Second Timothy 3.6-9

[This is part of a running series on translating Second Timothy. See the introductory post for more information — RB]

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 3.6-9

    6 Ἐκ τούτων
    6 For from these
γάρ εἰσιν
are
    οἱ ἐνδύνοντες
    those who sneak 
        εἰς τὰς οἰκίας
        into the houses
    καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια
    and capture idle women
        σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις,
        overwhelmed with sins,
        ἀγόμενα ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις,
        led on by various desires,
        7 πάντοτε μανθάνοντα
        7 always learning
        καὶ μηδέποτε
        and never
            εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας
            into knowledge of the truth
        ἐλθεῖν δυνάμενα.
        [are they] able to come.

    8 ὃν τρόπον δὲ Ἰάννης καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς ἀντέστησαν Μωϋσεῖ,
    8 In the same way Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses,
οὕτως καὶ οὗτοι ἀνθίστανται τῇ ἀληθείᾳ,
similarly also these oppose the truth:
    ἄνθρωποι
    people
        κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν, 
        depraved in mind,
    ἀδόκιμοι
    unqualified
        περὶ τὴν πίστιν. 
        concerning the faith.

9 ἀλλʼ οὐ προκόψουσιν
9 But they will not progress
    ἐπὶ πλεῖον·
    any further.

ἡ γὰρ ἄνοια αὐτῶν ἔκδηλος ἔσται πᾶσιν,
For their mindlessness will be quite obvious to all, 
    ὡς καὶ ἡ ἐκείνων ἐγένετο. 
    just as that of those also became.

Comments

The unit is 2Ti 3.1-9. NA27 insert a subparagraph break after 2Ti 3.5, this seems a decent point to break the comments on this unit. See Second Timothy 3.1-5 for comments on the first portion.

Verse 6

Ἐκ τούτων] fronted prepositional phrase, functioning as a Topical Frame (Runge) which brings participants into focus. Here the participants are referred to by the near demonstrative (τούτων), the referent being those described in 2Ti 3.1-5. Essentially, vv. 1-5 describe the group of participants, this fronted prepositional phrase then activates them so that they can be discussed in the following verses.

γάρ] discourse connective, shows that this clause offers support to the previous clause complex.

εἰσιν οἱ ἐνδύνοντες] “are the ones who sneak/creep”. The participle is substantive and is further defined with the following prepositional phrase. Note that Paul is now delimiting a sub-group from the larger group of false doctrine teachers/followers.

εἰς τὰς οἰκίας] prepositional phrase. Modifies the preceding participle. Clarifies the subject as “the ones who sneak into houses”, but this is only one portion of the descriptor.

καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια] here καὶ is a phrase-level connective joining both participles (the article governing both participles): οἱ ἐνδύνοντες .. καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες; “those sneaking … and capturing”. On γυναικάρια, while formally a diminutive of γυνη (hence “little women”) it is likely a term of derision “foolish women” (see BDAG and M-M).

σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις] participial clause, this is the first of four participial clauses which describe the “foolish women” who are being led astray. These participial clauses form two groups, each with two clauses. This is the first “overwhelmed with sins”. The participle takes a dative.

ἀγόμενα ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις] participial clause, note the structural similarity with what precedes, a participle with a dative: “led on by various desires”. This as well describes the foolish women.

Verse 7

πάντοτε μανθάνοντα] participial clause; the first of the second set. Note that μανθάνοντα agrees with the following participle (δυνάμενα) in case, number and gender. Also note the contrast between πάντοτε (always) and μηδέποτε (never).

καὶ μηδέποτε] beginning of second participial clause, with καὶ functioning to join the two together.

εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας] prepositional phrase fronted within the participial clause, emphasizing “into knowledge of the truth”. Note that the adverb μηδέποτε is similarly emphasized. On “knowledge of the truth”, see also 1Ti 2.4 and 2Ti 2.25 (discussed here).

ἐλθεῖν δυνάμενα] balance of participial clause, “being able to come”. This seems to be a slam against the false teachers; while they are “always learning”, they are never able to actually get it right. It is vaguely similar to a similar statement in 1Ti 1.7, about those who desire to be teachers of the law but really are clueless about what they’re saying and teaching.

