2 Timothy 2:17
and the talk of such men will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
GangreneA. Plummer, D. D.2 Timothy 2:17
Justification by FaithW.G. Magee.2 Timothy 2:17
Unsound OpintionsJ. Barlow, D. D.2 Timothy 2:17
Conduct in View of Heresy Appearing in the ChurchR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 2:14-26
A Warning Against Vain BabblingsT. Croskery 2 Timothy 2:16-18

But shun profane babblings.

I. THE DUTY OF THE MINISTER TOWARD SUCH BABBLINGS. He is to shun them, because they are profitless - a mere sound of words, without solid meaning; great swelling words of vanity, not only unprofitable, but contrary to the doctrine that is according to godliness. The minister must shun, discourage, and repudiate them in the interests of truth and piety.

II. THE TENDENCY OF SUCH BABBLINGS. "They will proceed further in ungodliness." The allusion is not to the babblings, but to the false teachers.

1. There is a close connection between lax doctrine and a loose life. The error of the false teachers had not yet appeared in its fully developed form, but its true moral tendency was clearly foreseen from the first.

2. There is a tendency in false teachers to carry their principles to their last logical results. They have thrown off the checks of authority and conscience; they have been emboldened, perhaps, by a temporary success; and so they insist on wresting the whole Scripture to their own destruction as well as that of others.

III. THE EFFECTS OF SUCH FALSE TEACHING. "And their word will eat as doth a gangrene."

1. It will spread further and further.

(1) Through the subtlety of seducers;

(2) through the unwary simplicity of Christian professors;

(3) and as a judicial infliction upon such as, possessing no love of the truth, receive delusion to believe a lie.

2. It will have corrupting and destroying effects. The strong figure of the apostle sets the matter in an impressive light.

IV. THE RING LEADERS OF HERESY. "Of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some."

1. The leading apostles of error.

(1) It is a solemn thought that the Spirit of inspiration has given an immortality of infamy to these two names. If they were ambitious of notoriety, they have gained it far beyond the extent of their expectations.

(2) Hymenaeus is evidently the person referred to already (1 Timothy 1:25), whom the apostle had "delivered unto Satan;" but he seems to have profited in no way in the interval by the severe discipline applied to him. Of Philetus nothing is known. It is a Greek name, but it occurs in Roman inscriptions.

2. The nature of their error. Their principal error, which is mentioned, was a denial of the resurrection in its true sense.

(1) They probably perverted the words of the apostle himself when he spoke of a spiritual resurrection (Romans 6:4, etc.; Colossians 2:12), of which they could say truly enough that "it was past already;" but they denied a resurrection of the body, which was just as expressly taught by the same apostle.

(2) The error had its origin in the Greek philosophy, which regarded matter as essentially evil, and as therefore unworthy to share in the ultimate glorification of the redeemed.

3. The injurious effects of their error. "And overthrow the faith of some."

(1) The doctrine of the resurrection is founded on the resurrection of Christ, which is the foundation doctrine of Christianity. Those errorists seem to have touched with unholy hands this cornerstone of Christian hope.

(2) The influence of the errorists, evil as it was, was only partial. It only affected "some;" but even this thought was a sad one to the apostle. - T.C.

Their word will eat as doth a canker.
The substitution of "gangrene" for "cancer" is an improvement, as giving the exact word used in the original, which expresses the meaning more forcibly than "cancer." Cancer is sometimes very slow in its ravages, and may go on for years without causing serious harm. Gangrene poisons the whole frame, and quickly becomes fatal. The apostle foresees that doctrines, which really ate out the very heart of Christianity, were likely to become very popular in Ephesus, and would do incalculable mischief. The nature of these doctrines we gather from what follows.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)


II. UNSOUND OPINIONS ARE OF A SPREADING NATURE. And this is true of all sin, original and actual.

1. For doth not corruption, like a disease, disperse itself, and pollute every power of the soul and member of the body? What part is not infected with that leprous contagion? Hath it not spread also, by natural propagation, to all Adam's posterity?

