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
(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
terms of purpose or result.
(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.
are commanded to...
conveys idea of proving a thing whether it is worthy or not, whether
genuine or not) everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
form of evil. (1Thes 5:21, 22-note)
(nepios from negative nę + 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
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."
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.
believers in the church at Corinth for their spiritual
And I, brethren, could not speak to
you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.
I gave you milk to drink (easily digestible Truth given to new
believers), not solid food (difference is not in kind of truth, but
degree of depth); for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even
now you are not yet able, for you are still (their condition was
inexcusable, for they had been saved long enough to have grown up)
fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not
fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men (spiritual immature
believers are scarcely distinguishable from natural or unsaved men)?
S Lewis Johnson has the
following comments on "children" writing that..
One of the things that
characterizes a child is a lack of stability. Any new sight or sound
is sufficient to change the purpose of a child. You notice that
particularly in children. Nothing holds their attention for very long.
To speak of it scientifically, they have a very short attention span.
Now that is characteristic of new believers. When they are listening to
the minister of the word of God, their attention span is often very
short. Let me give you an illustration.
About four or five years ago, I gave some messages on Habakkuk. And in
the course of the messages which were given on a Wednesday night, there
was a couple that came in here who had not had a whole lot of Bible
teaching just before that, became very involved in the Chapel, very
involved in the Chapel at this moment, and as a matter of fact are here
tonight. I hope they won’t mind me saying this, because they told me
this on Sunday night.
But they also, now, had been listening to the messages on Sunday morning
on Habakkuk. Messages that they said they had heard four or five years
ago when they were given in the Chapel. And they were speaking about how
much more they were getting out of the messages now that they had been
in the Chapel four years. Well now, we all have had that experience.
I can remember when I first started to hear the ministry of the word of
God, if I could go out with a few ideas, well I thought I had
accomplished something. I had been able to get something. It was all
very thrilling to me. I sat there just entranced by the ministry of the
word. Still do when the preaching is good. I was obtaining some things,
but I was not obtaining what I would obtain now when I listen to the
exposition of the Scriptures. Lack of stability. Lack of attention span.
They’ve got to have something new all the time.
Now a second thing that’s
characteristic of children is that they are easily deceived...You
can play trick after trick on children. I did it with all of my
children...Christians are easily deceived. It’s amazing the things we
are deceived by: by the false teaching, by the cults, and not only by
the false teachers and the cultists, but even by other new Christians.
And then some who are just a little above them, who don’t have any real
deep comprehension of doctrine, but who have some really wild ideas. And
so they are deceived by them. One of the duties of all teachers of the
word is to seek to answer the questions that the children have. So,
easily deceived. (Ephesians 4:7-12 The Work of the Ministry -
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
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
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
Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked
are like the tossing sea (kludonizomai ), for it cannot be quiet,
And its waters toss up refuse and mud.
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)
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
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....
Mark 6:55 and ran about that
whole country and began to carry about on their pallets those who
were sick, to the place they heard He was.
2Cor 4:10 always carrying
about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also
may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being
delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may
be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Comment: Paul uses periphero
figuratively to describe his carrying about of persecutions for the sake
Hebrews 13:9 Do not be
carried away (Note: Textus Receptus has periphero but other
manuscripts have paraphero) by varied and strange teachings (any
teaching contrary to God’s Word - message = know God's Word!); for it is
good for the heart to be strengthened by grace (those experiencing God’s
grace in Christ have hearts and minds that remain stable), not by foods
(Grace is internal, foods are external = Jewish legalistic requirements
regarding food), through which those who were thus occupied were not
benefited (not profited).
Comment: The Greek is a
with a negative
particle [not = Greek word "me"] and is better translated "Stop
being carried away..." indicating they this sad plight was a real
and present danger!
Jude 1:12 These men (who seek
to turn the grace of God into licentiousness) are those who are hidden
reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring
for themselves; clouds without water, carried along (Note: Textus
Receptus has periphero but other manuscripts have paraphero) by
winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted
mists, like the false teachers, seem to promise refreshment but in
reality do no good. Marvin Vincent writes that these men are "As clouds
which seem to be charged with refreshing showers, but are borne past and
yield no rain.”
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?
(pas) means all without exception.
(anemos) literally refers to wind but here is a figurative
description of doctrinal instability.
has an interesting illustration writing that...
When my children were small, we paid
many family visits to 31 Flavors ice cream stores. Thirty-one choices!
Sometimes it took them so long to choose a flavor, and when we got in
the car and they saw what the others had chosen they changed their
minds. This is the way the immature believer is: fickle — unstable —
gullible — easily influenced by the latest book or preacher or fad —
vulnerable to the wolves, of which there are plenty. (Hughes,
R. K.: Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Crossway Books)
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
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
(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,
Keep a firm grip on the truth.
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 -
(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!
has an insightful comment warning that...
The cultists do not try to win lost
souls to Christ. They do not establish rescue missions in the slum areas
of our cities, because they have no good news for the man on skid row.
Instead, these false teachers try to capture immature Christians, and
for this reason, most of the membership of the false cults comes from
local churches, particularly churches that do not feed their people the
Word of God. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Beware! Error often rides to its
deadly work on the back of truth!