Verse 8

ὃν] The beginnings of a complex structure that runs through the end of verse 9, this relative pronoun indicates a condition of sorts (Runge calls it a “Conditional Frame”).

ὃν τρόπον δὲ Ἰάννης καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς ἀντέστησαν Μωϋσεῖ] At the same time, the entire relative clause is preposed (a “Left Dislocation”, Runge) to introduce information essential to the processing of the main clause. Here it is the balance of a comparison between the way that Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses (the fronted information) to no effect, so Paul’s opponents oppose the truth to no effect. The δὲ is a higher-level discourse connective, not technically a part of this subordinate clause, indicating a developmental connection to the previous discussion.

Ἰάννης καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς] Traditionally the two magicians who opposed Moses and Aaron (cf. Ex 7.11). (Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, p. 582; cf. p. 620-621, 954). Some collections of OT Pseudepigrapha contain something called “The Book of Jannes and Jambres” (cf. Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology, which has a good introduction and also has the relevant Greek witnesses, from P. Chester Beatty XVI and P. Vindobonensis G 29 456 verso; a translation is in Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha 2:427-442).

οὕτως] adverb, providing the hinge of the comparison between the content in the preposed relative clause and the main clause. Typically translated “so”, though I’ve translated “similarly” here due to the nature of the comparison.

καὶ οὗτοι] The καὶ is adverbial thus better as “also”. The phrase is unnecessary (“so also these”) as the person and number of the verb provide sufficient information; thus Paul is highlighting “these also”, tying them to opposition of the truth.

ἀνθίστανται τῇ ἀληθείᾳ] Note that the same verb is used in the fronted relative clause and the main clause; this solidifies the comparison.

ἄνθρωποι κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν] apposition; providing further description of “these also”. First is “people” from ἄνθρωποι which generically refers to people (sometimes translated as a non-gender-specific “men”), modified by a participial clause that describes the mindframe of these people.

ἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν] more apposition; this as well provides further description of the opponents. Here they are “unqualified”; the prepositional phrase describes the specific area in which they are unqualified.

Verse 9

ἀλλʼ] In my reading, the first half of verse 9 is implicitly contrasted with verse 8, the marker of contrast is ἀλλʼ (see my paper on αλλα for more info). Runge labels the structure a Counterpoint (v. 8) Point (v. 9a) structure; αλλα is the hinge between the two. These depraved people, the ones who are unqualified in the faith, the ones who oppose the truth in the same way as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, they will not progress any further in their teaching and work.

οὐ προκόψουσιν] “They will not progress”. This is the main verb of the clause, modified with a negator.

ἐπὶ πλεῖον] prepositional phrase, modifying the main clause verb, noting the limits of the progress: “any further”. Their opposition will not progress; it will instead crumble, and the truth will overcome — much like Moses overcame Jannes and Jambres.

ἡ γὰρ ἄνοια αὐτῶν ἔκδηλος ἔσται πᾶσιν] explanatory; the γὰρ is a cue that this clause provides explanation/support for the previous argument. The opposition progresses no further; “because their mindlessness is quite obvious to all”.

ὡς καὶ ἡ ἐκείνων ἐγένετο] dependent clause with some pronouns that, upon initial inspection, seem hard to track. But they’re really not. First note that καὶ is adverbial, hence “also”. The article functions like a pronoun here, referring back to ἡ ἄνοια (“their mindlessness”). ἐκείνων is a demonstrative pronoun that typically relates to a referent somewhat removed from the current context; Runge (via Levinsohn) labels this a “Far Demonstrative”. Here the referent is Jannes and Jambres from the beginning of v. 8. While the literal translation is something like “just as that of those also became”, the idea is more like “just as [the mindlessness] of [Jannes and Jambres] also became [evident to all]”. This referent ties the whole of vv. 8-9 together and reinforces and explains the Point in v. 9, that the progress of the false teachers will falter; the vacuity of their teaching will cause them to stumble.