2 Timothy 2
Pulpit Commentary
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Verse 1. - Child for son, A.V.; strengthened for strong, A.V. Be strengthened (ἐνδυναμοῦ); more exactly (as Huther), become strong, or, which is the same thing, strengthen thyself; implying, perhaps, though gently expressed, some previous weakness, as m Hebrews 11:34, "From weakness were made strong;" where the image seems to be that of recovery from sickness. In Ephesians 6:10, however (ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν Κυρίῳ), there is no evidence of preceding weakness, but only a call to use the strength they had; and it may be so here too. The strength, Timothy is reminded, by which he was to fight the good fight, was not his own, but that which would come to him from the grace and love of Jesus Christ (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 4:13).
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Verse 2. - Which for that, A.V.; from for of, A.V. The things which thou hast heard, etc. Here we have distinctly enunciated the succession of apostolical doctrine through apostolical men. We have also set before us the partnership of the presbyterate, and, in a secondary degree, of the whole Church, with the apostles and bishops their successors, in preserving pure and unadulterated the faith once delivered to the saints. There can be little doubt that St. Paul is here alluding to Timothy's ordination, as in 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 1:6, 7, 13, 14. Timothy had then heard from the apostle's lips a certain "form of sound words" - something in the nature of a creed, some summary of gospel truth, which was the deposit placed in his charge; and in committing it to him, he and the presbyters present had laid their hands on him, and the whole Church had assented, and confirmed the same. "Thus through many witnesses," whose presence and assent, like that of witnesses to the execution of a deed of transfer of land (Genesis 23:10, 16, 18), was necessary to make the transaction valid and complete, had Timothy received his commission to preach the Word of God; and what he had received he was to hand on in like manner to faithful men, who should be able to teach the same to others also. Commit (παράθου); identifying the doctrine committed to be handed on with the deposit (παραθήκη) of 1 Timothy 6:20 and 2 Timothy 1:14. It is important to note here both the concurrence of the presbyters and the assent of the Church. The Church has ever been averse to private ordinations, and has ever associated the people as consentient parties in ordination (Thirty-first Canon; Preface to "Form and Manner of Making of Deacons," and rubric at close - "in the face of the Church;" "Form and Manner of Ordering of Priests" - "Good people," etc.).
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Verse 3. - Suffer hardship with me for thou therefore endure hardness, A.V. and T.R.; Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R. Suffer hardship with me (συγκακοπάθησον), which is the reading "supported by the weightiest authorities" (Huther), as in 2 Timothy 1:8. The simple form κακοπάθησον, which is the reading of the T.R., occurs also in ver. 9 of this chapter, in 2 Timothy 4:5, and in James 5:13, and κακοπαθεία in James 5:10. Both these simple forms are classical. But the context favours the compound form, and is supported by 2 Timothy 1:8, 12. (For the sentiment, see the "Ministration of Public Baptism" - "We receive this child," etc.)
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Verse 4. - Soldier on service for man that warreth, A.V.; in for with, A.V.; enrolled him as for hath chosen him to be, A.V. Soldier on service (στρατευόμενος); as 1 Corinthians 9:7 (see, too. 1 Timothy 1:18). In Luke 3:14 στρατευόμενοι is rendered simply "soldiers," with margin, "Greek, soldiers on service." There is no difference in meaning between the "man that warreth" in the A.V., and the "soldier on service" of the R.V. Affairs (πραγματείσις); only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek, where it means, as here, "business," "affairs," "occupation," "trade," and the like, with the accessory idea of its being an "absorbing, engrossing pursuit." Enrolled him, etc. (στρατολογήσαντι); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., but common in classical Greek for "to levy an army," "to enlist soldiers." The great lesson here taught is that the warfare of the Christian soldier requires the same concentration of purpose as that of the earthly warrior, if he would win the victory.
