Tuesday, 17 April 2018
For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 2 Timothy 3:6
Paul continues to refer to the same wicked sort that he has been describing since verse 2. In the previous verse, he said that they have a form of godliness, but they deny its power. Now he continues to describe them, saying that “…of this sort are those who creep into households.”
The idea here is that their doctrine is false, and incompatible with what is open, sound, and reasonable in the church at large. And so they start their corrupt teachings by creeping into households. If their voice is not accepted in the congregation, then they will start in the home. They have enough Scripture memorized to sway those who are uninformed in proper theology. And so by capturing their unsuspecting prey in the household, they have a captive audience to lead astray without anyone to contradict them.
But once in the household, there is a particularly easy target to start with. Paul continues with, “and make captives of gullible women.” It was the woman who was deceived, and it is the woman’s makeup to base decisions more on emotions than man will. They are the more easily deceived, being gullible, easily flattered, and having an ear receptive to twisted doctrine. This is why Satan went to the woman first. The pattern remains with those who would infect households, normally starting with the woman.
Paul continues to describe the women next with the words, “loaded down with sins.” The false teachers can readily spot those who would make easy targets. By a simple look at the life being led by the woman, he can determine if she is already laden with sins. If so, then to manipulate her will be much easier than someone who is morally upright and sound. Women who are burdened with sinful lives will naturally fall prey to false doctrines, not having the knowledge of the truth stored up.
Finally, he says that they are “led away by various lusts.” This is generally believed to not exclusively be “lusts of the flesh,” such as sexual immorality, but the lust of life in general. They already have sinful lives, so if they can meld a religion that will ease their conscience while they continue in lustful pursuit, then how easily swayed they will be! They may be filled with pride, greed, vanity, susceptibility to flattery, and so on. When a false teacher comes into their home, they are already so misguided in their lives that adding in unsound theology is as easy as putting on a nice-fitting dress.
The goal for the false teacher here is not specifically to sexually seduce the woman, but to have control. As his false teaching is absorbed, it will hopefully spread. Paul points this out in Titus 1:11 by saying about these teachers that their “mouths must be stopped.” It is they “who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” This is the goal then. They desire control, and control leads to profiting off those whom they have in bondage.
Life application: There is nothing wrong with home Bible studies, but they should be conducted in an open setting by someone who is known to have sound doctrine, and who is considered trustworthy. How easy it is to sway those who are not informed in the basics of biblical doctrine. Let us always be on guard, watching out for those who clearly fit Paul’s description in the words of this verse.
Precious Lord God! Daily we rise and see Your hand of infinite wisdom displayed in the things You have created. How sad it is that the world attributes Your handiwork to random chance. And how easy it is for us to be swayed by false doctrines that arise right from a false presentation of Your word. When we are duped in one area of it, that is bound to spread to other areas. From creation through salvation, and a hundred other areas of Scripture, help us to be attentive and not led astray by false teachings. Amen.