|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:10-13 The more fully we know the doctrine of Christ, as taught by the apostles, the more closely we shall cleave to it. When we know the afflictions of believers only in part, they tempt us to decline the cause for which they suffer. A form of godliness, a profession of Christian faith without a godly life, often is allowed to pass, while open profession of the truth as it is in Jesus, and resolute attention to the duties of godliness, stir up the scorn and enmity of the world. As good men, by the grace of God, grow better, so bad men, through the craft of Satan, and the power of their own corruptions, grow worse. The way of sin is down-hill; such go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Those who deceive others, deceive themselves, as they will find at last, to their cost. The history of the outward church, awfully shows that the apostle spake this as he was moved by the Holy Ghost.
Verse 13. - Impostors for seducers, A.V. Evil men (πονηροί). In 2 Timothy 4:18 it is παντὸς ἕργου πονηροῦ. The adjective is applied indifferently to persons and things - evil men, evil servants, evil persons, evil generation, evil spirits, etc., and evil deeds, evil fruits, evil eye, evil works, etc. Satan, the embodiment of evil, is ὁ πονηρός. Impostors (γόντες); only here in the New Testament. In classical Greek γόης is a juggler, a cheat, an enchanter. St. Paul still had the Egyptian magicians in his mind. Shall wax worse and worse (προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον); see above, ver. 9, note.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,.... By "evil men" are meant, not sinful men in common, as all are by nature and practice; nor only open profane sinners but rather wicked men under a form of godliness, as before; and who are full of wickedness and malice against truly godly persons, even as the devil himself, of whom the same word is used, when he is called the wicked one; and this is a reason why true professors of religion must expect persecution, seeing as there ever were, so there ever will be such sort of men, who will not grow better, but worse and worse. The word for "seducers", signifies sorcerers, enchanters, a sort of jugglers; and as the other, it well suits with the ecclesiastics of the church of Rome, who pretend to miracles, and do lying wonders, and by their sorceries deceive all nations, Revelation 18:23 and these "shall wax worse and worse"; in principle and in practice, in ungodliness, and in error, in wickedness and malice against the saints, and in the arts of deceiving; so the church of Rome is never to be expected to be better, but worse; at the time of the fall of Babylon she will be an habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird, Revelation 18:2
deceiving: not God, but themselves and others even all nations, excepting the elect of God; which they do by their good words and fair speeches, and by their show of devotion and religion, and by their pretended miracles and lying wonders:
and deceived by the old serpent, the devil, under whose power and influence they are, in whose snare they are taken, and by whom they are led captive, and will at last share the same fate with himself, and be cast into the same lake of fire and brimstone.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. Reason why persecutions must be expected, and these becoming worse and worse as the end approaches. The breach between light and darkness, so far from being healed, shall be widened [Alford].
evil men—in contrast to the "godly" (2Ti 3:12).
seducers—literally, "conjurers." Magical arts prevailed at Ephesus (Ac 19:19), and had been renounced by many Ephesians on embracing Christianity: but now when Paul was writing to Ephesus, symptoms of a return to conjuring tricks appeared: an undesigned coincidence [Burton]. Probably sorcery will characterize the final apostasy (Re 13:15; 18:23; 22:15).
wax worse—literally, "advance in the direction of worse" (see on 2Ti 3:9). Not contradictory to that verse: there the diffusion of the evil was spoken of; here its intensity [Alford].
deceiving, and being deceived—He who has once begun to deceive others, is the less easily able to recover himself from error, and the more easily embraces in turn the errors of others [Bengel].
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