2 Timothy 3:6
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
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(6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women.—The corrupting influence of these hypocritical professors of the religion of Jesus must have been already great, and the danger to all real vital godliness in Ephesus imminent, for Paul here specifies one of the most—perhaps the most—successful work of these toilers for Satan: the power they were acquiring over women. As we shall see, these unhappy men busied themselves in securing popularity among the female portion of the flock in the Ephesian Church, and the way by which they won their popularity was by supplying anodynes for the guilty consciences of these women, laden, we are told, with sins The expression, “which creep into houses,” although perfectly natural, and one which, even in these Western countries, could be used with propriety to express the method in which these deceiving and perverting men make their way into households, yet, when we remember the comparative state of seclusion in which women usually lived and still live in Eastern lands, the words used by Paul acquire an increased force. Special fraud and deceit was needful for these false teachers to creep into the women’s apartments in Asia. The Greek word translated “lead captive” is a peculiar one, and is only found in comparatively later Greek. It is supposed to be a word of Alexandrian or Macedonian origin. It here represents these women as wholly under the influence of these bad men, to the utter destruction of all true, healthy, home life. The Greek word translated “silly women,” in the Vulgate “mulierculas,” is simply a diminutive, expressing contempt. There is no doubt but that the older Heresiarchs made great use of women in the propagation of their new and strange systems. They worked more easily, perhaps, on the impulsive and emotional female mind; but what has never sufficiently been taken into account is the reaction which was then taking place among women, so long relegated to an inferior and subordinate position, and now, by the teaching of Christ and His Apostles, raised to a position of equality with men as regards the hope of future glory. In many instances, in the first ages of Christianity, there is no doubt, but that they misunderstood their position; they claimed work they could never do, and aimed after an influence they could never exercise, and thus, no doubt, in these first feverish years many a woman fell a comparatively easy prey to these proselytisers, who, laying claim to a higher and deeper wisdom, proposed now to lead some into the knowledge of profound and hidden mysteries, now offered ease of conscience to others if they would but follow them. Irenæus, in the second century, speaks of the special power which the Valentinian Gnostic Marcus had acquired over women; and Epiphanius, in the same century, also refers to the Gnostics’ deceitful influence with the female sex. Jerome, in an interesting though rhetorical passage (Epist. ad Ctesiphontem), cites a number of instances in which a woman shared in the baleful influence exercised by the leading masters of heresy in doctrine and laxity of life.

Simon Magus, he tells us, was accompanied by the wicked Helen. Nicolas, of Antioch, a teacher of immorality, gathered round him what Jerome calls choros fæmineos. Montanus is associated with the well-known names of Maximilla and Prisca. Donatus is coupled with Lucilla. Marcion, Arius, Priscillian, and other Heresiarchs, famous in the annals of the early churches, he speaks of as intimately associated with or supported by female influence.

Laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.—This gives us some insight into the source of the power which these false teachers acquired over those women of Ephesus who in name were Christians. They had accepted the faith of Christ, but were unable to live His life; over their passions and lusts had these no mastery. “Laden with sins,” and “led away with divers lusts,” these weak women fell an easy prey to men who procured them, by means of their lying doctrines, a false peace. By their words they seemed to have lulled the consciences of their female listeners to sleep. They showed them, no doubt, how in their school they might still be Christians and yet indulge their divers lusts.

2 Timothy 3:6-7. For, &c. — As if he had said, There is need to watch against such, because there are some of them already in the church; for of this sort are those artful deceivers who creep into houses — Insinuate themselves into families, and, having the appearance of godliness, lead captive silly women — Gain such influence over women of low rank and mean understandings as to obtain the direction of their consciences and purses; women who, whatever pretences they may make to sanctity, are laden with sins, and led away with divers lusts — Or desires, which these seducers know how to flatter, so as to make such persons their own property. “This, with the two subsequent verses, is thought by some a prophetical description of the practices of the Romish monks and friars in the dark ages, who, by hypocritical pretensions to extraordinary sanctity, and by auricular confession and other wicked arts, deluded and corrupted their female votaries. But practices similar to those began very early in the church, and, by a gradual progress, were at length, under the Romish hierarchy, formed into a regular system of deceit. We may therefore suppose, that as in the prophecies which foretel the political state of the world, so in those concerning the apostacy, in which its religious state is represented the general course of things through a succession of ages is foretold, rather than the state of things in any particular age. This will be allowed, when it is considered that not the rise only, but the progress and downfall of the apostacy is foretold in these prophecies. So that their subject being a series of things which were to happen throughout a long course of years, and which were gradually to produce a widely-extended and confirmed state of corruption in the church, there is no reason for limiting their fulfilment to any particular period.” — Macknight. Ever learning — Pretending to hear with great eagerness, and, it may be, charmed with every appearance of fervour and novelty in their teachers, but, being tossed about with every wind of doctrine, they are never able to come to the experimental and practical knowledge of the truth — As it is in Jesus, or to attain any fixed and steady principles of religion.

