2 Timothy 3:1-9, (DRB):

1Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. 2Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, 3Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, 4Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God: 5Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid. 6For of these sort are they who creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires: 7Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith. 9But they shall proceed no farther: for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was.

Isn't this the character of the Pharisees? I mean, the character of the Pharisees is not different from that of the Last of Days.


  • Matthew 23.
  • Luke 11.
  • 3:5 is consistent with the description of Pharisees, as reflected elsewhere within the Christian New Testament; but 3:6, on the other hand, seems to allude to Gnostics; also, the passage seems to reflect phrases and ideas mentioned in Jude and Second Peter.
    – Lucian
    Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 2:50

1 Answer 1


Here is a note from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharisees

No single tractate of the key Rabbinic texts, the Mishnah and the Talmud, is devoted to theological issues; these texts are concerned primarily with interpretations of Jewish law, and anecdotes about the sages and their values. Only one chapter of the Mishnah deals with theological issues; it asserts that three kinds of people will have no share in "the world to come:" those who deny the resurrection of the dead, those who deny the divinity of the Torah, and Epicureans (who deny divine supervision of human affairs). Another passage suggests a different set of core principles: normally, a Jew may violate any law to save a life, but in Sanhedrin 74a, a ruling orders Jews to accept martyrdom rather than violate the laws against idolatry, murder, or adultery. (Judah haNasi, however, said that Jews must "be meticulous in small religious duties as well as large ones, because you do not know what sort of reward is coming for any of the religious duties," suggesting that all laws are of equal importance). In comparison with Christianity, the Rabbis were not especially concerned with the messiah or claims about the messiah or ranking the laws in importance.

and further

The Pharisees believed that the idea that all of the children of Israel were to be like priests was expressed elsewhere in the Torah, for example, when the Law itself was transferred from the sphere of the priesthood to every man in Israel.[55] Moreover, the Torah already provided ways for all Jews to lead a priestly life: the laws of kosher animals were perhaps intended originally for the priests, but were extended to the whole people;[56] similarly the prohibition of cutting the flesh in mourning for the dead.[57] The Pharisees believed that all Jews in their ordinary life, and not just the Temple priesthood or Jews visiting the Temple, should observe rules and rituals concerning purification.

Thus, in summary, the thing that characterised Pharisaic observance was their punctilious observance of the law in all its minutiae. Jesus railed against such attitudes in the pronouncement of the seven woes against the Pharisees in matt 23, eg, V23: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

In modern terms, this is known as extreme legalism, often very highly discipled - wanting to observe the law very carefully and neglecting lovingkindness.

Such a Pharisaic attitude is NOT what is described in 2 Tim 3:1-9 about the type of people in "the last days". 2 Tim 3 describes what might now be called arrogant hedonism, defiant atheism, or boastful narcissism. Now, it is true that legalism sometimes produces arrogant atheistic narcissists but certainly not always. Extreme liberals can also be arrogant narcissists as well.

Therefore, 2 Tim 3 describes a personality type and NOT a theological disposition of legalism (as were the Pharisees).

  • the text says: 5Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof.
    – salah
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 1:51
  • @Salah - correct - all that says is that some of these people make a display of going to church and performing the rituals, etc, without actually knowing God or being transformed by His love. Unfortunately, we have seen much of this with some church goers being involved in many appalling crimes and injustices, especially to the vulnerable. In some case it has been leadership involved in such despicable acts.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 1:54

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