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3Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness,

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3 If anyone teacheth differently The word ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ, being a compound, may also, not improperly, be translated, teacheth other things Yet there is no ambiguity as to the meaning; for he condemns all those who do not agree with this manner of teaching, although they do not openly and avowedly oppose sound doctrine. It is possible that he who does not profess any wicked or open error may yet, by endeavoring to insinuate himself by means of silly babbling, corrupt the doctrine of godliness; for, when there is no progress, and no edification in the doctrine itself, there is already a departure from the ordinance of Christ. Now although Paul does not speak of the avowed supporters of wicked doctrines, but of vain and irreligious teachers, who, by their ambition or covetousness, disfigure the plain and simple doctrine of godliness, yet we see with what sharpness and severity he attacks them. Nor need we wonder at this; for it is almost impossible to tell how much injury is done by preaching that is hypocritical and altogether framed for the purposes of ostentation and of idle display. But who they are that are blamed by him, appears more clearly from what immediately follows —

And consenteth not to sound words This clause is intended to explain the former. It frequently happens that such men as are here described, carried away by foolish curiosity, despise everything that is useful and solid, and thus indulge in wanton freaks, like unruly horses. And what is this but to reject the sound words of Christ? for they are called “sound” or “healthful,” because they give health to us, or are fitted to promote it.

And to the doctrine which is according to godliness This has the same meaning with the former clause; for the “doctrine” will not be consistent with “godliness,” if it do not instruct us in the fear and worship of God, if it do not edify our faith, if it do not train us to patience, humility, and all the duties of that love which we owe to our fellowmen. Whoever, therefore, does not strive to teach usefully, does not teach as he ought to do; and not only so, but that doctrine is neither godly nor sound, whatever may be the brilliancy of its display, that does not tend to the profit of the hearers.




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