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
Verse 5. - Also a man for a man also, A.V.; contend in the games for strive for masteries, A.V.; he is not for yet is he not, A.V.; have contended for strive, A.V. Contend in the games (ἀθλῇ); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX., but common in classical Greek. It means "to contend for ἄθλον the prize, to be an "athlete." This is also the meaning of the A.V. "strive for masteries." "To strive," means properly to contend with an antagonist, and "mastery" is an old English word for "superiority," "victory," or the like. Dryden has "mastership" in the same sense -

"When noble youths for mastership should strive,
To quoit, to run, and steeds and chariots drive."

(Ovid., 'Met,' bk. 1.) Lawfully (νομίμως, as 1 Timothy 1:8); according to the laws and usages of the games. So Timothy must conform to the laws of the Christian warfare, and not shrink from afflictions, if he would gain the great Christian prize.
The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
Verse 6. - The first to partake for first partaker, A.V. That laboureth (τὸν κοπιῶντα). Let not Timothy think to shirk labour and yet enjoy its fruits. (For κοπιάω, see note on 1 Timothy 5:17.)
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Verse 7. - For the Lord shall give for and the Lord give, A.V. Consider what I say. The apostle's lessons had been given in parables or similitudes. He therefore begs Timothy to note them well, lest the application to himself should escape him, suggesting further that he should seek the necessary wisdom and understanding from God. So our Lord, at the end of the parables recorded in Matthew 13, says to his disciples in ver. 51, "Have ye understood all these things?" and elsewhere, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Understanding (σύνεσιν); one of the special gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2, LXX.; see Colossians 1:9; Colossians 2:2).
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
Verse 8. - Jesus Christ, risen from the dead for that Jesus Christ...was raised from the dead, A.V.; of the seed of David for Jesus Christ of the seed of David, A.V. Remember Jesus Christ. The A.V. seems to give the sense more correctly than the R.V. The point of the exhortation is to remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and by that remembrance to be encouraged to face even death courageously. The verb μνημονεύω, in the New Testament, usually governs the genitive case as e.g. Acts 20:35; Galatians 2:10. But in 1 Thessalonians 2:9; Matthew 16:9; Revelation 18:5, it has an accusative, as here, and commonly in classical Greek. There seems to be hardly sufficient ground for the distinction mentioned by Bishop Ellicott, that with a genitive it means simply "remember," with the accusative "keep in remembrance." It is more difficult to determine the exact force and intent of the clause, "of the seed of David." It seems, however, to point to Christ's human nature, so as to make the example of Christ's resurrection apposite as an encouragement to Timothy. And this view is much strengthened by Romans 1:3, where the addition, "according to the flesh," as contrasted with "the Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness," marks the clause, "of the seed of David," as specially pointing to the human nature of Christ. The particular form which the reference takes probably arises from the form to which the apostle refers us as "my gospel." In that creed, which was the epitome of the gospel as preached by St. Paul, there was no doubt mention made of Christ's Davidic descent. Others, as Huther, think the clause points to the Messianic dignity of David. Others that it is inserted in refutation of the Docetae, and to show the reality of the death and resurrection of Christ; or that it is meant to mark especially the fulfilment of prophecy. But the first explanation is quite satisfactory, and the general purpose of the reference to our Lord as intended to encourage Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, is fully borne out by the "faithful saying" in vers. 11 and 12, "If we died with him, we shall also live with him: if we endure, we shall also reign with him."
