Ephesians 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NKJV: that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
NLT: Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: in order that we no longer may be immature ones, tossed to and fro and carried around in circles by every wind of teaching in the cunning adroitness of men, in craftiness which furthers the scheming deceitful art of error, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: So we shall no longer be babes nor shall we resemble mariners tossed on the waves and carried about with every changing wind of doctrine according to men's cleverness and unscrupulous cunning, making use of every shifting device to mislead.
AS A RESULT, WE ARE NO LONGER TO BE CHILDREN: hina meketi omen (1PPAS) nepioi: (Isaiah 28:9; Matthew 18:3,4; 1Corinthians 3:1,2; 14:20; Hebrews 5:12, 13, 14)
As a result (2443) (hina) defines the purpose of attaining to the Christlikeness. Here the purpose of the maturity discussed in the previous verse is emphasized by presentation of the contrasting picture of an immature, indecisive child who is spiritually unstable, easily tricked in spiritual matters and easily led astray from the truth. Always pause to ponder terms of purpose or result.
No longer (3371) (meketi from me = not + éti = anymore, yet, with k (kappa) inserted for phonics) means no more, no further. The word no-longer implies that it was actual and frequent among the Christians of Paul’s day. Spiritually immature believers who are not grounded in the knowledge of Christ through God’s Word are inclined to uncritically accept every sort of beguiling doctrinal error and fallacious interpretation of Scripture promulgated by deceitful, false teachers in the church. They must learn discernment.
Mature believers are commanded to...
Children (3516) (nepios from negative nê + epos = not able to talk) means literally not speaking and so a helpless infant. Figuratively as in this verse nepios refers to one who is unlearned, unenlightened or simple. Paul is referring to the spiritual immaturity of a child as opposed to the relative perfection of a man of full stature in Christ. Have you ever noticed how children are often unaware of danger? They may play in dangerous situations and be totally unaware that anything is threatening them.
A new Christian was reading through the Gospels. After she finished, she told a friend she wanted to read a book on church history. When her friend asked why, the woman replied, "I'm curious. I've been wondering when Christians started to become so unlike Christ."
The American Banking Association once sponsored a two-week training program to help tellers detect counterfeit bills. The program was unique--never during the two-week training did the tellers even look at a counterfeit bill, not did they listen to any lectures concerning the characteristics of counterfeit bills....All they did for two weeks was handle authentic currency, hour after hour and day after day, until they were so familiar with the true that they could not possibly be fooled by the false.
Paul chided believers in the church at Corinth for their spiritual immaturity writing...
S Lewis Johnson has the following comments on "children" writing that..
TOSSED HERE AND THERE BY WAVES AND CARRIED ABOUT BY EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE: kludonizomenoi (PPPMPN) kai peripheromenoi (PPPMPN) panti anemo tes didaskalias: (Acts 20:30,31; Romans 16:17,18; 2Corinthians 11:3,4; Galatians 1:6,7; 3:1; Colossians 2:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2Thessalonians 2:2, 3, 4, 5; 1Ti 3:6; 4:6,7; 2Ti 1:15; 2:17,18; 3:6, 7, 8, 9,13; 4:3; Heb 13:9; 2Pe 2:1, 2, 3; 1Jn 2:19,26; 4:1) (Matthew 11:7; 1Corinthians 12:2; James 1:6; 3:4)
Tossed by waves (2831) (kludonizomai from kludôn = wave, especially dashing or surging waves, Lk 8:24) means to surge, be tossed in billows or the waves. Metaphorically, it means to be agitated mentally like the waves in a stormy sea. To be disturbed. To be thrown in confusion. It describes one of unstable opinion who fluctuates or frequently changes the way he or she thinks or believes depending on the latest fad teaching. Picture a small sail boat being blown in one direction and then another by the wind that keeps changing direction.
Expositor's Greek NT - In the changefulness and agitation which were the results of their unthinking submission to false teaching their childishness or lack of Christian manhood (maturity) was seen.
There is one NT use of kludonizomai and one use in the Septuagint (LXX)...
McGee - Notice that Paul does some mixing of metaphors here. He is trying to bring out vividly the danger of a believer continuing as a babe. You wouldn’t, for example, put a baby in a plane to pilot it. My little grandson is a smart boy, but he is not that smart. I wouldn’t allow him up there; he would crash. If children were in command of a ship, they would be tossed up and down, driven here and there without direction over the vast expanse of sea. They would become discouraged and seasick. They would lose their way. This is a frightful picture of the possible fate of a child of God. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Carried about (4064) (periphero from perí = around + phéro = carry) literally means to carry about from one place to another, to carry here and there or to transport hither and thither. It is used of spinning tops. Such is the confusing effect of false doctrine. It pictures one whirled around as by a violent swinging that makes them dizzy. Picture a small dingy caught in a tempestuous storm and unable to hold a steady course to safety in the harbor ("the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation" - see note Ephesians 1:13).
