Phile'tus (Φίλητος, beloved), an apostate Christian, possibly a disciple of Hymenaeus, with whom he is associated in 2Ti 2:17, and who is named without him in an earlier epistle (1Ti 1:20). A.D. 58-64. Waterland (Importance ofthe Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, chapter 4, in his Works, 3:459) condenses in a few lines the substance of many dissertations which have been written concerning their opinions, and the sentence which was inflicted upon at least one of them. "They appear to have been persons who believed the Scriptures of the O.T., but misinterpreted them, allegorizing away the doctrine of the resurrection, and resolving it all into figure and metaphor. The delivering over unto Satan seems to have been a form of excommunication declaring the person reduced to the state of a heathen; and in the apostolical age it was accompanied with supernatural or miraculous effects upon the bodies of the persons so delivered." Walch is of opinion that they were of Jewish origin; Hammond counnects them with the Gnostics; Vitringa (with less probability) with the Sadducees. They understood the resurrection to signify the knowledge and profession of the Christian religion, or regeneration and conversion, according to Walch, whose dissertation, De Hymenaeo et Phileto, in his Miscellanuea Sacra, 1744, pages 81-121, seems to exhaust the subject. Among writers who preceded him may be named Vitringa, Observ. Sacr. 4:9, pages 922-930; Buddoeus, Ecclesia Apostolica, 5:297-305. See also, on the heresy, Burton, Bampton Lectures, and dean Ellicott's notes on the pastoral epistles; and Potter on Church Government, chapter 5, with reference to the sentence. The names of Philetus and Hymenaeus occur separately among those of Caesar's household whose relics have been found in the Columbaria at Rome. SEE HYMENAEUS.

Bible concordance for PHILETUS.

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