3:1-9 Even in gospel times there would be perilous times; on account of persecution from without, still more on account of corruptions within. Men love to gratify their own lusts, more than to please God and do their duty. When every man is eager for what he can get, and anxious to keep what he has, this makes men dangerous to one another. When men do not fear God, they will not regard man. When children are disobedient to their parents, that makes the times perilous. Men are unholy and without the fear of God, because unthankful for the mercies of God. We abuse God's gifts, if we make them the food and fuel of our lusts. Times are perilous also, when parents are without natural affection to children. And when men have no rule over their own spirits, but despise that which is good and to be honoured. God is to be loved above all; but a carnal mind, full of enmity against him, prefers any thing before him, especially carnal pleasure. A form of godliness is very different from the power; from such as are found to be hypocrites, real Christians must withdraw. Such persons have been found within the outward church, in every place, and at all times. There ever have been artful men, who, by pretences and flatteries, creep into the favour and confidence of those who are too easy of belief, ignorant, and fanciful. All must be ever learning to know the Lord; but these follow every new notion, yet never seek the truth as it is in Jesus. Like the Egyptian magicians, these were men of corrupt minds, prejudiced against the truth, and found to be quite without faith. Yet though the spirit of error may be let loose for a time, Satan can deceive the nations and the churches no further, and no longer, than God will permit.For of this sort are they which creep into houses - Who go slyly and insidiously into families. They are not open and manly in endeavoring to propagate their views, but they endeavor by their address to ingratiate themselves first with weak women, and through them to influence men; compare Titus 1:11. The word translated "creep into," is rendered by Doddridge, "insinuate themselves;" by Bloomfield, "wind their way into," in the manner of serpents; by Bretschneider, "deceitfully enter;" by Robinson and Passow," go in, enter in." It is not certain that the idea of deceit or cunning is contained in this "word," yet the whole complexion of the passage implies that they made their way by art and deceitful tricks.

And lead captive silly women - One of the tricks always played by the advocates of error, and one of the ways by which they seek to promote their purposes. Satan began his work of temptation with Eve rather than with Adam, and the advocates of error usually follow his example. There are always weak-minded women enough in any community to give an opportunity of practicing these arts, and often the aims of the impostor and deceiver can be best secured by appealing to them. Such women are easily flattered; they are charmed by the graceful manners of religious instructors; they lend a willing ear to anything that has the appearance of religion, and their hearts are open to anything that promises to advance the welfare of the world. At the same time, they are just such persons as the propagators of error can rely upon. They have leisure; they have wealth; they are busy; they move about in society, and by their activity they obtain an influence to which they are by no means entitled by their piety or talents. There are, indeed, very many women in the world who cannot be so easily led away as men; but it cannot be denied also that there are those who are just adapted to the purposes of such as seek to spread plausible error. The word rendered "silly women," means properly "little women," and then "weak women."

Laden with sins - With so many sins that they seem to be "burdened" with them. The idea is, that they are under the influence of sinful desires and propensities, and hence, are better adapted to the purposes of deceivers.

Led away with divers lusts - With various kinds of passions or desires - ἐπιθυμίας epithumias - such as pride, vanity, the love of novelty, or a susceptibility to flattery, so as to make them an easy prey to deceivers.

6. of this sort—Greek, "of these," such as were described (2Ti 3:5).

creep into—stealthily.

laden with sins—(Isa 1:4); applying to the "silly women" whose consciences are burdened with sins, and so are a ready prey to the false teachers who promise ease of conscience if they will follow them. A bad conscience leads easily to shipwreck of faith (1Ti 1:19).

divers lusts—not only animal lusts, but passion for change in doctrine and manner of teaching; the running after fashionable men and fashionable tenets, drawing them in the most opposite directions [Alford].