Here are the other 4 NT (note that 2 uses are only found in the Textus Receptus) uses of periphero at least 3 of which are also used in the context of aberrant teaching of some sort....
Every wind of doctrine - Pictures teachings like fashion fads and suggests childish caprice in taking up with these latest spiritual teachings. These "winds" are like the wind coming off the sea - always blowing, sometimes gently, sometimes with devastating force, but always "blowing" through the body of Christ. What "winds" are blowing through your local body? Are the gifted men, especially the pastor-teachers, who are given by Christ to set the correct course, fulfilling their purpose?
Every (3956) (pas) means all without exception.
Wind (417) (anemos) literally refers to wind but here is a figurative description of doctrinal instability.
Kent Hughes has an interesting illustration writing that...
MacDonald has a picturesque comment writing that "Immature Christians are susceptible to the grotesque novelties and fads of professional quacks. They become religious gypsies, moving to and fro from one appealing fantasy to another. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Doctrine (1319) (didaskalia related to didasko which pictures the process of shaping one's will by word of mouth) refers to that which is taught, not to the method of teaching. It is the content or teaching. The "waves" and "wind" are metaphors that speak of aberrant doctrine.
To avoid being pulled into error,
Eadie has this comment on didaskalia noting that " The article (tes) before didaskalia gives definitive prominence to “the teaching,” which, as a high function respected and implicitly obeyed, was very capable of seducing, since whatever false phases it assumed, it might find and secure followers. Such wind, not from this or that direction only, but blowing from any or “every” quarter, causes the imperfect and inexperienced to surge about in fruitless commotion. The moral phenomenon is common. Some men have just enough of Christian intelligence to unsettle them, and make them the prey of every idle suggestion, the sport of every religious novelty. How many go the round of all sects, parties, and creeds, and never receive satisfaction! If in the pride of reason they fall into rationalism, then if they recover they rebound into mysticism. From the one extreme of legalism they recoil to the farthest verge of antinomianism, having traveled at easy stages all the intermediate distances. (John Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians).
BY THE TRICKERY OF MEN: en te kubeia ton anthropon: (Matthew 24:11,24; 2Corinthians 2:17; 4:2; 11:13, 14,15; 2Thessalonians 2:9,10; 2Peter 2:18; Revelation 13:11, 12, 13, 14; 19:20)
By the trickery of men -
Trickery (2940) (kubeia from kubos ~ gives us our English "cube", dice) literally refers to wicked dice playing or throwing dice and figuratively refers to intentional fraud or sleight of hand in the spiritual sense. Kubeia, the term for dice became synonymous with trickery of any sort. The dice were often “loaded” or otherwise manipulated by professional gamblers to their own advantage which is a perfect picture of men coming into a congregation and manipulating the Word of God to make it say what they want it to say!
Warren Wiersbe has an insightful comment warning that...
Spurgeon once warned...
In a parallel passage on immature believers the writer of Hebrews tells his readers...
BY CRAFTINESS IN DECEITFUL SCHEMING: en panourgia pros ten methodeian tes planes: (Psalms 10:9; 59:3; Micah 7:2; Acts 23:21)
By craftiness in deceitful scheming - This Greek phrase is somewhat difficult to translate clearly into English but in simple terms I have paraphrased it as...
The New English Bible has a vivid paraphrase...
This is an apt description of the many cultists, religious racketeers, charlatans, false prophets and teachers, and manipulative religious leaders who abound in our day. They trap many immature Christians (including many spiritually immature Christians who are chronologically "mature") with their teachings that sound so right and enticing.
The UBS Handbook adds that...
Craftiness (3834) (panourgia from pas = all + ergon = work) is literally "all working" or capable of all work. In the NT it takes on a negative meaning and conveys the ideas of trickery involving cunning, cleverness, craftiness or treachery. Panourgia conveys the the idea of clever manipulation of error to make it look like the truth. Someone who practiced panourgia would be willing to do anything to achieve his goals. Panourgia is the unscrupulousness that stops at nothing.
NIDNTT has the following note regarding its classic use - Its first appearance is in Aeschylus; and from then on in secular Greek its connotation is most commonly pejorative, an unprincipled “capable of doing anything” (e.g. Aristotle, Lysias). Even as a divine attribute (in Euripides, Artemis applies it to Aphrodite) the connotation is negative. In the few instances where the word bears a positive sense, there is a hint of presumption or perhaps deceptive evaluation (Plato, Plutarch). It is possible that the positive ability implicit in the etymology of the word group never got off the ground because in Gk. thought the very idea of such ability is indicative of an arrogance which soon tinges the panourgia with undesirable characteristics. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Panourgia is used 5 times in the NT (Lk. 20:23; 1Cor 3:19; 2Cor 4:2; 11:3; Eph. 4:14) and 4 in the Septuagint (LXX) (Nu 24:22, Jos. 9:4; Pr 1:4; Pr 8:5)...
