II Timothy 2

 

 

1 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 

Be strong.   (ejndunamou~ - endunamoube strong, being enabled; be you

invigorated); more exactly,  become strong, or, which is the same thing, strengthen

 thyself; implying, perhaps, though gently expressed, some previous weakness, as in

Hebrews 11:34, “From weakness were made strong;” where the image seems to

be that of recovery from sickness. In Ephesians 6:10, however (ejndunamou~sqe

ejn Kuri>w| endunamousthe en Kurio – be strong in the Lord), 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 (compare I Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 4:13).

 

2 “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.”

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 (Jude 1:3).

There can be little doubt that Paul is here alluding to Timothy’s ordination, as in

I Timothy 4:14; 6:12; ch. 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 (para>qou - parathou); identifying the doctrine committed to be

handed on with the deposit (paraqh>kh - parathaekae) of I Timothy 6:20 and

ch.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.).

 

3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

 (sugkakopa>qhson - sugkakopathaeson suffer hardship with me),

which is the reading supported by the weightiest authorities,  as in ch.1:8.

The simple form kakopa>qhson kakopathaeson I suffer trouble;

I am suffering evil -, which is the reading of the  Textus Receptus, occurs
also in v. 9 of this chapter, in ch.4:5, and in James 5:13,  and
kakopaqei>a

 kakopatheia – suffering evil; suffering affliction  in James 5:10. Both these

simple forms are classical. But the context favors the compound form, and is

supported by ch. 1:8,12.

 

4 “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.”

Man that warreth.   (strateuo>menov strateuomenos - Soldier on service;

one warring); as I Corinthians 9:7 (see, too, I Timothy 1:18). In Luke 3:14

strateuo>menoi strateuomenoi - is rendered simply “soldiers,” with

margin, “Greek, soldiers on service.” There is no difference in meaning

between the “man that warreth in the Authorized Version., and the

soldier on service” of the Revised Version.  Affairs (pragmatei>siv

pragmateisis – affairs; practices; business ); only here in the New Testament,

but common in the Septuagint 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” etc.

(stratologh>santi stratologaesanti – chosen him;  enrolled him;

one enlisting him); only here in the New Testament, not found in the

Septuagint, 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!

 

5 “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except

he strive lawfully.”   Strive for masteries.  (ajqlh~| - athlaecontend in the

 games); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the Septuagint, but

common in classical Greek. It means “to contend for a]qlonathlon -  the prize,

 to be an athlete.  This is also the meaning of the Authorized Version “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.  (nomi>mwv nomimos) as I 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.

 

6 “The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits.”

That laboureth.  (to<n kopiw~nta - ton kopionta – the toiling). Let not Timothy

think to shirk labor and yet enjoy its fruits. (For kopia>w kopiaothe word

has two meanings:

 

a. growing weary

b. toiling; to bestow labor).

 

7 “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all

things.” 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

v. 51, “Have ye understood all these things?” and elsewhere, “He that

hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Understanding (su>nesin - sunesin); one of

 the special gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2 - Septuagint; see Colossians 1:9; 2:2).

 

8 “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from

the dead according to my gospel:”  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

mnhmoneu>w - mnaeoneuobe you remembering -  in the New Testament,

usually governs the genitive case as e.g. Acts 20:35; Galatians 2:10. But in

I Thessalonians 2:9; Matthew 16:9; Revelation 18:5, it has an accusative, as here,

and commonly in classical Greek.  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 Paul, there was no doubt

mention made of Christ’s Davidic descent. Others 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 fulfillment

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 vs. 11 and 12, “If we died with Him, we shall also live

with Him: if we endure, we shall also reign with Him.”

 

 

 

 

      Christ the Perpetual Object of Christian Remembrance (v. 8)

 

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David,

according to my gospel.” The two great facts that were to be ever present to

Timothy’s mind were:

 

o       the Incarnation and

o       the Resurrection

 

 The two miracles that stood, respectively, at the beginning and the end of His earthly

history:

 

Ø      The one would speak of the hopes of the race of man

springing from the  Saviour’s assumption of our nature in

the royal line of David;

Ø      the other of the completeness of the redemption sealed

by the resurrection from the dead.

 

Timothy would be encouraged to bear his trials by the thought of Christ’s victory

over death.

 

9 “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the

word of God is not bound.”  Wherein (ejn w=| - en  ho – in which); i.e. in which

gospel, in the preaching of which.   Suffer trouble.  (kakopaqw~ kakopatho

suffer hardship; I am suffering evil); as v. 3, Textus Receptus - Unto bonds

(me>cri desmw~n mechrei desmon). So me>cri qana>tou mechri thanatou

unto death - Philippians 2:8; me>criv ai[matov mechris haimatosunto

blood - Hebrews 12:4; but most frequently of time, “until,” as Matthew 11:23; 13:30;

Acts 10:30, etc. A malefactor (kakou~rgov kakourgos ); as Luke 23:32-33, 39;

common in classical Greek. Bonds (desmw~n desmon); as Acts 26:29;

Philippians 1:7, 13, etc.; Colossians 4:18. So Paul calls himself de>smiov desmios

prisoner - in respect of these bonds (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1; ch.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 legions of Rome can

take this joy from me.”