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
Verse 9. - Hardship for trouble, A.V.; unto for even unto, A.V.; as a malefactor for as an evil doer, A.V.; transposition of clause, unto bonds. Wherein (ἐν ῷ); i.e. in which gospel, in the preaching of which. Suffer hardship (κακοπαθῶ); as ver. 3, T.R. Unto bonds (μέχρι δεσμῶν). So μέχρι θανάτου, Philippians 2:8; μέχρις αἵματος, Hebrews 12:4; but most frequently of time, "until," as Matthew 11:23; Matthew 13:30; Acts 10:30, etc. A malefactor (κακοῦργος); as Luke 23:32, 33, 39; common in classical Greek. Bonds (δεσμῶν); as Acts 26:29; Philippians 1:7, 13, etc.; Colossians 4:18. So St. Paul calls himself δέσμιος, in respect of these bonds (Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon 1:9). The Word of God is not bound. A beautiful reflection of an utterly unselfish mind! The thought of his own bonds, likely soon to be exchanged for the bonds of a martyr's death, awakens the comforting thought, Though they bind me with an iron chain, they cannot bind the gospel. While I am here, shut up in prison, the Word of God, preached by a thousand tongues, is giving life and liberty to myriads of my brethren of the human race. The tyrant can silence my voice and confine it within the walls of my dungeon; but all the while the sound of the gospel is going through all the earth, its saving words to the ends of the world; and I therein rejoice, yea, and will rejoice; and not all the lemons of Rome can take this joy from me."
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Verse 10. - Sake for sakes, A.V.; also may for may also, A.V. Therefore (διὰ τοῦτο); for this cause. Some (Wiesinger, Alford, etc.) refer this to what follows, viz. "that the elect may obtain the salvation," etc., after the model of 1 Timothy 1:16 and Philemon 1:15, where διὰ τοῦτο clearly refers to the words which follow. But the interposition of the words, διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς, is strongly adverse to this view. It seems, therefore, rather to refer collectively to all the considerations which he had just been urging upon Timothy, perhaps especially the last, of the resurrection of Christ, which he now again enforces by his own example of willing suffering in order that the elect may obtain the eternal salvation which is in Jesus Christ - adding, in vers. 11 and 12, the encouragement to suffering derived from the "faithful saying." I endure (ὑπομένω); the exact force of which is seen in the substantive ὑπομονή, patience, so frequently attributed to the suffering saints of God.
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
Verse 11. - Faithful is the saying for it is a faithful saying, A.V.; died for be dead, A.V. Died; i.e. in baptism (Romans 6:8), as denoted by the aorist. But the death with Christ in baptism is conceived of as carrying with it, as a consequence, the daily death of which St. Paul speaks so often (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:10), as well as the death to sin.
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Verse 12. - Endure for suffer, A.V.; shall deny for deny, A.V. and T.R. Endure; as ver. 10. Mark the present tense as distinguished from the aorist in ἀπεθάνομεν, betokening patient continuance in suffering. If we shall deny him (ἀρνησόμεθα); comp. Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:9; Acts 3:13, 14, etc.
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Verse 13. - Are faithless for believe not. A.V.; he for yet he, A.V.; for he for he, A.V. and T.B. Are faithless (ἀπιστοῦμεν); meaning the same as the A.V. believe not, which is everywhere in the New Testament the sense of ἀπιστέω Mark 16:11; Luke 24:11; Romans 3:3, etc.). (For the contrast between man's unbelief and God's faithfulness, see Romans 3:3.) He cannot deny himself, by coming short of any promise once made by him (comp. Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 10:23, etc.). This and the two preceding couplets in vers. 11 and 12 make up "the faithful saying" spoken of in ver. 11 (see 1 Timothy 1:15, note).