For of this sort are they which creep into houses; who do not only privily enter in at the doors of houses, but pierce into the secrets of them, making it their business to pry into all families,

and lead captive silly women, and take their advantages upon women, (the weaker sex), and not the wisest of them, but gunaikaria, the diminutive word, is used to vilify; the little despicable women, of no judgment in sound religion, whom they by their tongues and pleasing errors make their captives.

Laden with sins; nor do they deal with the most pious and honest women, but such as are laden with the guilt of much sin;

led away with divers lusts; and who, being possessed of divers sinful inclinations, not only lusts of the flesh, but any other, such as pride, &c., are easily led away; lust always smoothing the way for such errors as will be principles to justify it against the reflections of conscience. Their vices, rather than sex, made them easily seduced.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses,.... Privily and unawares, in a clandestine manner, and insinuate themselves into families, by fawning and flattering, and under specious pretences to knowledge and virtue. The Syriac version uses a word, from whence comes "Chulda", which signifies "a weasel"; suggesting, that their entrance into houses was like to the way of that creature, which is sometimes covered, and sometimes open: there was also a gate of the temple, which was called "Huldah"; whether there is any allusion in the word to that, may be inquired (k).

And lead captive silly women; the coming of antichrist is after the working of Satan; as Satan attacked the woman, and not the man, and beguiled Eve and not Adam, so these his instruments and emissaries, work themselves into the affections of the weaker vessel, and into the weaker sort of women, as the diminutive word here used signifies; and gain upon them, instil their principles into them, attach them to their interests, captivate them to them, and lead them as they please:

laden with sins; covered with them, full of them, and so ready to receive any set of principles that would encourage them to continue in them; or else were pressed down with a sense of them, their consciences being awakened, and they under some concern on account of them, and so fit persons for such deceivers to gain upon, by pretending to great sanctity and religion, and by providing them with pardons and indulgences, and putting them upon penance, &c. though the former sense seems most agreeable, and is confirmed by what follows,

led away with divers lusts. The Alexandrian copy adds, "and pleasures"; that is, sinful ones; though this may be understood, not of unclean lusts, but of the itch and desire after new teachers, and new doctrines, and practices, which prevail in weak women, and by which they are governed and led away.

(k) Vid. L. Empercur in Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect. 3.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2 Timothy 3:6. In this verse the apostle passes on to definite facts in the present. We cannot but see that he is thinking of the heretics on whose ἀσέβεια he lays stress also in other passages; comp. 2 Timothy 3:8 (2 Timothy 2:16). Hofmann says that “Paul was thinking of people who wished to be considered, and pretended to be, on good terms with Timothy;” but there is no hint of this in the context. By similarity of disposition they belong already to the number of the godless men of the future; hence Paul says: ἐκ τούτων γάρ εἰσιν] γάρ gives the reason of the previous exhortation, as the apostle means to declare that men such as he has described already exist.

οἱ ἐνδύνοντες εἰς τὰς οἰκίας] ἐνδύνειν here, “enter, press into,” with a suggestion of secrecy; Luther: “who slip into houses here and there;” Bengel: irrepentes clanculum; in this sense the word is ἅπαξ λεγ.[46] The form of expression ΟἹ ἘΝΔΎΝΟΝΤΕς shows that this ἘΝΔΎΝΕΙΝ is a characteristic of those of whom the apostle is speaking.

The purpose of this secret entering is given in the next words: ΚΑῚ ΑἸΧΜΑΛΩΤΊΖΟΝΤΕς ΓΥΝΑΙΚΆΡΙΑ Κ.Τ.Λ.] ΑἸΧΜΑΛΩΤΊΖΕΙΝ, a verb belonging to later Greek: “make a prisoner of war;” it denotes here, getting complete possession of; the word is thoroughly apposite for describing the conduct of the founders of heretical sects.[47]

γυναικάρια] ἅπ. λεγ., the diminutive with a suggestion of contempt; “the contemptuous epithet indicates their weakness and proneness to temptation” (van Oosterzee).

The nature of these γυναικάρια is described in the following three participial clauses: σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις] σωρεύειν (Romans 12:20), “gather, heap up,” corresponds to the Latin cumulare: “cumulatae peccatis.”