 

10 “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.”

Therefore (dia< tou~to - dia touto – therefore; because of; for this cause.

Some refer this to what follows, viz. “that the elect may obtain the salvation,” etc.,

after the model of I Timothy 1:16 and Philemon 1:15, where dia< tou~to

clearly refers to the words which follow. But the interposition of the

words, dia< tou<v ejklektou>v dia tous eklektousfor the elect’s sake;

because of the chosen ones -  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 vs. 11 and 12, the encouragement

to suffering derived from the “faithful saying.” I endure (uJpome>nw hupomeno);

the exact force of which is seen in the substantive uJpomonh> - hupomonae

 patienceso frequently attributed to the suffering saints of God.

 

11 “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live

with Him:”  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 Paul speaks so often (Galatians 2:20; I Corinthians 15:31;

II Corinthians 4:10), as well as the death to sin.

 

12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also

will deny us:” Suffer.  Endure; as v. 10. Mark the present tense as distinguished

from the aorist in ajpeqa>nomen apethanomen -  betokening patient continuance

in suffering. (ajrnhso>meqa apnaesometha -  if we shall deny him); compare

Matthew 10:33; Luke 12:9; Acts 3:13-14.  The denial of Christ is fatal.

 It is to reject THE ONLY SAVIOUR!   Some deny His Messiahship; some

deny His Divinity; some deny Him by their works, being ashamed of Him and

refusing to confess Him; some deny him by open apostasy. In all these cases the

denial involves our Lord’s denial of them (Matthew 7:23; 10:33).

 

13 “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.”

If we believe not.   (ajpistou~men apistoumen – if we are unbelieving;

are faithless); meaning the same as the Authorized Version,  believe not, which

is everywhere in the New Testament the sense of ajpiste>w apisteo – believe

not - Mark 16:11; Luke 24:11; Romans 3:3). (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 (compare Titus 1:2;

Hebrews 6:18; 10:23). This and the two preceding couplets in vs. 11 and 12

make up “the faithful saying” spoken of in v. 11 (see I Timothy 1:15, note).

Our unbelief does not affect the essential faithfulness of Christ. “If we

believe not, yet he abideth faithful.”

 

  • This does not mean that He will save us whether we believe in Him or

not; for He has just said that if we deny Him He will also deny us, and

faith is always an essential condition of salvation.

 

  • It means that He will abide faithful to His word of threatening, as well

as to HIS NATURE AND PERFECTIONS,  for He cannot falsify His

declarations that he that believeth not shall be condemned (Mark 16:16).

He will say to apostates in the last day, “I never knew you.”  (Matthew 7:23).

It would be to deny Himself to act otherwise. He cannot consistently with His

character regard faith and unbelief as the same thing. Thus the apostle stimulates

Timothy to fidelity by an exhibition at once of the bright and the dark sides

of Divine truth.

 

14 “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.”  Put them in remembrance (uJpomi>mnhske hupomimnaeske

be you reminding them) John 14:26; Titus 3:1; II Peter 1:12). Paul skillfully

strengthens his preceding exhortations to Timothy by now charging him to

impress upon others — referring, perhaps, especially to “the faithful men”

spoken of in v. 2, but generally to the whole flock committed to him —

the truths which he had just been urging upon Timothy. Charging

(diamartu>romenov diamarturomenos); as I Timothy 5:21 and ch.4:1.

Strive...about words (logomacei~n  logomachein); only here in the New

Testament or elsewhere. But logomaci>a logomachia strifes; controversies;

occurs in I Timothy 6:4 and in late Greek. Another reading is logoma>cei

logomachei as if addressed to Timothy himself, but logomacei~n is supported

by the best authorities, and agrees best with the context. To no profit; literally,

useful for nothing; serving no good purpose. Crh>simon Chraesimon

useful -  which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, is found repeatedly

in the Septuagitn,  and is very common in classical Greek, where it is followed by

eijv eisin …to - ejpi> -  epi – of and pro>v – pros – compare. 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 (ejpi< katastrofh~|

 epi katastrophae – on upsetting ); elsewhere only in II Peter 2:6, where it is used

of a material overthrow, as it is in the Septuagint of Genesis 19:29, to which

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 oijkodomh> - oikodomae -  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 (compare v. 18).

 

Christian people need to be reminded of the truth in all its aspects.

