Paul's charge to Timothy, 2:3-4:8
iii] An eschatological perspective on the heresyArgument
Paul now places the difficulties Timothy faces in his church within the context of the last-days tribulation. It is only to be expected that, within the context of the last days, wickedness will increase, and this particularly so for believers. After warning of troubled times, Paul outlines the expected wickedness of humanity, a wickedness not just confined to the secular world.
i] Context: See 2:3-7. In chapter 3 Paul opens with a warning about the tribulation, v1, and then goes on to outline the wickedness that God's people will have to face during this terrible time, v2-9. Paul's own suffering is touched on in v10-11, which persecution is applied more widely in v12-13. The equipment required for a believer to face these difficult times is then detailed in v14-17.
ii] Background: See 1:1-5.
iii] Structure: The increasing evil of the last days:
"There will be terrible times in the last days", v1.
A description of human wickedness in the last days, v2-5;
The false teachers at Ephesus exemplify this wickedness, v6-8;
Truth will out - their evil will come to naught, v9.
The opening warning that "in the last days there will come times of difficulty", v1, moves quickly into a description of the human wickedness which characterise the last days, v2-5. Of course, Timothy is even now living in these last days, and so the wickedness is evident in the false teachers who are operating in the Ephesian church and disrupting Timothy's ministry, v6-8. Paul does not hold back in his description of these "men of depraved mind." They are part of the general evil infecting humanity during these last days. Like the opponents of Moses who trashed the truth, the truth will out - "their folly will be plain to all", v9.
Human wickedness in the last days, v1-9: i] The tribulation, v1. The tribulation associated with the day of judgment is often concentrated toward the parousia in apocalyptic literature. Yet, this concentration of trouble and affliction spills into the present, which is itself inclusive part of the last days. The sense that the end is near is present in this verse, which perspective should always be evident in Christian discourse.
de "but" - but/and. Treated as adversative / contrastive in the NIV, but primarily transitional, indicating a step in the argument.
touto pro. "this" - [know] this. Accusative direct object of the verb "to know." Forward referencing.
oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Timothy should understand.
ensthsontai (enisthmi) fut. "there will be" - [harsh, difficult times, seasons] will be present, come upon, be imminent, be at hand. "Grievous times will set in when the days begin to vanish", Cassirer.
en + dat. "in" - in [last days]. Temporal use of the preposition; "in the final age of this world", REB. Given that Timothy is living "in the last days" he needs to come to grips with its reality - days of trouble and strife.
ii] A description of human wickedness in the last days, v2-5. "People are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, course, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust and allergic to God", v2-4, Peterson.
gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the last days are terrible times.
esontai (eimi) fut. "[people] will be" - [men] will be [lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters, proud, speakers of evil]. What people "will be" entails a list of predicate adjectives, with filautoi, "lovers of self / selfish", heading the list. Being self-absorbed, the flaw evident in the "me" / spoilt generation, is likely to be the pathway that leads to many of the other human flaws that Paul has listed.
goneusin (ouV ewV) dat. adj. "parents" - [disobedient to] parents [ungrateful, irreverent]. Dative complement of apeiqeiV, "disobedience, disobedient to."
prodotai (hV ou) "treacherous" - traitors = treacherous, [reckless]. Predicate nominative.
tetufwmenoi (tufow) perf. mid./pas. part. "conceited" - having become proud, conceited. The participle serves as a predicate adjective; "swollen with conceit", ESV.
mallon h} adv. "rather than" - [lovers of pleasure] rather than [lovers of god / pious]. Together serving as a comparative adverb; "rather than / instead of", better than "more than." The list is encased with the two statements "lovers of self" rather than "lovers of God."
