2 Timothy 3:1 in the last days perilous times shall come
Howard W. Hunter
"In this last dispensation there will be great tribulation. (See Matt. 24:21.) We know that there will be wars and rumors of wars (see D&C 45:16) and that the whole earth will be in commotion (see D&C 45:26). All dispensations have had their perilous times, but our day will include genuine peril. (See 2 Tim. 3:1.) Evil men will flourish (see 2 Tim. 3:13), but then evil men have very often flourished. Calamities will come and iniquity will abound. (See D&C 45:27.)
"Inevitably the natural result of some of these kinds of prophecies is fear, and that is not fear limited to a younger generation. It is fear shared by those of any age who don't understand what we understand.
"But I want to stress that these feelings are not necessary for faithful Latter-day Saints, and they do not come from God. To ancient Israel, the great Jehovah said:
'Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. ...
And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.' (Deut. 31:6, 8.)" ("An Anchor to the Souls of Men," Ensign, Oct. 1993, 71)
Dean L. Larsen
"The challenging conditions we find in the world today should be no surprise to us. As we approach the time of the Savior's return, wickedness will increase. There will be more temptations in our daily lives, and they will become more intense. It will become more acceptable in the world to break the laws of God or to disregard them altogether. The stigma attached to immoral, dishonest behavior will disappear.
"In this difficult environment we will be expected to steer our own course in an upward direction. As President Kimball has warned us, it will neither be acceptable nor safe to remain on the plateaus where our present conduct has kept us. Abrupt downward forces, represented by increasing wickedness in the world, can only be offset by forces that move correspondingly upward. Our lives must be better than they have ever been before. This simply means that we will become increasingly different from those around us whose lives follow the world's way. It is not easy to be different. There are intense pressures that work against us. But we must clearly understand that it is not safe to move in the same direction the world is moving, even though we remain slightly behind the pace they set. Such a course will eventually lead us to the same problems and heartaches. It will not permit us to perform the work the Lord has chosen us to do. It would disqualify us from his blessing and his protecting care." ("A Royal Generation," Ensign, May 1983, 34)
Neil L. Andersen
"Ours is a day long foreseen. We live in the perilous times spoken of by the Apostle Paul...And yet, we should not be intimidated or overly alarmed. These events have all been foreseen. In this deteriorating situation, the kingdom of God will strengthen. President Brigham Young prophesied, 'It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise' (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, p. 72)." ("Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets," Ensign, Apr. 1996, 44-45)
Elray L. Christiansen
"Now, despite these conditions that Paul described, this is a favored time and a favored day of the Lord. We ought to be thankful that we live in this particular day, notwithstanding all the fears and the troubles and the anxieties which come upon us because of unsettled conditions that prevail in the world. Our gratitude comes mainly because we are the glad recipients of the restored gospel brought back to earth in the fulfillment of prophecy, in its fulness as a prescription for successful living and for salvation. There is no need to walk in darkness or in uncertainty. In our day the Church has the vision and the inspiration and the word of the Lord to give to the people to keep them from the pitfalls of life, from sorrow, regret, and failure." (Conference Report, April 1963, Afternoon Meeting 68 - 69.)
2 Timothy 3:2 lovers of their own selves
Mark E. Petersen
"What does it mean to be 'lovers of our selves'? In short it simply means to be selfish-self-centered and self-seeking.
"And what does all this selfishness lead to? All the evils of life: crime, immorality, divorce, unkindness, dishonesty, avarice, pleasure-seeking, war-in fact the whole list of offenses involved in man's inhumanity to man.
"Selfishness is one of the main reasons why some love pleasure more than God, and why they are content with a form of godliness while denying the power thereof.
"It is what makes people want to 'have their cake and eat it too,' to use a much worn but descriptive expression. They want to 'straddle the fence.' They endeavor to serve two contrary masters at the same time, hoping in their selfishness to get gain from both.
"They seek to palliate their religious consciences with a form of godliness and still enjoy the worldly things. This is why their hearts are far from the Lord since they are more interested in self-aggrandizement than anything else.