2. Will not all actual sin spread also? For unbelief, hath it not run into atheism? fear, into despair? anger, into fury? and that, to revenge? Foolish mirth will become madness; temporary faith, high presumption; and speculative lust, actual whoredom. Were not images, in the beginning, for civil use, to put men in mind of deceased friends; and are they not at this day, by the Romanists, religiously adored?

3. Shall we not see one error beget another?

4. Moreover, unsound opinions spread from person to person.


(J. Barlow, D. D.)

This is a most striking and accurate description of the nature of heresy — it never remains inactive — it is sure to spread; an error in any essential point is sure, eventually, to corrupt the whole body of truth, just as a gangrene in the human body appearing, at first, as a small spot, gradually spreads, eating into the sound parts near it, and they, in their turn, infecting the rest, until the whole body is destroyed. The reason for this is very simple. The truths of religion are not a set of independent and unconnected notions bound up together in a creed, as men bind loose sticks into a bundle; they are closely connected parts of a great whole, arising one out of the other, so that you cannot deny one without denying or perverting a great many others; for once you admit a truth, you admit all its consequences; once you deny a truth, you must be prepared to deny, in like manner, all its consequences. God declares that false doctrine eats into the faith of the Church like a canker. Sacramental justification does this — therefore it is false. In order to show the injurious results of this false doctrine, we will take, for our example, that Church which most strongly holds it. The Church of Rome gives us the most awful instance of its effects. The Church of Rome holds that, at his baptism, every one is made perfectly holy; that if he remain in this state of grace, or if, after falling from it, he is restored to it again, so that he be in it at his death, then he is saved. Now let us suppose a church, as yet sound upon all other points, adopting this opinion. We shall see how it eats its way. And firstly, it must lead to the perversion of the doctrine of original sin. But further; every one knows that he is constantly committing little faults. "In many things we offend all." But Rome affirms that some sins are venial, while others are mortal. But the law of God commands as welt as forbids, and they must, by their good works, continue to deserve God's favour! Now, in such a system, every work must have its own proper value, it must be just so much merit towards justification: a man who works because he has been justified, does not stop to reckon or to price his good works; he works from love — he cannot do too much; but he who works that he may be justified, must keep count of his good deeds, and try to ascertain their value, that he may be sure he has really done enough to secure his justification. But this is not all. In such a system of external observances, it is clear that the man most remarkable for his lastings and his many prayers is the holiest man. But we may trace it further still. These holy men, who dwell apart from the common crowd, have clearly attained a degree of holiness greater than is necessary for their own salvation. May they not, then, bestow some of it on others? So far we have been tracing the effects of this false doctrine on those who believe that they are still in a state of justification because they have retained their baptismal purity. We have now to see its effects upon those who have reason to fear that they have lost their justification. Even when men have raised their own righteousness to the utmost, and lowered God's law to the lowest, still the uneasy doubt will intrude itself — What if, after all, I have not done enough? what if I have fallen into mortal sin? Now, in such a case, of whom would the anxious sinner seek advice and consolation? who shall decide for him each nice case of conscience, and say what is venial and what is mortal sin? what are good works and what are not? Who but his pastor, God's minister, whose province it is to study such matters? He wilt naturally ask him to decide for him what his state may be; but if so, he must confess all his sins to him: this spiritual physician must know all the symptoms of his case before he can give his opinion upon it; and, accordingly, the penitent will soon acquire the habit of auricular confession of all his sins to his priest. But what if this adviser, when consulted, shall decide that he has fallen from grace and is even in mortal sin? The priest cannot re-baptize him; how shall he regain his justification? This confessor has a right to declare God's forgiveness; he preaches remission of sins; what if he have a right to give it? it is but a step from saying "You are forgiven," to "I forgive you." The fears of the penitent, the ambition of the priest, soon take it; the inquisitor becomes a judge, the ambassador assumes the authority of the king, the minister of Christ attempts to give the sinner the peace he needs, by usurping the office of his Lord and Master, who alone tins power on earth to forgive sins. The canker eats its way! There may, however, be cases where time is too short for the performance of penance — death may be imminent. For such a state another provision must be made — it is ready. There is a scriptural and primitive custom, that the elders of the Church should pray over a sick man, "anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." All that is necessary is, to make of this rite, a sacrament conveying to the insensible, sick man remission of sins, as baptism was supposed to have given it to the insensible infant; and then his salvation is secured. Mark, now, how the true doctrine of justification preserves from all this error. Being justified by faith "I have peace"; what need have I then to confess to man? I may come boldly into the holy of holies, through the new and living way; I need no man to tell me how great my sins may be; I can ask God to "pardon my iniquity, for it is great!" If I address myself to my fellow man, it is for counsel and consolation, not for pardon. I have no need of extreme unction, I have "an unction from the Holy One"; I have no need of purgatorial fire, for "the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin." "Being justified by faith I have peace with God."

