God inspired Paul to write to the loyal Christian Timothy much fine counsel that helped him to lead a more successful and happier life. Part of what Paul wrote was to have prime application in our day. Even if you feel you know them well, follow closely now the prophetic words at 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Paul wrote: “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.”
Please note, there were 19 things listed. Before we examine these and come into position to benefit, get the overview. Look at verse 1. Paul foretold: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” What “last days”? There have been many last days, such as the last days of ancient Pompeii or the last days of a king or a ruling family. Even the Bible mentions a number of last days, such as the last days of the Jewish system. (Acts 2:16, 17) Jesus, though, laid the basis for us to understand that “the last days” Paul mentioned refer to our time.
Jesus did so with a parable about wheat and weeds. These were sown in a field and left to grow. He said that the wheat and the weeds stand for people—true Christians and false ones. We bring up this parable because it establishes that a long period of time would pass before the conclusion of the entire wicked system. When that arrived, something would be in full bloom. What? Apostasy, or the turning aside from true Christianity, resulting in a bumper crop of wickedness. Other Bible prophecies confirm that this would occur during the last days of the wicked system. That is where we are, in the conclusion of the system of things.—Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
Do you see the import? Second Timothy 3:1-5 gives us a parallel indication that during the conclusion of the system, or last days, the fruitage all around Christians would be bad. Paul was not saying that the 19 things listed would be the prime way to prove that the last days had arrived. Rather, he was warning about what we would have to contend with during the last days. Verse 1 speaks of “critical times hard to deal with.” That expression is from the Greek, and it literally means “appointed times fierce.” (Kingdom Interlinear) Do you not agree that “fierce” aptly describes what we are facing today? This inspired passage goes on to give divine insight into our time.
Our interest in this prophecy should allow us to identify tragic examples of how critical, or fierce, our period is. Recall our two key points: (1) to identify problems that make our times hard and to see how to avoid them; (2) to follow teachings that are truly practical and that can help us to enjoy a better life. So rather than stressing negatives, we will focus on teachings that can help us and our families in these times hard to deal with.