In a parallel
passage on immature believers the writer of Hebrews tells
For though by this time you ought to
be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary
principles (1st principles of Christian doctrine = the "ABC's") of the
oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food (they
are like adults who are still nursing on a bottle spiritually
speaking!). 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed
to the word of righteousness (they don't know how to practice the
Biblical truths calling for and enabling righteous living), for he is a
14 But solid food (strong, sure,
firm, immovable "food" - Sermons are good, but they are not to be
compared with personal Spirit illuminated Bible study as soul food) is
for the mature, who because of practice (habit) have their senses (
implies a sort of spiritual intuition by which the sensitive Christian
can, more or less, automatically discern whether something is right or
wrong) trained (gymnazo - exercised) to discern good and evil. (See
(Comment: A maturing
Christian must be a Biblically saturated Christian. and so the
author assaults the readers with a vivid image of adult infants who are
still nursing. Think of the tragic absurdity of full-grown believers in
diapers, still not capable of ingesting, nor even desiring solid food
and who sit around sucking their thumbs. Such full grown infants amount
to a huge disgrace and drain on the Church. The truth is, there is
simply no such thing as a static Christian. We either move forward or
fall back. We are either climbing or falling. We are either winning or
losing. Static, status quo Christianity is a delusion! This training in
discernment is vital)
BY CRAFTINESS IN DECEITFUL
SCHEMING: en panourgia pros ten methodeian tes planes:
(Psalms 10:9; 59:3; Micah
7:2; Acts 23:21)
in deceitful scheming - This Greek phrase is somewhat difficult to
translate clearly into English but in simple terms I have paraphrased it
"cunning methods which deceive, delude and lead astray (from the truth)"
The New English
Bible has a vivid paraphrase...
“dupes of crafty rogues and their
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.
Handbook adds that...
It should be noted that the writer
does not specify what are the wrong teachings which he condemns. Beare
conjectures: “It is an eccentric individualism, rather than
sectarianism, which is attacked” (Bratcher,
R. G., & Nida, E. A. UBS Handbook Series; New York: United Bible
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.
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.
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
(Nu 24:22, Jos. 9:4; Pr
1:4; Pr 8:5)...
Luke 20:23 But He (Jesus) detected
their trickery and said to them, (The scribes and the chief
priests are guilty of “trickery” in their question to Jesus)
1Corinthians 3:19 For the
wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He
is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness";
2Corinthians 4:2 but we have
renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in
craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation
of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of
2Corinthians 11:3 But I am
afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your
minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to
Joshua 9:4 they also acted craftily and set out as envoys,
and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and
torn and mended
from planos = deceitful, root idea = has idea of
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.
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
the following note on secular uses of plane writing that...
The life of men who strive after
various things (Critias Fr., 15 [Diels7, II, 381, 20]), indeed, the
action of many men (Philodem. Philos. Volumina Rhetorica, VIII, 33)
can be called an “error.”
In the NT, plane is used only in the figurative sense to describe
straying or wandering from the path of truth. The idea of plane is
error, delusion, deception. Plane describes a wanderer, as a star
or planet that appears not to stay on course. Planes is frequent in
Greek secular writings to mean deceit. Aristotle uses plane for mistakes
in investigation...Plane used in the active sense of deceit is late and
rare (secular Greek). The passive (meaning) "illusion" in seeing and
sense perception generally, the vacillation of knowledge found even in
wise men, the error which is to be explained by overestimation of a
hedone (pleasure) -- all these things can be denoted plane. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
the present verse describes one who wanders from the path of truth, orthodoxy or piety and into
error, delusion or deceit.
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
(Pr 14:8, Jer 23:17, Ezek 33:10)
Matthew 27:64 "Therefore, give
orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the
disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen
from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the
Romans 1:27 (note)
and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the
woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men
committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due
penalty of their error.
Comment: Here plane
describes a behavior which deviates seriously from that which is morally
correct and in context refers to a "perversion"
1 Thessalonians 2:3 For our
exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of
2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for
this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they
might believe what is false,
James 5:20 let him know that
he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his
soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins. (Comment:
Here plane speaks more of conduct that is in error)
2 Peter 2:18 (note)
For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly
desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live
2 Peter 3:17 (note)
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest,
being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall
from your own steadfastness,
1 John 4:6 We are from God; he
who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to
us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error
("the spirit which misleads us to hold the wrong view or be mistaken")
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For
they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong
into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of
the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is
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
Paul uses methodeia
in his description of the wiles of the devil issuing a command to all
full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the
schemes (planned, subtle, methodical, deliberate, systematized
error) of the devil. (Ep 6:11-note)
Paul writing about
the snake in the garden gives us a very instructive use of methodeia
in his second letter to the Corinthians...
But I am afraid, lest as the serpent
deceived (beguiled thoroughly, deceived wholly, led astray) Eve by his
craftiness, (NIV = cunning, YLT = subtilty) should be led astray
from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2Cor 11:3)
Craftiness in this context is that which beguiles [leads astray
by underhandedness and stresses the use of charm and persuasion in
deceiving] or leads astray from the truth.
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.
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
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
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
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)