(W.G. Magee.)

David, Hymenaeus, Paul, Philetus, Timothy
Canker, Consume, Eat, Flesh, Gangrene, Hymenaeus, Hymenae'us, Hymeneus, Pasture, Philetus, Phile'tus, Poisoned, Running, Sore, Spread, Stamp, Talk, Teaching, Wounds
1. Timothy is exhorted again to constancy and perseverance.
17. Of Hymenaeus and Philetus.
19. The foundation of the Lord is sure.
22. He is taught whereof to beware, and what to follow after.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Timothy 2:15-18

     8316   orthodoxy, in NT

2 Timothy 2:16-18

     5441   philosophy
     8237   doctrine, false
     8750   false teachings

2 Timothy 2:17-18

     5295   destruction
     8743   faithlessness, nature of
     8749   false teachers

2 Timothy 2:17-19

     8779   materialism, nature of

Twenty-Seventh Day. Holiness and Service.
If a man therefore cleanse himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, meet for the Master's use, prepared unto every good work.'--2 Tim. ii. 21. 'A holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices. A holy nation, that ye may show forth the excellences of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.'--1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. Through the whole of Scripture we have seen that whatever God sanctifies is to be used in the service of His Holiness. His Holiness
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

"But Ye are not in the Flesh, but in the Spirit, if So be that the Spirit of God Dwell in You. Now, if any Man
Rom. viii. 9.--"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Application is the very life of the word, at least it is a necessary condition for the living operation of it. The application of the word to the hearts of hearers by preaching, and the application of your hearts again to the word by meditation, these two meeting together, and striking one upon another, will yield fire.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

In Memoriam.
DR. TALMAGE-THE MAN. BY REV. W. S. SWANSON, D.D. [Dr. Swanson was for twenty years a valued member of the English Presbyterian Mission at Amoy, and subsequently Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church of England until his death, November 24, 1893] My first meeting with Dr. Talmage took place in the early days of July, 1860, and from that day till the day of his death he was regarded as not only one of the best and most valued friends, but I looked up to him as a father
Rev. John Gerardus Fagg—Forty Years in South China

"Most Gladly Therefore Will I Rather Glory in My Infirmities, that the Power of Christ May Rest Upon Me. " -- 2 Cor. 12:9.
"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." -- 2 Tim 2:11,12. "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." -- 2 Cor. 12:9. Compassed about with songs, my soul was still -- But not for lack of light its bliss to see; Thy heart, my Father, could the temple fill, And its deep silence was a song to Thee. My mind reposed in its captivity, By the clear evidence
Miss A. L. Waring—Hymns and Meditations

The victory of the Lamb
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."--2 Tim. ii. 12. J. Heerman, 1647. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 I go from grief and sighing, the valley and the clod, To join the chosen people in the palaces of God-- There sounds no cry of battle amidst the shadowing palms, But the mighty song of victory, and glorious golden psalms. The army of the conquerors, a palm in every hand, In robes of state and splendour, in rest eternal stand; Those marriage robes of glory, the righteousness of God-- He
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

