2 Timothy 3:5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.