Ephesians 4:14 Commentary

 

 

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Ephesians 4:14 Commentary

Ephesians 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: hina meketi omen (1PPAS) nepioi, kludonizomenoi (PPPMPN) kai peripheromenoi (PPPMPN) panti anemo tes didaskalias en te kubeia ton anthropon en panourgia pros ten methodeian tes planes,
Amplified:  So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.   (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NKJV: that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
NLT:  Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.  (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies.  (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest:  in order that we no longer may be immature ones, tossed to and fro and carried around in circles by every wind of teaching in the cunning adroitness of men, in craftiness which furthers the scheming deceitful art of error, (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal:  So we shall no longer be babes nor shall we resemble mariners tossed on the waves and carried about with every changing wind of doctrine according to men's cleverness and unscrupulous cunning, making use of every shifting device to mislead.

REFERENCES

Paul Apple
Albert Barnes
Wayne Barber
Brian Bell
J M Boice
John Calvin
Alan Carr
Vincent Cheung
Steven Cole
Thomas Constable
Bob Deffinbaugh
Charles Ellicott
John Eadie
Explore the Bible
Oliver Greene
David Guzik
Charles Hodge
F B Hole
S Lewis Johnson
William Kelly
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
J Vernon McGee
F B Meyer
H C G Moule
John Piper
John Piper
A T Robertson
C H Spurgeon
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Lehman Strauss
Marvin Vincent
Walter Wright
Precept Ministries

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Ephesians 4:7-16  How Saints Minister Body

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Body Life (Book on Church According to God's Design)

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AS A RESULT, WE ARE NO LONGER TO BE CHILDREN: hina meketi omen (1PPAS) nepioi:  (Isaiah 28:9; Matthew 18:3,4; 1Corinthians 3:1,2; 14:20; Hebrews 5:12, 13, 14)

As a result (2443) (hina) defines the purpose of attaining to the Christlikeness. Here the purpose of the maturity discussed in the previous verse is emphasized by presentation of the contrasting picture of an immature, indecisive child who is spiritually unstable, easily tricked in spiritual matters and easily led astray from the truth.

No longer (3371) (meketi from me = not + éti = anymore, yet, with k (kappa) inserted for phonics) means no more, no further. The word no-longer implies that it was actual and frequent among the Christians of Paul’s day. Spiritually immature believers who are not grounded in the knowledge of Christ through God’s Word are inclined to uncritically accept every sort of beguiling doctrinal error and fallacious interpretation of Scripture promulgated by deceitful, false teachers in the church. They must learn discernment.

Mature believers are commanded to...

examine (present imperative - dokimazo conveys idea of proving a thing whether it is worthy or not, whether genuine or not) everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good. Abstain (present imperative) every form of evil. (1Thes 5:21, 22-note)

Children (3516) (nepios from negative + epos = not able to talk) means literally not speaking and so a helpless infant. Figuratively as in this verse nepios refers to one who is unlearned, unenlightened or simple. Paul is referring to the spiritual immaturity of a child as opposed to the relative perfection of a man of full stature in Christ. Have you ever noticed how children are often unaware of danger? They may play in dangerous situations and be totally unaware that anything is threatening them.

A new Christian was reading through the Gospels. After she finished, she told a friend she wanted to read a book on church history. When her friend asked why, the woman replied, "I'm curious. I've been wondering when Christians started to become so unlike Christ."

The American Banking Association once sponsored a two-week training program to help tellers detect counterfeit bills. The program was unique--never during the two-week training did the tellers even look at a counterfeit bill, not did they listen to any lectures concerning the characteristics of counterfeit bills....All they did for two weeks was handle authentic currency, hour after hour and day after day, until they were so familiar with the true that they could not possibly be fooled by the false.

Paul chided believers in the church at Corinth for their spiritual immaturity writing...