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
Verse 14. - In the sight of for before, A.V.; to for but to, A.V.; them that hear for the hearers, A.V. Put them in remembrance (ὑπομίμνησκε; John 14:26; Titus 3:1; 2 Peter 1:12). St. Paul skilfully strengthens his preceding exhortations to Timothy by now charging him to impress upon others - referring, perhaps, especially to "the faithful men" spoken of in ver. 2, but generally to the whole flock committed to him - the truths which he had just been urging upon Timothy. Charging (διαμαρτύρομενος); as 1 Timothy 5:21 and 2 Timothy 4:1. Strive...about words (λογομαχεῖν); only here in the New Testament or elsewhere. But λογομαχία occurs in 1 Timothy 6:4 and in late Greek. Another reading is λογομάχει, as if addressed to Timothy himself, but λογομαχεῖν is supported by the best authorities, and agrees best with the context. To no profit; literally, useful for nothing; serving no good purpose. Ξρήσιμον, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, is found repeatedly in the LXX., and is very common in classical Greek, where it is followed by εἰς ἐπί, and πρός. The construction is "not to strive about words, a thing useful for nothing, but, on the contrary, tending to subvert those who hear such strife." To the subverting (ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ); elsewhere only in 2 Peter 2:6, where it is used of a material overthrow, as it is in the LXX. of Genesis 19:29, to which St. Peter is referring. The history of its use here of a moral overthrow, which is not borne out by its classical use, seems to be that the apostle had in his mind the very common metaphor of οἰκοδομή, edification, as the proper result of speaking and teaching, and so uses the contrary to "building up," viz. an "overthrowing" or "destruction," to describe the effect of the teaching of those vain talkers and deceivers (comp. ver. 18).
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Verse 15. - Give diligence to present for study to show, A.V.; handling aright for rightly dividing, A.V. Give diligence. The A.V. "study," if we give it its proper force, as in the Latin studeo, studium, studiosus, expresses the sense of σπούδασον exactly. Zeal, earnest desire, effort, and haste, are all implied in it (comp. 2 Timothy 4:9, 21; Titus 3:12; 2 Peter 1:10, 15; 2 Peter 3:14). To present thyself (παραστῆσαι, to present); as in Luke 2:22; Acts 1:3; Acts 9:41. In 1 Corinthians 8:8 it has the sense of "to commend," nearly the same as δόκιμον παραστῆσαι. The rendering, to show thyself, of the A.V. is a very good one, and is preserved in the R.V. of Acts 1:3. Approved (δόκιμον; Romans 16:10; 1 Corinthians 11:19, etc.); one that has been tried and tested and found to be sterling; properly of metals. This, with the two following qualifications, "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed," and "one that rightly handles the Word of truth," is the character which Timothy is exhorted to appear in before God. The dative τῷ Θεῷ is governed by παραστῆσαι, not by δόκιμον. A workman (ἐργάτην). How natural is such a figure in the mouth of Paul, who wrought at his trade with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:3), and was working night and day at Thessalonica, that he might earn his own living! That needeth not to be ashamed (ἀνεπαισχυντον); not found anywhere else, either in the New Testament or in the LXX., or in classical Greek. Bengel hits the right force of the word when he renders it "non pudefactum," only that by the common use of the passive participial form (compare ἀνεξιχνίαστος ἀνεξερεύνητος ἀναρίβμητος, etc.), it means further "that cannot be put to shame." The workman whose work is skimped is put to shame when, upon its being tested, it is found to be bad, dishonest work; the workman whose work, like himself, is δόκιμος, honest, conscientious, good work, and moreover sound and skilful work, never has been, and never can be, put to shame. St. Paul shows how to secure its being good work, viz. by its being done for the eye of God. Handling aright the Word of truth (ὀρθοτομοῦντα τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας). The verb ὀρθοτομεῖν occurs only here in the New Testament. In the LXX., in Proverbs 3:6, it stands for "he shall direct [or 'make straight'] thy paths;" and so in Proverbs 11:5. The idea is the same as that in Hebrews 12:13, "Make straight paths for your feet (τροχιὰς ὀρθὰς ποιήσατε)." But this does not at all suit the context. We must look, therefore, at the etymology of the word. Ὀρθοτόμεω must mean "to cut straight," and, as the apostle is speaking of a good workman, he must be thinking of some work in which the workman's skill consists in cutting straight: why not his own trade, in which it was all-important to cut the pieces straight that were afterwards to be joined to each other (see ὀρθότομος and ὀρθοτομία)? Hence, by an easy metaphor, "divide rightly," or "handle rightly, the Word of truth," preserving the true measure of the different portions of Divine truth.
