|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:10-16 False teachers are described. Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures. Shameful actions, the reproach of heathens, should be far from Christians; falsehood and lying, envious craft and cruelty, brutal and sensual practices, and idleness and sloth, are sins condemned even by the light of nature. But Christian meekness is as far from cowardly passing over sin and error, as from anger and impatience. And though there may be national differences of character, yet the heart of man in every age and place is deceitful and desperately wicked. But the sharpest reproofs must aim at the good of the reproved; and soundness in the faith is most desirable and necessary. To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; they abuse, and turn things lawful and good into sin. Many profess to know God, yet in their lives deny and reject him. See the miserable state of hypocrites, such as have a form of godliness, but are without the power; yet let us not be so ready to fix this charge on others, as careful that it does not apply to ourselves.
Verse 16. - By their for in, A.V. They profess that they know God (comp. Romans 2:17-20). The arrogant claim to be God's people and to superior holiness, while all the while they were denying God by their evil deeds, and bringing dishonor upon his Name among the Gentiles, was a marked feature of the Jews in St. Paul's time (comp. 2 Timothy 3:5). Abominable (βδελυκτοὶ); objects or causes of disgust; only here in the New Testament, but found in the LXX. But βδέλυγμα and βδελύσσομαι are not uncommon. Reprobate (ἀδόκιμοι); as 2 Timothy 3:8 (where see note). This picture of the circumcision is indeed sad (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:15, 16; Acts 28:25-28).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They profess that they know God,.... That there is a God; that there is but one, only, true, and living God, the God of Israel, as professed by the Jews; and that this God is Father, Son, and Spirit, as believed by the Christians: for the persons the apostle speaks of were judaizing Christians. Yet this knowledge was but notional; it lay in theory and profession only; they had not a spiritual experimental knowledge of God in Christ, which only has eternal life connected with it:
but in works they deny him. The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "in their own works"; they were not professed, but practical atheists; they owned there was a God, and boasted of their knowledge of him; but their lives and conversations showed that they had no true knowledge of him, and that the fear of him was not before their eyes; these gave the lie to their profession; they practically denied that faith they professed to hold, and the power of godliness, of which they had the form.
Being abominable; in the sight of God, however esteemed by men; and notwithstanding the vizor and mask of sanctity and religion they put on, which could not screen them from the omniscience of God, who will one day declare he knows them not, and will bid them depart from him, being workers of iniquity.
And disobedient; to God; to his law, and Gospel; to his ministers and churches; and even to parents and civil magistrates; for of this cast were the false teachers, and their followers, as maybe learned from many passages.
And unto every good work reprobate: or "unaccustomed", unused to them, as the Arabic version renders it; or rather "without judgment", and understanding, concerning them; there was no good in them, nor was it in them to do good; to do good they had no knowledge, nor any inclination; they were unfit for it, and had not a capacity to perform it; they were not good themselves, and therefore could not do good; the tree must first be made good, ere its fruit will be good; they were without Christ, and without his Spirit, and grace, without which no man can do anything that is spiritually good; they had no true faith, and therefore what they did was sinful; they had neither right principles, from which, nor right ends to which they acted, and therefore were not qualified for the performance of good works; which require that men should be good men, created in Christ Jesus, be believers in him, and have principles of truth and love, and views to the glory of God.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. They profess—that is, make a profession acknowledging God. He does not deny their theoretical knowledge of God, but that they practically know Him.
deny him—the opposite of the previous "profess" or "confess" Him (1Ti 5:8; 2Ti 2:12; 3:5).
abominable—themselves, though laying so much stress on the contracting of abomination from outward things (compare Le 11:10-13; Ro 2:22).
disobedient—to God (Tit 3:3; Eph 2:2; 5:6).
reprobate—rejected as worthless when tested (see on Ro 1:28; 1Co 9:27; 2Ti 3:8).
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