Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Misreading False knowledge 1 Timothy 6:20

Misreading False knowledge 1 Timothy 6:20

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”

A well known example is the misreading of the Greek word gnĊsis in 1 Timothy 6:20 as a reference to Gnostic teaching. Having decided that the word referred to Gnosticism, expositors attempted to find evidence throughout the letter that the Gnostics were the specific false teachers mentioned. The conclusion that Paul was warning against Gnostics was then transferred wrongly to Paul’s other letters.

‘We must beware of imposing an outside situation upon the letters. For instance, in previous generations some scholars read Gnosticism from the second and third centuries A.D. into the New Testament letters, so that the opponents in almost every Pauline letter were identified as Gnostics. Virtually no one advocates the Gnostic hypothesis today, for it is illegitimate to read later church history into first century documents. The Gnostic detour could have been avoided if scholars had read the Pauline letters themselves more carefully, for evidence for full-fledged Gnosticism cannot be read out of his letters.’, Schreiner (complementarian), ‘Interpreting the Pauline Epistles’, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (3.9), (1999).

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