Weak Women Taken Captive

2 Timothy 3:6-7 (ESV)

6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,

7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

“Weak women” – gunaikária – this word is hard to arrive at exactly what Paul is referring to here because this word is only used in this passage of the Bible.  An Englishman’s search won’t reveal any other usage.  So we since we can’t find other verses to explain this passage we will have to look closer at what this verse itself tells us about the weak women.

Weak women are “burdened with sins”.  Burdened here means heaped up, piled up or loaded up.  If you went through the Pilgrim’s Progress Bible study with us previously you would remember how Christian was carrying a burden through the beginning of the book. But upon obtaining salvation Christian’s burden rolled away into the empty tomb and was seen no more.  Then we discussed how Christian’s burden wasn’t just his sin, because others sinned and didn’t carry around burdens.   Christian’s burden was the guilt of his sins which weighed on him.  As believers we aren’t to be carrying a burden of sin guilt around with us.  We are to repent and seek forgiveness for our sins.  Then we are to live as forgiven and thankful children.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

We lay aside our burdens and trust in Christ who has finished the work of Salvation for us.

Psalms 32:1-5 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah


1 John 1:9 (ESV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Psalm 38:4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.


Not only are “weak women” burdened by sin, they are also led astray by various passions – tossed to and fro by every idle wind of doctrine.

Ephesians 4:14 (ESV)  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

“Weak women” are always learning and never arriving at the truth.  They are always seeking the newest and best way to live.  You know that miraculous home management program so that you can get everything done with minimal effort.  The newest homeschool curriculum which will teach the children everything in 10 easy steps or maybe it is the “oldies but goodies”, going back to the curriculum our founding fathers used for their children.  The church even often offers up quite a selection of fads to choose from.

The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life

Purpose Driven Life – What on Earth am I Here For?

“Weak women” are not content with doing the hard work that being godly, raising children, homeschooling, teaching, working or even Bible study requires.   They will latch onto every new fad that comes along.

Godliness in 10 easy steps.

Wheat grass juice will cure your every ill.

The Magic Step to flat abs.

Always learning but never arriving at truth – MacArthur doesn’t mince words here speaking of “weak women”.

Sin and lack of discernment neutralized their ability to apprehend God’s truth. If they have been reared in the church, they are especially susceptible to ideas that purport to be Christian. But their ignorance of Scripture and their sinful living make them utterly undiscerning and defenseless against unbiblical and ungodly precepts. They are continually learning about everything except the knowledge of the truth. Because legalism deals only in outward performance, it is very attractive. Many such women, and men as well, are glad to find a way that promises to make them right with God simply by adhering to certain outward forms and conforming to certain behavioral standards.

John MacArthur, in 2 Timothy Commentary

What is the truth?  Of course, it is God’s Word.  Always learning about “Christianity” but never actually learning from Scripture.  Some churches are like that now themselves.  Always studying all kinds of books but never really studying the Bible.  Looking for the “magic” Bible verse that will answer all your questions.

What is the “knowledge of the truth”?  Knowing the Bible would be the average person’s first response.  Yet we have an even better explanation in the Bible.  Paul uses this phrase repeatedly in his epistles.


1 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)

3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.


2 Timothy 2:24-26 (ESV)

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.


Titus 1:1 (ESV) Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,


Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV)

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

Charles Spurgeon on “Knowledge of the Truth”

It is the truth which saves. Jesus Christ is the truth: the whole testimony of God about Christ is the truth. The work of the Holy Ghost in the heart is to work in us the truth.”

Knowledge of the Truth isn’t just knowledge of some truth or knowledge of some doctrine; it is personal life changing knowledge of the salvation of Jesus Christ.


For the full series of posts in order click below:

Renewing the Attitudes of our Heart Series


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