"They deny the power of godliness because it is the antithesis of selfishness. It teaches men to do unto others as they would be done by, to love their neighbors as themselves, to be 'Good Samaritans,' to go the extra mile, to give their coat and their cloak as well, to be peacemakers, merciful, just, kind and forgiving...When we become lovers of our own selves we undermine the very foundations on which we stand. We build in ourselves a false sense of security." (The Way to Peace [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 33-34)
2 Timothy 3:2-3 disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Paul warned that in the last days men would be unthankful, unholy, disobedient to parents, without natural affection (see 2 Tim. 3:1-3). One need not look far in the homes of our time to see that prophecy being fulfilled. And yet I have witnessed a repudiation of that insofar as many are concerned. In my visits with our young missionaries, I have heard hundreds of our young men and women stand on their feet and express their feelings. Almost without exception they speak words of appreciation, of thankfulness for their parents. What a remarkably refreshing thing it is to hear young men and women, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, and twenty-two years of age, stand before one another and, in the quiet confidences of such a meeting, say, 'I really appreciate my dad.' 'I love my mother.' They are not maudlin; they are manly, athletic, able young men and womanly girls of charm and education. Their words come from the heart. Those sentiments in this day are as a cool and refreshing breeze on a hot and humid night." ("Be Not Afraid, Only Believe," Ensign, Feb. 1996, 5)
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away
"Any creed, doctrine, philosophy, precept, practice, ordinance, or teaching that deliberately or inadvertently leads people from the saving power of Christ and his gospel is an abomination. In this sense, anything that deviates from truth or the divine authority of God, even slightly, lacks godliness; from such we should turn away.
"The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the power of godliness is manifest in the ordinances of his priesthood. 'Without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.' (D&C 84:20-21.)
"Gospel ordinances that resemble in form those that Deity has declared necessary for salvation but that lack divine priesthood authority, are not accepted by God and therefore lack the power to save souls. Furthermore, no matter how sincere a person's intentions may be in performing or receiving a gospel ordinance, if the ordinance is performed without authority recognized by God, it has no power to save.
"As a result, God's work-which is 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39)-is hindered. Thus, anything that hinders God's work, intentionally or not, is an abomination." (Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., "I Have a Question," Ensign, July 1987, 65)
Bruce R. McConkie
"A form of godliness without saving power! A hollow shell shattered into many fragments! An illusive image without substance! An imitation of what God had aforetime revealed through Peter and Paul! A system of so-called Christianity which worshiped a God without power, a God who gave no revelations, unfolded no visions, worked no miracles, and had forgotten the unchangeable pattern of the past! All Christendom wallowing in the mire and filth of apostasy!" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 112.)
2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth
"I think we have to be careful about getting in a mode in which we are 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth' (2 Tim. 3:7)...It almost seems that the literary people do not really want answers; they only want information. Answers have become a contradiction of their goal. It is a paradox that the philosopher and the worldly-wise place great emphasis on the proliferation of words and ideas but object to coming to final answers. Knowledge is what they set out to learn, but the more they learn the less willing they are to accept or arrive at answers. I think that may be why many of the learned have not accepted the Restoration more readily: clear, simple answers are repugnant to their network of suppositions; they do not like absolutes...possession of the truth makes much of man's philosophy invalid." (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 146.)
Marion G. Romney
"That man is a child of God is the most important knowledge available to mortals. Such knowledge is beyond the ken of the uninspired mind. Neither logic, science, philosophy, nor any other field of worldly learning has ever been, or ever will be, able to find it out. Those who limit their search to such learning techniques will continue to be as they have always been, 'Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.' (2 Tim. 3:7.)
"The only means by which such knowledge can be had is divine revelation. Fortunately for us, as has already been shown, it has been so revealed repeatedly from Adam until today." ("Man-A Child of God," Ensign, July 1973, 14)
Neal A. Maxwell
"...was it not God who, from the beginning, reminded earthlings that the wisdom of men is foolishness? ...This mortal shortfall not only results from the tiny databank men have accumulated-compared to God's-but it also occurs because of the quality and nature of such information as men have collected in that tiny databank. Mortals are, in fact, 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.' (2 Timothy 3:7.) So much of the secular data men have accumulated is accurate, but ultimately unimportant. Even learning useful things has often diverted mankind from learning crucial things." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 22.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"One might learn, for instance, a great deal about the physical characteristics of this planet earth, but yet be ignorant of why it was created in the first place. (See Isa. 45:18; 1 Ne. 17:36; Moses 1:33, 39.)" ("The Inexhaustible Gospel," Ensign, Apr. 1993, 70)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Without divine guidance, our cerebral calisthenics, though often fascinating to engage in, can be empty exercises." (Cory H. Maxwell, ed., The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 186.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Traveling the information highway is no substitute for walking the straight and narrow path. Being saturated with data even brings to mind a prophecy about those who are 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth' (2 Timothy 3:7). Megabytes, however large and helpful, are no substitute for partaking of the bread of life." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 93.)