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink (easily digestible Truth given to new believers), not solid food (difference is not in kind of truth, but degree of depth); for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still (their condition was inexcusable, for they had been saved long enough to have grown up) fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men (spiritual immature believers are scarcely distinguishable from natural or unsaved men)? (1Cor 3:1-3)

S Lewis Johnson has the following comments on "children" writing that..

One of the things that characterizes a child is a lack of stability. Any new sight or sound is sufficient to change the purpose of a child. You notice that particularly in children. Nothing holds their attention for very long. To speak of it scientifically, they have a very short attention span. Now that is characteristic of new believers. When they are listening to the minister of the word of God, their attention span is often very short. Let me give you an illustration.

About four or five years ago, I gave some messages on Habakkuk. And in the course of the messages which were given on a Wednesday night, there was a couple that came in here who had not had a whole lot of Bible teaching just before that, became very involved in the Chapel, very involved in the Chapel at this moment, and as a matter of fact are here tonight. I hope they won’t mind me saying this, because they told me this on Sunday night.

But they also, now, had been listening to the messages on Sunday morning on Habakkuk. Messages that they said they had heard four or five years ago when they were given in the Chapel. And they were speaking about how much more they were getting out of the messages now that they had been in the Chapel four years. Well now, we all have had that experience.

I can remember when I first started to hear the ministry of the word of God, if I could go out with a few ideas, well I thought I had accomplished something. I had been able to get something. It was all very thrilling to me. I sat there just entranced by the ministry of the word. Still do when the preaching is good. I was obtaining some things, but I was not obtaining what I would obtain now when I listen to the exposition of the Scriptures. Lack of stability. Lack of attention span. They’ve got to have something new all the time. 

Now a second thing that’s characteristic of children is that they are easily deceived...You can play trick after trick on children. I did it with all of my children...Christians are easily deceived. It’s amazing the things we are deceived by: by the false teaching, by the cults, and not only by the false teachers and the cultists, but even by other new Christians. And then some who are just a little above them, who don’t have any real deep comprehension of doctrine, but who have some really wild ideas. And so they are deceived by them. One of the duties of all teachers of the word is to seek to answer the questions that the children have. So, easily deceived. (Pdf)

TOSSED HERE AND THERE BY WAVES AND CARRIED ABOUT BY EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE: kludonizomenoi (PPPMPN) kai peripheromenoi (PPPMPN) panti anemo tes didaskalias:  (Acts 20:30,31; Romans 16:17,18; 2Corinthians 11:3,4; Galatians 1:6,7; 3:1; Colossians 2:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2Thessalonians 2:2, 3, 4, 5; 1Ti 3:6; 4:6,7; 2Ti 1:15; 2:17,18; 3:6, 7, 8, 9,13; 4:3; Heb 13:9; 2Pe 2:1, 2, 3; 1Jn 2:19,26; 4:1) (Matthew 11:7; 1Corinthians 12:2; James 1:6; 3:4)

Tossed by waves (2831) (kludonizomai from kludôn = wave, especially dashing or surging waves, Lk 8:24) means to surge, be tossed in billows or the waves. Metaphorically, it means to be agitated mentally like the waves in a stormy sea. To be disturbed. To be thrown in confusion. It describes one of unstable opinion who fluctuates or frequently changes the way he or she thinks or believes depending on the latest fad teaching. Picture a small sail boat being blown in one direction and then another by the wind that keeps changing direction.

Expositor's Greek NT writes...

In the changefulness and agitation which were the results of their unthinking submission to false teaching their childishness or lack of Christian manhood (maturity) was seen.

There is one NT use of kludonizomai and one use in the Septuagint (LXX)...

Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea (kludonizomai ), for it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud.

McGee writes...

