2 Timothy 3:5
having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!
A Deceptive FormChristian Herald2 Timothy 3:5
Danger of the Office of PreacherDean Hook.2 Timothy 3:5
False ProfessionT. Secker.2 Timothy 3:5
Form and PowerHomilist2 Timothy 3:5
Form and PowerC. Wills, M. A.2 Timothy 3:5
Form and PowerA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Form and Power of GodlinessH. Kollock, D. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Form of GodlinessJ. H. Hughes.2 Timothy 3:5
Form Without PowerChristian Journal2 Timothy 3:5
Form Without PowerT. Guthrie, D. D.2 Timothy 3:5
FormalismT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Formalism2 Timothy 3:5
Formalism in ReligionDictionary of Illustrations2 Timothy 3:5
Formalism not Religion2 Timothy 3:5
Forms of Religion NecessaryChristian Age2 Timothy 3:5
Godliness -- its Form and its PowerJohn Taylor, LL. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Helps Against FormalityT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Hollow ProfessorsJ. Trapp.2 Timothy 3:5
Motives and Dissuasives from Familiarity with Wicked MenW. Birch.2 Timothy 3:5
Of the Form and the Power of GodlinessArchbp. Tillotson.2 Timothy 3:5
Profession Cannot Carry Men to HeavenT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Profession in Excess of SanctificationT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Religion More than FormalityW. Jay.2 Timothy 3:5
Religion, False and TrueDr. Jenkyn.2 Timothy 3:5
Satan Covers SinT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
Self-Love Under a Form of HolinessT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
The Fair Covering the FoulT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
The Form and the Power of GodlinessS. Martin.2 Timothy 3:5
The Form of GodlinessT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:5
The Form of Godliness Without the PowerC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 3:5
The Hypocrite's GarbW.M. Statham 2 Timothy 3:5
The Power of GodlinessW. Birch.2 Timothy 3:5
The Relation of the Apostasy to the Christian ProfessionT. Croskery 2 Timothy 3:5
Grievous TimesR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 3:1-17
A Sermon Against Self-Love, EtcThomas Tenison, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Actions to be Kindly InterpretedT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
AmusementsAlex. Bisset, M. A.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Antipathy Between Good and EvilT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Blasphemy UngratefulT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
BoastersT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Boasters DiscontentedT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Boasting no RecommendationT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Boasting of ViceT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Carnal Pleasure Ruling in ManT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Characteristics of the ApostasyT. Croskery 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Connection of Ingratitude with Other EvilsBp. Hall.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Covenant ProofT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
CovetousJ. Harris, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Covetousness Barren of GraceT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Covetousness Rerealed in TalkT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Covetousness Seen in Human LifeA. Monod, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Cruelty to ChildrenContemporary Review2 Timothy 3:2-5
Culling Pleasure2 Timothy 3:2-5
Death of a Lover of Pleasure2 Timothy 3:2-5
Downfall of PrideCobbin.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Emblem of Worldly PleasureR. Curzon.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Enormity of IngratitudeJ. Trapp.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Faults InventedT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
FidelityT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Godly PleasureT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Gradation in SinT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
HeadyT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
How Rightly to CovenantT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
How to Know a DrunkardT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
IncontinentT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Ingratitude Mars Friendship2 Timothy 3:2-5
LessonsT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Lovers of Pleasure Described and WarnedE. Payson, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Lovers of Pleasures More than Lovers of God2 Timothy 3:2-5
Meanness of BoastingS. Coley.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Natural Affection2 Timothy 3:2-5
On Self-ConceitIsaac Barrow.2 Timothy 3:2-5
On Vain-GloryIsaac Barrow.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Pious Self-Love CommunicativeT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Pleasure-Loving ProfessorsT. L. Cuyler, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Pleasure-MongersJ. Trapp.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Preservatives Against IncontinencyT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Pride AboundingT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Pride Hated by the ProudT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Pride Poisons Virtuous ActionsT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self.LoveB. Beddome, M. A.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-CentredVan Oosterzee.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Selfishness CommonT. Seeker.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Selfishness Condemned by PhilosophyJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-LoveJ. Jortin, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-LoveA. Barnes.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love a Manifold DiseaseT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love a Primary SinT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love FoolishT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love HereditaryT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love OdiousAndrew Snape, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love Odious to GodT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love Self-DeceptiveT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Self-Love the Great Cause of Bad TimesWilliam Dawes, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Sin MultitudinousT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Slander PoisonousDictionary of Illustrations2 Timothy 3:2-5
Slander, OverruledJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Some General Remedies of Self-LoveIsaac Barrow.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The BackbiterT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The Christian View of AmusementsA. N. Johnson, M. A.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The Divine NemesisVan Oosterzee.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The Fierceness of SinT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The Love of PleasureA. Raleigh, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The Natural Heart Full of PrideT. Hall, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The Nature and Kinds of Self-LoveD. Waterland, D. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
The Poison of PleasureT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
TraitorsT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Vain Boasting2 Timothy 3:2-5
VoluptasC. Buck.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Want of Affection2 Timothy 3:2-5
Wickedness FerociousT. Hall, B. D.2 Timothy 3:2-5
William Tyndale's BetrayalSword and Trowel.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Worldly PleasuresNewman Hall, LL. B.2 Timothy 3:2-5
Worldly Pleasures VainJ. Henshaw.2 Timothy 3:2-5

I. THE EXTERNAL FORM OF PIETY IS TO EXIST UNDER THE APOSTASY. "Having a form of godliness." The picture is that of a Christianized paganism in the Church. There was to be a scrupulous regard for all ritualistic regularity; an outward show of devoutness under strict forms, and the mask of godliness over all to cover a heart in secret enslaved by sin.

II. THERE WILL BE A REPUDIATION OF REAL GODLINESS. "But denying the power thereof."

1. The power of godliness consists in love to God and love to our neighbour. These were both repudiated. The class referred to were strangers to experimental religion, which they dishonoured by saying one thing with their lips and another thing with their lives.

2. Such a repudiation involves graver sin and deeper condemnation than if they had never known the truth or heard of the way of life.

