Amplified: And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
NLT: The Lord's servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And the Lord's servant must not be a man of strife: he must be kind to all, ready and able to teach: he must have patience (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: And the Lord’s bondslave must not in the nature of the case quarrel but be gentle to all, skillful in teaching, forbearing, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and a servant of the Lord it behoveth not to strive, but to be gentle unto all, apt to teach, patient under evil,
AND THE LORD'S BONDSERVANT: doulon de kuriou: (Dt 34:5; Josh 1:1; 2Chr 24:6; Da 6:20; 1Ti 6:11; Titus 1:1; 3:2; James 1:1)
The concept of bondservant is not just a New Testament concept...
Paul is not calling Timothy (or us) to be something he was not willing to be for in his opening passage to Titus he wrote...
Even the Lord's brother James understood the importance of his role as a bondservant writing....
Spurgeon comments that in these last section "We have here laid down, then, the duty of the Christian minister, and the duty of each Christian, too, and let us seek, in the Holy Spirit’s grace, to carry it out, being at once firm, and gentle, and loving of heart, and yet honest for the truth as it is in Jesus.
Bondservant (1401) (doulos) (Click word study of doulos) describes one who is bound to another or in the state of being completely controlled by another, in the present context describing one not controlled by the old flesh nature that desires to quarrel but the new nature that is submitted to and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Doulos conveys the picture of the absolute surrender to ones' master to whom he or she gives total devotion. Does this definition of a "vessel of honor" describe you beloved?
Originally doulos described a person who had no personal freedom, one whose will was totally subordinated to that of another person. Such persons were forever "on duty," with no free time or personal life.
In the writings of the Stoics doulos was applied to religious service and sadly many religious slaves were tied to the temple in a pitiful life of prostitution. Wherever doulos is found in Greek literature, it speaks of a despised class of slaves, whose lives were not their own.
When the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek (Septuagint LXX), doulos word was also used to describe Israel's slavery in Egypt. Though the Jews had felt the harsh discipline of slavery, they later also held slaves. However, when Jews enslaved other Jews (for debt), those slaves had to be released after six years (Ex 21:5) or in the Year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:30), whichever came first. Once, believers also were the bondservants of the harsh master, Sin, but now we are the slaves of righteousness (Ro 6:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17-see notes Ro 6:11, Ro 6:12-14, Ro 6:15-17) and the source of that righteousness, the Righteous One Himself. And so like the OT bond-servants in Exodus who were set free...all believers today can declare "I love my master (Jesus)...I will not go out as a free man (or woman)" (Ex 21:5)
John Calvin claimed that "No one gives himself freely and willingly to God's service unless, having tasted His Fatherly love, he [the Christian] is drawn to love and worship Him in return."
Freedom in Christ is not the right to do as one pleases but the power to please God by doing what is right -- this is the power His bond-servants possess. Stated another way, we become really "free" only by subjecting our own will to the will of another, One Who is always the perfect Master. And the paradox is that we now as believers achieve self-control by letting ourselves be Savior controlled! Are you free indeed? When the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
The use of doulos by the NT writers emphasizes their acknowledgement that they are no longer their own but that they have been bought at great price (1Cor 6:29). Paul recognized this new relationship and frequently called himself a bond-servant of Christ Jesus (Click these occurrences).
However, lest we be lulled into a sense of false security, we would be wise to remember that the Lord's bondservants do not have an easy time teaching the Word. Satan opposes and tries to trap the listeners (2Ti 2:26) and some people are naturally difficult to teach. Others would rather feed on “foolish and ignorant speculations” (see note 2 Timothy 2:23) and have little or no desire to feed on the pure milk of the Word (which is the ONLY way spiritual babes grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - 1Pe 2:2-note) Until you have experienced resistance to His Word, you will have no idea how difficult it can be to impart spiritual truth. How easy it would be to ignore those who are resistant! Paul admonished Timothy to avoid the arguments that create strife, but not to ignore the people. It is not enough just to expose error and refute it, for if would seek to imitate our Lord, we must also teach sound doctrine by which the saints will become firmly established in the faith.
Barclay has excellent notes on doulos in several of his commentaries, the first being in the Second Letter to Peter...