"Of those who are caught up in this wickedness there are some who will make a show of religion, but behind the scenes are the living denial of its reality. Have nothing to do with these also." The intended sense of the text is not overly clear, but it seems likely that an ellipsis exists where the two adjectival participles econteV, "having [a form of godliness]", and hrnhmenoi, "having denied [its power]", refers to some of the participants in the listed wickedness, namely, hypocrites, those outwardly religious, but still involved in the wickedness.
econteV (ecw) pres. part. "having" - having [a form]. The participle is adjectival, predicative.
eusebeiaV (a) gen. "of godliness" - The genitive is adjectival, descriptive / attributive, limiting "outward form"; they have a religious persona. The noun eusebeia can mean "piety, godliness", but in the Pastorals it tends to mean "religion" = "Christianity."
de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point, as NIV.
hrnhmenoi (arneomai) perf. mid./pas. part. "denying" - having denied. The participle is adjectival, predicative.
authV gen. pro. "its [power]" - [the power] of it. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or ablative, source / origin.
kai "-" - and [these ones turn away from]. Probably adjunctive here; "turn away from, avoid these also, so Marshall, although Mounce suggests it is serving as a connective, "and these people avoid." The verb apotrepw, "turn away from", may mean in practice "avoid", but possibly "throw out", Marshall.
iii] The false teachers at Ephesus serve as examples of the wicked hypocrites who will infest the last days, v6-8.
gar "-" - for. Both Marshall and Knight see a causal link where the conjunction introduces a causal clause explaining why Timothy should avoid the wicked hypocrites. The logic is not really evident, so it is likely that gar here expresses neither cause nor reason, but serves to introduce either an emphatic point, "and indeed", Cassirer, or a step in the argument, ie., it is transitional, "Now from among them are those who ....", Johnson.
ek + gen. "[they are the kind]" - of [these are]. The preposition here serves as a partitive genitive, the part being a subgroup of those mentioned in v5; false teachers who use their status to take advantage of the generosity of others; "to this group belong ....", Marshall.
oiJ endunonteV (endunw) pres. part. "who worm" - the ones creeping [into homes]. As with aicmalwtizonteV, "putting into captivity / capturing = dupe", the participle serves as a substantive; "they count among their number those who sneak their way into people's houses, entrapping unstable and needy women."
gunaikaria (on) "gullible women" - [and capturing] little (weak willed??) women. "A mocking diminutive", D/C, probably with the sense of "weak women", referring to a particular personality rather than women in general. The suggestion that Paul is sexist at this point is somewhat of an overreach, given that he uses similar language when referring to those men who "are foolish enough to listen to plausible rogues", Marshall. In some quarters, sexism has morphed into a male problem such that calling a man fat is simply a statement of fact, whereas calling a woman fat is sexist, if not misogynist. In truth, both are simply rude.
seswreumena (swreuw) perf. mid./pas. part. "who are loaded down" - having been laden, loaded, burdened. As with agomena, "being led away, swayed", the participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "gullible women"; "women who find themselves overwhelmed by the burden of their sins, being impelled by a whole medley of desires", Cassirer. Possibly referring to their "unsavoury past", D/C, but as Marshall notes, sexual guilt is not specifically stated.
aJmartiaiV (a) dat. "with sins" - with sins [being led away by various lusts]. As with epiqumiaiV poikilaiV, "by all kinds of evil desires / by various passions", the dative is instrumental, expressing means.
Possibly further describing the "little women", "women who go from teacher to teacher, and who remain quite incapable of ever arriving at a knowledge of the truth", Barclay, but Paul may have refocused on the oiJ enduonteV, those "who worm their way [into people's houses] ......", "- who are always learning and yet never able to grasp the truth. These men are as much enemies of the truth as .....", Phillips.
pantote adv. "always" - Temporal adverb.
manqanonta (manqanw) pres. part. "learning" - The participle, as with mhdopote dunamena, "never being able" is adjectival, attributive, limiting "little women"; "women who forever gather information but who never arrive at a solution." "Always becoming someone's disciple", Johnson.
elqein (ercomai) aor. inf. "to come" - [never being able] to come. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the participle "being able."
eiV "to" - to [a knowledge]. Spacial, here with a sense of motion toward and arrival at.
alhqeiaV (a) gen. "of the truth" - of truth. The genitive is usually classified as verbal, objective, "never able to grasp the truth", Phillips, although an adjectival sense is possible, idiomatic / epexegetic, eg., "the knowledge which is the revealed will of God.", etc., cf., 2:25.
