Art Toombs Ministries 

Online Bible Commentary

Their Folly Will be Clear
2 Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. (NKJV)

The Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy, who is helping at the church in Ephesus. False Teaching has infiltrated the church and this letter is the second Paul has sent in an effort to remedy the situation.

Paul is writing from prison in Rome, with Luke being his amanuensis, or scribe. This letter is being written about AD late 65-early 66.

In this passage, 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.

Paul begins here by writing “For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women” (v. 6a). False teachers target certain audiences.

In this case they were targeting “gullible women” (v. 6a). The literal Greek for this phrase is “of these For are those creeping into houses, and leading captive silly women”.  

Paul describes those who believe false teaching as “silly women”. We certainly see this in society today among many younger women.

Paul continues this verse by writing “who having been heaped with sins, being led lusts by various” (v. 6b). These women were loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires.

That is a description of people, men and women, in our society today, which are being targeted by the false teachers of today. These false teachers were finding an audience among those 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.

Next, Paul writes “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (v. 7). These women of loose morals were always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

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 writes “Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth” (v. 8a).

Paul compares the false teachers to “Jannes and Jambres”, men who opposed the “truth”, the teaching of Moses. 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 continues by writing “men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith” (v. 8b). Paul condemns false teachers as having “corrupt minds” and being rejected, not “approved workmen” of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

These false teachers are not approved by God, as was Timothy. Their minds are corrupted. 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.

False teachers 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. He writes “but they will progress no further” (v. 9a). They will have some short-term success, but they will be stopped at some point.

Their deception is 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.

Paul concludes this passage by writing “for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was” (v. 9b). Their “folly” was clear to everyone.

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 today 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 clear at some point. The word of God, the truth, always wins out.

We cannot be like the “gullible 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.