We are apt to forget the consolatory aspect of truth UNDER THE

PRESSURE OF PRESENT TRIAL, AS WORLDLY MEN ARE

APT TO FORGET ITS THREATENING ASPECT UNDER THE

ABSORBING WORLDLINESS OF THEIR LIVES.  The Lord has made

provision, to put us in remembrance, through the ministry and through the

Word of God, to which we do well to take heed as to a light shining in a dark

place.  (II Peter 1:19)

 

 

Endurance the Lot of Christ’s Ministers (vs. 1-14)

 

Continual endurance of evil, whether directed specially against himself, or

generally thwarting the cause which he has most at heart, is the ordinary lot

of the minister of Jesus Christ exercising his ministry in an evil world. And

in order to be ready to encounter this evil, actively or passively, as the case may

require, A COMPLETE CONSECRATION OF PURPOSE  on the fulfillment

of his ministry is absolutely required. If the heart is divided between the ministry

of God’s Word and the enjoyment of an easy life, there will be a constant

temptation to avoid those various forms of “hardship” which properly

belong to the campaign of the soldiers of Christ. Troubles will be shirked

rather than endured; and ministerial duties will be made to stand on one

side when they interfere with the inclinations of the moment. Labor will

be evaded when the soul calls for ease. The determined struggle, and the

sturdy stand against evil, whether in his own heart or in the world around

him, will be postponed to a more convenient season, while weak

compromises and sinful compliances take their place in the immediate

present.  (Could that be the explanation of why the world seems to be having

more influence on the Church than the Church having on the world? – CY –

2013).  At the same time, contradiction and opposition, crooks and

crosses of various kinds, untoward events, troubles, disappointments, and

difficulties of all sorts, will be met, not in the spirit of Christian fortitude,

not in the spirit of Christian meekness and patience, but with petulant

complaints, or with roughness and ill temper, as running against the current

of the love of ease in the soul. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the servant

of God to be wholly given up to the ministry which he has received. He

must resolutely shake off the entanglements of the affairs of this life, that

he may please Him who called him to be a soldier. He must feel, “My work

in life, my mission, the dispensation committed to me, is to advance the

kingdom of Christ in the world. I am set by my Lord and Master for the

defense of the gospel — to preach it, to vindicate it, to uphold it against all

gainsayers, to adorn it with my own life, to use my utmost endeavor for

its maintenance, its propagation, its triumphs. I must no more shrink from

obloquy, from labor, from suffering, from troubles, or, if need be, from

bonds and death, in the fulfillment of this work and ministry, than the

soldier shrinks from fatigue and exposure, from hunger and hardship, from

wounds and from death, in bravely discharging the duties of his warfare.”

For his encouragement in carrying out this resolve, he has the example of

his LORD WHO SUFFERED UNTO DEATH AND WAS RAISED

AGAIN FROM THE DEAD. He has the example of the apostles who

endured troubles and bonds and imprisonment, and yet saw the gospel which

they preached triumphing over all opposition. He has the promises of God

assuring life, and a kingdom, to those who suffer and die with Christ.

And so, accepting endurance as the portion of Christ’s servants, he pursues

his ministry diligently, joyfully, and steadfastly, throws his whole strength into it,

and looks forward with an unwavering hope to obtain the salvation which

is in Christ Jesus with ETERNAL GLORY!

 

15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth

not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  Study.

Give diligence. The Authorized Version “study,” if we

give it its proper force, as in the Latin studeo, studium, studiosus,

expresses the sense of spou>dason spoudason -  endeavor you; be you

diligent - exactly. Zeal, earnest desire, effort, and haste, are all implied in it

(compare ch. 4:9, 21; Titus 3:12; II Peter 1:10, 15; 3:14). To present thyself

(parasth~sai parastaesai -  to present); as in Luke 2:22; Acts 1:3; 9:41.

In I Corinthians 8:8 it has the sense of “to commend,” nearly the same as

do>kimon parasth~sai dokimon parastaesai – tested; approved; qualified

to present.   The rendering, to show thyself, of the Authorized Version is a very

good one, and is preserved in the Revised Version of Acts 1:3. Approved.

 (do>kimon dokimon) - Romans 16:10; I Corinthians 11:19); 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 tw~| Qew~|

to Theo – unto God -  is governed by parasth~sai (present),  not by

do>kimon  (approved).   A workman (ejrga>thn ergataen). 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 (ajnepaiscunton

anepaischunton - unashamed); not found anywhere else, either in the New

Testament or in the Septuagint, 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 ajnexicni>astov anexichniastos

to trace out; track; unsearchable -  ajnexereu>nhtovanexereunaetos

to search; examine; unsearchable -  ajnariq>mhtovanarithmaetos

innumerable ), 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 do>kimov

(approved), honest, conscientious, good work, and moreover sound and skilful

work, never has been, and never can be, put to shame. Paul shows how to

secure its being good work, viz. by its being done for the eye of God.

