“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:10-17).
When I think of 2 Timothy 3, my thoughts go immediately to the great words of Paul concerning the Word of God – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (verse 16), “the Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (verse 15). These words are part of a call to press on to our maturity in Christ – “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (verse 17).
While we may focus on these verses for their most important teaching concerning Christian faith and life, we should not gloss over verses 10-14. They tell us about the context in which we are to live the life of faith. They tell us that it won’t be easy. Paul had a hard time – “persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra – what persecutions I endured.” He does say, “out of then all the Lord delivered me” (verse 11) – but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he suffered much persecution in his life as a faithful follower of Christ. The Lord was with him – but, still, he was persecuted. What about us? How will life be for us – if we are serious about following Christ? This question is answered in verse 12 – “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (verse 12). If we are content to pay lip-service without really being serious about living for Him, we won’t experience persecution. We’ll be too like the world for anyone to bother persecuting us. If, however, we make it clear that we’re determined to live the Lord’s way and not the world’s way, we will be persecuted. The world’s way is not the Lord’s way – “evi l men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (verse 13) . This is why we need to hear and heed Paul’s words: “But you must continue in the things you have learned …” (verse 14).
As I was writing these thoughts on living as a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, my thoughts turned to a song called “Strong Convictions”, especially these words:
“I’ve got strong convictions about the way that I live. I’ve got no concessions that I’m willing to give. Strong convictions that are worth living for, strong convictions till the day that I die.”
Here’s a link to the song: Petra – Strong Convictions – YouTube