Deceitful (4106) (plane from planos = deceitful, root idea = has idea of wandering) (Click word study of related verb planao) describes a roaming or a wandering and then figuratively a going astray or a wandering out of the right way. The verbal form planao means to cause to wander off the path, to cause someone to hold a wrong view and so to mislead or deceive.
Vincent says plane is an "error which shows itself in action...It may imply deceit as accompanying or causing error"
The literal use in the sense of roaming is found in the Greek historian Herodotus who records this note of Solon "who roamed the earth in search of new information".
TDNT has the following note on secular uses of plane writing that...
Plane in the present verse describes one who wanders from the path of truth, orthodoxy or piety and into error, delusion or deceit.
Plane is found 10 times in the NT (Mt 27:64; Ro 1:27; Eph 4:14; 1Thes 2:3; 2Thes 2:11; Ja 5:20; 2Pe 2:18; 3:17; 1Jn. 4:6; Jude 1:11) and 3 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Pr 14:8, Jer 23:17, Ezek 33:10)
Scheming (3180) (methodeia [word study] from verb methodeúo = follow up or investigate by method and settled plan. Methodeuo is derived from meta = with, after + hodos = a way) refers to an orderly logical effective arrangement usually in steps. It is a deliberate planning or system. Methodeia has reference to planned, subtle, systematized error. Error organizes. It has its systems and its logic. Be alert! Be mature! Satan’s scheming, crafty actions and artful designs have ‘method’ and purpose, for his aim is to mislead the immature who are not grounded on apostolic doctrine. Behind the evil men and women who seek to expound false teaching, there is also a supernatural evil power who seeks to deceive unwary saints with his "devilish" cunning.
Paul uses methodeia in his description of the wiles of the devil issuing a command to all believers to...
Paul writing about the snake in the garden gives us a very instructive use of methodeia in his second letter to the Corinthians...
The English word scheming means given to making plots; shrewdly devious and intriguing. Synonyms include artful, calculating, conniving, cunning, deceitful, designing, duplicitous, foxy, Machiavellian, slippery, sly, tricky, underhand, wily.
Methodeia refers to an orderly, logical, effective arrangement, usually in steps followed to achieve an end. It describes deliberate planning or a systematic approach and can have a positive or negative connotation. The negative meaning of methodeia implies the use of clever methods or strategies to attain the desired end. The Scripture always uses methodeia with a negative connotation.
Think about this simple definition in the context of spiritual warfare. Satan is orderly and logical in his steps employed against you to achieve his nefarious purposes. This realization should prompt each of us to be even more appreciative of the fact that we cannot stand against our invisible enemy in our own intelligence, our own strength or our own human "methods" or "schemes". We must put on the full armor that God supplies in Christ.
As alluded to above, the negative connotation of methodeia implies the use of cleverness, craftiness, cunning and deception. The "deceiver" uses specific, subtle, stealthy plans to target each individual, his goal being to defeat, discourage and dishearten. Stated another way, Satan's attacks are "tailor made", carefully and methodically selected to attack each person's specific weaknesses and vulnerabilities. His wiles and methods are usually attractive, always deceptive, and often ensnaring.
MacDonald - Most serious of all is the danger of deception. Those who are babes are unskillful in the word of righteousness, their senses are not exercised to discern between good and evil (Heb. 5:13, 14). They inevitably meet some false cultist who impresses them by his zeal and apparent sincerity. Because he uses religious words, they think he must be a true Christian. If they had studied the Bible for themselves, they would be able to see through his deceitful juggling of words. But now they are carried about by his wind of doctrine and led by unprincipled cunning into a form of systematized error. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
McGee - If you sent babes into the gambling den, the sharpies would take them in with their system of error. I wouldn’t think of sending my grandson to Las Vegas to play the slot machines! In fact, I wouldn’t want him there even if he lived to be a hundred years old. Christ’s purpose in giving men with different gifts to the church is to develop believers from babyhood to full maturity. Teachers are to be pediatricians. I sometimes use the expression that I am primarily a pediatrician, not an obstetrician. The obstetrician brings the baby into the world. I know he has to get up sometimes at one o’clock in the morning to deliver a baby and that he spends many nights at his work, but he is through with the little angel after he is born. He turns him over to the pediatrician, who makes sure he has everything he needs for normal growth. I have been a pediatrician in my ministry and, only secondly, an obstetrician. I feel that I am called to be the pediatrician—that is, to give the saints the Word of God so they can grow. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)