Rightly dividing the Word of truth. (ojrqotomou~nta to<n lo>gon th~v

ajlhqei>av opthotomounta ton logon taes alaetheias  - handling aright

the Word of truth). The verb ojrqotomei~n orthotomeinto cut

straight as in road making - occurs only here in the New Testament.

In the Septuagint, 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 (trocia<v

ojrqa<v poih>sate trochias orthas poiaesate).” But this does not at all

suit the context. We must look, therefore, at the etymology of the word.

 jOrqoto>mew orthotomeo 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 when making tents (see ojrqo>tomov and ojrqotomi>a

orthotomos and  orthotomia - both forms of rightly divide)? 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!

 

 

         The Qualifications of the Gospel Preacher (v. 15)

 

  • HE MUST BE LABORIOUS. The term “workman” implies this fact as

well as the direct admonition to “give diligence” to his ministry. The ministry

is a good work, demanding industry, study, and care, and no man is sufficient

for it without THE GRACE OF GOD!   It is a comfort as well as an honor

to think that ministers are workers with God (I Corinthians 3:9).

 

  • THEY MUST SEEK GOD’S APPROVAL IN THEIR WORK. They

must not study to please men, else they will not be the servants of Christ;

but they must approve themselves to God, showing all good fidelity, and

commend themselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

(Acts 24:16)

 

  • THEY MUST WORK WITH A SINCERITY AND EFFICIENCY

THAT WILL NOT BRING SHAME UPON THEMSELVES. The

negligent, or unskilled, or ignorant workman will produce work which may

well put him to shame. But the true workman loves to produce good and

abiding work, such as will stand the fiery test of the last day (1 Corinthians

3:13). He may often feel his insufficiency; but he will never be ashamed of

the gospel, nor of his sufferings, nor of his faithful ministrations of the Word.

 

  • HE MUST HAVE SKILL IN THE USE OF THE WORD OF GOD.

“Handling aright (rightly dividing) the Word of truth.”

 

Ø      His one book, his one weapon, his one interest, is the

DIVINE WORD!   His mind, his heart, his will, must be

concentrated upon THIS DIVINE WORD!   It must

form the matter of his preaching, the mold of his thoughts,

the inspiration of his imagination.

 

Ø      He must be able to handle it aright, with due regard for the

authority of God, to its own intrinsic claims, and to the welfare

 of the souls of men. He must be able to:

 

o       “divide it aright,” distributing to babes in Christ and to full

grown men according to their capacities and their circumstances;

o       he must not pervert it or wrest it from its true sense;

o       he must not keep back anything that is profitable, but declare

THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD!   (Acts 20:20,27)

o       He must not wander to the right or left, but keep

A STRAIGHT COURSE FORWARD IN THE PATH

OF TRUTH!

 

16 “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto

more ungodliness.” Shun - (perii`>staso periistaso – shun; be you

standing aloof from -  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 I Timothy 4:7; 6:20).  They will

increase.   (proko>yousin prokopsousin - they shall be progressing); see

note on prokoph> prokopae – progress; profiting -  in I Timothy 4:15.

Unto more ungodliness.  (ejpi< pei~on ajsebei>av epi peion asebeias

further in ungodliness; more irreverence); surely better rendered in the

Authorized Version  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 v. 17 is in favor 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 Authorized Version, v. 17 comes in quite naturally with the

further statement, in the next verse, that “their word will eat as doth a gangrene.”

 

  • There is a close connection between lax doctrine and a loose life. The

error of the false teachers had not yet appeared in its fully developed form,

but its true moral tendency was clearly foreseen from the first.

 

  • There is a tendency in false teachers to carry their principles to their

last logical results. They have thrown off the checks of authority and

conscience; they have been emboldened, perhaps, by a temporary success;

and so they insist on wresting the whole Scripture to their own destruction

as well as that of others.  (II Peter 3:16)

 

17 “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus

and Philetus;”  Their word; as opposed to “the Word of truth” in v. 15.

Will eat (nomh<n e[xei - nomaen hexei – pasture shall be having); 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. Nomh>  - nomae - 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 I Timothy

1:20. Philetus. Nothing is known of him.

 

  • The effects of such false teaching. 

 

Ø      It will spread further and further.

 

o       Through the subtlety of seducers;

o       through the unwary simplicity of Christian professors; and

o       as a judicial infliction upon such as, possessing no love of

the truth, receive delusion to believe a lie.  (II Thessalonians

2:7-12)

 

Ø      It will have corrupting and destroying effects. The strong figure

of the apostle sets the matter in an impressive light.

