Men Must Guard Against Error
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.…

This must teach us to keep our judgments pure, and our understandings clear, for it is our guide, and if that mislead us, we must needs fall into the ditch. Corruption in judgment (in some respects) is worse than corruption in manners, especially when the mind hath been enlightened with the knowledge of the truth; for this is the root of those corrupt manners that are amongst us. In the time of the Law, the leprosy in the head was of all other leprosies the most dangerous and destructive; the man that had it in his hand or feet was unclean, but if it were in his head then he was to be pronounced utterly unclean (Leviticus 13:44). Hence the Scripture gives so many caveats against errors and erroneous ones (Deuteronomy 13:3; Philippians 3:2; Colossians 2:8; 2 Peter 3:17; Matthew 7:13). Beware of false prophets; the word implies a diligent study and singular care, lest we be caught by such subtle adversaries. Keep your judgments pure.

1. There have been false teachers in all ages to oppose the truth and the professors of it. As Jannes and Jambres here oppose Moses, a meek, a learned, a faithful servant in all God's house.

2. That as the devil hath his Jannes and Jambres to oppose the truth, so God hath His Moses and Aaron to uphold it. As the devil hath his domestic chaplains, so God hath His armed champions; and as the devil raiseth up oppressors, so God sends saviours.

3. A corrupt head and a corrupt heart usually go together; no sooner are men's minds corrupted, but presently it follows they are reprobate concerning the faith; and if once men make shipwreck of faith, they will soon part with a good conscience too. Corrupt principles breed corrupt practices; and corrupt practices teach men to invent corrupt principles. Be sure, then, to keep your heads free from error, if ever you would have your hearts and hands pure from sin.

4. That false teachers are very dangerous persons — they are not such meek, innocent, harmless persons as some imagine. The apostle here tells us that they are impudent, fraudulent, resisters of the truth, men of corrupt heads, hearts, and hands; and what could he say more unless he should call them devils? and so he doth (ver. 3), in the last days, men, especially seducing men (for all these nineteen sins are applicable also to the false teachers of the last times, as appears by the context (vers, 5, 6). These study to please men, and therefore they are no servants of Christ (Galatians 1:10), all their fine speeches are but like poison given in honey, which destroys more swiftly. They set a gloss upon their false tenets as tradesmen do upon their bad stuffs to make them sell the better. They can cite Scripture to draw you from Scripture, and tempt you to be irreligious by religious arguments misapplied. This is the devil's great masterpiece which he hath now upon the wheel, he carries his deadliest poison in a golden cup (Revelation 17:4).

5. They wrest and abuse the Scriptures for their own ends. They do violence to the Law (Zephaniah 3:4), they wrest and wring it, they add, they detract, they change the sense, they set it on the tenters to fit it to their fancies, they turn it this way and that way as may best serve their purposes; they set it on the rack, and so make it speak what it never thought. They compel the Scriptures to go two miles, which of themselves would go but one. They deal with them as chemists do with natural bodies, which they torture to get that out of them which God and nature never put into them (2 Peter 3:16).

6. They seek their own glory, not God's. They cry up nature, and decry grace, they cry up a light within them (which is no better than darkness), and cry down God's word without them. Simon Magus sets up himself instead of God (Acts 8:9, 10), they drive at self in all their actings (Romans 16:18; 2 Peter 2:3, 14). Impostors are always great self-seekers. These are contrary to God's faithful ministers.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

WEB: Even as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so do these also oppose the truth; men corrupted in mind, who concerning the faith, are rejected.

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