In the letter to the Romans, Barclay comments on doulos
In the letter to James Barclay comments on doulos
Mabel Williamson was a missionary to China who powerfully described the sacrifice of her rights to a normal standard of living, ordinary safeguards of health, private affairs, marriage, and even a home life. She was human like you and I and thus just like us she struggled with suffering and self-denial and the fact that she had to give up so many of what she thought were her “rights”. But she finally came to the conclusion that part of serving and becoming like her Master Christ was becoming like one who had not rights, as epitomized by the picture of a bond-servant. In her book Have We No Right? (Chicago: Moody Press, 1958) she wrote the following poem
Read the following lines again as you ask yourself, as I am sure Timothy did, "Am I truly a bond-servant of Jesus? Can I honestly say..."
All that He takes I will give.
MUST NOT BE QUARRELSOME: ou dei (3SPAI) machesthai (PMN) : (Mt 12:19; Acts 15:2; 2Cor 10:4; Phil 2:3,14; 1Ti 3:3; Titus 1:7; Jas 1:19,20; Jude 1:3) (Jn 6:52; Acts 7:26; 23:9; Jas 4:2)
An argument is the longest distance between two points of view.
As Spurgeon wrote...
Must (1163) (dei from deo = to bind) means that it is necessary (binding) or needful. Deí is an obligation out of intrinsic necessity or inevitability. It describes an action which is inevitable in the nature of things. To avoid this reaction is a must for anger is only one letter from danger.
Someone has said it well that "An angry man is seldom reasonable; a reasonable man is seldom angry, because anger is a feeling that makes your mouth work faster than your mind.
Spurgeon wrote that "Men can with a few hasty words set loose a torrent of anger and uncharitableness, and cause the sweeping away of much good service and sweet fellowship, but who shall rule, restrain, or call back the raging flood.
Present tense calls for the doulos to continually be inwardly constrained. As a lifestyle the Lord's bondservant must daily, moment by moment make the volitional choice (active voice - not my will but my Master's) trusting on His empowerment by the Holy Spirit to not quarrel or fight with words. Note however that Paul is not saying the Lord's bondservant should allow obvious false teaching to go unopposed.
Not (ou) conveys the meaning of absolute negation. This is never to be a bondservant's attitude. How are you doing dear servant of the Most High God?
For quarrelsome the Amplified renders it not fighting and contending.
Quarrelsome (3164) (machomai) means to war, quarrel, dispute fight or strive. This word describes a serious conflict, either physical (especially military combat as with armed combatants who engage in a hand to hand struggle) or non-physical, but clearly intensive and bitter. It was used of those of those who contend at law for property and privileges.
Machomai in secular Greek is used to describe a wind of such high intensity that it leveled everything in its path, much like a hurricane. The servant of the Lord must not engage in a "war of words" and "blow away" those who block his path in one way or another.
Machomai is used 4 times in the NASB (John 6:52; Acts 7:26; 2Ti 2:24; Jas 4:2) and is translated: argue, 1; fight, 1; fighting together, 1; quarrelsome, 1
Upon hearing Jesus' statement that they must eat His flesh "The Jews therefore began to argue (machomai) with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat? (Jn 6:52)
In the section of Stephen's sermon describing Moses actions in Egypt, he recalls that "On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another (Acts 7:26)
James uses machomai writing "You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. (James 4:2) Warren Wiersbe comments on this use in James writing that this shows that "The wars among us are caused by the wars within us. We want to please ourselves, even if it hurts somebody else. (With the Word)
Machomai is used 19 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Gen. 26:20, 22; 31:36; Exod. 21:22; Lev. 24:10; Deut. 25:11; Jos. 9:18; Jdg. 11:25; 2 Sam. 14:6; 2 Ki. 3:23; 2 Chr. 27:5; Neh. 5:7; 13:11, 17, 25; Song 1:6; Isa. 27:8; 28:20; Jer. 33:5) where the military meaning predominates.
