There are five major characteristics of the dangerous heretic:

1.      He is driven by the desire for novelty.
         a. He is like someone who must be in the latest fashion and the latest craze or fad.
         b. He despises old thing just because they are old, and desires new things for no other  reason than because they are new.
2.      He exalts the mind, rather than the heart.
         His concept of religion is speculation and not experience.
3.      He deals in argument instead of action. 
         The Greeks loved argument simply for the sake of argument.  There is always the danger of heresy when we fall in love with words and forget deeds.
4.      He is motivated by arrogance rather than by humility. 
         He looks down with contempt on simple-minded people who cannot follow his flights of intellectual speculation.
5.      He is guilty of dogmatism without knowledge.
         He really does not know what he is talking about, nor really understand the significance of   the things about which he is so dogmatic.

“From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling”

         “From which some having swerved”
         Literally: “from which having missed the mark”–From which some, though they have pretended to aim at the “mark,” or “scope,” have missed that mark.

Paul is not referring to the Law, but to the things enumerated —a pure heart, a good conscience, and unfeigned faith. In legalistic attempts to gain a justified position before God, sinful man falls short.

            SOME:  (Grk.–tines)–These “some” are the people to whom reference was made in v. 3.  They are said to have wondered away or deviated (see 6:1 and II Tim.      2:18) from their proper objectives:  the pure hear, the good conscience and the faith without hypocrisy.

Naturally, they also missed  the true goal–love.  They are like marksmen who keep missing their target, like travelers who never reach their destination because they have taken the wrong turn and have failed to look for the familiar signs along the road.  The path which these people have taken is not even a detour:  it is more like a dead end street beyond which lies a swamp.  In their case, the swamp of futile talk, useless reasoning, argumentation that gets nowhere.  Their reasonings have landed them in the no-man’s land of ceremonalism and ridiculous hair-splitting.  And they that are doing this:

          SWERVED:  (Grk.– astocheô)–means, “to miss the mark; to err;” and then, to swerve from. Comp. 6:21; II Tim. 2:18. It does not mean that they had ever had that from which they are said to have swerved–for it does not follow that a man who misses a mark has ever hit it–but merely that they failed of the things referred to, and had turned to vain talk.

“Paul, in this verse and the next, describes the persons he suspected of teaching other doctrines, and of introducing fables and endless genealogies; they were such who departed from the above things; they erred from the commandment, or law, notwithstanding their great pretensions to a regard unto it; at least they missed the mark, the end and design of it; they went astray from that, and instead of promoting charity or love, created feuds, contentions, and divisions in the churches; and were far from having a pure heart, being filthy dreamers, and sensual persons, destitute of the Spirit of God, and were such who put away a good conscience, and made shipwreck of faith: such were Hymenaeus, Philetus, Alexander, and others.”–Gill’s Exposition.

TURNED ASIDE:  (Grk.–exetrapêsan)–This is a medical term meaning “to turn or twist out,” used of limbs that are dislocated.

“have turned aside unto vain jangling”
Literally: “turned aside to empty talking”–

          VAIN GANGLING:  (Grk.–mataiologian)This word is made up of two Greek words:  (mataios), meaning, “that which is devoid of force, truth, success, result; that which is useless, to no purpose” and,  (logos) , meaning, “a word.”  Putting these two to-gether, you get, “useless talk.”  Their talk was in vain in the sense of being “devoid of truth; useless.” 