 

Ø      and overthrow the faith of some.”  (v. 18)

 

18 “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is

past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” Have erred (hjsto>chsan

 aestochaesan – deviate; swerve); see I Timothy 1:6 (note) and 6:21. In

Matthew 22:29 and in Mark 12:24 our Lord’s word for “erring” is plana~sqe

planasthe. It is remarkable that it was the subject of the resurrection which was

so misunderstood in both cases. The heretics to whom Paul here alludes probably

explained away the resurrection, as the Gnostics in the time of Irenaeus and

Tertullian did, by spiritualizing it in the sense of Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:1;

Colossians 2:12; 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.

 

(The Greek word for heresy is ai[resiv - hah’ee-res-is; - a choosing,

choice then that which is chosen, and hence an opinion, especially

a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power

of truth and leads to division, the formation of sects and finally,

APOSTASY FROM GOD!  (Think of the origins, influences and

roles of  PRO-CHOICE and the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES

UNION in the United States of America’s CULTURAL DEMISE  (IT                                   

ALL BEGAN WITH A CHOICE – a la – HERESY – CY -2009)     

Such a man is a living lie against the truth. 

Overthrow (ajnatre>pousi> - anatrepousi – are subverting); elsewhere in

the New Testament only in  Titus 1:11; but common in Septuagitnt and in

classical Greek.

 

19 “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.”  The foundation of

God standeth sure; 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 and of the Church,

against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.  (Matthew 16:18).  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 I John 2:19. Qeme>liov themelios – foundation - in

classical Greek is always an adjective agreeing with li>qov lithos – stone -

expressed or understood. In the New Testament it is used only as a substantive

(Luke 6:48; I Corinthians 3:10; I 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 foundation-stones,

which may not be moved. (“Ye also as lively stones, are built up a

spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices,

acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” – I Peter 2:5).  Having this seal. In

Revelation 21:14 the twelve foundation-stones 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 Septuagint 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 Ku>rie to< ojnoma> sou

ojnoma>zomen - Kurie to onoma sou onomazomen Lord, we name your

name 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:

 

o       God’s election, and

o       man’s holiness (compare I John 1:6; 3:7-8).

 

 

The Comfort Amidst Abounding Apostasy (v. 19)

 

Though some turn away from the truth, God’s Church stands firm in its integrity.

 

  • THE CHURCH OF GOD IN ITS EVER-DURING STABILITY.

“Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth sure.”

 

Ø      The Church is very properly called a foundation, because it

is placed in the world as the platform on which the whole future

household of faith is to rest (Ephesians 2:20). CHRIST IS THE

CORNERSTONE  of the foundation.

 

Ø      It stands firm from AGE TO AGE  on its unshaken foundation,

notwithstanding all the efforts made to destroy it (Revelation 12:13-17).

It was to be the CONSTANT WITNESS  to THE TRUTH amidst

 all ERROR and APOSTASY!

 

  • THE CHURCH OF GOD WITH ITS TWOFOLD INSCRIPTION.

“Having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let every

 one that nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”

It was an ancient custom to engrave upon a building an inscription which told

of its origin and purpose. (Thus Second Baptist Church, 1910-present, has

engraved on one of it’s corners “Erected to the Glory of God” – 1973

CY – 2013).  The names of the apostles were written in the twelve

foundations el the apocalyptic city of God (Revelation 21:14). The

Church has a seal with a double inscription, which displays the true

character of the edifice.

 

Ø      One inscription is the legend of comfort and hope.

“The Lord knoweth them that are His.” What a comfort

there is in the thought of this individualizing knowledge! (God is

a “one on one God”; “If a man love me, he will keep my

words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come

unto him, and make our abode with him.” – John 14:23 –

What a hope there is in the thought that the saints are God’s

purchased possession”! (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:14; Titus

2:14)  (I recommend Deuteronomy ch.32 – v.9 – God’s

Inheritance by Arthur Pink – this web site – CY – 2013)

 

Ø      Another inscription is the legend of duty. “Let every one that

nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”

There is no place for unrighteousness in the Church of God.

Therefore believers must separate themselves from ALL EVIL!

 

20 “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 honor, and some to dishonor.”

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 I Corinthians 3:12. Of earth (ojstra>kina- ostrakina - earthenware);

only here  and II Corinthians 4:7, where it is also applied to skeu>h  skeuae

vessels (earthen) as it is in the Septuagint, e.g. Leviticus 6:28; and to a]ggov angos

vessel; jar; pail -  (Numbers 5:17).   ]Ostrakon  ostrakon  -  a tile. (For the same

figure, see Romans 9:22-23.)

 

21 “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel

unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared

unto every good work.”  Purge himself from these (ejkkaqa>rh| - ekkatharae

should be purging; should be cleaning out); stronger than the simple

kaqa>raiw  - katharaiopurge – (thoroughly purge himself)  as in I 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 Septuagint in Judges 7:4, as the rendering of

pr"x;, 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 dishonor, 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 Paul is here pressing, but avoidance of false doctrines. Meet

for…use (eu]crhstov euchraestos - useful); only here and ch. 4:11 and

Philemon 1:11. Also Proverbs 29:(31) 13, Septuagint.   Common in classical Greek.