Once again the ministry of the church will have ceased
Ray Stedman comments that "The Lord's servant must not be an argumentative, pejorative, belligerent type of person who is ready to come out with guns blazing. There are many people like that who shoot from the lip, always ready for an argument. But the Lord's servant is not out to win arguments; he is not out to squash the opposition or silence dissent by overbearing, heavy-handed approaches. Rather, he is there to encourage discussion and examination. He does not put down opponents or resort to name-calling or diatribe. He is not argumentative, not contentious. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 Guidelines for Controversies)
Barnes writes the following of the Lord's bondservant "He may calmly inquire after truth; he may discuss points of morals, or theology, if he will do it with a proper spirit; he may "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," (Jude 1:3;) but he may not do that which is here mentioned as strife. The Greek word-- machomai --commonly denotes, to fight to make war, to contend....The meaning is, that the servant of Christ should be a man of peace. He should not indulge in the feelings which commonly give rise to contention, and which commonly characterize it. He should not struggle for mere victory, even when endeavouring to maintain truth; but should do this, in all cases, with a kind spirit, and a mild temper; with entire candor; with nothing designed to provoke and irritate an adversary; and so that, whatever may be the result of the discussion, "the bond of peace" may, if possible, be preserved. Comp. See [see note Romans 12:18]. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
Charles Spurgeon warned against being the Lord's bondservant being one who goes "about with theological revolvers in their ecclesiastical trousers."
Oswald Chambers wrote that "No one damns like a theologian, nor is any quarrel so bitter as a religious quarrel."
Do not quarrel. It is possible to disagree without quarreling.
Jewish Proverb - Quarrels are the weapons of the weak.
Not quarrelsome does not mean we are not to defend the integrity for the faith...
Steven Cole writes that...
The NIV Application Commentary - Fred Heeren, author of Show Me God, has engaged in stimulating dialogues with scientists with a secular viewpoint. He recently said, “If I’ve found any one thing to be key in getting through to skeptics today, this is it … Have an attitude of gentleness and respect toward unbelievers and their views. Put negatively, the greatest single turn-off for skeptics is the Christian who sets up an us-versus-them argument between Christianity and science.”
John Angell James in his 1828 publication Christian Love (or the Influence of Religion upon Temper) wrote...
BUT KIND TO ALL: alla epion einai (PAN) pros pantas: (Isa 40:11; 2Cor 10:1; Gal 5:22; 1Thes 2:7; Titus 3:2; Jas 3:17; 1Pet 3:8)
Kind (2261) (epios) is one who is placid (serenely free of interruption or disturbance), gentle, mild, easy, compliant (like a nursing mother see below in 1Thes 2:7). In fact epios was frequently used by Greek writers as characterizing a nurse with trying children or a teacher with refractory scholars, or of parents toward their children. We find epios in a secular Greek writing which describes "a day favorable (epios) for beginning a thing". Epios was used to describe medicines as soothing or assuaging. Kindness presupposes a peaceable attitude. Such a mindset speaks and acts in goodness. This does not mean spineless acquiescence to popular opinion or to those who may oppose us. Kindness must remain firmly rooted in truth. Epios implies implies gentleness in demeanor, as prautes, meekness of disposition.
The only other use of epios is by Paul describing his own behavior writing to his beloved church at Thessalonica reminding them that "we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. (1Thes 2:7-note)
Steven Cole applies this "definition" of "kind" asking "Husbands, do you correct your wives with the tenderness of a nursing mother? Parents, do you correct your children with the same kindness you show to a nursing infant? (2 Timothy 2:23-26 The Gentle Art of Correction)
The Lord's bondservant must be “kind” to "all" (pas = everyone, all without exception!). There is nothing worse then a servant of the Lord who loses their control. The bond-servant of the Lord must show by his or her gentleness to others that they are subject to the commanding power of the life transforming gospel which they are preaching and teaching.
These qualities Paul is outlining for bondservants were those very traits that characterized Jesus in His incarnation Who said
Ray Stedman - No matter if it is a cultist he is debating, or someone who is very upset about an issue, somebody with an ax to grind, some difficult person who is obviously out to cause trouble and create dissension, the Lord's servant is to be kindly to everyone. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 Guidelines for Controversies)
MacArthur - "As much as we are to speak boldly for the Lord without compromise, we are to do so with the attitude of meekness, gentleness, and humility. We are never to be harsh, abusive, overbearing, unkind, thoughtless, or pugnacious. There is to be a softness in the authority of a Christian leader..." (MacArthur, J. 2 Timothy. Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press)
ABLE TO TEACH: didaktikon: (1Ti 3:2,3; Titus 1:9)
Amplified has "a skilled and suitable teacher"
Able to teach (1317) (didaktikos from didaktos = pertains to that which is taught or instructed from didasko [from dáo= know or teach; see study of related noun didaskalia]) means to provide instruction or information in a formal or informal setting. = provide instruction in a formal or informal setting by imparting positive truth; English = didactic = designed or intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive) (Click word study on related word didaskalía) is one who is highly skilled in teaching and able to communicate truth.
