We will better understand Paul’s message to Timothy if we know something about the first-century environment.
The church met in homes and the management of the home was the responsibility of the wife.
A home was a dwelling for the family, the location of the family business, a meeting place for the church, and a community center of sorts.
Women were in charge of the home and over what is listed above. Women were the target of false teachers because they influenced a large portion of family and church life.
Paul warned Timothy of the false teacher’s schemes.
For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate immature women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires,
Who are always studying yet never able to recognize truth.
As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people, of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith, also oppose the truth.
But they will not make much progress because, as in the case of those two men, their folly will become plain to everyone (2 Timothy 3.6-9).
Women in modern times rankle over Paul’s characterization of their gender.
When we understand that first-century culture deprived women of education. They were immature because the male-dominated society kept them that way.
It is ironic that women were expected to manage the household, but were deprived of learning information for the betterment of all.
False Teacher Characterized
Who was overwhelmed by sin? Was it the false teachers or the immature women?
Based on what we have read in Paul’s two letters to Timothy, I believe these words characterize false teachers.
The sins of the false teacher have piled up so high that they dominate their character and behavior.
Self-control is out of the question for false teachers. Instead, they are driven by their passions.
Paul aptly described their condition and declared “their god is the belly” (Philippians 3.19).
“We are educated beyond our obedience” states the condition of the false teachers, the immature women, and modern Christians.
The aim of the faith is not more learning, but better living. Our goal is to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Jannes and Jambres
Paul compared the false teachers to two of Pharaoh’s magicians who opposed God’s plan for his chosen people.
History proves God to be true and his purposes sure. False teachers may deceive rulers and people, but they will not be victorious over God.
Pray NOT Prey
In every generation, false teacher prey on God’s people. The Old Testament prophets, Paul, and Jesus warned us to beware of their tactics.
Rather than preying on people, we do well to pray for them.
I told a friend many years ago that I was praying for him. He replied, “Thanks. I need the prayer and you need the practice.”
We both laughed at his remark, but there is a fair amount of truth in it.
Everyone needs our prayers. This includes the vulnerable and the leaders.
While we pray for others, we give God an open door to meet with us and transform our lives.
Rudy Ross and I have produced a YouTube video on this passage. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.