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
Verse 16. - Profane for profane and vain, A.V.; proceed further in ungodliness for increase unto more ungodliness, A.V. Shun (περιι'´στασο, as in Titus 3:9); literally, step out of the way of, or stand away from - an unusual use of the word, found also in Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 4. 6:12. Profane babblings (see 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:20). They will proceed (προκόψουσιν); see note on προκοπή in 1 Timothy 4:15. Further in ungodliness (ἐπὶ πεῖον ἀσεβείας); surely better rendered in the A.V. to more ungodliness. It may be questioned whether "they" refers to the babblings or to the false teachers. It makes very good sense to say, "Avoid these profane babblings, for they won't stop there - they will grow into open impiety and blasphemy." But ver. 17, as Alford observes, is in favour of the "teachers" being the subject of "will proceed;" but it is not conclusive. If a full stop be put after "ungodliness," as in the A.V., ver. 17 comes in quite naturally with the further statement that "their word will eat as doth a gangrene."
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Verse 17. - Gangrene for canker, A.V. Their word; as opposed to "the Word of truth" in ver. 15. Will eat (νομὴν ἕξει); i.e. spread, like a gangrene, which gradually enlarges its area, corrupting the flesh that was sound before. So these heretical opinions spread in the body of the Church which is affected by them. Νομή is literally "pasture" (John 10:9), "grazing of flocks," and hence is applied to fire (Polybius), which as it were feeds upon all around it, and, in medical language (Hippocrates), to sores and gangrenes, which grow larger and depasture the flesh. Of whom; of the number of those pointed at in the phrase, "their word." Hymenaeus; probably the same person as is mentioned as a blasphemer in 1 Timothy 1:20. Philetus. Nothing is known of him.
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Verse 18. - Men who for who, A.V. Have erred (ἠστόχησαν); see 1 Timothy 1:6 (note) and 1 Tim 6:21. In Matthew 22:29 and in Mark 12:24 our Lord's word for "erring" is πλανᾶσθε. It is remarkable that it was the subject of the resurrection which was so misunderstood in both cases. The heretics to whom St. Paul here alludes probably explained away the resurrection, as the Gnostics in the time of Irenaeus and Tertullian did (Huther), by spiritualizing it in the sense of Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:12; Colossians 3:1, etc. It is the usual way with heresy to corrupt and destroy the gospel, under pretence of improving it. And there are always some weak brethren ready to be deceived and misled. Overthrow (ἀνατρέπουσί); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Titus 1:11; but common in LXX. and in classical Greek.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Verse 19. - Howbeit for nevertheless, A.V.; firm foundation of God standeth for foundation of God standeth sure, A.V.; this for the (1611 copy), A.V.; the Lord for Christ, A.V. and T.R.; unrighteousness for iniquity, A.V. The firm foundation of God standeth; i.e., though the faith of some is thrown down like a wall built with untempered mortar, the foundation which God has laid fast and firm stands unmoved and unmovable. This is equally true of individual souls (the at στερεαὶ ψυχαί of Chrysostom), and of the Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. Compare our Lord's saying, when the Pharisees were offended at him, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13); and those in John 10:28, 29; and 1 John 2:19. Θεμέλιος in classical Greek is always an adjective agreeing with λίθος expressed or understood. In the New Testament it is used only as a substantive (Luke 6:48; 1 Corinthians 3:10; 1 Timothy 6:19, etc.). Here the word seems to be employed, not so much to denote a foundation on which a house was to be built, as to denote strength and solidity. The elect of God are like foundationstones, which may not be moved. Having this seal. In Revelation 12:14 the twelve foundationstones of the new Jerusalem were each inscribed with the name of an apostle. In like manner there are inscriptions, of the nature of seals, on God's strong foundations, showing their immutable condition. One is, "THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS," taken verbatim from the LXX. of Numbers 16:5: the other is, "LET EVERY ONE THAT NAMETH THE NAME OF THE LORD DEPART FROM UNRIGHTEOUSNESS," This is nowhere to be found in the Old Testament. The first part of the verse is indeed equivalent to Κύριε τὸ ὀνομά σου ὀνομάζομεν in Isaiah 26:13, but there is nothing to answer to the second part. The passages quoted by commentators from Numbers 16:26 and Isaiah 52:11 are far too general to indicate any particular reference. Possibly the motto is one of those "faithful sayings" before referred to. The two inscriptions, taken together, show the two sides of the Christian standing - God's election, and man's holiness (comp. 1 John 1:6; 1 John 3:7, 8).