Heresy flourishes where sound Christian teaching lags. Inherent in didaktikós is the intent to influence understanding of the person taught, shaping their will and doing so by communication of knowledge and/or by the content of what is taught
Didaktikós does not refer so much to possessing vast knowledge as to one who has the ability to communicate effectively whatever knowledge and understanding they might have. Though truth can seem harsh, carrying with it conviction or judgment of sin, it must be delivered with compassion and kindness because God always works for the restoration or repentance of the sinner.
This is a specific requirement for overseers (episkopon) and elders (presbuteron). Paul writes in his first epistle that "An overseer, then, must be (dei = an obligation out of intrinsic necessity) above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. (didaktikós) (1Ti 3:2)
An overseer or elder who is not able to teach is like a surgeon who can’t use a scalpel. Are the elders in your church able to teach and are they actively utilizing this gift to edify and equip your local body?
Again Paul instructs Titus that the overseer must be (again this is obligatory not merely a suggestion) "holding fast (strongly clinging or adhering to) the faithful word (committed to the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word as the only source of moral and spiritual truth) which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able (have inherent Spirit wrought [sword of the Spirit] power) both to exhort (giving the saints a balanced diet of healthy encouraging, edifying teaching) in sound (healthy, wholesome) doctrine and to refute those who contradict (literally speak against)." (Titus 1:9-note)
A bond-servant of God must instruct those who oppose him, for this is the only way he can rescue them from Satan’s captivity. Satan "does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44) and he captures people by his lying promises, just as he did Eve telling her "You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Ge3:4-5) Paul spoke of Satan's craftiness writing to the saints at Corinth
Warren Wiersbe quotes "Phillips Brooks, famous American bishop of the 1800s, said, "Apt to teach—it is not something to which one comes by accident or by any sudden burst of fiery zeal." A pastor must be a careful student of the Word of God, and of all that assists him in knowing and teaching that Word. The pastor who is lazy in his study is a disgrace in the pulpit. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Ray Stedman describes one "able to teach" as "skillfully dealing with the facts involved, not with feelings, not with fantasies, but with the facts of Scripture. There is where we must always return. It is so easy for an argument to slide off the facts and onto feelings, experiences, and reactions to things. The Lord's servant must call people back to facts." (2 Timothy 2:23-26 Guidelines for Controversies)
The bondservant who is able to teach does not have as his main purpose to win arguments but to win the souls of those he is teaching or talking with. He needs to speak truth to counter the enemies lies so that the deceived person is brought to repentance and exhibits a godly sorrow for his or her sin, turning around and going in the opposite direction (which is genuine repentance), and acknowledging the Truth.
Vine has some practical thoughts on "able to teach" writing that "this quality our great source must be the holy Scriptures. As to the mode of teaching, we cannot do better than observe the characteristics of Christ’s teaching. An outstanding feature of this was His presentation of even the profoundest truths in the simplest language. Instead of being mysterious and incomprehensible, He imparted the great lessons for His hearers by means of illustrations and details drawn from the most familiar facts of nature and from the treasury of our household affections.
Jewish teachers and philosophers (like the Stoics) also advised patience in instructing others, but they carried this out in the power of their flesh not the power of the Spirit (and His fruit gentleness).
Bond-servants must not just expose error and refute it; but must also teach positive truths and establish the saints in faith. We are not to be moralists, like the Cynics, who verbally abused passersby with their “wisdom.”
The sharp edge of the sword of truth requires the skilled hand of one who relates compassionately with others.
PATIENT WHEN WRONGED: anexikakon: (Eph 4:2; Col 3:13)
Guzik - God’s work often takes time. Sometimes we can see why it takes so much time, sometimes we can’t - but God is not in a hurry, and wants us to learn how to patiently trust Him.
Patient when wronged (420) (anexikakos from anécho = bear, put up with, holding back + kakós = bad, evil) is literally “holding back under bad or evil". It is tolerating difficulties without becoming out of control or enduring difficulties without becoming angry or upset. A good synonym is "longsuffering".
Anexíkakos describes the person who is puts up with, patiently forbears or tolerates evil without resentment and so who is marked by their forbearance. It is enduring patiently what is naturally difficult to bear with in the attitude and conduct of others. The the Lord’s servant must not be contentious but kindly, apt to teach, and “forbearing” even with opponents. In secular Greek anexíkakos was used in medicine to describe enduring pain or evil.