Notice that Paul does some mixing of metaphors here. He is trying to bring out vividly the danger of a believer continuing as a babe. You wouldn’t, for example, put a baby in a plane to pilot it. My little grandson is a smart boy, but he is not that smart. I wouldn’t allow him up there; he would crash. If children were in command of a ship, they would be tossed up and down, driven here and there without direction over the vast expanse of sea. They would become discouraged and seasick. They would lose their way. This is a frightful picture of the possible fate of a child of God.  (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Thomas Nelson)

Carried about (4064) (periphero from perí = around + phéro = carry) literally means to carry about from one place to another, to carry here and there or to transport hither and thither. It is used of spinning tops. Such is the confusing effect of false doctrine. It pictures one whirled around as by a violent swinging that makes them dizzy. Picture a small dingy caught in a tempestuous storm and unable to hold a steady course to safety in the harbor ("the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation" - see note Ephesians 1:13).

Here are the other 4 NT (note that 2 uses are only found in the Textus Receptus) uses of periphero at least 3 of which are also used in the context of aberrant teaching of some sort....

Mark 6:55 and ran about that whole country and began to carry about on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was.

2Cor 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Comment: Paul uses periphero figuratively to describe his carrying about of persecutions for the sake of Jesus

Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried away (Note: Textus Receptus has periphero but other manuscripts have paraphero)  by varied and strange teachings (any teaching contrary to God’s Word - message = know God's Word!); for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace (those experiencing God’s grace in Christ have hearts and minds that remain stable), not by foods (Grace is internal, foods are external = Jewish legalistic requirements regarding food), through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited (not profited).

Comment: The Greek is a present imperative with a negative particle [not = Greek word "me"] and is better translated "Stop being carried away..." indicating they this sad plight was a real and present danger!

Jude 1:12 These men (who seek to turn the grace of God into licentiousness) are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along (Note: Textus Receptus has periphero but other manuscripts have paraphero)  by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted

Comment: The mists, like the false teachers, seem to promise refreshment but in reality do no good. Marvin Vincent writes that these men are "As clouds which seem to be charged with refreshing showers, but are borne past and yield no rain.

Every wind of doctrine - Pictures teachings like fashion fads and suggests childish caprice in taking up with these latest spiritual teachings. These "winds" are like the wind coming off the sea - always blowing, sometimes gently, sometimes with devastating force, but always "blowing" through the body of Christ. What "winds" are blowing through your local body? Are the gifted men, especially the pastor-teachers, who are given by Christ to set the correct course, fulfilling their purpose?

Every (3956) (pas) means all without exception.

Wind (417) (anemos) literally refers to wind but here is a figurative description of doctrinal instability.

Kent Hughes has an interesting illustration writing that...

When my children were small, we paid many family visits to 31 Flavors ice cream stores. Thirty-one choices! Sometimes it took them so long to choose a flavor, and when we got in the car and they saw what the others had chosen they changed their minds. This is the way the immature believer is: fickle — unstable — gullible — easily influenced by the latest book or preacher or fad — vulnerable to the wolves, of which there are plenty. (Hughes, R. K.: Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Crossway Books)

MacDonald has a picturesque comment writing that...

Immature Christians are susceptible to the grotesque novelties and fads of professional quacks. They become religious gypsies, moving to and fro from one appealing fantasy to another. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

Doctrine (1319) (didaskalia related to didasko which pictures the process of shaping one's will by word of mouth) refers to that which is taught, not to the method of teaching. It is the content or teaching. The "waves" and "wind" are metaphors that speak of aberrant doctrine.

To avoid being pulled into error,
Keep a firm grip on the truth.

Eadie has this comment on didaskalia noting that...

 The article (tes) before didaskalia gives definitive prominence to “the teaching,” which, as a high function respected and implicitly obeyed, was very capable of seducing, since whatever false phases it assumed, it might find and secure followers. Such wind, not from this or that direction only, but blowing from any or “every” quarter, causes the imperfect and inexperienced to surge about in fruitless commotion. The moral phenomenon is common. Some men have just enough of Christian intelligence to unsettle them, and make them the prey of every idle suggestion, the sport of every religious novelty. How many go the round of all sects, parties, and creeds, and never receive satisfaction! If in the pride of reason they fall into rationalism, then if they recover they rebound into mysticism. From the one extreme of legalism they recoil to the farthest verge of antinomianism, having traveled at easy stages all the intermediate distances. (John Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians).