III. THE DUTY OF BELIEVERS IN THE APOSTASY. "From such turn away." We ought to withdraw from their fellowship, avoid all familiarity with them, hold no terms with the enemies of Christ and his kingdom. - T.C.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power
This form is a profession of religion; the outward appearance of piety; the external performance of holy duties. Its power is the inward experience of its saving efficacy; that is attested by a holy, heavenly walk. This power is denied, not merely by the declaration of the lips, but by all those actions which are inconsistent with it, and which prove that we do not feel its influence.

I. A FORM OF GODLINESS IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY IF WE WOULD BE SAVED. We are unequivocally commanded to assume the form of godliness; to testify by external acts our allegiance to the Lord; and to attend on those ordinances and sacraments which He surely did not appoint that we might with impunity neglect them. Say not that you secretly and in your hearts worship and love Him. It is impossible that there should be internal piety without some outward manifestation of it. If "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, with the lips confession will be made to salvation." Besides, what right have you to withhold the acts of external worship from Him who is "the God of all flesh," as well as the "Father of spirits"; who made your body as well as your soul; who confers upon it daily mercies: who purchased it by the sufferings of His Son, who, when He was offered a sacrifice, not only endured agonies of soul, but was also crucified in His body; and who offers at the last great day to raise it up from the grave and crown it with immortality and glory! "Glorify Him therefore in your body and your spirit, which are His." Without the form of godliness, you will probably render yourselves guilty of the blood of souls; be accessory to the eternal perdition of some who are dear to you. There is no one, whose example has not some influence on those with whom he associates.


1. This mere outward service is a worship not conformed to the nature of God.

2. It is not conformed to the commands of God (Proverbs 33:26)

3. It is not conformed to the design of the mission of the Saviour,and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

4. It is not conformed to the nature of that covenant which is the foundation of our hopes (Jeremiah 31:33.)

5. It is not conformed to the examples of the pious; all of whom have used language the same in substance with that of Paul, "The God whom I serve in my spirit" (Romans 1:9).

6. It is not conformed to the example of the blessed Redeemer; concerning whom none can be so blasphemous, as to doubt whether His whole soul was engaged in doing and in suffering the will of God.

7. It is not conformed to the great ends of religion. These are to deliver the soul from guilt, to renew it, to re-impress upon it the image of God, to make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. And how certain is it, that for these great purposes "bodily exercise profiteth little." (1 Timothy 4:8.)


1. At their head must be placed the intentional hypocrite, who knows that he is utterly destitute of love to God and the Redeemer, who has no desire for holiness, but who assumes the mask of religion to cover his sinful purposes.

2. The cold formalist.

3. The vain enthusiast.

4. The worldly-minded professor.

5. The bitter sectarian.

6. The censorious professor.

7. The unfruitful professor.

(H. Kollock, D. D.)

I. TRUE RELIGION IS GODLINESS — i.e., moral likeness to God.

II. GODLINESS HAS ITS FORM, or way of expressing itself.

1. Towards God — confession, prayer, praise, worship.

2. Towards man — respect for the right, compassion for the miseries, and a loving desire for the happiness of all.


1. There is often a great deal of external worship where there is no godly devotion.

2. There is often a great deal of external philanthropy where there is no godly devotion.

IV. HAVING THE FORM WITHOUT THE POWER IS PRACTICAL INFIDELITY. To have nothing but the mere form is to deny the power.

1. The mere form misrepresents the power.

2. The mere form counteracts the power.



II. THE ESSENCE OF EVERY GENUINE EXISTENCE IS A POWER. This is true in the highest sense of godliness, which is eminently a "power"; and the greatest among men, because it is the channel whereby we communicate with the truth and love of God Almighty.

1. It is a formative power. Originating.

(1)Forms of conception (Romans 2:20).

(2)Forms of words to express the conceptions (2 Timothy 1:13).

(3)Forms of worship, using as handmaids the kindred fine arts.

(4)Forms of society, embodying the grand principles of godliness, and of its cognate humanity.

2. It is a controlling power, especially over itself.

3. It is a benificent power over others for their instruction and quickening.

III. THOUGH THERE CANNOT BE POWER WITHOUT FORM, THERE MAY BE FORM WITHOUT POWER. A man may have the logic and words of godliness, the litany, music, architecture of godliness; but if he have not godliness itself!

IV. THE POSSESSION OF THE FORM WITHOUT THE POWER DISPOSES TO THE DENIAL OF THE POWER. He who has the form alone is apt to be deceived, and satisfied with appearances; he resents, as an impertinence to himself, the claims of anything further: he denies it.

1. He strives to ignore it (John 9:29).

2. When it is forced on his notice he denies its existence (John 9:32).

3. When this is impossible, when the power becomes an evident fact, he clothes it with misrepresentation, obloquy, ridicule (Matthew 12:22).

4. When the power becomes too formidable he persecutes it, and strives to counteract and annihilate it. "Crucify Him!"

(C. Wills, M. A.)


1. It is natural.

2. Beautiful.

3. Advantageous.


1. This is possible. Church at Laodicea.

2. A lamentable fact.

3. Most alarming consequences.

(1)There will be no searchings of heart.

(2)No pungent sorrow for sin.

(3)No love to truth.

(4)No conformity to the Divine will.


1. The formalist has no sympathy with the sentiments of true Christians.

2. He would detract from their usefulness.

3. He is unfit for any exalted pleasure.

(J. H. Hughes.)

In these words the apostle tells us —

1. What these men have, viz., a form of godliness.

2. What they want, viz., the power of it.

3. How we must behave ourselves towards them, viz., we must shun their society; from such turn away.For the first, they have a vain and empty show of faith and holiness. They are not men without the pale of the Church, such as heathens and Jews, which are open enemies to the gospel; but they have a form of godliness, an external profession of religion in words, ceremonies, and gestures; they make great shows, and put on the vizard of piety; like stage players, they act the part of a king, but strip them of their robes, and they are beggarly rogues. They have not the true form and essence of godliness, which consists in an inward change, and doth denominate and give being to things: but they have formality or an outward show and shadow of holiness. Like pictures and images, which have an external show and shape of a man, whose lineaments and proportion may be so drawn to the life, that there wants nothing but life indeed to act them: they will be great professors, and look what a sincere Christian hath in substance, that have these formalists in semblance, they have no life, no power, no principle of operation in them.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

The complaint is general, there is not that mortification, self-denial, and circumspect walking as formerly. There's more light, but less life; more shadow, but less substance; more profession, but less sanctification, than formerly. There is more fasting, praying, preaching; but where's the practice and power of religion? As Isaac said to Abraham, behold the wood, but where's the lamb? So behold the duties, but where, oh where's the life, the power, the truth of what is done? The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau; for they deny the power of religion not only in their hearts, but also in their works (Titus 1:16; 1 Timothy 5:8). They so live, as if godliness were but an airy notion, and a matter of fashion, without all force or efficacy.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

The text may be considered two ways — relatively or absolutely.

1. Relatively. as it relates to the eighteen sins before mentioned; so this sin is the cloak to hide and cover them all; men will be lovers of themselves, but under a form of godliness. Hence observe — that a man may have a form of godliness, and yet live in all manner of wickedness. It is tree, the power of godliness cannot consist with the power of ungodliness; but the more ,the power of godliness is lifted up in the soul, the more the power of ungodliness will be suppressed; as the house of David grows stronger and stronger, so the house of Saul grows weaker and weaker. But yet the form of godliness may stand with the power of ungodliness. A man may be a glorious professor in the highest form, and yet a puny in the form of grace. He may be a blazing comet for profession, and yet be a devil incarnate in life and conversation.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

They put on a fair glove on a foul hand, and get on the vizard of holiness better to deceive.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

The devil cannot endure that sin should be seen in its proper dress, for then it would be so odious that all men would abhor it; the devil, therefore, puts a garment and cover upon it.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

This may as soon carry you to heaven as a dead horse can carry a man a journey, a painted ship save a man from drowning, a painted helmet save the head from wounding, or painted food keep a man from starving.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

1. His knowledge is merely notional, discursive, and speculative, it is in his head, and not in his heart. Hence it is called a form of knowledge, i.e., a mere empty shadow and show of knowledge (Romans 2:20). But he that hath the power of godliness hath a rooted, affective, saving, sanctifying, experimental, practical knowledge. He knows Christ as the truth is in Him (Ephesians 4:21); he knows and doth Christ's will (John 13:17). It is a soul-convincing and converting, a sin-crucifying and conquering light (Ephesians 5:14). It is not a dim, glimmering, vanishing, light; but a thorough, soul-awakening, soul enlivening light.

2. The formalities, obedience and practice, is merely external in words and shows; in their deeds they deny the power of godliness, they live as if godliness were but an empty name and matter of fashion, void of all force and efficacy. Such are like a wicked minister in a white surplice, extime lineus, intime lanius, fair without, but foul within, or like an inn that hath an angel without and a devil within. Of such we may say as Erasmus said of a friar's cowl — it covers a multitude of sins. He comes short in all ordinances: if he read, pray, hear, or frequent the sacrament, it is all pro forma — God is nigh to their mouths, but far from their hearts.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

1. Go unto God, who is a quickening Spirit, and beseech Him to quicken thy dead heart So did David, Psalm 119. God can make dry bones to live.

2. Act and use your graces, this is the way to increase and quicken them, bring good motions into resolutions and actions; blow till the spark become a flame. This stirring is painful, but gainful.

3. Delight in quickening company, get acquaintance with humble, holy, active men, and shun the company of dead, formal, earthly-minded men; we must stand up from the dead before Christ will give us life (Ephesians 4:14). There is a quickening virtue in the society of God's people. As one living coal sets his fellow on fire, so God hath ordained the gifts and graces of His people for the benefit of others, that those who dwell under their shadow might return (Hosea 14:7).

4. Get sincerity, for therein lies much of the very power of godliness. Let your faith, love, obedience, be unfeigned, and without hypocrisy. Be not only nominal and formal, but be real Christians, be Israelites indeed. Christ says to us as Alexander said to one of his name — either fight like Alexander, or never bear his name; so either act like Christians, or else put off that name. To quicken you, consider that this grace is: commanded, commended, rewarded.

5. It is the grace of our graces, it is not properly a distinct grace, but the perfection of them all. If a man have faith, repentance, obedience, if they be not sincere, they are worth nothing. A pearl if counterfeit is good for little. Gold, if mixed with brass or baser mettle, is debased. It is sincerity that puts a lustre on all our duties. It is the salt that seasons them and makes them savoury.

6. Let the noise of God's judgments awaken thee out of thy sleep] formality; if a man be in a dead sleep, a great noise will awaken him. God's judgments have a voice, and we should mark what it says.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Godliness, what is it? It is, as the very word implies, God-likeness. Godliness is the God in the man; godliness is the man being like his God; and seeing that this image has been lost, godliness in man now is a restored godliness — restored through the mediation of Christ Jesus, and by the ministrations of the Holy Ghost.

I. In our text we read of THE FORM OF GODLINESS WITHOUT THE POWER — without that power which belongs to the form, and which ought to be inseparable from that form. If you pick up an empty shell, you know that there has been a living creature in that shell: just so there is a power belonging to the external form of godliness; but the two things may exist apart. Many examples might be given of form without power. Take a statue representing some man; it is a form without power. There is the form of the eye, but no power of sight; there is the form of the ear, but no power of hearing; there is the form of the mouth, but no power of speech; there is the form of the arm, and of the hand, but no power of working; there is the form of the legs and of the feet, but no power of walking. There is the form that does embody life, but there is no power of life in that form. And a painting, if it be a portrait, is a form without power. Thus in the form of godliness there is the appearance of spiritual knowledge without the knowledge; the appearance of the soul listening to God and hearkening to the voice of His word, without the attentive ear; the appearance of a nature breathed into again by the spirit of life, although still dead in trespasses and sins, and therefore without life. The outward appearance of godliness — what then may it be?

1. It is the appearance of faith in the doctrines which are according to godliness. And where shall we find the appearance of faith without faith? Why here. These doctrines may be held in some articles, or creeds, or theological writings, by the intellect alone. They may be understood as statements, and held by the understanding without being spiritually and religiously appreciated; and they may be held by the tongue.

2. The outward appearance of godliness may be the appearance of sympathy with the ordinances and institutions which are intended alike to express and to cherish godliness.

3. Or the form of godliness may be the appearance of obedience to the laws which are the requirements of godliness. Now these may be fulfilled in the letter and broken in the spirit. "For example, f may love nay fellow-creature in word and in tongue, and fail to do it in deed and in truth.

4. There may be also the appearance of oneness with the godly through associating with such without communion of spirit. Many things may lead me to associate with the godly — things which are not Christian, considerations which are not Christian motives. I may associate with a man who is a godly man, because he happens to be very intelligent, a well-read man, a man of exquisite taste, and I may fancy that I make him my companion, because of his godliness. The godliness of the man is, however, an accident of my association with him. The probability is that if the man were ungodly, I should associate with him still for his intellectuality; for while he stands on my right hand, and I associate with him, there is a man on nay left, not so well educated, not so refined, who is more godly than my well-educated friend, and I pass him by. I might with immense advantage to myself associate with that man, but I do not; his godliness is no attraction to me. Now what does this show? Why it shows that I have the appearance of oneness with the godly, without the affection for the image of God, which would bring me into profitable contact with all who really have and who manifest that image.

5. Further, there may be the appearance of enjoyment of the blessedness of godliness; and this appearance may be made in speech and in tongue, and in a cheerful face on religious occasions. "Having the form, but denying the power."

II. Now WHERE IS THE POWER? The power of godliness is true faith in the doctrines which are according to godliness; the power of godliness is worship in spirit and in truth; is doing the will of God from the heart; is love for the godly as godly persons; is joy in God as God; and, I may add, the power of godliness is that external godliness which is the fruit of an internal godliness

III. Now, LISTEN TO THIS EXHORTATION: "From such turn away." You know that this is not fashionable advice. The advice nowadays given is, Turn away from no person, as a protest against the principles and character of that person — especially if that person be much thought of, or be in a high position; or be rich, or from any cause popular. Now, it strikes me that for our soul's health, and especially for our uprightness, we need translate into action some of these directions which demand separation. Let us, therefore, solemnly look at the conduct to be pursued.

1. You see the precept before us requires us to form a judgment of the character of others. You must do so, or you cannot obey this precept. Elsewhere you are forbidden to judge, but you are to bring into harmony that prohibition with this direction. You are to do both. It often strikes me as exceedingly odd, that men who object very much to our forming judgments of the character of others in religious matters, do form judgments of the characters of others in commercial matters. A young man applies for a situation, and the employer, who happens to object to any judgment being formed as to the religious life of another, will thoroughly investigate the character of that young man — not his business habits merely, but everything about him — all his moral habits, and, it may be, even his religious tendencies and dispositions. Well, if the thing be right in one sphere, why is it not right in another? If it have God's sanction in one sphere, why has it not God's sanction in another?

2. By the text, too, we are required to act upon an unfavourable judgment when that judgment is unfavourable. You decide that certain persons have the form of godliness, but are denying the power, and from such you are to turn away. What does this show? This shows that, so far as we can secure it, the communion of Christians must be pure. But let us look again at this precept. "From such" let the confessedly religious man "turn away" — from the men who have the form of godliness without the power.

3. From such let the inquirer turn away, he will learn nothing of these. And from such, let the really religious man, as a matter of stern duty in every sphere, turn away where his association with such would seem to be a sanction.

(S. Martin.)

I. THE "POWER" OF GODLINESS IS HERE DISTINGUISHED FROM THE MERE "FORM": and indeed it is easy to show the difference between them. The one is the name — the other is the thing; the one is the appearance — the other is the reality. The one is the body — the other is the soul, that inspires every member, and penetrates every particle of the frame. Behold then the life of the real Christian, and trace the operation of the power of godliness there.

1. It appears with regard to the ordinances of divine worship. Others who have only the form, come without expectation and prayer, and return without reflection and concern; they are satisfied with their attendance — but he is not. He is anxious to derive spiritual advantage from it: he enters the closet before he approaches the temple, and his language is, "O that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat!"

2. It appears with regard to the dissipations of the world. He voluntarily resigns those amusements in which he once placed so much of his happiness: and returns no more to them. And why? If he were mindful of the country whence he came, he has opportunity to return: he is surrounded with the same allurements as others — why then does he not engage in these diversions again? Because he has found something infinitely more noble and more satisfying. And a greater good has power to abolish the impressions of a less. When the sun arises, the stars disappear. And the grapes of Eshcol cause us to forget the leeks and onions of Egypt.

3. You may see it in the mortification of sin. He denies himself; he crucifies the flesh with the affections and lusts; he plucks out a right eye, and cuts off a right hand. You may see it in what he is willing to sacrifice and to suffer. Read history: read the book of martyrs; read the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews — and see what the force of this powerful principle can accomplish.

4. The vigour of this principle appears also in other sufferings. How many are there at this moment, enduring a variety of grief in private, whose names will never be published in history, but who, in the eye of God, are greater than the admired heroes of the age!


1. The form of godliness requires no strenuous exertions; demands no costly sacrifices. It is the power of it that renders the Christian life a "striving to enter in at the strait gate"; a "wrestling with principalities and powers"; a "running the race that is set before us"; a "fighting the good fight of faith." And it is this, too, that incurs opposition from the world. It will indeed be acknowledged that sometimes the very form draws forth the rancour of others: and of all people those are most to be pitied who are persecuted for what they have not; who are reproached as Christians without deserving the honour. But upon a nearer inspection of these mere formalists, the world is generally made quite easy. They see that they were mistaken in the characters; they find that they are "of their own," though wearing a religious uniform.

2. Persons are sometimes induced to take up the form of godliness through the influence of their connections. From some of them they feel the influence of authority; from some, the influence of friendship; from some the influence of business. "Hence," says M. Henry, "they assume a form of godliness to take their reproach, but not the power of it to take away their sin."

3. They avail themselves of the form of godliness to preserve peace within. For, without something of religion, conscience would rage and clamour; but by means of this, it is amused and quieted; and this renders it so extremely dangerous.

(W. Jay.)

I. BY THE FORM OF GODLINESS MAY BE PROPERLY UNDERSTOOD, NOT ONLY A SPECIOUS PRACTICE OF RELIGIOUS DUTIES, EXHIBITED TO PUBLIC NOTICE, BUT ALL EXTERNAL ACTS OF WORSHIP, ALL RITES AND CEREMONIES, all stated observances, and all compliance with temporary and local injunctions and regularities. In ages and countries in which ignorance has produced, and nourished, superstition, many artifices have been invented of practising piety without virtue, and repentance without amendment. As almost every man is, by nature or by accident, exposed to danger from particular temptations, and disposed to some vices more than to others; so all are, either by disposition of mind, or the circumstances of life, inclined or compelled to some laudable practices. Of this happy tendency it is common to take advantage, by pushing the favourite, or the convenient, virtue to its utmost extent, and to lose all sense of deficiency in the perpetual contemplation of some single excellence.

II. THE POWER OF GODLINESS IS CONTAINED IN THE LOVE OF GOD AND OF OUR NEIGHBOUR; in that sum of religion in which, as we are told by the Saviour of the world, the law and the prophets are comprised.

1. The love of God will engage us to trust in His protection, to acquiesce in His dispensations, to keep His laws, to meditate on His perfection, and to declare our confidence and submission, by profound and frequent adoration, to impress His glory on our minds by songs of praise, to inflame our gratitude by acts of thanks giving, to strengthen our faith, and exalt our hope, by pious meditations, and to implore His protection of our imbecility, and His assistance of our frailty by humble supplication; and when we love God with the whole heart, the power of godliness will be shown by steadiness in temptation, by patience in affliction, by faith in the Divine promises, by perpetual dread of sin, by continual aspirations after higher degrees of holiness, and contempt of the pains and pleasures of the world, when they obstruct the progress of religious excellence.

2. The power of godliness, as it is exerted in the love of our neighbour, appears in the exact and punctual discharge of all the relative and social duties. He whom this power actuates and directs, will regulate his conduct, so as neither to do injury, nor willingly to give offence.

III. HOW FAR IT IS NECESSARY TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, THAT THE FORM AND POWER OF GODLINESS SHOULD SUBSIST TOGETHER. It may be with great reason affirmed that, though there may be the appearance of godliness without the reality, there can hardly be the reality without the appearance. The form of godliness, as it consists in the rites of religion, is the instrument given us by God for the acquisition of the power; the means as well as the end are prescribed; nor can he expect the help of grace, or the Divine approbation, who seeks them by any other method than that which infinite wisdom has condescended to appoint.

(John Taylor, LL. D.)

The word μόρφωσις, which is here translated "form," signifies the show or image of a thing, which is dead and ineffectual: in opposition to the reality and life, which is quick and powerful. And, I think, this word is but once more used in the New Testament, and much in the same sense; viz., for an empty and ineffectual knowledge of religion without the practice of it (Romans 2:17-20, 21).

I. To snow WHEREIN A FORM OF GODLINESS DOTH CONSIST. In general it consists in an external show and profession of religion, or of any eminent part of it, or of that which is reputed to be so.

1. An external devotion.

2. An orthodox profession of the Christian faith.

3. Enthusiasm and pretence to inspiration.

4. A great external show of mortification.

5. An imperfect repentance and partial reformation.

6. The appearance and ostentation of some particular grace and virtue.

7. A great zeal for some party, or opinions, or circumstances of religion.

8. Silliness and freakishness, and either a pretended or real ignorance in the common affairs and concernments of human life.

9. Much noise and talk about religion.


1. A due sense of God, and suitable affections towards Him. This is the principle and fountain of all religion, from whence all actions of piety and goodness do spring.

2. A sincere and diligent use of the means and instruments of religion, such as prayer, reading, and hearing the Word of God, and receiving the sacraments.

3. A firm and steady resolution of well-doing. This is the result of a true and sincere repentance, and the great principle of a new life; and if it be firm and steadfast, it will derive its influence into all our actions; but if it be wavering and inconsistent, it is only the occasion of a religious mood and fit, but not the principle of a religious state.

4. As the proper and genuine effect of all these, the practice of a good life, in the several parts and instances of it.(1) In the mortifying of our lusts, the lusts of intemperance and uncleanness, covetousness, and ambition. He that is a slave to any of these, his religion is but a form, how glorious a show soever it may make.(2) In the subduing of our passions, wrath, hatred malice, envy, and revenge.(3) In the government of our tongues.(4) In the several virtues of a good life, in opposition to these and all other vices; such as are the truth and justice, humility and meekness, patience and contentedness with our condition, peaceableness and charity to those that are in want and necessity, a readiness to forgive our enemies, and an universal love and kindness to all men.


1. He hath only "a form of godliness," who minds merely the external part of religion, without any inward sense of it.

2. He that useth only the means of religion, without regard to the end and effect of it.

3. He that is grossly and knowingly defective in the practice of any part of it.

IV. THAT A FORM OF GODLINESS, WITHOUT THE POWER OF IT, IS INSIGNIFICANT TO ALL THE GREAT ENDS AND PURPOSES OF RELIGION. The great ends that men can reasonably propound to themselves in being religious, are these three:

1. The pleasing of God.

2. The peace and tranquillity of our own minds.

3. The saving of our souls. Now a form of godliness, without the power of it, is unavailable to all these purposes.


1. He hath the trouble of making a show and appearance of religion, without the real benefit of it.

2. He incurs a heavier sentence upon this account, that he hath a form of religion, and yet is destitute of the power of it.Concluding inferences:

1. To take heed of mistaking the form of religion for the power of it.

2. To take heed of being captivated and seduced by those who have only a form of godliness.

3. To persuade men to mind the life, and power and substance of religion.

(Archbp. Tillotson.)


1. What they had — "A form of godliness."(1) What is a form of godliness. Attention(a) to the ordinances of religion.(b) Attendance with the assemblies of God's people.(c) A great deal of religious talk Tongue-godliness is an abomination if the heart be destitute of grace.(d) More than this, some have a form of godliness upheld and published by religious activity. It is possible to be intensely active in the outside work of the Church, and yet to know nothing of spiritual power.(2) But now, as these people had not the power of godliness, how did they come to hold the form of it?(a) Some come by the form of godliness in an hereditary way. Their ancestors were always godly people, and they almost naturally take up with the professions of their fathers. This is common, and where it is honest, it is most commendable. But remember, not generation, but regeneration, makes the Christian.(b) Others have accepted the form of godliness by the force of authority and influence. There is danger lest we fail to have personal repentance and personal faith, and are content to lean upon the opinions of others.(c) So have I seen the form of godliness taken up on account of friendships. Many a time courtship and marriage have led to a formal religiousness, lacking heart.(d) I do not doubt that, in these silken days, many have a form of godliness because of the respect it brings them.(e) Certain persons assume the form of godliness from a natural religious disposition. They could not be happy unless they were attending where God is worshipped, nor unless they were reckoned among the believers in Christ. They must play at religion, even if they do not make it their life business.(f) From the days of Iscariot until now, some have taken up the form of godliness to gain thereby. To make gain of godliness is to imitate the son of perdition.(g) A form of godliness has come to many because it brings them ease of conscience, and they are able, like the Pharisee, to thank God that they are not as other men are.

2. What they did not have — "The power."(1) What is that power? God Himself is the power of godliness. The Holy Spirit is the life and force of it.(2) What is the general history of those who have not this power? Well, their course usually runs thus: they do not begin with denying the power, but they begin by trying to do without it. They try to persuade themselves that they have been changed: they accept emotion as regeneration, and a belief of doctrine for belief in Christ. It is rather hard at first to reckon brass as gold, but it grows easier as it is persisted in. At the first they are a good deal suspicious of themselves, but they industriously kill every question by treating it as a needless doubt. Thus, by degrees, they believe a lie. The next step is easy: they deceive themselves, and come to believe that they are surely saved. At last they take the daring step of denying the power. Being without it themselves, they conceive that others are without it also. They get on very well without any supernatural power, and others, no doubt, do the same; only they add a little cant to it to please the very godly folk. They practically deny the power in their lives, so that those who see them and take them for Christians say, "There really is nothing in it; for these people are as we are. They have a touch of paint here, and a little varnish there, but it is all the same work." Practically, their actions assure the world that there is no power in Christianity; it is only a name. Very soon, privately, in their hearts they think it is so, and they invent doctrines to match. By and by, in some cases, these people profanely deny the Divine power of our only faith, and then they become the greatest enemies of the Cross of Christ.


1. They degrade the very name of Christ. If there is no spiritual power in godliness, it is worth nothing.

2. There is no value in such a dead form. I have read that the swan was not allowed to be offered upon the altar of God, because, although its feathers are as white as snow, yet its skin is black. God will not accept that external morality which conceals internal impurity.

3. There is no use in mere formality. In the depth of winter, can you warm yourself before a painted fire? Could you dine off the picture of a feast when you are hungry?

4. There is no comfort in it. The form without the power has nothing in it to warm the heart, raise the spirits, or strengthen the mind against the day of sickness, or in the hour of death.

5. To have the form of godliness without the power of it, is to lack constancy in your religion. You never saw the mirage, but those who have travelled in the East, when they come home are sure to tell you about it. It is a very hot and thirsty day, and you are riding on a camel. Suddenly there rises before you a beautiful scene. Just a little from you are brooks of water, flowing between beds of osiers and banks of reeds and rushes. Yonder are palm trees and orange groves. Yes, and a city rises on a hilt, crowned with minarets and towers. You are rejoiced, and ask your guide to lead you nearer to the water which glistens in the sun. He grimly answers, "Take no notice, it is the mirage. There is nothing yonder but the burning sand." You can scarce believe him, it seems so real; but lo, it is all gone, like a dream of night. So unsubstantial is the hope which is built upon the form of godliness without the power. The white ants will eat up all the substance of a box, and yet leave it standing, till a touch causes the whole fabric to fall in dust: beware of a profession of which the substance has been eaten away. Believe in nothing which has not the stamp of eternity upon it.

6. In reality, this kind of religion is in opposition to Christ. It is Jannes and Jambres over again: the magician of hypocrisy is trying to work miracles which belong to God only. Nobody can do so much damage to the Church of God as the man who is within its walls, but not within its life.

7. This nominal godliness, which is devoid of power, is a shameful thing.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)




II. GODLINESS IS POWERFUL BECAUSE IT IS A PERSONAL PROPERTY. You see upon the desk of that organ a music book; but the book does not sing. The gospel is like a music book. Here are the rules for the harmony of life. Godliness is singing from the book of Christ; it is playing upon the heavenly harp; it is putting the music of God into one's own life.

(W. Birch.)

1. Consider that familiarity with wicked men will make us like them, we are very apt to resemble those that we converse with, and as he that walks with wise men shall be wiser (Proverbs 13:20), so he that walks with wicked men shall be worse. The best mettles, when mixed with baser, are embased thereby; mix gold with brass or silver with copper, and you debase the coin; for saints to familiarly join with the limbs of Satan, not only endangers, but debaseth them. Man is a poor, weak, unconstant creature, and apt to go astray, and therefore we should shun temptations.

2. This familiarity with them may harden them in their sin, God hath ordained our separation, and withdrawing ourselves from them, as a means to humble them, and turn them from sin (1 Thessalonians 5:22.)

3. There is no comfort to be found in such society; when trouble comes, miserable comforters are they all. When Judas fell into trouble of conscience, he ran to his wicked associates, but see what miserable comforters they are to him in his extremity (Matthew 27:4).

4. It is a dishonour to our Lord and Master to be familiar with known traitors and rebels to Him. Every wicked man rebels against God.

5. It is impossible that ever we should be good so long as we delight in wicked company.

6. By familiarity with such we do not only endanger our spiritual, but our temporal estate also.

(W. Birch.)

I do not suppose that these words need much explanation. "Godliness," in the New Testament, means not only the disposition which we call piety, but the conduct which flows from it, and which we may call practical religion. The form or outward appearance of that we all understand. But what is the "denying the power thereof"? It does not consist in words, but in deeds. In these latter epistles we find "denying" frequently used as equivalent to "abjuring," renouncing, casting off. For instance, in a passage singularly and antithetically parallel to that of my text, we read "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts," which simply means throwing off their dominion.

