Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things . . . Psalm 119:18 (ESV)
2 Timothy 3:3 (NIV84) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, The Holy Bible: New International Version (2 Ti 3:3). (1984). Zondervan.
Our focus is on the Greek word unforgiving. This comes from the description of people in the latter days by Paul. Look at the news tonight and see if it appears in the behavior of various groups.
3:1–5. As in his previous letter, Paul warned Timothy about the collapse predicted for the last days (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1–3), a term which includes the entire period between the first century and Christ’s return. During this interim, according to the prediction, the world will see terrible times of societal degeneration. Paul gave an extraordinary list (cf. Rom. 1:28–32) of 19 general characteristics believers should expect. People will be: (1) lovers of themselves (philautoi, “self-centered, narcissistic”); (2) lovers of money (philargyroi; cf. 1 Tim. 6:9–10); (3) boastful—the outward manifestation of the fact that inwardly they are (4) proud (“arrogant”); (5) abusive toward others, which translates blasphēmoi (“blasphemers”). Several of the words which follow begin in the Greek with the prefix a=, meaning “without” (as in moral-amoral, theist-atheist), signifying absence of the designated virtue. Thus people will be (6) disobedient (apeitheis) to their parents; (7) ungrateful (acharistoi); (8) unholy (anosioi); (9) without love (astorgoi, trans. “heartless” in Rom. 1:31, the only other place it is used in the NT); (10) unforgiving (aspondoi). Diaboloi, a word usually translated “devil” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:6–7; 2 Tim. 2:26), is used here with the root meaning (11) slanderous; (12) without self-control (akrateis); (13) brutal (anēmeroi, lit., “untamed,” the opposite of civilized);
Litfin, A. D. (1985). 2 Timothy. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 756). Victor Books.
The same evident reversal of moral values is also seen in five of the six vices mentioned in verse 3, the only word without the negative prefix being slanderous (diaboloi). The word translated unforgiving (aspondos) literally means ‘without a truce’, and therefore ‘implacable’. It describes an hostility so intense that a truce is impossible.
Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, pp. 174–175). InterVarsity Press.
The hostility against Judaeo-Christian values in our societies is unbelievable. But Paul warned us about the atmosphere in the last days. Jesus will bring the peace when He comes. Thank the Lord for His promises.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 119:18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.Copyright © Danny Sartin. All Rights Reserved.
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.