|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:14-21 Those disposed to strive, commonly strive about matters of small moment. But strifes of words destroy the things of God. The apostle mentions some who erred. They did not deny the resurrection, but they corrupted that true doctrine. Yet nothing can be so foolish or erroneous, but it will overturn the temporary faith of some professors. This foundation has two writings on it. One speaks our comfort. None can overthrow the faith of any whom God hath chosen. The other speaks our duty. Those who would have the comfort of the privilege, must make conscience of the duty Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, Tit 2:14. The church of Christ is like a dwelling: some furniture is of great value; some of smaller value, and put to meaner uses. Some professors of religion are like vessels of wood and earth. When the vessels of dishonour are cast out to be destroyed, the others will be filled with all the fulness of God. We must see to it that we are holy vessels. Every one in the church whom God approves, will be devoted to his Master's service, and thus fitted for his use.
Verse 18. - Men who for who, A.V. Have erred (ἠστόχησαν); see 1 Timothy 1:6 (note) and 1 Tim 6:21. In Matthew 22:29 and in Mark 12:24 our Lord's word for "erring" is πλανᾶσθε. It is remarkable that it was the subject of the resurrection which was so misunderstood in both cases. The heretics to whom St. Paul here alludes probably explained away the resurrection, as the Gnostics in the time of Irenaeus and Tertullian did (Huther), by spiritualizing it in the sense of Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:12; Colossians 3:1, etc. It is the usual way with heresy to corrupt and destroy the gospel, under pretence of improving it. And there are always some weak brethren ready to be deceived and misled. Overthrow (ἀνατρέπουσί); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Titus 1:11; but common in LXX. and in classical Greek.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who concerning the truth have erred,.... That is, the two persons just mentioned; they fell from the truth, wandered and departed from it; they did not keep to the Scriptures of truth, but deviated from them; they missed that mark, and went astray into gross errors and mistakes; rejected the Gospel, the word of truth, in general, and particularly in
saying, that the resurrection is past already; and no other is to be expected; or that there was no future resurrection of the dead: their error was, as some think, that there is no other resurrection than that of parents in their children, who, though they die, live in their posterity; or than the resurrection of Christ, and of the saints, that rose at the same time; or rather, that there is no other resurrection than the spiritual one, or regeneration, which is a quickening of dead sinners, or the resurrection of them from the death of sin, to a life of grace; which seems to be the truest account of their principle, seeing this is what has been received and propagated by others since; though some have thought that they gave into the Palingenesia of the Pythagoreans, who supposed that when men die, their souls go into other bodies; and that these men imagined, that this is all the resurrection that will be: and others have been of opinion, that their notion was, that whereas the deliverance of the Jews out of the Babylonish captivity is signified by a resurrection of them, in Ezekiel 37:1 that this is the resurrection they meant was past, and no other to be looked for; but that which has been fixed upon seems to be the truest account:
and overthrow the faith of some; the Ethiopic version reads, "of many"; that is, of nominal professors of religion; not of true believers, for true faith cannot be overthrown. Hence it follows,
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. erred—Greek, "missed the aim" (see 1Ti 6:21).
is past already—has already taken place. The beginnings of the subsequent Gnostic heresy already existed. They "wrested" (2Pe 3:16) Paul's own words (Ro 6:4; Eph 2:6; Col 2:12) "to their own destruction," as though the resurrection was merely the spiritual raising of souls from the death of sin. Compare 1Co 15:12, where he shows all our hopes of future glory rest on the literal reality of the resurrection. To believe it past (as the Seleucians or Hermians did, according to Augustine [Epistles, 119.55, To Januarius, 4]), is to deny it in its true sense.
overthrow—trying to subvert "the foundation" on which alone faith can rest secure (2Ti 2:19; compare Tit 1:11).
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