BY THE TRICKERY OF MEN: en te kubeia ton anthropon: (Matthew 24:11,24; 2Corinthians 2:17; 4:2; 11:13, 14,15; 2Thessalonians 2:9,10; 2Peter 2:18; Revelation 13:11, 12, 13, 14; 19:20)

By the trickery of men -

Trickery (2940) (kubeia from kubos ~ gives us our English "cube", dice) literally refers to wicked dice playing or throwing dice and figuratively refers to intentional fraud or sleight of hand in the spiritual sense. Kubeia, the term for dice became synonymous with trickery of any sort. The dice were often “loaded” or otherwise manipulated by professional gamblers to their own advantage which is a perfect picture of men coming into a congregation and manipulating the Word of God to make it say what they want it to say!

Warren Wiersbe has an insightful comment warning that...

The cultists do not try to win lost souls to Christ. They do not establish rescue missions in the slum areas of our cities, because they have no good news for the man on skid row. Instead, these false teachers try to capture immature Christians, and for this reason, most of the membership of the false cults comes from local churches, particularly churches that do not feed their people the Word of God. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)

Spurgeon once warned...

Beware! Error often rides to its deadly work on the back of truth!

In a parallel passage on immature believers the writer of Hebrews tells his readers...

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles (1st principles of Christian doctrine = the "ABC's") of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food (they are like adults who are still nursing on a bottle spiritually speaking!). 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness (they don't know how to practice the Biblical truths calling for and enabling righteous living), for he is a babe (nepios).

14 But solid food (strong, sure, firm, immovable "food" - Sermons are good, but they are not to be compared with personal Spirit illuminated Bible study as soul food) is for the mature, who because of practice (habit) have their senses ( implies a sort of spiritual intuition by which the sensitive Christian can, more or less, automatically discern whether something is right or wrong) trained (gymnazo - exercised) to discern good and evil. (See notes Hebrews 5:12;  5:13; 5:14)

(Comment:  A maturing Christian must be a Biblically saturated Christian.  and so the author assaults the readers with a vivid image of adult infants who are still nursing. Think of the tragic absurdity of full-grown believers in diapers, still not capable of ingesting, nor even desiring solid food and who sit around sucking their thumbs. Such full grown infants amount to a huge disgrace and drain on the Church. The truth is, there is simply no such thing as a static Christian. We either move forward or fall back. We are either climbing or falling. We are either winning or losing. Static, status quo Christianity is a delusion! This training in discernment is vital)

BY CRAFTINESS IN DECEITFUL SCHEMING:  en panourgia pros ten methodeian tes planes:  (Psalms 10:9; 59:3; Micah 7:2; Acts 23:21)

By craftiness in deceitful scheming - This Greek phrase is somewhat difficult to translate clearly into English but in simple terms I have paraphrased it as...

"cunning methods which deceive, delude and lead astray (from the truth)"

The New English Bible has a vivid paraphrase...

“dupes of crafty rogues and their deceitful schemes”

This is an apt description of the many cultists, religious racketeers, charlatans, false prophets and teachers, and manipulative religious leaders who abound in our day. They trap many immature Christians (including many spiritually immature Christians who are chronologically "mature") with their teachings that sound so right and enticing.

The UBS Handbook adds that...