Of This, Then, Ye have Now Received, have Meditated...
2. Of this, then, ye have now received, have meditated, and having meditated have held, that ye should say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty." God is Almighty, and yet, though Almighty, He cannot die, cannot be deceived, cannot lie; and, as the Apostle says, "cannot deny Himself." [1765] How many things that He cannot do, and yet is Almighty! yea therefore is Almighty, because He cannot do these things. For if He could die, He were not Almighty; if to lie, if to be deceived, if to do unjustly,
St. Augustine—On the Creeds

Introductory Note to the Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
[a.d. 130.] The anonymous author of this Epistle gives himself the title (Mathetes) "a disciple [263] of the Apostles," and I venture to adopt it as his name. It is about all we know of him, and it serves a useful end. I place his letter here, as a sequel to the Clementine Epistle, for several reasons, which I think scholars will approve: (1) It is full of the Pauline spirit, and exhales the same pure and primitive fragrance which is characteristic of Clement. (2) No theory as to its date very much
Mathetes—The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

Epistle xxxv. To Leontius, Ex-Consul.
To Leontius, Ex-Consul. Gregory to Leontius, &c. Since in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some indeed to honour but some to dishonour (2 Tim. ii. 20), who can be ignorant that in the bosom of the Universal Church some as vessels of dishonour are deputed to the lowest uses, but others, as vessels of honour, are fitted for clean uses. And yet it commonly comes to pass that the citizens of Babylon serve in task-work for Jerusalem, while
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners Or, a Brief Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ, to his Poor Servant, John Bunyan
In this my relation of the merciful working of God upon my soul, it will not be amiss, if in the first place, I do in a few words give you a hint of my pedigree, and manner of bringing up; that thereby the goodness and bounty of God towards me, may be the more advanced and magnified before the sons of men. 2. For my descent then, it was, as is well known by many, of a low and inconsiderable generation; my father's house being of that rank that is meanest, and most despised of all the families in
John Bunyan—Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

The vine and the Branches
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much
J. W. Byers—Sanctification

To the High and Mighty Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
Tolle malos, extolle pios, cognosce teipsum: Sacra tene, paci consule, disce pati. Christ Jesus, the Prince of princes, bless your Highness with length of days, and an increase of all graces, which may make you truly prosperous in this life, and eternally happy in that which is to come. Jonathan shot three arrows to drive David further off from Saul's fury; and this is the third epistle which I have written, to draw your Highness nearer to God's favour, by directing your heart to begin, like Josiah,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Concerning the Sacrament of Baptism
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to the riches of His mercy has at least preserved this one sacrament in His Church uninjured and uncontaminated by the devices of men, and has made it free to all nations and to men of every class. He has not suffered it to be overwhelmed with the foul and impious monstrosities of avarice and superstition; doubtless having this purpose, that He would have little children, incapable of avarice and superstition, to be initiated into
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

That, Namely, Befalleth them which in Undisciplined Younger Widows...
26. That, namely, befalleth them which in undisciplined younger widows, the same Apostle saith must be avoided: "And withal they learn to be idle; and not only idle, but also busy bodies and full of words, speaking what they ought not." [2562] This very thing said he concerning evil women, which we also in evil men do mourn and bewail, who against him, the very man in whose Epistles we read these things, do, being idle and full of words, speak what they ought not. And if there be any among them who
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

The Apostle Has Made Known to us Certain Three Unions...
23. The Apostle has made known to us certain three unions, Christ and the Church, husband and wife, spirit and flesh. Of these the former consult for the good of the latter, the latter wait upon the former. All the things are good, when, in them, certain set over by way of pre-eminence, certain made subject in a becoming manner, observe the beauty of order. Husband and wife receive command and pattern how they ought to be one with another. The command is, "Let wives be subject unto their own husbands,
St. Augustine—On Continence