The master (tw~| despo>th| – to despotae - owner); the master of the house, the

oijkodespo>thv oikodespotaes.

 

22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity,

peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Youthful (newterika>v - neoterikas); of or belonging to new>teroi neoteroi

 young men.   The word only occurs here in the New Testament, never in the

Septuagint, but is found in Josephus, who speaks of aujqadei>a newterikh>

authadeia neoterikae youthful arrogance, and is common in classical Greek.

Lusts (ejpiqumi>ai epithumiai) include, besides the sarkikwn  ejpiqumi>ai

sarkikon epithumiai – fleshly lusts  of I Peter 2:11, all those ill-regulated

passions to which youth is peculiarly liable, such as intemperance, 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 I Timothy 4:12. Follow after (di>wke)

diokebe you pursuing; be you chasing; as I  Timothy 6:11, where, as here,

it is in contrast with feu~ge pheuge – flee.   Eagerness in pursuit, and difficulty

in attainment, seem to be indicated by the word. With them, etc. (meta< tw~n

ejpikaloume>nwn – meta ton epidaloumenon – with them that call). 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 eijrh>nhn

 eiraenaen – peace -  so as to limit the exhortation to peace to those who call

upon the Lord, eijrh>nhn meta< tw~n ejpikaloume>nwn eiraenaen meta ton

epikaloumenon -  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.

 

 

The Importance of Purity Before the World (v. 22)

 

Negatively, his refers to those passions and desires which are so tempting to youth. They

war against the soul,” and are most inimical to holiness and salvation. The indulgence

of corrupt passions also leads to serious scandals.  God’s people need to be aware of

and avoid those vehement and headstrong passions which often lead young men

 into foolish courses, or to the rage for novelty and the egotistic vanity which so often

lead to religious errors like those of Hymenaeus and Philetus.

 

Positively, we are to “Follow after righteousness, love, peace, with them

that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

 

  • Righteousness. Fidelity in all human relations especially, but a right

manner of life. Believers are:

 

Ø      To yield their members as instruments of righteousness

(Romans 6:13).

Ø      To be armed with righteousness as a breastplate (Ephesians 6:14).

Ø      Righteousness tends to life (Proverbs 11:19).

Ø      It brings its own reward (Ibid. v.18).

Ø      Its effect is quietness and assurance forever (Isaiah 32:17).

 

  • Love. Love to all men.

 

Ø      It is of God (I John 4:7).

Ø      It is taught by God (I Thessalonians 4:9).

Ø      It is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

Ø      It ought to be an active and abiding principle (Hebrews 6:10;

I Corinthians 8:13).

Ø      The greatest sacrifices are nothing without it (I Corinthians 13:3).

 

·        Peace.

 

Ø      Its nature and advantages:

 

o       It springs from heavenly wisdom (James 3:17).

o       It is necessary to the enjoyment of life (I Peter 3:10-11).

o       There is a blessing for the peacemaker (Matthew 5:9).

 

Ø      Its objects. “Them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.”

That is, believers. We are to endeavor to have peace with all men

(Romans 12:18). But we are to seek the peace of the Church

(Psalm 122:6-8); of those who worship Christ with all purity of

 heart, as contrasted with those “whose mind and conscience are

defiled(Titus 1:15).

 

23 “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do

gender strifes.” Unlearned.  (ajpaideu>touv apaideutousunlearned;

 crude; ignorant); only here in the New Testament, but not uncommon in the

Septuagint, 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, (in our culture of the 21st century, low-informed).

and thence, by an easy metonymy, to the questions such persons delight in.

Questions.  (zhth>seiv zaetaeseis - questionings); see I Timothy 1:4, note,

and Titus 3:9.  Avoid.   (parai>tou paraitou - refuse;  have nothing t

do with;  (see I Timothy 4:7; Titus 3:10). Gender (gennw~si gennosi).

This is the only place in the New Testament where genna>w gennao – to

beget - is used in this metaphorical sense, unless Galatians 4:24 is included.

(For the sentiment, see I Timothy 6:4, “Whereof cometh envy, strife,” etc.)

Strifes (ma>cav machas); compare ma>cav nomika>v machas nomikas

fightings about the Law” (Titus 3:9); and “wars and fightings (James 4:1-2).

Compare, too, the verb logomacei~n logomachein – strive; engaging in

controversy - in v.14. Nothing can be more emphatic than Paul’s warnings

against foolish and angry controversies about words, and yet nothing has

been more neglected in the Church, in all ages.

 

24 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all

men, apt to teach, patient,”  The servant of the Lord.   (dou~lon Kuri>ou

doulon Kuriou – the Lord’s servant). So 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; II Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1).

