“By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
with deceptive words
The Greek word for “deceptive” occurs only here in the Bible. We get our English word “plastic” from this term. Plastic is easy to forge. “Deceptive” then means to fabricate. Phony preachers fabricate teaching from the Bible that is not there. In effect, they forge the Bible into their own making for personal gain. Like plastic, people can fabricate and fashion words so that they are so well turned that they appear real. Some people are good at making up words to deceive others.
The Greek used “deceptive” for molding clay or wax. False teachers manipulate their suckers by molding words to suit the situation. They make up stories to mislead people. They are clever in constructing and arranging words to mislead people (Co 2:4). We can sometimes recognize a lie when a lie is set forth as a lie. However, when false teachers mask a lie as truth, the lie is much more deadly.
Ro 16:7, 18, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”
2 Pe 2:18, “For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.”
False teachers can sound Scriptural, but they deceive by distorting or twisting the truth of Scripture.
Many people are so biblically illiterate that they cannot discern phony religious leaders from true gospel preachers. They are so maudlin or emotional in the way they think they could not believe that someone in religion would deceive them. They seem to be ignorant of the fact that great sections of the Bible warn against religious deceivers.
False teachers can turn their words well. They make their religious wares very attractive to sell. By this, they mislead, delude, and cheat their followers. Their religious inventions have mere surface attraction.