16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,
18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.
but (v.16) — the Greek word creates a contrast between what follows and v.15, with “being diligent” and with “rightly dividing”
shun (v.16) = lit. “to turn one’s self about” for the purpose of avoiding something — give a wide berth to
“Profane” is bebelos, from baino, “to step,” and belos, “threshold,” thus, “accessible, lawful to be trodden,” used of places, thus, “common, unhallowed” as opposed to “that which is set apart, restricted as to its use for God,” thus “holy.” “Vain babblings” is kenophonia, made up of phone, “voice,” and kenos, “empty, hollow.” The word is used in 1 Corinthians 15:58 “labor in vain,” thus, “labor which yields no return”; in Philippians 2:3 “vainglory,” hence, “empty glory.” St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:1) that his entrance to them was not kene (feminine gender of kenos), not unaccompanied with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. When not used of things but persons, kenos predicates not merely an absence and emptiness of good, but, since the moral nature of man endures no vacuum, the presence of evil. It is thus employed only once in the New Testament, namely, at James 2:20, where the anthropos kenos (the empty man) is one in whom the higher wisdom has found no entrance, but who is puffed up with a vain conceit of his own spiritual insight. Thus, “vain babblings” are not merely empty words, but because empty, evil words, for as nature will not endure a vacuum, so empty words become filled with evil, and thus become words of evil content and purpose. Kenophonia is empty discussion, discussion of vain and useless matters.” The word phone means “a sound, a tone, a voice,” namely “the sound of uttered words.” Thus, it does not refer directly to words as such, but to “babbling” as the A.V. puts it, or to “chatter,” as the R.S.V. renders the word. “Increase” is prokopto, “to cut or beat forward, to lengthen out by hammering” (as a smith forges metals); metaphorically, “to promote forward; to go forward, advance, proceed.” “Ungodliness” is asebeia, the opposite of eusebeia, “a holy reverence or respect for God, piety towards God.” The word does not refer to a person’s character as such, but to his attitude towards God. “Will eat” is nome, “pasturage, fodder, food,” and echo, “to have,” thus, “Their word will have pasturage,” and “so grow.” It refers to the spread of something, for instance, nome puros “a spreading of fire”; a sore is said nome poieo, “to spread.” “Canker” is gaggraina, our word “gangrene”; from the verb grao or graino, “to gnaw, eat”; “a disease by which any part of the body suffering from inflammation becomes so corrupted that, unless a remedy be seasonably applied, the evil continually spreads, attacks other parts, and at last eats away at the bones.” — Wuest, pages 136-137
resurrection is already past (v.18) — perhaps misreading or deliberately misinterpreting Paul in Ephesians 2:5-6 and Colossians 3:1, where Paul refers to the believers’ position in Christ and not to our physical resurrection — such teaching takes away the believers’ hope and therefore leads to loss of faith and then to ungodliness