Boyd K. Packer
"A number of years ago there was a student at Columbia University who was known as the 'perennial student.' He had been left an inheritance which stipulated that it should continue as long as he was engaged in collegiate study. Thereafter, the income was to go to a charity.
"This man remained a student until he died. It was said that he had been granted every degree offered by Columbia University and had taken practically every course. No field of knowledge was foreign to him. He was probably more widely read than the best of his professors. He was described as the 'epitome of erudition,' But he could not possibly be described as educated. He fit the description of those spoken of in the scripture who are 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth' (2 Timothy 3:7). He was inherently selfish. What a pity! What a waste!" (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 26.)
2 Timothy 3:8-9 Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses
By Jewish tradition and apocryphal sources, Jannes and Jambres are the Egyptian magicians who mimicked Moses in turning their staffs into serpents. But Aaron's staff consumed theirs and thereby 'their folly [was] manifest unto all men.' (Ex. 7:10-13)
"For assuredly Moses, being sent by God into Egypt, did many miracles, which the Lord commanded him to do before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And there were there Jannes and Jambres, servants of Pharaoh, and they also did not a few of the miracles which Moses did; and the Egyptians took them to be gods-this Jannes and this Jambres. But, since the miracles which they did were not of God, both they and those who believed in them were destroyed." (New Testament Pseudepigrapha, The Gospel of Nicodemus, The Acts of Pilate, chap. 5)
2 Timothy 3:12 all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution
Joseph F. Smith
"'And ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake.' (Matt. 10:22.) 'If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you.' (John 15:20.) 'In the world ye shall have tribulation.' (John 16:33.) 'Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.' (Matt. 5:11.) 'Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.' (2 Tim. 3:12.) Therefore, 'Marvel not my brethren if the world hate you.' (1 John 3:13.) 'Yea the time cometh that whoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.' (John 16:2.) This was the nature of the legacy the Savior left his disciples and followers. Is it strange that we should inherit the same? Certainly not, if we are the disciples and followers of Christ, for the same warfare continues between him and Belial, and will until Satan is bound and righteousness triumphs upon the earth." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 19: 25 - 26.)
2 Timothy 3:13 evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived
John K. Carmack
"...'evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived' (2 Tim. 3:13). These words state a prophecy about the existence of evil humans and their fate. They lose the ability to deal with others in a truthful, straightforward way, but in addition to using deception, they themselves are deceived. We cannot afford to be involved with such people.
"We can discern that we are dealing with totally evil and corrupt people when the truth is so completely corrupted that we must discount everything they say. When we discover through experience that someone will twist and use every word we say against us, it is further evidence we are dealing with such persons. They may masquerade as good Church members or as angels of light. We should be wary of Church members who use their membership as the reason why we should do business with them or invest in the venture they are promoting. Shakespeare's Hamlet observed that 'one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.'" (Tolerance: Principles, Practices, Obstacles, Limits [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 68.)
2 Timothy 3:14 knowing of whom thou hast learned them
Boyd K. Packer
"Once, in company with Elder Gene R. Cook and the mission president, we traveled in a very remote region on the Altiplano, or high plain, in Bolivia. We had traveled much of the day in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. We had crossed an arm of Lake Titicaca on an ancient ferry. We followed mountain roads first built by the ancient Incan Indians...The distance and forbidding terrain made this, I'm sure, as remote from Church headquarters as any place on earth.
"The chapel had a dirt floor and rude hand-hewn benches. The interior walls had been whitewashed. Hanging on the front wall were three pictures: the President of the Church and his two counselors-the First Presidency.
"I repeat the words of Paul:
'Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, ... knowing of whom thou hast learned them.' (2 Tim. 3:14; italics added.)
"Even in that remote little branch the members could identify those who hold the keys of authority.
"It is not unusual to see pictures of General Authorities in church buildings across the world. These pictures appear in Church publications. Whenever there is a change, new pictures appear. Now, with the sustaining of a new Presiding Bishopric and the calling of other Brethren, their pictures will appear in the news and eventually in chapels across the world.
"Those who know me well know that I very much dislike to see pictures of myself displayed. But I endure that, as do the other Brethren, for very good reason.