It should be noted that the writer does not specify what are the wrong teachings which he condemns. Beare conjectures: “It is an eccentric individualism, rather than sectarianism, which is attacked” (Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A.  UBS Handbook Series; New York: United Bible Societies)

Craftiness (3834) (panourgia from pas = all + ergon = work) is literally "all working" or capable of all work. In the NT it takes on a negative meaning and conveys the ideas of trickery involving cunning, cleverness, craftiness or treachery. Panourgia conveys the the idea of clever manipulation of error to make it look like the truth. Someone who practiced panourgia would be willing to do anything to achieve his goals. Panourgia  is the unscrupulousness that stops at nothing.

NIDNTT has the following note regarding its classic use...

Its first appearance is in Aeschylus; and from then on in secular Greek its connotation is most commonly pejorative, an unprincipled “capable of doing anything” (e.g. Aristotle, Lysias). Even as a divine attribute (in Euripides, Artemis applies it to Aphrodite) the connotation is negative. In the few instances where the word bears a positive sense, there is a hint of presumption or perhaps deceptive evaluation (Plato, Plutarch). It is possible that the positive ability implicit in the etymology of the word group never got off the ground because in Gk. thought the very idea of such ability is indicative of an arrogance which soon tinges the panourgia with undesirable characteristics. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Panourgia is used 5 times in the NT (Lk. 20:23; 1Cor 3:19; 2Cor 4:2; 11:3; Eph. 4:14) and 4 in the Septuagint (LXX) (Nu 24:22, Jos. 9:4; Pr 1:4; Pr 8:5)...

Luke 20:23 But He (Jesus) detected their trickery and said to them, (The scribes and the chief priests are guilty of “trickery” in their question to Jesus)

1Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness";

2Corinthians 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

2Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Joshua 9:4 they also acted craftily and set out as envoys, and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended

Deceitful (4106) (plane from planos = deceitful, root idea = has idea of wandering) (Click word study of related verb planao) describes a roaming or a wandering and then figuratively a going astray or a wandering out of the right way.  The verbal form planao means to cause to wander off the path, to cause someone to hold a wrong view and so to mislead or deceive.

Vincent says plane is an

"error which shows itself in action...It may imply deceit as accompanying or causing error"

The literal use in the sense of roaming is found in the Greek historian Herodotus who records this note of Solon "who roamed the earth in search of new information".

TDNT has the following note on secular uses of plane writing that...

The life of men who strive after various things (Critias Fr., 15 [Diels7, II, 381, 20]), indeed, the action of many men (Philodem. Philos. Volumina Rhetorica, VIII, 33) can be called an “error.”

In the NT, plane is used only in the figurative sense to describe straying or wandering from the path of truth. The idea of plane is error, delusion, deception. Plane describes a wanderer, as a star or planet that appears not to stay on course. Planes is frequent in Greek secular writings to mean deceit. Aristotle uses plane for mistakes in investigation...Plane used in the active sense of deceit is late and rare (secular Greek). The passive (meaning) "illusion" in seeing and sense perception generally, the vacillation of knowledge found even in wise men, the error which is to be explained by overestimation of a hedone (pleasure) -- all these things can be denoted plane. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Plane in the present verse describes one who wanders from the path of truth, orthodoxy or piety and into error, delusion or deceit.

Plane is found 10 times in the NT (Mt 27:64; Ro 1:27; Eph 4:14; 1Thes 2:3; 2Thes 2:11; Ja 5:20; 2Pe 2:18; 3:17; 1Jn. 4:6; Jude 1:11) and 3 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Pr 14:8, Jer 23:17, Ezek 33:10)

Matthew 27:64 "Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first."

Romans 1:27 (note) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Comment: Here plane describes a behavior which deviates seriously from that which is morally correct and in context refers to a "perversion"

1 Thessalonians 2:3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false,

James 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins. (Comment: Here plane speaks more of conduct that is in error)

2 Peter 2:18 (note) For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error,

2 Peter 3:17 (note) You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,

1 John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error ("the spirit which misleads us to hold the wrong view or be mistaken")

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit.