ἀγόμενα ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18, ἄγεσθαι πνεύματι). Luther is inaccurate: “who go on with manifold lusts.” Their internal motive and spring of action are their manifold lusts; Chrysostom: τί ἐστι ποικίλαις; ἐνταῦθα πολλὰ ἠνίξατο, τὴν τρυφὴν, τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην, τὴν λαγνείαν. Comp. Titus 3:3.—2 Timothy 3:7. πάντοτε μανθάνοντα] Bengel adds the adverb: curiose. The incentive of their μανθάνειν was not the search after truth, but mere desire for entertainment, a longing for intellectual pastime (comp. the description of the Athenians, Acts 17:21); this longing makes them the prey of teachers who promise new wisdom. Hence it goes on: καὶ μηδέποτε εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν δυνάμενα] μηδέποτε is ἅπ. λεγ.; δυνάμενα is emphatic; they cannot attain to the truth, because the necessary conditions do not exist in their inner life. Chrysostom: ἐπειδὴ ἑαυτὰς κατέχωσαν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις ἐκείναις καὶ τοῖς ἁμαρτήμασιν, ἐπωρώθη αὐτῶν ἡ διάνοια.

Mosheim thinks that the three participial clauses describe the three different classes of the γυναικάρια: (1) sinners, (2) seekers after happiness, (3) devotees; they rather denote various traits in the same persons, and “the very union of such traits is characteristic” (de Wette).

It is no matter of surprise that the heretics, to win more followers, turned their attentions to the fair sex; that has been done by heretics in all ages. It is a charge brought specially against the Gnostics by various writers. Irenaeus, 1. 13. 3, says of Marcus the Valentinian Gnostic: μάλιστα περὶ γυναῖκας ἀσχολεῖται; and Epiphanius, Haer. xxvi., expressly upbraids the Gnostics with ἐμπαίζειν τοῖς γυναικαρίοις and with ἀπατᾷν τὸ αὐτοῖς πειθόμενον γυναικεῖον γένος;[48] see Baur, p. 36. This, however, cannot be taken as a proof of the later composition of the epistle, all the less that many expressions in the descriptions of the Fathers show that they had this description in their thoughts.

[46] Chrysost.: εἶδες, τὸ ἀναίσχυντον πῶς ἐδήλωσε διὰ τοῦ εἰπεῖν; ἐνδύνοντες· τὸ ἄτιμον, τὴν ἀπάτην, τὴν κολακείαν.

[47] The word occurs in Ignatius (Ep. ad Philadelph. chap. ii.) in the same sense as here: πολλοὶ λύκοι ἀξιόπιστοι ἡδονῇ κακῇ αἰχμαλωτίζουσι τοὺς θεοδρόμους.

[48] The passage, quoted by Mack from Jerome (Ep. ad Ctesiphontem), is very descriptive: Simon Magus haeresin condidit adjutus auxilio Helenae meretricis; Nicolaus Antiochenus omnium immunditiarum conditor choros duxit foemineos; Marcion quoque Romam praemisit mulierem ad majorem lasciviam; Apelles Philemonem comitem habuit; Montanus Priscam et Maximillam primum auro corrupit, deinde haeresi polluit; Arius ut orbem deciperet, sororem principis ante decepit. Donatus Lucillae opibus adjutus est; Elpidium caecum Agape caeca duxit; Prisciliano juncta fuit Galla.

2 Timothy 3:6. ἐνδύνοντες: who insinuate themselves into houses [which they overthrow], Titus 1:11. “Observe how he shows their impudence by this expression, their dishonourable ways, their deceitfulness” (Chrys.). παρεισέδυησαν (Judges 1:4) and παρεισῆλθον (Galatians 2:4) are similar expressions.

γυναικάρια: Mulierculas. Chrys. acutely implies that the victims of the crafty heretics were “silly women” of both sexes: “He who is easy to be deceived is a silly woman, and nothing like a man; for to be deceived is the part of silly women”. St. Paul, however, refers to women only.

σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις: overwhelmed, rather than burdened (βεβαρημένα) (Field). Is there any contrast implied between the diminutive, indicating the insignificance of the women, and the load of sins which they carry? De Wette (quoted by Alf.), notes that a sin-laden conscience is easily tempted to seek the easiest method of relief.

ποικίλαις: There is no great difficulty in diverting them from the right path, for they are inconstant even in vice.

