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The IVP New Testament Commentary Series – Opposing False Teachers (6:2-5)
Opposing False Teachers (6:2-5)

The Christian leader must not forget the responsibility to protect the faith. Those of Paul's readers who fell into this category, including Timothy, were to discharge this duty by teaching and urging the true faith (v. 2). The command that sets Timothy in this mode again (see also 3:14; 4:6, 11; 5:7, 21) also reminds them that in this operation the Christian leader is not unarmed. Paul has given specific teaching (these . . . things) for confrontation with the false teachers.

Having repeated the command, Paul issues a kind of "wanted poster." It is the counterpart to the "job description" given in chapter 3. Notably, each begins with the general if anyone (compare 5:4, 16; Tit 1:6). Here, verses 3-6 consist of one long sentence in the Greek, beginning with the "criminal" and the "crime" and going on to give identifying characteristics in a list of vices. By using the list (compare 1:9-10; 2 Tim 3:2-4; Tit 3:3) Paul meant to create a strong stereotype or caricature of the false teacher that would communicate primarily two things: an authoritative denunciation and a solemn warning. Readers, after seeing this "poster," would not be likely to form or maintain casual attitudes about the false teachers or their doctrine.

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