The term seems, therefore, especially (though not exclusively, Ephesians 6:6;

I Peter 2:16; Revelation 19:2, 5; 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 (ma>cesqai machesthai – strive; to be fighting); a conclusive

reason against engaging in those foolish and ignorant questionings which necessarily

engender strife. Gentle.  (h]pion aepion); only here and in I Thessalonians 2:7,

where we see how 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 I Timothy 3:2, note). Patient. (ajnexi>kakon

 anexikakon -  patient; forbearing; bearing with evil); only here in the New

Testament, not found in the Septuagint, and only in late Greek. It means literally

bearing up against ill treatment,” patiently enduring it.

 

 

The True Temper of the Minister of Christ (v. 24-25)

 

 “The servant of the Lord must not strive.” This does not mean that he is not to

contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:4); but that he is not to fight about trifles,

 nor to argue with acerbity of temper, nor for mere victory. The “bond of peace”

must be maintained in controversy.  He is to be gentle unto all men; cultivating a

spirit of habitual conciliation, while using arguments of the greatest cogency.  He is

to be apt to teach,  showing capacity and disposition to instruct the ignorant and

 the obstinate.  He is  patient; bearing with the infirmities of weak brethren, with the

irritating oppositions of adversaries, and with the reproaches of evil men

generally.  He is to use meekness in instructing those that oppose themselves

to the truth as it is in Jesus, thwarting or perverting the gospel. The minister

must be ready to instruct such persons in a meek and humble spirit, because

they may be ignorant, or ill-informed, or deeply prejudiced from the

circumstances of their early training.

 

This method of instruction will be beneficial to those who need it!   

“If God peradventure will give them repentance unto the knowledge of the

 truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having

 been taken captive by the Lord’s servant unto the will of God.”

A meek and gentle address may bring such errorists to repent of their

sin and accept the true doctrine of faith.  It is possible to repel them by our

harsh reproaches. We ought rather to show them the truth without passion,

and enforce it with all the kindly urgency of true affection. The necessity of

repentance in such a case MARKS THE ESSENTIALLY SINFUL

CHARACTER OF OPPOSITION TO THE TRUTH!  There may

be some errorists who will awake out of their intellectual intoxication,

if they are wisely dealt with, and open their eyes to THE BLESSED

TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL.   The will of God once established in such

hearts, as the guiding principle of life, COMPLETES THE RECOVERY

FROM ERROR!

 

We are to be of use to the Master. He deigns to use us. “Son, go work today

in my vineyard” (Matthew 21:28).  Many in this age dislike the word

“Master;” but we are always under some master, it may be pleasure, alcohol,

drugs, love of money, etc., consciously or unconsciously. We serve God or

Mammon, and WE CANNOT SERVE BOTH.   We are to attend to

spiritual means of grace, and to seek out modes of service, so as TO

BE OF USE TO THE MASTER!

 

25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God

peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of

the truth;”  Instructing.  (paideu>onta paideuonta – instructing;

disciplining; training; correcting), paideu>ein paideuein -  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 predominant — partly because the word suggests

something contrary to the ajpai>deutoi zhth>seiv apaideutoi zaetaeseis

unlearned questions; crude questioning - of v. 23, and partly because the end

of this paidei>a (instruction) is to bring them to the knowledge of God’s truth.

The Authorized Version  instructing” is therefore the right word here. Those that

oppose themselves (tou<v ajntidiatiqe>menouv tous antidiatithemenous);

only here in the New Testament or the Septuagint, or in classical Greek. Literally,

those who arrange or set themselves in opposition; or, in one word, “opponents,”

referring, no doubt, chiefly to such ajntile>gontev antilegontes  - gainsayers;

ones contradicting - as are mentioned in the very similar passage, Titus 1:9

(see too Ibid. ch.2:8). If peradventure.  (mh>pote maepoteseeing whether).

Mh>pote, in later Greek, loses its aversative meaning (‘lest at any time’), and is

almost equivalent to ei]pote eipote - equivalent to “in case God should,” etc.

Repentance (metanoi>a metanoia); such a change of mind as shall lead them

to embrace the truth. Knowledge (ejpi>gnwsiv epignosis); almost

invariably used of the knowledge of God or of God’s truth (ch. 3:7; Romans 1:28;

Ephesians 1:17; 4:13; Colossians 1:9, 10; 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.

