v1-13 - This chapter opens with a description of what things will be like in the last days, but v2-5 sound and awful lot like many people in this day and age. So is this a sign we're living in "the last days?" Well, yes and no. Yes in the fact that all of the last two thousand years since Jesus ascended into heaven can be considered the last days, and no when we remember that God's perception of time is much different than ours. Now it certainly may be that the Lord returns before this post ever gets published, but since v2-5 are an accurate description for nearly every age since Paul wrote them, it becomes very hard (and dangerous) to point to any specific event or condition and conclude that it's a sign Jesus is about to come back.
There's some tension between v5, which says that we must not have anything to do with the type of people being described here, and what we read yesterday in 2:25, where we're instructed to 'gently instruct opponents in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of truth."
How do you know who to have patience with and who to put out of your life? It seems to be a matter of degree.
The farther a person slips away from God, the more difficult it is to pull them back.
God can certainly save anyone, but that doesn't necessarily mean He's calling you to put yourself in spiritual danger required to rescue one so far out.
v14-17 - Once again, we're reminded that the Christian life is one in which we're called to separate ourselves from the rest of the herd. Don't follow the crowd, rather continue "in what you've learned;" Remember, Christianity is an intellectual pursuit, so make sure that you can articulate what you've come to know. This takes lots of repetition and continued discipline. If you don't know what you've learned, how can you continue in it?
What you've learned must be based on what you've read in God's Word.
What an amazing way to summarize what it means that the Bible was certainly written by men, but that God was breathing through those men as they wrote. This is why there's so many different styles and genres in the Bible, because God used the personalities and experiences of so many different men over thousands of years. Yet we can truly say that these are God's Words which authoritatively determine absolute truth, and guide us through every situation in life to salvation through Jesus Christ.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Paul says that persecution will come to a certain group of people. How does he describe these people? (See verse 12.)
What would you say are the most important verbs—the action words—in this chapter?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God who has revealed Himself to us in His Word (v16)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to enable you to continue in what you have learned and become convinced of (v14)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: