2 Timothy 3:8, 9
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.…
The apostle vividly depicts their attitude toward the truth.
I. THEY HAVE THEIR HISTORICAL PROTOTYPES. "As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth."
1. These were two Egyptian magicians, called "wise men and sorcerers (Exodus 7:11-22), who appeared at the court of Pharaoh to resist the wonder working power of Moses. Their names do not occur in the Old Testament, but they are found in the Targum of Jonathan, and are also quoted by heathen writers. What was more natural than that the apostle should quote to Timothy one of the two traditions of his country?
2. These magicians, reported to have been sons of Balaam, were thwarted in their arts by the superior power that worked through Moses. The parallel was therefore in a double sense apt.
II. THE FALSE TEACHERS DIRECTLY WITHSTOOD THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL.
1. They may have used occult arts like their Egyptian prototypes to attract disciples; for the word seducers," applied to them in the context (ver. 13), has this signification. The claim to possess such powers was not unusual in that day (Acts 8:9-24; Acts 13:6-12; Acts 19:18-20).
2. But, like Elymas, they withstood the truth of the gospel, by representing themselves as possessing as much authority as the apostle himself , and thus neutralizing its exclusive claims. They subverted the hopes of the gospel.
III. THE EXPLANATION OF THEIR ANTI-CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE. "Men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith."
1. Corrupt affections depraved their mental judgments. Even that, mind, which is the medium through which the Holy Spirit makes his communications to man, had become darkened. "A corrupt head, a corrupt heart, and a vicious life, usually accompany each other."
2. The doctrines of these teachers had been tested and discovered to be worthless, like silver which was to be rejected by man. They had nothing but the name in common with the Christian faith.
IV. THE CHECK THAT WOULD BE GIVEN TO THEIR PROGRESS. "But they shall proceed no further; for their folly shall be evident to all men, as theirs also came to be." This passage seems opposed to ch. 2:16, where it is said that "they shall advance to more ungodliness;" but in that place
(1) the apostle is speaking of an immediate diffusion of error, in this of its ultimate extinction;
(2) in that place the advance toward ungodliness is asserted, here there is a denial of its successful advance without exposure. The evil would advance, but only to a certain point, and the true character of its promoters - "their folly" - would be made as manifest as was that of the Egyptian magicians. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.