Patience is one aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (cf. notes Galatians 5:22), and it is the Spirit Who provides the inner power we need for bearing this aspect of His fruit. The Spirit controlled bondservant (see notes Galatians 5:16; 18; 25; Ephesians 5:18) does not let himself or herself be controlled by injustices done against them, does not harbor these things waiting for an opportunity to take revenge and is quick to forgive and forget and go on.
Steven Cole wisely warns us that "Often when you try to correct others, they will respond by attacking you. They will falsely accuse you of wrong motives or they will bring up shortcomings in your behavior to try to divert matters away from their own sins. If you are impatient when wronged, you lose the ability to correct effectively.
Patient when wronged is perhaps one of the greatest challenges to the Lord's bondservant. When we are wronged our old nature "screams" out "They can't do that to me...They can't get away with that." You know exactly what I am saying. We must resist the temptation to listen to our old MASTER (Sin), submitting to our NEW MASTER, the controlling power of the Spirit of Christ and ''in everything give thanks" (1Th 5:18-note). If we practice these things the God of peace will be with us (Php 4:6, 7-see notes Php 4:6; 4:7) and we will come to learn the secret that we can do all things through Christ Who continually is our source of strength (Php 4:11, 12, 13-see notes Php 4:11; 12; 13). When we are faithfully witnessing and living for the Lord, it is not easy to graciously accept unjust criticism which is guaranteed to come for "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2Ti 3:12-note).
Barnes comments that because we are not our own but belong to Christ, when we are persecuted for His sake, Jesus would remind us that it is "Because you are attached to Me; because you are Christians. We are not to seek such things. We are not to do things to offend others; to treat them harshly or unkindly, and court revilings. We are not to say or do things, though they may be on the subject of religion, designed to disgust or offend. But if, in the faithful endeavor to be Christians, we are reviled, as our Master was, then we are to take it with patience (Ed: made possible only through the empowerment of the Spirit of Christ), and to remember that thousands before us have been treated in like manner. When thus reviled, or persecuted, we are to be meek, patient, humble; not angry; not reviling again; but endeavoring to do good to our persecutors and slanderers. In this way, many have been convinced of the power and excellence of that religion which they were persecuting and reviling. They have seen that nothing else but Christianity could impart such patience and meekness to the persecuted; and have, by this means, been constrained to submit themselves to the gospel of Jesus. Long since, it became a proverb, "that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
Dwight Edwards gives the following illustration of patient when wronged writing that it "was well demonstrated by John Selwyn, a missionary in the South Pacific some years ago. While in university, Selwyn became renowned for his boxing skills and great strength. During his years in the South Pacific, he had occasion to strongly rebuke a native, and that native struck him violently across his face. Selwyn responded by folding his arms and looking intently into the eyes of the native, who realized that Selwyn could easily have knocked him cold. But Selwyn made not the slightest effort to retaliate and simply gazed at him with loving concern. The native fled into the jungles, too ashamed to face this missionary. Several years after John Selwyn had returned home, that same native came forward to confess Christ and be baptized by Selwyn's replacement. When asked what new name he wished to be called by, the native replied, "Call me John Selwyn, for it was he who taught me what Jesus Christ is like.." May the same be said of us!"
Ray Stedman says that patient when wronged. "means (the Lord's bondservant) must keep his cool, be unruffled and not respond in kind to what people are handing him. That is not easy to do. When somebody attacks me personally in a debate, I want to attack back. I want to start with his remote ancestry and point out to him what is wrong with that, then bring it right down to the present, and show him how fouled up he is, and, furthermore, how much worse he is going to get as he proceeds into the future! But that is not what a servant of the Lord is to do. He is to recognize that when he is reviled, if he reviles in return, he has departed from the example of his Lord, who, "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; ... but he trusted to him who judges justly," (1Pe 2:23RSV-note). (2 Timothy 2:23-26 Guidelines for Controversies)
MacArthur writes that "If the old self is not firmly resisted, we are likely to become more offended when we ourselves are wronged than when our Lord and His truth are attacked. When we are faithfully witnessing and living for the Lord, it is not easy to graciously accept unjust criticism. (MacArthur, J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press)
We do have Jesus as our example and we are called to follow Him "For (we) have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example for (us) to follow in His steps (1Pe 2:21-note)
David Jeremiah tells the story of "Dr. Hudson Taylor, a great missionary statesman, was once dressed in Chinese costume waiting for a boatman to take him across the river in his country. A richly dressed Chinese was waiting for transportation, too. When the boat came, the man decided to move up in line. Not seeing Mr. Taylor was a foreigner, he hit him in the head and pushed him off into the mud. Taylor’s first impulse was to jump up and lay the man out. But God wouldn’t let him. When the man discovered that Taylor was not a native, he said, “Are you a foreigner and you did not strike back?” Hudson Taylor said, “Friend, this is my boat. Get in and I’ll take you wherever you want to go.” Dr. Taylor began telling him about Jesus. By the time they got to the other side of the river, the man had accepted Christ. (Jeremiah, D. Fruit of the Spirit : Study Guide. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
R Kent Hughes has the following comments on this the importance of being patient when wronged writing...
