And their word will eat as doth a cancer
Or "gangrene", which gnaws and feeds upon the flesh, inflames and mortifies as it goes, and spreads swiftly, and endangers the whole body; and is therefore to be speedily taken notice of, and stopped. It is better rendered "gangrene", as in the marginal reading, than "cancer".
``The word "gangrene" is Greek F7, and is derived by some authors from the Paphlagonian "gangra", a goat; it being the character of a goat to browse the grass all around without shifting. It is more correct, perhaps, to derive it from the Greek word (graw) , (grainw) , "manduco", "consumo", I eat, I consume. The "gangrene" is a disease in the flesh of the part which it corrupts, consumes, and turns black, spreading and seizing itself of the adjoining parts, and is rarely cured without amputation. By the microscope, a gangrene has been discovered to contain an infinite number of little worms engendered in the morbid flesh; and which continually producing new broods, they swarm, and overrun the adjacent parts: if the gangrene proceed to an utter sphacelation (or mortification), and be seated in any of the limbs, or extreme parts, recourse must be had to the operation of amputation''And so the errors and heresies of false teachers worm and spread, and feed upon the souls of men, and eat up the vitals of religion, or what seemed to be such, and even destroy the very form of godliness; and bring destruction and death, wherever they come; and when they get into Christian churches, threaten the ruin of them; and therefore are to be opposed in time, and those infected with them to be cut off.
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
these were some of the principal among the false teachers, the chief authors and spreaders of error and heresy: the former of these is mentioned before in ( 1 Timothy 1:20 ) along with Alexander, as guilty of blasphemy, and as delivered up to Satan for it. Philetus is a Greek name as well as the other, though it is sometimes found in Roman inscriptions F8: it is very likely that these were both in Asia, and probably in Ephesus, or near to it, since the apostle mentions them by name to Timothy, that he might beware of them.
F7 See Chambers's Cyclopedia in the word "Gangrene".
F8 Vid. Kirchman. de Funer. Roman. l. 3. c. 10. p. 390.