I. Observe THE SAD FREQUENCY OF SUCH A CONDITION. Wherever any great cause or principle is first launched into the world, it evokes earnest enthusiasm, and brings men to heroisms of consecration and service. And so, when Christianity was first launched, there was less likelihood of its attracting to itself men who were not in earnest, and who were mere formalists. As years go on, the primitive enthusiasms die out, and the cause which was once all freshly radiant and manifestly heaven-born becomes an earthly institution, there is a growing tendency to gather round it all sorts of superficial, half-and-half adherents. And every church has its full share of such people; loose adherents, clogs upon all movement, who bring down the average of warmth like the great icebergs that float in the Atlantic and lower the temperature of the summer all over Europe. They make consecration "eccentric"; they make consistent, out-and-out Christian living, "odd," "unlike the ordinary thing." And they pull down the spirituality of the Church almost to the level of the world.

II. Think, next, of THE UNDERGROUND WORKING OF THIS EVIL. These people about whom Paul is speaking in my text were, I suppose, mostly, though by no means exclusively, conscious pretenders to what they did not possess. But the number of hypocrites, in the full sense of the word, is amazingly small, and the men whom you would brand as most distinctly so, if you came to talk to them, would amaze you to find how entirely ignorant they were of the fact that they were dramatising and pretending to piety, and that there was next to no reality of it in them. A very little bit of gold, beaten out very thin, will cover over, with a semblance of value, an enormous area. And men beat out the little modicum of sincerity that they have so very thin that it covers, and gives a deceptive appearance of brilliancy and solidity to an enormous amount of windy flatulence and mere pretence. The worse a man is, the less he knows it. The more completely a professing Christian has lost his hold of the substance and is clinging only to the form, the less does he suspect that this indictment has any application to him. The more completely a man's limbs are frost-bitten the more comfortable and warm they are, and the less does he know it. I need say little about the reasons for this unconsciousness. We are all accustomed to take very lenient views, when we take any at all, of our own character; and the tendency of all conduct is to pull down conscience to the level of conduct, and to vindicate that conduct by biassed decisions of a partial conscience. The underground enemies of our Christian earnestness are far more dangerous than the apparent and manifest antagonists; and there are many men amongst us who would repel with indignation a manifest assault against their godliness, who yield without resistance, and almost without consciousness, to the sly seductions of unsuspected evil. The arrow that flies in darkness is more deadly than the pestilence that wasteth at noonday.


1. I suppose that one, at anyrate, of the main examples of this "form" was participation in the simple worship of the primitive Church. And although the phrase by no means refers merely to acts of worship, still that is one of the main fields in which this evil is manifest. Many of us substitute outward connection with the Church for inward union with Jesus Christ. All external forms have a tendency to assert themselves, and to detain in themselves, instead of helping to rise above themselves, our poor sense-ridden natures. Seeing that the purest and the simplest of forms may become like a dirty window, an obscuring medium which shuts out instead of lets in the light, it seems to me that the Churches are wisest which admit least of the dangerous element into their external worship, and try to have as little of form as may keep the spirit. I know that simple forms may be abused quite as much as elaborate ones. Let us be very sure that we do not substitute Church membership, coming to chapel, going to prayer-meeting, teaching in Sunday schools, reading devout books, and the like, for the inward submission to the power.

2. Another cause always operating in the tendency which all action of every kind has to escape from the dominion of its first motives, and to become merely mechanical and habitual. Habit is a most precious ally of goodness, but habitual goodness tends to become involuntary and mechanical goodness, and so to cease to be goodness at all. And the more that we can, in each given case, make each individual act of godliness, whether it be in worship or in practical life, the result of a fresh approach to the one central and legitimate impulse of the Christian life, the better it will be for ourselves.

3. And then, still farther, there is the constant operation of earth and sense and daily duties and pressing cares, which war against the reality and completeness of our submission to the power of godliness. Grains of sand, microscopically minute in the aggregate, bury the temples and the images of the gods in the Nile Valley. The multitude of small cares and duties which are blown upon us by every wind have the effect of withdrawing us, unless we are continually watchful, from that one foundation of all, the love of Jesus Christ felt in our daily lives.

IV. So, lastly, let me point you to THE DISCIPLINE WHICH MAY AVERT THIS EVIL.

1. First and foremost, I would say let us cherish a clear and continual recognition of the reality of the danger. Forewarned is forearmed. Rigid, habitual self-inspection, in the light of God's Word, is an all-important help to prevent this sliding into superficiality of our Christian life. In a country which is only preserved by the dykes from being swallowed up by the sea the minutest inspection of the rampart is the condition of security, and if there be a hole big enough for a mouse to creep through the water will come in and make a gap wide enough to drown a province in a little while. And so, seeing that we have such dangers round about us, and that the most formidable of them all are powers that work in the dark, let us be very sure that our eyes have searched, as well as we can, the inmost corners of our lives, and that no lurking vermin lie beneath the unturned-up stones.

2. And then, lastly, and as that without which all else is vain, let us make continual and earnest and contrite efforts day by day to renew and deepen our personal communion with Jesus Christ. He is the source of the power which godliness operates in our lives, and the closer we keep to Him the more it will flood our hearts and make us real, out-and-out Christians, and not shallow and self-deceived pretenders. The tree that had nothing but leaves upon it hid its absence of fruit by its abundance of foliage. The Master came, as He comes to you and to me, seeking fruit, and if He finds it not He will perpetuate the barrenness by His blasting word, "No fruit grow upon thee henceforward forever."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Christian Age.
1. Forms are necessary to religion as the means of its manifestation. As the invisible God manifests His nature — His power, wisdom, and goodness, in visible material forms, in the bright orbs of heaven, in the everlasting hills, in the broad earth with its fruits and flowers, and in all the living things which He has made, — so the invisible soul of man reveals its convictions and feelings in the outward acts which it performs. A form is the flag, the banner, the symbol of an inward life; it is to a religious belief what the body is to the soul; as the soul would be utterly unknown without the body, so religion would be unknown without its forms, a light hidden under a bushel, and not set up in a candlestick that it may give light to all that are in the house.

2. Forms are necessary not only to the manifestation of religion, but to its nourishment and continued existence, h religion which expressed itself in no outward word or act would soon die out of the soul altogether. The attempt to embody truth and feeling, to express it in words and actions, is necessary to give it the character of living principle in the soul: in this respect forms are like the healthy exercise which at once expresses and increases the vigorous life of the body, or they may be compared to the leaves of a tree, which not only proceed from its inward life, but catch the vitalising influences of the light, the rain, and the atmosphere, and convey them down to the root.