         Vain in the sense that it does not lead to the goal; it is futile and ineffectual for its intended purpose. There may have been some content in what these teachers said, but it contributed nothing to the furtherance of the Christian life.  It was their failure in the moral realm which led to their perversion of the Gospel.
         This signifies empty or vain talking; discourses that turn to no profit; a great many words and little sense; and that sense not worth the pains of hearing.  Vain talk, empty declamation, discourses without sense. The word here used does not mean contention or strife, but that kind of discourse which is not founded on good sense. They were discourses on their pretended distinctions in the law; on their traditions and ceremonies; on their useless genealogies, and on the fabulous statements which they had appended to the law of Moses.  Unfortunately, from many (or most) pulpits today all the hearers are hearing are a lot of words that do not really say anything that is worthwhile.
         To put it simply:  “vain jangling” means empty chatter, beautiful words, flowery language but not really saying anything.  There are people who will “butter you up” and pat you on the back, but it really means nothing.  It is all just empty talk.  This describes any preaching where Jesus Christ is not held forth.  “Jangling” is an early English word from the old French word jangler, or jongleur–a teller of tales.  Hence, jangling is empty chatter.  “Them that jangle of love,”–Chaucer, Troil. and Cress, ii. 80; “This their jangling I esteem a sport”–Shakespear, Midsumer Night’s Dream, iii, 2.

VERSE 7:                     
“Desiring to be teachers of the Law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm”    

“Desiring to be teachers of the Law;”
Literally:  “Wishing to be teachers of Law”– They were wannabe teachers of law; there is no definite article used before Law, so it really means any law; i.e., lawlessness. They aspire to a work for which they are totally unfitted. Who has not met the class of men described?  This clearly identifies these “some” as Jews–Judaizers.

          DESIRING: (Grk.–thelontes)Literally: “since they desire.”–This was their continual wish or resolution.  They aimed at being professional interpreters of the Law;  to be esteemed or celebrated as rabbis; to be reputed cunning in solving knotty questions and enigmas, which answered no end to true religion.

         They coveted the honor and respect that was paid to the acknowledge teachers of the Mosaic Law; to be esteemed or celebrated as rabbins; to be reputed as cunning or sly in solving great or complicated questions and enigmas, which really supplied nothing to true religion. 
         They were very fond of being called “Rabbi, Rabbi,” and styled Doctors of the Law, and of being thought to have skill in interpreting the Law, and good talents in expounding it, and preaching upon it; which was now most in vogue, and gained the greatest applause, when the preaching of the Gospel was treated with contempt, not only by the unbelieving Jews, but by judaizing Christians, and carnal professors.

            TEACHERS OF THE LAW:  (Grk.–nomodidaskaloi)This same Greek word is found in Luke 5:17 and Acts 5:34.

“And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching that there were Pharisees and doctors (literally, teachers) of the Law (nomodidaskaloi) sitting by…”    (Luke 5:17).
“Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor (literally, teacher) (nomodidaskalo) of the Law…” (Acts 5:34).

“understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm”     
Literally: “neither understanding what they say, nor about that which they confidently affirm”–Neither understanding their own assertions, nor the object of their assertions. They understand as little about the one as the other

         They do not understand the true nature and design of that Law which they attempt to explain to others. This was true of many (if not most) of the Jewish teachers, and equally so of those in the church at Ephesus, who attempted to explain it. They appear to have explained the law on the principles which commonly prevailed among the Jews, and hence their instructions tended greatly to corrupt the faith of the gospel. They made great affirmations of what they really knew nothing about. One needs only a slight acquaintance with the manner of teaching among rabbis, or with the things found in their traditions, to see the accuracy of this statement of Paul.
1.      They did not understand the Law; its nature and purpose, nor the purity and spirituality, and perfection of it and went into many foolish and unlearned questions about it; (see II Tim 2:23), and which they as foolishly answered.
2.      They are the ignorant and unlearned men, who, notwithstanding their vain show of learning, and pretense to skill in interpreting the law, wrested the Scriptures to their own destruction, and that of other.
3.      They were ignorant of the things they talked of, and knew not by what arguments to confirm them, and yet,  “Willfully they are ignorant.”
4.      They were very bold and confident in their assertions: and generally speaking so it is, that those who can prove least assert most, and that with the greatest assurance.

