Q. In II Timothy 2:17, 18 the scripture says that Hymenaeus and Philetus erred saying that the resurrection is past already and overthrew the faith of some. My question is: In what sense did they believe that the resurrection is past? Was it their misapplication of Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 3:13 or was it the false teaching that there was no resurrection of the dead in 1st Corinthians 15:12? Thanks so much for your answer.
2 Tim. 2:16-18
16* But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17* and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18* men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
I believe that Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching the Gnostic doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which in essence was a doctrine similar the to teachings of the Sadducees, which stated that there was no such thing as the resurrection of the body.
Mt 22:23 “On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, Lu 20:27 “Now there came to Him some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection),” Ac 23:8 “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.”
The Nicolaitanes (who were apparently very persuasive during the early days of the church) taught that we “spiritually” pass from death to life, but because the physical body is “evil” it will not be raised from the dead.
On this verse (2 Tim. 2:17-18) Clark (who rarely, in my opinion, has anything worth consideration) has a good comment:
They had the truth, but erred or wandered from it, saying the resurrection was already past, and thus denying the resurrection of the body, and, by consequence, future rewards and punishments; and this necessarily sapped the foundation of all religion: and thus the gangrene had, in reference to their unhappy votaries, a rapid and unchecked operation.
Robertson’s Word Pictures on 1 Cor. 15:12:
Is preached (khrussetai). Personal use of the verb, Christ is preached. How say some among you? (pwv legousin en umin tines?). The question springs naturally from the proof of the fact of the resurrection of Christ (verses #1-11) and the continual preaching which Paul here assumes by condition of the first class (ei–khrussetai). There were skeptics in Corinth, possibly in the church, who denied the resurrection of dead people just as some men today deny that miracles happen or ever did happen. Paul’s answer is the resurrection of Christ as a fact. It all turns on this fact.