Scheming (3180) (methodeia [word study] from verb methodeúo = follow up or investigate by method and settled plan. Methodeuo is derived from meta = with, after + hodos = a way) refers to an orderly logical effective arrangement usually in steps. It is  a deliberate planning or system. Methodeia has  reference to planned, subtle, systematized error.  Error organizes. It has its systems and its logic. Be alert! Be mature!  Satan’s scheming, crafty actions and artful designs  have ‘method’ and purpose, for his aim is to mislead the immature who are not grounded on apostolic doctrine. Behind the evil men and women who seek to expound false teaching, there is also a supernatural evil power who seeks to deceive unwary saints with his "devilish" cunning.

Paul uses methodeia in his description of the wiles of the devil issuing a command to all believers to...

Put on (aorist imperative) the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes (planned, subtle, methodical, deliberate, systematized error) of the devil. (Ep 6:11-note)

Paul writing about the snake in the garden gives us a very instructive use of methodeia in his second letter to the Corinthians...

But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived (beguiled thoroughly, deceived wholly, led astray) Eve by his craftiness, (NIV = cunning, YLT = subtilty) should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2Cor 11:3)

Comment: Craftiness in this context is that which beguiles [leads astray by underhandedness and stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving] or leads astray from the truth.

The English word scheming means given to making plots; shrewdly devious and intriguing. Synonyms include artful, calculating, conniving, cunning, deceitful, designing, duplicitous, foxy, Machiavellian, slippery, sly, tricky, underhand, wily.

Methodeia refers to an orderly, logical, effective arrangement, usually in steps followed to achieve an end. It describes deliberate planning or a systematic approach and can have a positive or negative connotation. The negative meaning of methodeia implies the use of clever methods or strategies to attain the desired end. The Scripture always uses methodeia with a negative connotation.

Think about this simple definition in the context of spiritual warfare. Satan is orderly and logical in his steps employed against you to achieve his nefarious purposes. This realization should prompt each of us to be even more appreciative of the fact that we cannot stand against our invisible enemy in our own intelligence, our own strength or our own human "methods" or "schemes". We must put on the full armor that  God supplies in Christ.

As alluded to above, the negative connotation of methodeia implies the use of cleverness, craftiness, cunning and deception. The "deceiver" uses specific, subtle, stealthy plans to target each individual, his goal being to defeat, discourage and dishearten. Stated another way, Satan's attacks are "tailor made", carefully and methodically selected to attack each person's specific weaknesses and vulnerabilities. His wiles and methods are usually attractive, always deceptive, and often ensnaring.

MacDonald writes that the...

Most serious of all is the danger of deception. Those who are babes are unskillful in the word of righteousness, their senses are not exercised to discern between good and evil (Heb. 5:13, 14). They inevitably meet some false cultist who impresses them by his zeal and apparent sincerity. Because he uses religious words, they think he must be a true Christian. If they had studied the Bible for themselves, they would be able to see through his deceitful juggling of words. But now they are carried about by his wind of doctrine and led by unprincipled cunning into a form of systematized error. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

McGee writes that...

If you sent babes into the gambling den, the sharpies would take them in with their system of error. I wouldn’t think of sending my grandson to Las Vegas to play the slot machines! In fact, I wouldn’t want him there even if he lived to be a hundred years old. Christ’s purpose in giving men with different gifts to the church is to develop believers from babyhood to full maturity. Teachers are to be pediatricians. I sometimes use the expression that I am primarily a pediatrician, not an obstetrician. The obstetrician brings the baby into the world. I know he has to get up sometimes at one o’clock in the morning to deliver a baby and that he spends many nights at his work, but he is through with the little angel after he is born. He turns him over to the pediatrician, who makes sure he has everything he needs for normal growth. I have been a pediatrician in my ministry and, only secondly, an obstetrician. I feel that I am called to be the pediatrician—that is, to give the saints the Word of God so they can grow.  (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Thomas Nelson)

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Last Updated July, 2013

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