Online Bible Commentary
Their Folly Will be Clear
2 Timothy 3:6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth--men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. (NIV)
Paul continues with his condemnation of false teachers. He wants to make sure that Timothy knows the dangers of following such men. While we may think his condemnations in this passage and the one preceding it are too severe, it is a testament to how serious the problem was, and is still today. These passages show us how the Lord feels about those who misrepresent His word for personal gain. The false teachers in Asia, and specifically in the house churches of Ephesus where Timothy was helping, were intentionally misrepresenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was not the case of an accidental mistake in translation, but an intentional misrepresentation of God’s word.
False teachers target certain audiences. In this case they were targeting “weak-willed women” (v. 6a). These women were “loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires” (v. 6b). That is a description of people, men and women, in our society today, which is being targeted by the false teachers of today. The literal Greek for this verse is “of these For are those creeping into houses, and leading captive silly women having been heaped with sins, being led lusts by various”.
These false teachers were finding an audience among women of loose morals. There may have been exchanges of favors, but, whatever the case, the false teachers found those weak vessels that they could hold “captive”. This is the very nature of Satan. Satan prowls the earth looking for openings. He looks for weaknesses in people, and then attempts to enter their lives, holding them captive, though their weaknesses.
These women of loose morals were “always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth” (v. 7). The women were given religious training designed to feed their curiosity, but this training was not consistent with the truth of Scripture. The training gained converts to the false teachers’ cause, but caused great damage to the converts.
Paul then turns from addressing the converts to addressing the false teachers themselves. He compares the false teachers to “Jannes and Jambres”, men who opposed the “truth”, the teaching of Moses (v. 8a). In Exodus 7:11-12 and 8:7 we learn of “Egyptian magicians” who were able to perform the same miracles in the presence of the Pharaoh as did Moses. These magicians were not named at the time, but by at least 150 B.C. tradition determined that they were two brothers, Jannes and Jambres. Paul compares the false teachers to these magicians. They appear to be authoritative, but instead they use deception to “oppose the truth”. They use deception, because they are influenced by the great deceiver himself, Satan.
Paul condemns false teachers as having “depraved minds” and being rejected (v. 8b), not “approved workmen” of God (2 Timothy 2:15). They are not approved by God, as was Timothy. Their minds are depraved. The literal Greek describes them as “men having been corrupted the mind, reprobate concerning the faith. The word translated “reprobate” is the Greek word “adokimos” which means “unapproved, rejected, a castaway”. False teachers are not approved by God. They are imposters. They are deceivers, being used by Satan to lead others away from the truth of Scripture.
Paul then concludes his teaching on false teachers by declaring their fate. They will have some short-term success, “but they will not get very far” (v. 9a). Their deception was short lived. They caused many problems for Paul during the last years of his life, but they were ultimately exposed for the false teachers they were. Their “folly” was clear to everyone (v. 9b). Just as God foiled the attempts of Jannes and Jambres, he foils the attempts of false teachers. The Pharaoh ultimately recognized the magicians were powerless in the presence of God.
God’s people were released from slavery in Egypt, just as God’s people today will be released by the false teaching of today. When we seek the truth, God makes sure we find it. But we must first seek it. When we read the Bible, the deception and lies of false teachers are exposed. Homosexuality is revealed as sin. So why do some churches embrace it? They are led by false teachers. They may win for a season, but their “folly” will be found out. The word of God, the truth, always wins out. We can not be like the “weak-willed women” of Paul’s time, being swayed by those who claim to love people by supporting them in their sin. The Bible tells us that is not love. When we love someone we want the best for them. It is not the best for anyone to continue in a lifestyle of sin.