Octavius Winslow in Evening Thoughts (or Daily Walking with God) wrote...
Amplified: He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth [that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it], (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
NLT: They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will believe the truth. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: and the ability gently to correct those who oppose his message. He must always bear in mind the possibility that God will give them a different outlook, and that they may come to know the truth. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: in meekness correcting those who set themselves in opposition, if perchance God may grant them repentance resulting in a precise, experiential knowledge of the truth (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: in meekness instructing those opposing -- if perhaps God may give to them repentance to an acknowledging of the truth,
WITH GENTLENESS CORRECTING: en prauteti paideuonta (PAPMSA): (Mt 11:29; Gal 6:1; 1Ti 6:11; 1Pet 3:15) (Jer 13:15, 16, 17; 26:12, 13, 14, 15; Jn 5:34; Acts 22:1-23)
See related topics -
With gentleness - Literally in gentleness (in the sphere of, under the influence of, "marinated in" gentleness), like Jesus... Who gave this "gentle" command - "Take (aorist imperative) My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle (praus in NAS; praos in KJV) and humble (tapeinos) in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 "For My yoke is easy (chrestos), and My load is light." (Mt 11:29,30-note)
Remember that "a gentle and quiet spirit…is precious in the sight of God." (1Pe 3:4-note)
Often a greater argument than what we say is how we bear being differed from. (J. Sidlow Baxter)
Gentleness (KJV = meekness) (4240) (prautes) (Click word study on prautes) or (praiotes - 4236) describes the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentleness, humility, courtesy, considerateness, meekness.
Prautes was used to describe colts that were broken for riding. In such training, care must be taken to bring the animal’s will into submission to the rider without breaking its energetic and lively spirit. It describes the person who is never angry at the wrong time but always angry at the right time.
Edwards notes that this gentleness teaches that the Lord's bondservant "must learn to speak like the Lord did to Elijah -- in a "still, small voice." Yet there will be other times that we must "be angry" without sinning. (Ep 4:26-note). In those instances, we must learn to speak like the Lord did to Job -- "out of a whirlwind." The man who is truly "meek" is able to go in either direction at the proper time.
Contrary to the connotation that meekness often carries today, prautes has no relation to weakness but denotes power that is under willing control. The godly person possesses a spirit of humility that does not focus on self but on the Lord and on others (cp our Lord's example - Php 2:3-note). Meekness has nothing to do with impotence or shyness or weakness or cowardice. It is power supplied by, and willingly put under the control of, the Holy Spirit, in faithful submission to the Word and will of God. When one is truly meek, he talks not of himself but of his Lord. The meek person does not have to fly off the handle because he has everything under control. Meekness in Scripture is selflessness. Meekness is not letting yourself get involved; it is not taking things personally, in other words.
Jerry Bridges has written that "Gentleness is an active trait, describing the manner in which we should treat others. Meekness is a passive trait, describing the proper Christian response when others mistreat us. (The Practice of Godliness)
Billy Graham defined gentleness as "mildness in dealing with others … it displays a sensitive regard for others and is careful never to be unfeeling for the rights of others.
John Calvin wrote that "Paul’s meaning is that gentleness should be shown even to those who least deserve it, and even if at first there is no apparent hope of progress, still the challenge must be accepted.