It seems likely that Paul is comparing Jannes' and Jambres' (Egyptian magicians named in non canonical texts, cf., Exodus 7) with the false teachers who have deluded a number of vulnerable women. The comparison is with the false teachers rather than the women, ie., anqrwpoi is taken as "men" rather than "humans". So de serves to connect with oiJ endunonteV, "the ones who creep [into households]", v6. This sense can be conveyed by starting a new paragraph in English, as Berkeley, or constructing the sentence as Phillips above.
de "-" - but/and. Transitional connective, indicating a step in the argument.
o}n topon "just as" - in the same way [jannes and jambres]. Idiomatic adverbial comparative construction, properly formed as kaq o}n topon, "in the manner in which" = "as / just as", and = ouJtwV below.
Mwusei (hV ou) dat. "Moses" - [opposed] moses. Dative of direct object after the anti prefix verb "to oppose, resist."
ouJtwV adv. "so" - thus, in this way. Demonstrative adverb.
kai "also" - and = also. Adjunctive.
ou|toi pro. "these teachers" - these ones. Nominative subject of the verb "to oppose." "These men", ESV; the demonstrative pronoun is masculine.
th/ alhqeia/ (a) dat. "[oppose] the truth" - Dative of direct object after the anti prefix verb "to resist, oppose."
katefqarmenoi (katafqeirw) perf. mid. part. "[they are men] of depraved [minds]" - [men] having been corrupted [in the = their]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, "men who are corrupted." Probably middle voice, expressing emotion, but possibly passive if the devil is being viewed as the corrupter.
ton noun (uV ouV) acc. "minds" - mind. "The sum total of the whole mental and moral state of being", BAGD. Here the accusative is adverbial, of respect; these mean have been corrupted with respect to their minds. "Their minds are distorted", Phillips.
peri + acc. "as far as [the faith] is concerned" - [failures] with respect to. Here expressing reference / respect; "concerning, with respect to, with reference to", as NIV.
thn pistin (iV ewV) "the faith" - As usual, we are never quite sure how the word is being used in the pastorals. Most often taken as "the faith" = "Christianity", "what is believed", Easton, "without guarantee in matters of faith .... they have no mandate, apostolic or divine, for their teaching", Q/W, ie., objective faith. Knight suggests "their faith relationship with God", so also Marshall, "personal faith", along with Mounce, Towner. This seems to be the sense in first Timothy 1:19, but objective faith may well be intended here.
adokimoi adj. "are rejected" - failures. Attributive adjective, here probably with the sense "unqualified", ie., "lacking apostolic approval and thus well on the way to reprobation", Q/W.
iv] Truth will out, v9. As with the magicians Jannes and Jambres, the heresy of the false teachers will become evident to all and they will be seen for who they are, fools. Paul seems to be referring to a tradition of which we are unaware, namely that the foolishness of the Egyptian magicians was inevitably exposed.
all "but" - Adversative / contrastive; "notwithstanding", Ellicott.
epi pleion "very far"- [they will not advance] to much, further. The prepositional phrase is adverbial, of measure, "even more, even much, any more"; "they will not get any further", Kelly, cf., 2:16.
gar "because" - for [the folly of them will be plain to all, even as also became the folly of those men]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why they will not get very far; "for their shallowness will be obvious to everyone", Berkeley.
wJV "as in the case" - even as / like. Comparative, "As was the folly of those two men." "as was the case with those mentioned", Berkeley.
kai "-" - and. Adjunctive; "even as also the ...."
ekeinwn gen. "of those men" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, indicating that the magicians were characteristically foolish, but it may also be classified as verbal, subjective; "their folly will be publicly exposed as that of Jannes and Jambres was", Barclay.
autwn gen. pro. "their [folly]" - The genitive may be taken as possessive, or subjective.
ekdhloV adj. "clear" - plain, conspicuous, manifest, evident. Predicate adjective. The prefix ek produces a perfective aspect.
pasin dat. adj. "to all" - to all = everyone (all believers??). The adjective serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object, or reference / respect, "with respect to ...."