"There is purpose in members of the Church everywhere in the world being able to identify the general and local authorities. In that way they can know of whom they learn." ("From Such Turn Away," Ensign, May 1985, 34)
2 Timothy 3:15 from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures
"Timothy was converted by Paul in Lystra at a young age and may have been as young as 15. How difficult it must have been for his mother and grandmother to send him away with Paul at such a tender age. His further training was completed by Paul, who loved him as his own son and spoke of him always with great pride. Although only one verse tells of Timothy's grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5), we see their likenesses reflected in the man he became. His loyalty and devotion, his willingness to consecrate his all to the cause of Christ, his capacity for selflessness, gentleness, and love-all were qualities present in this youth who left his home to become a champion for Christ. These same qualities allowed his mother and grandmother to send him away with their confidence and trust. Paul planted gospel seeds in fertile ground that had been prepared by two loving women." (Ann N. Madsen, "Cameos: The Women of the New Testament," Ensign, Sept. 1975, 43)
Harold B. Lee
"Youth should let no day pass without reading from these sacred books. But it is not enough merely to learn of His life and works by study. It was the Master who replied in answer to the question as to how one might know of Him and His doctrine: 'If any man will do his will, he shall know' (John 7:17). Would you think an authority on science to be one who had never experimented in a laboratory? Would you give much heed to the comments of a music critic who did not know music or an art critic who didn't paint? Just so, one like yourself who would 'know God' must be one who does His will and keeps His commandments and practices the virtues Jesus lived." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 150.)
2 Timothy 3:15 the holy scriptures...are able to make thee wise unto salvation
Ezra Taft Benson
"The Apostle Paul also saw our day. He described it as a time when such things as blasphemy, dishonesty, cruelty, unnatural affection, pride, and pleasure seeking would abound. (See 2 Tim. 3:1-7.) He also warned that 'evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.' (2 Tim 3:13.)
"Such grim predictions by prophets of old would be cause for great fear and discouragement if those same prophets had not, at the same time, offered the solution. In their inspired counsel we can find the answer to the spiritual crises of our age.
"In his dream, Lehi saw an iron rod which led through the mists of darkness. He saw that if people would hold fast to that rod, they could avoid the rivers of filthiness, stay away from the forbidden paths, stop from wandering in the strange roads that lead to destruction." ("The Power of the Word," Ensign, May 1986, 79-80)
Ezra Taft Benson
"Paul's message is the same as Lehi's. After portraying the terrible wickedness of future times-future to him, but present to us!-he said this to Timothy: '
'But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned...
From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.' (2 Tim. 3:14-15; italics added.)
"My dear brethren, this is an answer to the great challenge of our time. The word of God, as found in the scriptures, in the words of living prophets, and in personal revelation, has the power to fortify the Saints and arm them with the Spirit so they can resist evil, hold fast to the good, and find joy in this life." ("The Power of the Word," Ensign, May 1986, 80)
Ezra Taft Benson
"Immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles that are found therein. There are few other efforts that will bring greater dividends to your calling. There are few other ways to gain greater inspirations as you serve." ("The Power of the Word," Ensign 16 (May 1986): 81.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Besides the almost constant encouragement and promptings which we receive from our present-day leaders, the prophets of old seem to cry out to us in almost every page of the scriptures, urging us to study the word of the Lord, the holy scriptures, 'which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' (2 Tim. 3:15.) But we do not always hear, and we might well ask ourselves why.
"Sometimes it seems we take the scriptures too much for granted because we do not fully appreciate how rare a thing it is to possess them, and how blessed we are because we do have them. We seem to have settled so comfortably into our experiences in this world and become so accustomed to hearing the gospel taught among us that it is hard for us to imagine it could ever have been otherwise.
"But we need to understand that it has only been 165 years since the world emerged from the long night of spiritual darkness that we call the Great Apostasy. We need to sense something of the depth of the spiritual darkness that prevailed before that day in the spring of 1820 when the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith-a darkness which was foreseen by the prophet Nephi and described as 'that awful state of blindness' in which the gospel was withheld from man. (See 1 Ne. 13:32.)" ("How Rare a Possession-The Scriptures," Ensign, July 1985, 3)
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture...is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction
Neal A. Maxwell
"Samuel Johnson observed 'people more frequently need to be reminded than instructed.' If heeded, the lessons from the past can deflect us from present wrong ways or wrong intents. 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness' (2 Timothy 3:16).
"Sometimes people are willing to hear 'a voice from the dust' when they will not listen to a contemporary voice of a loving parent, spouse, or child. The sweep of scriptural history makes accessible the cumulative and 'sad experience' of yesterday's sinners." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 184.)