3. What, then, is that formalism which is everywhere in the Scripture, and especially in the discourses of our Lord, described as an offence and an abomination in the sight of God? It is the substitution of the outward rite in the place of the inner spirit and life of the soul; it is the green leaf which still hangs upon the dead branch which has been lopped off.

(Christian Age.)

Christian Journal.
Some years ago the captain of a Greenland whaling vessel found himself at night surrounded by icebergs and "lay-to" till the morning, expecting every moment to be ground to pieces. As the morning dawned he sighted a ship at no great distance. Getting into a boat with some of his men he carefully picked his way through the lanes of open ice towards the mysterious looking craft. Coming alongside he hailed the vessel with a loud, "Ship ahoy!" but there was no response. He looked through the porthole and saw a man, evidently the captain, sitting at a table as if writing in a log-book. He again hailed the vessel, but the figure moved not. It was dead and frozen! On examination the sailors were found, some frozen among the hammocks, others in the cabin. From the last entry in the log-book it appeared this vessel had been drifting about the Arctic seas for thirteen years — a floating sepulchre, manned by a frozen crew. And there are souls to-day who have refused the Divine offer of life, forsaken the centres where they were warmed with hallowed influences, and drifted into the chilling regions of Arctic darkness and frost. Many of these have certain appearances of Christian life, and a name to live.

(Christian Journal.)

Christian Herald.
On the farm of Manorlees, in Fifeshire, and in the house of Mr. Alexander Gibson, a large and very tempting ham hung from one of the rafters running across the ceiling. In the same house there was a rat, whose taste lay strongly in the direction of ham, and this rat, with rare instinct, gnawed a hole in the woodwork directly over the tempting morsel, and, descending, ate itself into the inside of it. How long the excavating went on is not known, but one day the housewife found it necessary to commence operations on the ham, when, on lifting it down, out bolted the depredator. The ham was a perfect shell, skin and bone only remaining to show its form. The animal, after feeding sumptuously, had commenced to build a nest inside. This anecdote is not simply amusing; it serves well to illustrate the operation of secret sin, eating away our spiritual life till nothing remains but a deceptive form of godliness — the mere rind and shell of religion.

(Christian Herald.)

Across your path, and on the ground, lies stretched out in death, a mighty tree, tall and strong — fit mast to carry a cloud of canvas, and bear unbent the strains of tempests. You put your foot lightly on it; and how great your surprise when, breaking through the bark, it sinks deep into the body of the tree — a result much less owing to the pressure of your foot than to the poisonous fungi and foul, crawling insects that have attacked its core. They have left the outer rind uninjured — but hollowed out its heart. Take care your heart is not hollowed out, and nothing left you but the crust and shell of an empty profession.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

A painter has undertaken to portray on his canvas flames of fire. He does it so exactly that you can hardly detect it from real flames. But look! you see flies and other insects passing across it; they could never pass across real flames. Just so spiritual insects, in the shape of sins, will pass across the mere professor, which they could never do across one who had the power of real religion in his heart; the former has but the "form" of flames "of godliness," the influential power is wanting.

(Dr. Jenkyn.)

Hollow professors are as hollow trees in an old wood — tall, but pithless, sapless, unsound. Their formality is fitly compared to a bulrush, whereof the colour is fresh, the skin smooth: he is very exact that can find a knot in a bulrush (Isaiah 58:5). But peel it, and what shall you find within but a kind of spongeous, unsubstantial substance? These, as if religion were a comedy, do in voice and gesture act Divine duties, in heart renounce them. Hypocrites only act religion, play devotion; like they are to the ostrich, saith Hugo, which hath wings, but flies not. The swan in the Law was rejected for sacrifice because of her black skin under white feathers. Art may take a man more than nature; but with God, the more art the less acceptance: He loveth truth in the inwards (Psalm 51:6).

(J. Trapp.)

A hypocrite is a contemptible person, whether he is in the Church or out of it; whether he is deceiving in the name of respectability or religion. He is not a Christian any more than a crocodile is a nightingale or a fungus is a lily.

Dictionary of Illustrations.
A gentleman once entered a hall with his son. They saw a number of well-dressed people — some of them standing together in groups, others apart; some sitting in various postures. The son's attention was fixed by a pleasant-looking gentleman, somewhat gaudily dressed. He said, "Father, who is that gentleman? He seems a mild, pleasant looking person; but what a singular dress he wears! Who is he?" "Ask the gentleman who stands near you," said the father. "If you please, sir, can you inform me who that gentleman opposite is?" No answer. The boy thinks it strange. At last the father tells him, "My son, those are only wax figures: there is no life in them; they are all outside, very fair to look at, but there is no soul, no life: they are outside and nothing else." So it is with those who have no internal religion.

(Dictionary of Illustrations.)

Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates, the king of Pontus, sending a crown to Caesar at the time he was in rebellion against him, he refused the present, saying, "Let him first lay down his rebellion, and then I will receive his crown." There are many who set a crown of glory upon the head of Christ by a good profession, and yet plant a crown of thorns upon His head by an evil conversation.

(T. Secker.)

There is always danger to those who have to talk much about religion that their religion may become that of the head, rather than the true religion of the heart. I have found it necessary myself to dedicate an hour or two at midnight to serious meditation, self-examination, and prayer.

(Dean Hook.)

Some may live upon forms, but there is no dying upon forms. Formalists, like Pharaoh's lean kine, are full-fed, yet lean. To pursue the ways of God with a guilty conscience is Satan's great receipt for perpetual failure.

2 Timothy 3:5 NIV
2 Timothy 3:5 NLT
2 Timothy 3:5 ESV
2 Timothy 3:5 NASB
2 Timothy 3:5 KJV

2 Timothy 3:5 Bible Apps
2 Timothy 3:5 Parallel
2 Timothy 3:5 Biblia Paralela
2 Timothy 3:5 Chinese Bible
2 Timothy 3:5 French Bible
2 Timothy 3:5 German Bible

2 Timothy 3:5 Commentaries

Bible Hub
2 Timothy 3:4
Top of Page
Top of Page