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
Verse 20. - Now for but, A.V.; unto for to, A.V. (twice). Now in a great house, etc. "Now" is hardly the right conjunction. It should rather be "howbeit." The object of the figure of the various vessels in the "great house" is to show that, though every one that names the Name of the Lord ought to depart from unrighteousness, yet we must not be surprised if it is not so, and if there are found in the Church some professing Christians whose practice is quite inconsistent with their profession. Perhaps even the vilest members of the visible Church perform some useful function, howbeit they do not mean it. With this mention of the vessels, compare the enumeration in 1 Corinthians 3:12. Of earth (ὀστράκινα); only here and 2 Corinthians 4:7, where it is also applied to σκεύη, "earthen vessels;" as it is in the LXX., e.g. Leviticus 6:28; and to ἄγγος (Numbers 5:17). Ὄστρακον "a tile." (For the same figure, see Romans 9:22, 23.)
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
Verse 21. - Meet for and meet, A.V. and T.R.; prepared for and prepared, A.V. Purge himself from these (ἐκκαθάρῃ); stronger than the simple καθάρῃ, "thoroughly purge himself," as in 1 Corinthians 5:7 (the only other place in the New Testament where it occurs) and as in classical Greek. It is used also by the LXX. in Judges 7:4, as the rendering of צָרַפ, to try metals. The idea, therefore, seems to be that of separation, and, if so, "from these" may certainly mean from the false teachers described under the image of the vessels unto dishonour, as usually explained. At the same time, the image is better sustained if we understand "from these" to mean the babblings, and ungodliness, and eating words of the heretics denounced. It is hardly natural to imply that one vessel in the house will become a golden vessel by purging itself from the wooden and earthen vessels. Neither is separation from the false teachers the point which St. Paul is here pressing, but avoidance of false doctrines. Meet for...use (εὔχρηστος); only here and ch. 4:11 and Philemon 1:11. Also Proverbs 29:(31) 13, LXX. Common in classical Greek. The master (τῷ δεσπότῃ); the master of the house, the οἰκοδεσπότης.
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Verse 22. - But flee for flee also, A.V.; and follow after for but follow, A.V.; love for charity, A.V. Youthful (νεωτερικάς); of or belonging to νεώτεροι, young men; "cupiditates adolescentiae" (Tacit., 'Hist.,' 1:15). The word only occurs here in the New Testament, never in the LXX., but is found in Josephus, who speaks of αὐθαδεία νεωτερική, "youthful arrogance," and is common in classical Greek. Lusts (ἐπιθυμίαι) include, besides the σαρκικαὶ ἐπιθυμίαι of 1 Peter 2:11, all those ill-regulated passions to which youth is peculiarly liable, such as intem perance, love of company, arrogance, petulance, ambition, love of display, levity, vehemence of action, wilfulness, and the like. Timothy at this time was probably under forty (see note on q Timothy 4:12, and Ellicott on ditto). Follow after (δίωκε); as 1 Timothy 6:11, where, as here, it is in contrast with φεῦγε. Eagerness in pursuit, and difficulty in attainment, seem to be indicated by the word. With them, etc. (μετὰ τῶν ἐπικαλουμένων κ.τ.λ..). "With them" may mean either pursue righteousness, etc., in partnership with all who call upon the Lord; i.e. make the pursuit of righteousness, etc., your pursuit, as it is that of all who call upon the Lord; or it may be construed with εἰρήνην, so as to limit the exhortation to peace to those who call upon the Lord, εἰρήνην μετὰ τῶν ἐπικαλουμένων "peace with those that call," etc., which is the construction in Hebrews 12:14 and Romans 12:18. It is, however, remarkable that in both these passages, which are referred to for the grammar, the inference from the doctrine goes rather the other way, as they teach "peace with all men." So does the balance of the sentence here.