“nor whereof they affirm”       
Literally: “nor about that which they confidently affirm”–Their desire to be expounders of the Law was good, but they failed because they lacked the necessary qualifications.

         With much flourish these wannabe Doctors of the Law flourished their highfalutting words and their ponderous phrases.  But all this was simply bombast, rant and raving.  Whenever they would hear some “jaw-breaker” phrase of motto, they would commit it to memory and use it in one of their tedious tales; but they themselves had no idea of the latest addition to their vocabulary.  Even worse, they even failed to understand the subjects on which they were expounding with such cock-sureness (cf Titus 3:8).  In these verses 6-7 Paul has given a four-fold description of these false teachers:
1.      They “swerved” (Grk.–astochêsantes) from the positive moral virtues enumerated in verse 6. 
         a.       From a pure heart;
         b.       From a good conscience
         c.       From an un-hypocritical faith.
2.      They “turned aside unto vain jangling.(Grk.–exetrapêsan). 
         This Greek word is used             five times in the N.T. (1:6’ 5:15; 6:20; II Tim. 4:4; Heb. 2:13).  It is a medical term that describes the dislocation of limbs. 
         They twisted doctrinal    truths and turned people off course “unto vain jangling”
(Grk.–eis mataiologian). 

3.      They desired to be teachers of the Law (Grk.–einai nomodidaskaloi). 
         The problem of legalism emerged shortly after Paul proclaimed the Gospel to the pagan Romans and Greeks. 
Paul described these teachers as evil workers and enemies of the cross (Phil. 3:2, 18).

4.      They were ignorant, “understanding neither” (Grk.–mê noountes). 
         a.       They did not understand what they said–what they say.”
                   They simply mouthed words, parroted what their teachers had impressed on them.
         b.       They did not understand what they affirmed–“nor whereof they affirm.”
                   They may have been powerful in their preaching, but technique and excitement are not evidences of truth.
The men he opposes asserted that the law was good, but made a wrong use of it.


“But we know that the Law {is} good, if a man use it lawfully;”

“But we know that the Law {is} good,”
Literally:  “And we know that the Law {is} good.”– Its object was not, however, to teach fables, and genealogies, and foolish fancies.

        It is lawful, according to its proper design. The Law of God is good as a rule of duty for all men; to restrain, (by fear of its penalties), those who transgress it, and to point out the punishment which they deserve, and without repentance will suffer.

         The Law, as given by God, is both good in itself and has a good tendency.  This is similar to what Paul had asserted, Rom. 7:12-16: The Law is holy; and the Commandment is holy, just, and good.

    “Whereof the Law {is} holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
    “then that which is good made death unto  me?  God forbid.  But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment  might become exceeding sinful”

    “For we know that the law is spiritual:  but I am carnal, sold under sin”
    “For that which I do I allow not:  for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
    “For then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the Law that {it is} good” (Rom. 7:12-16).

                WE KNOW:  (Grk.–oidamen)–From the Greek root word (eidon) meaning, “to see; to have seen, to perceive,” hence,  “to have knowledge of.”

“We admit this; it is that which we all concede. This declaration is evidently made by the apostle to guard against the supposition that he was an enemy of the law. Doubtless this charge would be brought against him, or against anyone who maintained the sentiments which he had just expressed. By speaking thus of what those teachers regarded as so important in the law, it would be natural for them to declare that he was an enemy of the law itself, and would be glad to see all its claims abrogated. Paul says that he designs no such thing. He admitted that the law was good. He was never disposed for one moment to call it in question. He only asked that it should be rightly understood and properly explained. Paul was never disposed to call in question the excellency and the utility of the Law, however it might bear on him or on others.”–Barnes Notes

                    GOOD:  (Grk.–kalos)–Meaning: “right, proper, fitting, honorable, beautiful, precious.”  This Greek word really refers to goodness as it is seen on the outside;           i.e., morally excellent (cf. John 10:11; Rom. 7:16).\

“if a man use it lawfully;”
Literally:  “if anyone uses it lawfully”– Paul declared with apostolic authoritative knowledge, “should a man (a teacher of the Law) make use of it lawfully; if he should use it so as to make men conscious of their sins, conscious that of themselves they deserve no mercy, only punishment.”

