PMT-2015-016 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my continuing, lengthy study of 2 Tim 3 and its use in the eschatological debate, we now come to perhaps Paul’s most significant — and misunderstood! — statement:
“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)
This certainly seems to undermine the postmillennial hope in history. How can postmillennialism speak of the victory of the gospel leading to worldwide faith and righteousness among men — if all those who live godly in Christ are to be persecuted?
How did this study arise?
My study of this passage was prompted by apologist James White’s webcast critique of my views on 2 Timothy 3. Continue reading
PMT 2015-012 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
2 Tim 3 seems to undermine the postmillennial hope with it’s warning of “difficult times” (v 1), “arrogant revilers” (v 2), and “men of depraved mind” (v 8). But it actually does not — when properly interpreted.
In my last article I argued that Paul was specifically warning Timothy about evil people he is facing. In addition, I noted that the evil he must expect was not from external persecution, but internal defection by false teachers in the Ephesian church (as was Titus’ situation in Crete). And I observed that this is precisely what Paul predicted to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29–31:
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
In 2 Tim 3:2-5 Paul presents a vice list which, as we will see, applies to the “savage wolves” who are “speaking perverse things” in the Ephesian church “to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–31). Continue reading
PMT 2015-011 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am continuing a defense of postmillennialism in response to those who bring 2 Tim 3 to bear against it. This text is almost universally brought up in rebuttals of postmillennialism. And we can easily see why. Paul appears to be presenting a future quite at odds with the optimism of postmillennialism. when he writes: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come” (2 Tim 3:1).
I would like to provide more contextual background to 2 Tim 3 by surveying all three Pastoral Epistles. But due to space limitations and the nature of blogs, I will have to suppress that desire. Nevertheless, I hope the running commentary that I will provide on 2 Tim 3 will be insightful — even though lacking the fuller treatment.
In my two immediately preceding articles (PMT 2015-009 and 010) I focused on the important phrase “last days” in 2 Tim 3:1. And I would point out that in an even earlier study of this verse (PMT 2014-153) I presented the meaning of the “difficult times” that Paul foresees. In that article I was responding to the amillennial apologist, Dr. James White. I recommend consulting that article to supplement this one: (Click Here).
Briefly though, I argued there that Paul is not prophesying a future dominated by unrelenting “difficult times.” Rather he is warning that during the period of the last days (beginning with Christ’s ministry in the first century and continuing to the last day at the end of history), the church must expect periods of difficulty. A world of difference separates these two understandings. And that difference distinguishes optimistic postmillennialism from the pessimistic eschatologies of amillennialism, premillennialism, and the various branches of dispensationalism. What do I mean? Continue reading