Rienecker writes that Prautes "denotes the humble and gentle attitude which expresses itself, in particular, in a patient submissiveness to offense, free from malice and desire for revenge...controlled strength, the ability to bear reproaches and slights without bitterness and resentment; the ability to provide a soothing influence on someone who is in a state of anger, bitterness and resentment against life...the word indicates an obedient submissiveness to God and His will, with unwavering faith and enduring patience displaying itself in a gentle attitude and kind acts toward others, and this often in the face of opposition. It is the restrained and obedient powers of the personality brought into subjection and submission to God’s will by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:23-note)....the opposite of arrogance...the word stands in contrast to the term orge (wrath, anger as a state of mind)...It denotes the humble and gentle attitude which expresses itself, in particular, in a patient submissiveness to offense, a freedom from malice and desire for revenge...mildness, patient trust in the midst of difficult circumstances." (2Cor 10:1) (Compiled from the "Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek NT")
Barclay adds that prautes "describes the man whose temper is always under complete control. He knows when to be angry and when not to be angry. He patiently bears wrongs done to himself but is ever chivalrously ready to spring to the help of others who are wronged. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press)
Aristotle defined prautes as the correct mean between being too angry and being never angry at all. It is the quality of the man whose anger is so controlled that he is always angry at the right time and never at the wrong time. It describes the man who is never angry at any personal wrong he may receive, but who is capable of righteous anger when he sees others wronged.
Pritchard explains that as the Lord's bondservants "we are not to match the tactics of those who may oppose us and ridicule our faith. We must keep our cool all the time, at all costs. One reason for this is very practical: You can’t argue a person into the kingdom of God. You can’t insult them into becoming a Christian. You can’t intimidate them into accepting Christ as Savior. It is quite possible to argue them away from the kingdom, but you can’t argue them into it. Salvation is a miracle of God that takes place in the human heart. Only the Holy Spirit can convert the soul. It’s not our arguments that win the lost. Unless the Lord works on the heart, all our words will be of no avail...If we lose our temper, we may win the verbal battle but we will surely lose the war for the soul. (2 Timothy 2:14-26: The Life God Blesses)
Calvin writes that "Paul’s meaning is that gentleness should be shown even to those who least deserve it, and even if at first there is no apparent hope of progress, still the challenge must be accepted.
Derick Bingham was right when he said "Gentle words fall lightly, but they have great weight.
George Bethune - Perhaps no grace is less prayed for, or less cultivated than gentleness. Indeed it is considered rather as belonging to natural disposition or external manners, than as a Christian virtue; and seldom do we reflect that not to be gentle is sin.
John MacArthur writes that...
Jerry Bridges said that...
F B Meyer in Our Daily Walk, writes the following devotional related to "gentleness"....
Correcting (3811) (paideuo from país = child) (Click in depth word study of paideuo) is used of training a child and means to provide instruction for informed and responsible living and to assist in the development of a person’s ability to make appropriate choices & practice discipline.
This "child training" is to be done “gently” and continually (Present tense). Paul is talking about training them and showing them another way to handle the problem. This verb clearly that the Lord's bondservant is not to be a "spiritual doormat" but in some issues is called to take a stand against for the purpose of change in the person who is opposed. To be sure, the Lord's bondservant must be ready to take an authoritative stand for God's truth against those who would challenge or pervert it, but his or her stand must be done with Spirit filled balance -- in a spirit of humility and meekness.
Paideuo originally meant to bring up a child, to educate and was used of activity directed toward the moral and spiritual nurture and training of the child, so as to influence their conscious will and consequent actions.
Paideuo conveys the closely related meanings of teaching, training, discipling, educating, and nurturing and gives us the English terms "pedagogue" & "pedagogy" which means to train in accord w proper rules of conduct/behavior, punish for the purpose of improved behavior.
Education in Christian behavior is seldom a painless process since it involves the correction of human behavior which by nature stands in opposition to God.
Paideuo then involves the upbringing and handling of a "spiritual child" who is growing up to maturity and who thus needs direction, teaching, instruction and a certain measure of compulsion in the form of discipline or even chastisement.
Those who oppose the truth are to be instructed for instruction is the Scriptural method of dealing with the erroneous and is more likely to convince them of their errors.
Vine writes that "forbearance does not require abstention from faithful dealing, where evil demands correction. It is the meek spirit, however, that wins, and that spirit is requisite even in circumstances where a rebuke or other censure is necessary."
Steven Cole writes that...
THOSE WHO ARE IN OPPOSITION: tous antidiatithemenous (PMPMPA):
Those who are in opposition (475) (antidiatithemi from antí = over against, opposite to, instead of + diatithemai = to dispose of, arrange, make a covenant from dia = through or intensifies meaning of + tithemi = place, put) means literally to set oneself opposite. In the present passage the picture is of those who are habitually inclined to argument and are continually (Paul emphasis continuous attitude/action with the present tense) offer resistance by placing themselves in opposition to the way, the truth, and the life. They are hostile toward the truth and personally oppose it in an engaged way. The opposition involves not only a psychological attitude but also a corresponding behavior.