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
Verse 23. - Ignorant questionings for unlearned questions, A.V.; refuse for avoid, A.V.; gender for do gender, A.V. Ignorant (ἀπαιδεύτους); only here in the New Testament, but not uncommon in the LXX., applied to persons, and in classical Greek. Unlearned is quite as good a rendering as ignorant. It is a term applied properly to ill-educated, ill-disciplined people, and thence, by an easy metonymy, to the questions such persons delight in. Questionings (ζητήσεις); see 1 Timothy 1:4, note, and Titus 3:9. Refuse (παραίτου); "have nothing to do with" (see 1 Timothy 4:7; Titus 3:10). Gender (γεννῶσι). This is the only place in the New Testament where γεννάω is used in this metaphorical sense, unless Galatians 4:24 is included. (For the sentiment, see 1 Timothy 6:4, "Whereof cometh envy, strife," etc.) Strifes (μάχας); compare μάχας νομικάς, "fightings about the Law" (Titus 3:9); and "wars and fightings" (James 4:1, 2). Compare, too, the verb λογομαχεῖν, in ver. 14. Nothing can be more emphatic than St. Paul's warnings against foolish and angry controversies about words, and yet nothing has been more neglected in the Church, in all ages.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
Verse 24. - The Lord's servant for the servant of the Lord, A.V.; towards all for unto all men, A.V.; forbearing for patient, A.V. The Lord's servant (δοῦλον Κυρίου). So St. Paul repeatedly describes himself (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1), as do also the apostles James, Peter, Jude, and John (James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1). The term seems, therefore, especially (though not exclusively, Ephesians 6:6; 1 Peter 2:16; Revelation 19:2, 5; Revelation 22:3) to describe those whose office it is to preach the gospel, either as apostles or as ministers (Colossians 4:12). Must not strive (μάχεσθαι); a conclusive reason against engaging in those foolish and ignorant questionings which necessarily engender strife. Gentle (ἤπιον); only here and in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, where we see how St. Paul carried this precept into practice. A nurse does not meet the child's waywardness by blows or threats, but by gentleness and love. It is a classical word. Apt to teach (see 1 Timothy 3:2, note). Forbearing (ἀνεξίκακον); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., and only in late Greek. It means literally "bearing up against ill treatment," patiently enduring it.
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
Verse 25. - Correcting them for instructing those, A.V.; peradventure God for God peradventure, A.V.; may for will, A.V.; unto the knowledge for to the acknowledging, A.V. Correcting (παιδεύοντα), παιδεύειν means properly to "educate," "bring up," or "train" a child. Hence sometimes the idea of teaching predominates, sometimes that of correcting or chastising. Here the context shows that the idea of teaching is pre-dominant - partly because the word suggests something contrary to the ἀπαίδευτοι ζητήσεις of ver. 23, and partly because the end of this παιδεία is to bring them to the knowledge of God's truth. The A.V. "instructing" is therefore the right word here. Them that oppose themselves (τοὺς ἀντιδιατιθέμενους); only here in the New Testament or the LXX., or in classical Greek. Literally, those who arrange or set themselves in opposition; or, in one word, "opponents," referring, no doubt, chiefly to such ἀντιλέγοντες as are mentioned in the very similar passage, Titus 1:9 (see too Titus 2:8). If peradventure (μήποτε). "Μήποτε, in later Greek, loses its aversative meaning ('lest at any time'), and is almost equivalent to εἴποτε (Alford, in loc.) - equivalent to "in case God should," etc. Repentance (μετανοία); such a change of mind as shall lead them to embrace the truth. Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις); almost invariably used of the knowledge of God or of God's truth (ch. 3:7; Romans 1:28; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:9, 10; Colossians 3:10; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 10:26, etc.). The truth; that truth which before they set themselves to oppose, disputing against it and resisting it. The servant of the Lord must never despair of any one, never throw an additional obstacle in any one's way by roughness or harsh speech, and never allow unkind feelings to be roused in his own breast by the perverseness or unreasonableness of them that oppose themselves to him.
