Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead.
As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse,
dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical,
treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God.
They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people.
These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself "truth."
They get exploited every time and never really learn.
These men are like those old Egyptian frauds Jannes and Jambres, who challenged Moses. They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself.
But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them, just as people saw through that Egyptian hoax.
You've been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience,
troubles, sufferings - suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. And you also well know that God rescued me!
Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there's no getting around it.
Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They're as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.
But don't let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers -
why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother's milk! There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another - showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way.
Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)