It Behoves those who Preside Over the Churches, Every Day but Especially on Lord's Days...
It behoves those who preside over the churches, every day but especially on Lord's days, to teach all the clergy and people words of piety and of right religion, gathering out of holy Scripture meditations and determinations of the truth, and not going beyond the limits now fixed, nor varying from the tradition of the God-bearing fathers. And if any controversy in regard to Scripture shall have been raised, let them not interpret it otherwise than as the lights and doctors of the church in their
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

Under the Shepherd's Care.
A NEW YEAR'S ADDRESS. "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."--1 Peter ii. 25. "Ye were as sheep going astray." This is evidently addressed to believers. We were like sheep, blindly, willfully following an unwise leader. Not only were we following ourselves, but we in our turn have led others astray. This is true of all of us: "All we like sheep have gone astray;" all equally foolish, "we have turned every one to his own way." Our first
J. Hudson Taylor—A Ribband of Blue

Glorious Predestination
Note, also, that Paul in this chapter has been treating of the sufferings of this present time; and though by faith he speaks of them as very inconsiderable compared with the glory to be revealed, yet we know that they were not inconsiderable in his case. He was a man of many trials; he went from one tribulation to another for Christ's sake; he swam through many seas of affliction to serve the church. I do not wonder, therefore, that in his epistles he often discourses upon the doctrines of foreknowledge,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son.
LUKE xv. The three parables of this chapter, like the seven in Matt. xiii., constitute a connected series. As soon as we begin to look into their contents and relations, it becomes obvious that they have been arranged according to a logical scheme, and that the group so framed is not fragmentary but complete. We cannot indeed fully comprehend the reciprocal relations of all until we shall have examined in detail the actual contents of each; and yet, on the other hand, a preliminary survey of the
William Arnot—The Parables of Our Lord

That the Ruler Relax not his Care for the Things that are Within in his Occupation among the Things that are Without, nor Neglect to Provide
The ruler should not relax his care for the things that are within in his occupation among the things that are without, nor neglect to provide for the things that are without in his solicitude for the things that are within; lest either, given up to the things that are without, he fall away from his inmost concerns, or, occupied only with the things that are within bestow not on his neighbours outside himself what he owes them. For it is often the case that some, as if forgetting that they have
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

God's Faithfulness
'Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him.'--DEUT. vii. 9. 'Faithful,' like most Hebrew words, has a picture in it. It means something that can be (1) leant on, or (2) builded on. This leads to a double signification--(1) trustworthy, and that because (2) rigidly observant of obligations. So the word applies to a steward, a friend, or a witness. Its most wonderful and sublime application is to God. It presents to
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Curiosity a Temptation to Sin.
"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."--Proverbs iv. 14, 15. The chief cause of the wickedness which is every where seen in the world, and in which, alas! each of us has more or less his share, is our curiosity to have some fellowship with darkness, some experience of sin, to know what the pleasures of sin are like. I believe it is even thought unmanly by many persons (though they may not like to say
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VIII

Answer to Mr. W's Fifth Objection.
5. The consideration that none of these raised persons did or could, after the return to their bodies, tell any tales of their separate existence; otherwise the Evangelists had not been silent in this main point, &c. p. 32. None of these persons, Mr. W. says, told any tales of their separate existence. So I suppose with him. As for the two first: How should they? being only, as Mr. W. says, an insignificant boy and girl, of twelve years of age, or thereabouts. Or if they did, the Evangelists were
Nathaniel Lardner—A Vindication of Three of Our Blessed Saviour's Miracles

"And the Life. " How Christ is the Life.
This, as the former, being spoken indefinitely, may be universally taken, as relating both to such as are yet in the state of nature, and to such as are in the state of grace, and so may be considered in reference to both, and ground three points of truth, both in reference to the one, and in reference to the other; to wit, 1. That our case is such as we stand in need of his help, as being the Life. 2. That no other way but by him, can we get that supply of life, which we stand in need of, for he
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

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