Paul’s mandate is set against the backdrop of the destructive behaviors of people without God. Negatively, perilous times will happen in the last days (2 Tim. 3:1). Perverse people (2 Tim. 3:2-4) and pious fakes (2 Tim. 3:5-9) mark these times.107 They “will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13, ESV).
Positively, however, Timothy’s past behavior shows firmness in following apostolic teaching (2 Tim. 3:10). He demonstrates faithfulness in following the character and conduct of Paul (2 Tim. 3:11-12). Paul now directs Timothy to do one thing. Against the progressing cycle of deception, Timothy is to continue in the content of Scripture, and his conviction of it (2 Tim. 3:14). He is to put his full confidence in the Inspired Writings.
The foundation of this confidence is the inherent power of the Word. Such power is proven in the lives of Paul, Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and even in his own personal life (2 Tim. 3:14). Timothy must stand firm on the solid rock of God’s Word.108 Only the Sacred Writings are able to give wisdom leading to salvation. It saves from the power of sin and the peril of false teaching (2 Tim. 3:15). Every word in Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). It has the power to produce belief and transform behavior (2 Tim. 3:16). It is sufficient for salvation and spiritual living. It can equip the man of God, making him competent to complete every good work (2 Tim. 3:17).
Paul charges Timothy, then, to preach this Word (2 Tim. 4:1). Timothy’s job is to get the Word out. He is to exegete the Word accurately and expound it carefully (2 Tim. 2:15). Here we see the seven characteristics of that charge: its source, seriousness, solemnity, substance, subject, spirit, and season.
107Dwight Edwards, “2 Timothy: Call to Completion.” Cited __ Online: http://www. bible.org/page.asp?page_id=2111>
108 Dwight Edwards, “2 Timothy: Call to Completion.” Cited __ Online: http://www. bible.org/page.asp?page_id=2111.