riding high because they thought they had the power to create the plagues. However, once they were cognizant of the fact that their powers were limited only to those few plagues, they were then shown to be fakes because in the face of the great devastations the plagues of Moses were causing, they were absolutely powerless to match or even to stop them. God had allowed them only to go so far and that was it. The false teachers are the same way, their foolishness eventually is manifested to all that they are nothing more than fakes and frauds. Just as Jannes and Jambres had limited power and authority, so these false teachers will also be limited and that limit will eventually show what fakes they are. These false teachers may put on a good front that the love the Lord and that they are serving God, but soon God puts them to flight and opens their fraudulence to the world by exposing them for who they are. We saw many of these in our day. Paul Crouch of TBN paid his sodomite lover $435,000 to hush him up but the truth came out about him. Jim Bakker paid Jessica Hahn $265,000 to hush up their affair but it came out. Jimmy Swaggart tried to hide his visits to a prostitute but it came out. There are others but these will suffice to show that false teachers will not progress as they think they will because they will be exposed for what they are.
2 Tim 3:10 (KJB)
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Fully Known - Examined, followed closely or trace
Paul now makes a comparison between his true biblical lifestyle and those of the false teachers. He does not do this to puff himself up, but to show that he is a true believer because the difference between the lives of true and false believers are extremely obvious.
Doctrine - Paul’s doctrine was one of the Bible itself. Paul’s teachings always pointed people toward the Lord Jesus Christ and never to himself. The false teachers were always drawing people to themselves, as if they were some great thing.
Manner of Life - Timothy knew well Paul’s manner of life or conduct. He never did anything which would bring shame to the name of Christ nor after he became saved did he do anything to oppose the teachings of Christ. Paul’s manner of life was simple, even becoming a tent maker to support himself, which is in contrast to the money making schemes of the false teachers.
Purpose - Paul’s purpose being commissioned of the Lord was to not only preach the true Gospel of Christ but to establish churches where the new believers could go to learn and grow in the faith. Paul’s purpose was not for self-gain as the false teachers’ purpose was. If that was Paul’s purpose, he was very bad at it. Paul’s purpose was to bring the Gospel to the Jews and when they had rejected it, Paul then became the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Faith - Paul had taught that one was saved through faith and not through the law. When a person became saved, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit bestowed on believers was faith. Like every believer, before salvation we are spiritually dead and void of faith, and that included Paul, who found his strength in the works of the law. Once Paul became saved, he knew that it was by faith that we live and not the works of the law. The believer is imputed with the faith of Christ upon the moment of salvation. False teachers always teach that works must be used to accomplish salvation and they make it a process which is false. Salvation comes on a person in an instant and is not a process. The process that we go through is the process of sanctification which is the process of growth in our Christian walk. Sanctification always comes after salvation, never before.
Longsuffering - Paul was one who was longsuffering in his dealings with Christians. He was not easily provoked by those who opposed him but he turned every opportunity into one of witness. If Paul would have shown longsuffering in any situation, it was definitely with the church at Corinth which it seems was plagued with problems consistently but his love for them caused him to desire their obedience to the Lord and not hoping for judgment to fall on them. He took as long as he needed to help each church attain obedience to the Lord so they would exude a good testimony.
Charity - There is no doubt that Paul had a tremendous love for all those that he ministered to. Paul knew that the things he did for them would not be able to be requited but that never stopped him from putting these new Christians above any creature comforts of his own. Paul never gave half-hearted effort in anything that he did and he was not above suffering for those efforts. One only needs to read 2 Corinthians 11:16-33
Patience - This the endurance kind of patience. Paul had endured many sufferings and through them all he endured so he could continue on to the next ministry. I reference again 2 Corinthians 11. Paul had much patience with the churches especially Galatia where the Judaizers seemed to have much sway over the people and had even gotten them to believe that one must keep the works of the law along with grace for salvation. Paul did not give up on any of the churches but endured with them through many problems.
2 Tim 3:11 (KJB)
Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
Persecution - Paul was consistently being pursued by the Judaizers and those whose business he wrecked by bringing the true Gospel. (Acts 19:24-27 KJV) For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; {25} Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. {26} Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: {27} So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. In Ephesus, the smiths who supplied the idols for the local cult were fearful that they would be out of business if people became saved. Ephesus was the center of Diana worship and much money was to be made by selling silver idols. Whenever the true Gospel is preached and it threatens somebody’s business, the true preacher will be persecuted to the maximum.
Afflictions - Paul now gives three of the places where he faced afflictions or sufferings. He lists Antioch - (Acts 13:50 KJV) But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. Iconium - (Acts 14:5-6 KJV) And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, {6} They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: Lystra - (Acts 14:19 KJV) And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. If Paul was a false teacher, then he would not have been persecuted for his teaching but since he was bringing the true Gospel, he was persecuted and made to suffer but Paul states that the Lord had delivered him out of all of them.
Any time a true believer is going to bring the true Gospel in this world, they are going to suffer persecution and with that, they will also suffer afflictions. This world is hostile to the Gospel and will be until the last day but it is our responsibility to get the true Gospel out and if we face afflictions, the Lord will deliver us from it, especially if He has further ministry for us, as He did for Paul and gave him strength of body and strength of spirit to face his persecutors.
2 Tim 3:12 (KJB)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Shall suffer persecution - Will be persecuted
Here is the reality for all Christians who bring the true Gospel. It is not maybe we will be persecuted or might be, we will be. The word in the Greek for “shall suffer persecution” is a single word and it is in the future tense and passive voice. This means that persecution will be part of the believer’s life as long as they are alive and the passive voice means that the persecution will be inflected by an outside source. It could be a single individual or a group, but the fact is that if you bring the true Gospel, you will be persecuted. If you are a Christian and have never been persecuted, then you need to ask if you are bringing a gospel which is acceptable to the world, such as the social gospel, the psychology gospel, the works gospel, the health and wealth gospel, etc. If you have never been chided for bringing the Gospel you do, then you have a false gospel because the True Gospel does not mix with worldly teachings and goes against the grain of this world’s belief systems. If you live a godly life in Christ and do not mix the true Gospel with anything, then persecution is a guarantee but the rewards are eternal.