6–9. Appeal to Timothy for pure doctrine in view of the worse doctrines to come

6. For of this sort] For of these, the reason of the warning; the mischief has begun.

which creep into] The verb occurs only here in N.T., but is classical.

lead captive] For the primary sense cf. Luke 21:24; for the derived, Romans 7:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5.

silly women] The neuter gender and the diminutive ending of the word here indicate the degraded contemptible state to which they have come. Vulg. ‘mulierculas’; ‘womanlings,’ Farrar.

laden with sins] The simple verb occurs only Romans 12:20, where it is quoted from LXX., Proverbs 25:22 ‘thou shalt heap coals of fire’; the compound verb in 2 Timothy 4:3. Why such women especially? Their burdened conscience lays them open to any proselytisers who promise relief.

led away with divers lusts] Apparently the meaning is (not ‘lusts of the flesh’ but rather) as in 2 Timothy 4:3, which Wordsworth explains of persons ‘who in their prurient craving for something new, to stimulate and gratify their diseased appetite, accumulate to themselves a promiscuous heap of self-chosen teachers.’ ‘Led’ belongs to ‘women’; it occurs with the same construction, Romans 8:14.

2 Timothy 3:6. Ἐκ τούτων, of these) See the preceding verse, these (such). The expression is clearly demonstrative.—οἱ ἐνδύνοντες, they who creep in) privately.—γυναικάρια) silly women, who are presently described as like those (in 2 Timothy 3:5).—ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις, with various or divers lusts) of the mind and of the flesh: 2 Timothy 4:3. Even this variety is a source of delight.

Verse 6. - These for this sort, A.V.; tact for which, A.V.; take for lead, A.V.; by for with, A.V. Creep into (ἐνδύνοντες); here only in the New Testament. It has the sense of "sneaking into," "insinuating themselves into," as in Xenophon, 'Cyrop.,' 2. 1. 13. Take captive (αἰχμαλωτεύοντες); as in Ephesians 4:3. The other form, αἰχμαλωτίζοντες which is that of the R.T., is in Luke 21:24; Romans 7:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5. The word well describes the blind surrender of the will and conscience to such crafty teachers. Silly women (τὰ γυναικάρια, diminutive of γυνή); nowhere else in the New Testament or LXX., but is used by some late Greek authors. It is a term of contempt - he will not call them γυναῖκας - they are only γυναικάρια. In the passages quoted by Alford from Irenaeus and Epiphanius, the women made use of by the later Gnostics are called γυναικάρια. See, too, the striking quotation in the same note from Jerome, specifying by name the women whom Nicolas of Antioch, Marcion, Montanus, and others employed as their instruments in spreading their abominable heresies. So true is St. Paul's forecast in the text. Laden with sins (σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις); elsewhere only in Romans 12:20, "heap coals of fire." It occurs in Aristotle and other Greek writers in the sense of heaping one thing upon another, and heaping up anything with something else. The last is the sense in which it is here used. It seems to convey the idea of passive helplessness. Led away (ἀγόμενα); with a strong intimation of unresisting weakness (comp. 1 Corinthians 12:2; Acts 8:32; Luke 23:32). Lusts (ἐπιθυμίαις); all kinds of carnal and selfish desires (see Matthew 4:19; John 8:44; Romans 1:24; Romans 6:12; Romans 7:7, 8; Galatians 5:24; Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Timothy 4:3: Titus 2:12; fit. 3; 1 Peter 1:14, etc.; 2 Peter 2:18; 1 John 2:16, etc.). 2 Timothy 3:6Of this sort (ἐκ τούτων)

Lit. of these. The formula often in Paul.

Which creep (οἱ ἐνδύνοντες)

N.T.o. Thrust themselves into. Comp. Jde 1:4, παρεισεδύησαν crept in privily (see note); 2 Peter 2:1 (note), παρεισάξουσιν shall privily bring in; and Galatians 2:4, παρεισάκτους brought in by stealth.

Lead captive (αἰχμαλωτίζοντες)

Only here in Pastorals. See on captives, Luke 4:18; and see on 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Silly women (γυναικάρια)

N.T.o. olxx. Silly is expressed by the contemptuous diminutive. Comp. Vulg. mulierculas.

Laden (σεσωρευμένα)

Only here and Romans 12:20, citation. In lxx, see Judith 15:11, of loading a wagon with the property of Holofernes. It implies heaped up; heavily laden.

Led away (ἀγόμενα)

Away is superfluous. It is only an inference. The meaning is under the direction of. Comp. Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18.

Divers (ποικίλαις)

In Pastorals only here and Titus 3:3. Lit. variegated, of different tints. See on manifold wisdom, Ephesians 3:10.

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