 

26 “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil,

who are taken captive by him at his will.”  This is undoubtedly a

difficult passage. We will first take the individual words, and then turn to

the general meaning. Recover themselves (ajnanh>ywsin ananaepsosin

they shall be sobering up); only found here in the New Testament, and never

in the Septuagint. 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.”  Snare (pagi>dov pagidos – snare; trap );

as I Timothy 3:7; 6:9. Compare the use of pagideus>wsin  pagideusosin  -  

entangle(Matthew 22:15). Who are taken captive  (ejzwgrh>menoi

 ezograemenoi - having been taken captive; having been caught alive);

only found in the New Testament in Luke 5:10 besides this place, but common

in the Septuagint 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), (uJp aujtou~ hup autou); i.e. of course the devil, who had just been

named as having ensnared them. At his will.  (ejkei>nou qe>lhma ekeinou

thelaema - unto the will of him (margin),). The difficulty of the passage lies in

the word ejkei>nou, which at first sight seems to indicate a different

antecedent from the antecedent of aujtou~. This grammatical difficulty has

led to the strange rendering of the Revised Version, 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 ejkei>nou to the same person as aujtou~ (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 ejkei>nou being that 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.  (Dear Reader, may

you and I make sure that we never agree to be under the spell of the devil! –

CY – 2013)  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.”  Another example

of the transition from aujto>v to ejkei~nov is in John 1:7-8, Ou=tov h+lqen eijv

marturi>an, i[na marturh>sh| peri< tou~ fwto<v i[na pa>ntev

pisteu>swsi di aujtou~ oujk h+n ejkei~nov to<u fw~v - Outos aelthen eis

marturian, hina marturaesae peri tou photos hina pantes psiteusosi di

 autou ouk aen ekeinos tou phos “The same came for a witness, to bear

witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe.  He was

not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” - where there is

a contrast between John as the witness and Christ as the true Light

(compare, too, John 4:25, where ejkei>nov has the force of “not you,

but He”). For the general turn of phrase, compare II Corinthians 10:5,

“Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” where

aijcmalwti>zontev - aichmalotizontes  - bringing into captivity (see ch. 3:6)

corresponds to ejzwgrhme>noi ezograemenoi – taken captive of this verse

and eijv th<n uJpakoh<n tou~ Cristou~ eis taen hupakoaen tou Christou

to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5) to eijv to< ejkei>nou qe>lhma

eis to ekeinou thelaema - at his will of this verse.. It should be noted further that

the sentence is certainly rather a peculiar one, from the use of such uncommon

words as ajnanh>fw ananaepho – become sober again; recover oneself –

 and zwgre>w zogreo – take captive; catch; ensnare, and the

mixture of metaphors. But the sense of the Authorized Version is fully borne out.

The interpretation preferred 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).”

 

 

The Skilful Workman (vs. 15-26)

 

Besides the concentration of purpose, and the willingness to endure, which

are necessary to the faithful minister of Christ, two other qualifications are

no less needed.

 

  • The one is skill in his work; and
  • gentleness and patience in dealing with those that oppose themselves.

 

By skill in his work we mean both the knowing what to avoid and shun, and THE

EFFECTIVE HANDLING OF THE WORD OF TRUTH.   The minister of

Christ who wastes his time, and spends his strength in foolish and unlearned

questions and profane babblings; who strives about words to no profit; who

dabbles with philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, and not

after Christ; who intrudes into things which he hath not seen, bringing in strange

doctrines and carnal ordinances, and laying burdens upon the consciences

of his hearers, which God has not laid; — however earnest he may be, and

however willing he may be to endure trouble in defenSe of his teaching, is

not a workman approved unto God, or one that needeth not to be ashamed

of his work. He builds upon the foundation hay and stubble, instead of gold

and costly stones. But the skilful workman shuns this. He will not allow

himself to be enticed into unprofitable controversies, or fritter away his

zeal upon things of no moment. But he bends all the powers of his mind to

divide rightly the Word of truth. HOLY SCRIPTURE IS HIS MODEL!

What is made much of in Scripture he makes much of in his teaching. He

endeavors to preserve the relative proportion of doctrines which he finds in the

inspired pages; to treat of doctrine and of practice in the same way that they are

treated of in the Word — to speak as do the oracles of God. (For a role model

as a minister of Christ, I submit Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, and

his example can be found profusely on the Internet – CY – 2013).  His aim is

neither to exaggerate nor to attenuate; to speak soberly, but not to speak

coldly; to say nothing that ought not to be said, and to leave unsaid nothing

that ought to be said. (He speaks “the truth in love  -  Ephesians 4:15)

Thus will he be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, “rightly

dividing the Word of truth”  (v. 15).  The other qualification is

scarcely less important. “The Lord’s servant must not strive” (v. 24).

He must meet contradiction, opposition, gainsaying, with gentleness, meekness,

and love. The voice of his Master was not heard in the street, lifted up

in anger, or crying out in wrangling and disputes. He neither reviled

His revilers nor threatened His persecutors  (Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew

12:17-21; II Peter 2:23).  His servant must be like Him. Loving,

forbearing, patient, apt to teach, with a burning desire to save his

opponents, he must go on his work, despairing of none, wearied out by

none, praying for all, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the

acknowledging of the truth, and bring them out of the captivity of sin into

the glorious liberty of the children of God.

 

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