Self-love under a form of holiness: -- The text may be considered two ways -- relatively or absolutely.
1. Relatively. as it relates to the eighteen sins before mentioned; so this sin is the cloak to hide and cover them all; men will be lovers of themselves, but under a form of godliness. Hence observe -- that a man may have a form of godliness, and yet live in all manner of wickedness. It is tree, the power of godliness cannot consist with the power of ungodliness; but the more, the power of godliness is lifted up in the soul, and the more the power of ungodliness will be suppressed; as the house of David grows stronger and stronger, so the house of Saul grows weaker and weaker. But yet the form of godliness may stand with the power of ungodliness. A man may be a glorious professor in the highest form, and yet a puny in the form of grace. He may be a blazing comet for profession, and yet be a devil incarnate in life and conversation.
(T. Hall, B. D.) (from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright (c) 2002 AGES and Biblesoft, Inc.)