The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), December 16
New ideas and new activities demand the invention of a new vocabulary.
The word “selfie” describes the 21st century cultural phenomenon of taking a digital self-portrait and editing it immediately with different filters, to publish it online and market oneself instantly through social media. The ability to take selfies and edit them reveals a fatal flaw in human nature: self-centeredness. We, rather than God, are the center of our universe.
Paul lists nineteen characteristics of those living in the last days: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:1-5a, emphasis added). He begins the list with “lovers of themselves.” Men have always been lovers of themselves, but technology provides a shameless expression of self-centeredness.
How does a follower of Christ live in such a world? Paul urges Timothy to observe his life and follow his example, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured” (3:10-11). Paul’s is a gospel-centered life—a life committed to Christ, following Christ, and embracing the difficulties that accompany such a life. He then points Timothy to the mirror that exposes self for what it is—the Word of God, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (3:16).
The Bible provides the “big story” or metanarrative of the world, where God is the center:
Doctrine: The Bible teaches man that God is holy, man is sinful, and that God moves towards man redemptively. It reveals who we are and why we are here, where we are headed, what’s wrong with us and our world, and how we may be right with God.
Reproof: The Bible demonstrates God’s judgment of sin. Sin is judged globally (flood), regionally (Sodom and Gomorrah), nationally (Israel), individually (Cain, Miriam, Aaron, Korah, etc.), and substitutionally (Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection).
Correction: The Bible confronts man’s rebellion and unbelief, reveals Christ as the fulfillment of all the promises and pictures of redemption, and discloses the narrow gate and narrow way of faith.
Instruction: Before the Fall and after the Fall, throughout the Bible, God speaks. God’s speaking always demands man’s faith in the goodness of God and the veracity of His word.
Filters allow us to improve the outside to market ourselves, while God requires man to repent of self-centeredness and embrace a God-centered lifestyle—like that of Paul.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (2 Tim. 2:1-4:18):
Paul uses three analogies to describe the Christian life in 2 Timothy 2:1-7. What components do these analogies share? How does this translate to his description of the worker in the remainder of chapter 2?
According to 2 Timothy 3:1-9, what describes those living in the last days? Review Exodus 7:11-13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32. What does this example from the Old Testament reveal about many leaders in the last days? What does Paul prescribe as the antidote to ungodly living?