Today’s Passage: 2 Timothy 3:6-9
In 2 Timothy, an underlying theme seems to be that enduring in the faith is complicated in part because of the people around us. Faith does not exist on an island. (There would still be struggles there if it did though because of the human factor)! God is working and growing the gift of faith in us in the midst of a world full of people on various missions and agendas.
This short book highlights how people can encourage us in the faith, give us a faithful inheritance, move us into deeper prayer for others, distract us with versions of the truth, influence us, and more. So it is not surprising that this passage continues with more types of people we encounter in faith and ministry.
In 2 Timothy 3:6-8, Paul describes people who actively pull others away from the fold and directly oppose truth.
Have you ever encountered someone who seemed on mission to go against everything you did for God?
Paul uses as an example two people who I did not know from my OT readings, so this became a fun passage for me to dig around and learn something new. A 1994 book, The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres the Magicians, edited by Albert Pietersma, is one example of a number of works by scholars who translate ancient texts that reference Jannes and Jambres. Of the sources I reviewed, this one was useful because the introduction discusses and shows the strengths and weaknesses of various sources talking about the two men. To make a long academic debate short, Pietersma demonstrates that although Jannes and Jambres are not mentioned in the Old Testament, they are referenced in all sorts of Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, and other classical documents as two of the Egyptian magicians who challenged Moses before Pharaoh. The widespread nature of these tales makes it arguably that Paul had long heard these names and by the Holy Spirit’s direction included them here as they would have been known to his audience at the time. Jannes and Jambres were quite possibly men who had once served as Moses’ teachers or as his contemporaries when he was raised in Pharoah’s household.
Knowing this gave me a clearer picture of the type of opposition Paul is talking about here. He is not just addressing “haters” or people who might “throw shade” at us. He is talking about direct, in your face, “pulling out all the stops” opposition.
How do we stand in the face of direct opposition?
Paul reminds Timothy that in the end, those who stand against him will be exposed and their efforts will be as folly (2 Tim. 3:9). The Bible gives us so much encouragement to keep pressing on when the world is standing against us. We must remember that God is our refuge, and He is with us in times of trouble (Psalms 46:1-7). That He will direct our steps and fight our battles (Joshua 6). We must continue to pray and trust God and know that He is for us and will frustrate the plans of our opposition in ways we cannot imagine (Nehemiah 4).
Yes, opposition will come. And sometimes it will be in our face, seeking to undermine everything we do in the faith. Our job is to stand firm, listen to God, and get ready to move with Him as He works on our behalf.