          LAWFULLY:  (Grk.–nomimôs)–Used according to its intended purpose.  Paul now goes ahead to explain that purpose. It is intended to occupy a most important place, but it should not be perverted. Paul asked only that it should be used aright, and, in order to this, he proceeds to state what is its true purpose.

Lest he be misunderstood about his words regarding the Mosaic Law, Paul now shows that the true use of the Law, as opposed to the use to which these false teachers were making of it, were two entirely different entities.  He is now shows that there is a difference between the Law and legalism In this verse he begins to explain, or emphasize, that distinction.  Paul now makes four points regarding the Law.
1.      (v. 8)–That the Law is good (Grk.–kalos)–v. 8.
         Since God is good, He can give only that which is good, and the Law came from Him via Moses (James 1:17).
2.      (v. 8)–That the Law has a proper use; i.e., lawfully (Grk.–nomimôs)–Using the Law as God meant for it to be used.  By the Law is, “the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20).

“Knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers.”

3.      (v. 9a)–That the Law was not made, “for a righteous man” but for all sorts of ungodly people therein named by Paul.
(v. 9b-10)-That the Law was meant for the sinner.

         It was designed to restrain evildoing and to punish the evildoer.  Paul names fourteen groups of sinners.
        a.         The “lawless” (Grk.–anomois)–These either ignore law or refuse to recognize it.
         b.        The “disobedient” (Grk.–anurotaktois)–Literally:  “those not under order.”  Theyare unruly and insubordinate.
                  “In the one case no legal obligation is recognized; in the other, subjection to law is refused.”–Kenneth Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek N.T.
         c.      The “ungodly” (Grk.–
asebesi)–These have no inner reverence for God.  They willfully ignore Him.
         d.      The “sinners” (Grk.–hamartôlois)–They know what
God has said, but they willfully break or violate the Law.  They constantly fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23).

         e.      The “unholy” (Grk.–anosiois)-They are devoid of piety or holiness.  This is an indication of the Last Days (II Tim. 3:2).
         f.       The “profane” (Grk.–bebêloisi)–They are thoroughly secularistic.  They make it a habit to trample spiritual matters and treat them casually.
         g.       The Murderers of fathers…mothers” (Grk.–patralôiais…mêtralôiais)-These are rebellious children who mercilessly attack their parents. 
                   They violate the
Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12).

         h.       The “manslayers” (Grk.-androphonois)–Literally:  “killers of males,” in violation of the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13).
         i.        The “whoremonger” (Grk.–pornois)–These are harlots or fornicators.  Our English word “pornography” is based upon this term.
         f.        The “defilers of themselves with mankind” (Grk.–arsenokoitais)–This points to the sin of sodomy or homosexuality. 
                   Elsewhere, Paul describes these people :  “and likewise also the men {arsenes} leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another: 
                   men with men working that which is unseemly”
(Rom. 1:27).

         g.        The “menstealers” (Grk.–andrapodistais)–These are those who buy and sell people; slave traders.  This could also include kidnapping.
         h.        The “liars” (Grk.–pseustais)–These deliberately lie or bear false witness in violation of the Ninth Commandment (Exodus 20:16).
         i.         The “perjured persons” ” (Grk.–epiorkois)--They place lies upon (Grk.–epi)–an oath (Grk.–horkos). 
                    They violate both the Third and Ninth Commandments (Exodus 20:7, 16).
This is not really an exhaustive list.

“For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”

                 SOUND:  (Grk.–hugiainô)–Literally:  “healthy, wholesome.” Christianity is an ethical religion.  It demands from a man not only the keeping of certain laws but the   living of a good life.