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Verse 26. - They for that they, A.V.; having been taken captive by the Lord's servant unto the will of God for who are taken captive by him at his will, A.V. Having been taken captive, etc. This is undoubtedly a difficult passage. We will first take the individual words, and then turn to the general meaning. Recover themselves (ἀνανήψωσιν); only found here in the New Testament, and never in the LXX. In classical Greek, where it is, however, uncommon, it means literally "to recover from drunkenness," hence, "to come to one's self," "to come to a right mind" (see Steph., 'Thes.'). Snare (παγίς); as 1 Timothy 3:7; 1 Timothy 6:9. Compare the use of παγιδεύω (Matthew 22:15). Having been taken captive (ἐζωγρήμενοι); only found in the New Testament in Luke 5:10 besides this place, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek, in the sense of "to take alive," of prisoners of war, who, if not ransomed, always became slaves of the conqueror. Here, therefore, the meaning is "having been captured and enslaved." By him (margin), (ὑπ αὐτοῦ); i.e. of course the devil, who had just been named as having ensnared them. Unto the will of him (margin), (ἐκείνου θέλημα). The difficulty of the passage lies in the word ἐκείνου, which at first sight seems to indicate a different antecedent from the antecedent of αὐτοῦ. This grammatical difficulty has led to the strange rendering of the R.V., and to the wholly unjustifiable intrusion into the text of the words, "the Lord's servant" and of "God," producing altogether a sentence of unparalleled awkwardness and grotesqueness, and utter improbability. But there is no real difficulty in referring ἐκείνου to the same person as αὐτοῦ (meaning in both cases the devil), as in the passage from Plato's 'Cratylus,' cited by Huther, after De Wette, the cause of the use of ἐκείνου being that St. Paul was at the moment emphasizing the fact of these captives being deprived of their own will, and made subservient to the will of another. The passage may be paraphrased: "If peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, so as to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, after they had been led captive by him, so as to be no longer their own masters, but obliged to do his will." The implied contrast is οὐ τὸ ἑαυτῶν ἀλλ ἐκείνου θέλημα, just as in the passage from the 'Cratylus,' p. 430 (vol. 4. p. 306, Bekker's edit.), ἐκείνου is contrasted with γυναικός. The full passage is Δεῖξαι αὐτῷ α}ν μὲν τύχῃ ἐκείνου εἰκόνα α}ν δὲ τύχῃ γυναικός. Another example of the transition from αὐτός to ἐκεῖνος is in John 1:7, 8, Οῦτος η΅λθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτὸς ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι δι αὐτοῦ οὐκ η΅ν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, κ.τ.λ., where there is a contrast between John as the witness and Christ as the true Light (compare, too, John 4:25, where ἐκείνος has the force of "not you, but he"). For the general turn of phrase, comp. 2 Corinthians 10:5, "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," where αἰχμαλωτίζοντες (see 2 Timothy 3:6) corresponds to ἐζωγρημένοι and εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Ξριστοῦ to εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα. It should be noted further that the sentence is certainly rather a peculiar one, from the use of such uncommon words as ἀνανήφω and ζωγρέω, and the mixture of metaphors. But the sense of the A.V. is fully borne out. The interpretation preferred by Bishop Ellicott is "they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil unto his will (viz. God's), having (previously) been led captive by him (viz. the devil)."

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