Louw and Nida have an interesting note regarding the translation of antidiatíthemi writing that...
Judaism emphasized correcting another person humbly and privately before giving public reproof, in the hope of restoring that person to the right way. Those that place them self in opposition to the true servant of the Lord and to true doctrine are to be dealt with tenderly and considerately.
Ray Stedman comments that "The King James Version has a very good translation here. It says, instructing "those who oppose themselves." That shows what error does to us. When we get stubborn, when we are sure we are right, when we insist on our own point of view, and get personal, etc., what we are doing is opposing ourselves. We stand in our own way, we become our own worst enemy, and we create our own problems. That is the revelation of this. Until we change ourselves, we will never solve the controversy. The thing we all know, but so easily forget, is that the only person we can change in a controversy is ourselves. You cannot change other people. You can force their behavior to be different, but you do not change them inside. We all know about the little boy whose mother tried to get him to sit down and forced him to do so, but he said, "I may be sitting down outside, but I'm standing up inside." "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." And a woman -- well, she is almost as bad as a man. No, you only can change yourself. We do not think we are contributing anything to the problem, but we always are. When an argument exists, and especially when it gets heated, angry, and personal, then we are definitely contributing to it and we are opposing ourselves; we are standing in our own way to the blessing God wants to bring. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 Guidelines for Controversies)
Strong and Gentle - There was a time in my life when I enjoyed debating with people who represented religious cults. When they said that Jesus is not God or that another book has equal authority with the Bible, I had them read Scripture passages that proved them wrong. I felt a bit smug when I saw them eager to end the conversation. But I never led any of them to the Savior.
I may have won an argument, but that's all. I'm afraid they saw me as arrogant, not the gentle and humble man I should have been as a servant of the Lord (2 Tim. 2:24). I really don't blame them. I find myself annoyed when a know-it-all tries to force his views on me.
We are not to be weak, though, bending to the winds of error. We can be firm in our convictions without coming across with an I'm-better-than-you attitude. We can communicate the truth without beating the other person over the head with it.
By dealing gently with people who have been caught up in religious error, I have seen some of them come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. When we humbly try to correct those who are deceived, we open the door for God to lead them to repent and to acknowledge the truth. --H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Hiebert sums up this section noting that...
IF PERHAPS GOD MAY GRANT THEM REPENTANCE : mepote doe (3SAAS) autois ho theos metanoian: (Jer 31:18,19,33; Ezek 11:19; 36:26,31; Zech 12:10; Acts 5:21; 11:18; Jas 1:17; 1Jn 5:16) (Acts 8:22; 1Ti 2:4) (2 Ti 3:7; Mt 21:32; Mk 1:3,4,15; Acts 2:38; 20:21; Titus 1:1)
Grant (1325) (didomi) means to give and is based on a decision of the will of the giver (God in this case) with no merit in the recipient. The fact that repentance is a gift reminds the Lord's bondservant that it is only the hand of God which can untangle the twisted thoughts of men. We cannot make them repent. God may use our reasonings and exhortations, but He is in no way dependent upon them. We are utterly dependent upon Him to show the "kindness of God which leads them to repentance" (Ro 2:4-note). God is the Agent of change while we are but a channel through which He dispenses His life-changing grace. Therefore, it is crucial that we be clear channels, who do not obstruct what He would send through us.
Hiebert writes that "This hope for their repentance is stated hesitatingly--"if peradventure"--not because God is unwilling to give them repentance but because the habit of the errorists to contradict the truth has made it hard for them even to listen to the truth. Only God can effect the change in them. He must "give" it to them as a gift, using Timothy's efforts as the means to work the needed "repentance" in them. What they need is a definite change of heart and will. Their doctrinal perversions rooted in a moral perversity. Vital religious error has its roots in sin, and its removal demands not merely a change of mind but a change in the moral nature as well. The needed repentance is "unto the knowledge of the truth," the full apprehension and realization of (the) truth. (2 Timothy by D. Edmond Hiebert).
Only through a change in the moral disposition do men attain to the full knowledge, the believing apprehension, of the Gospel (Harvey).
Brian Bell - Our weapon is the Word; but the vital handling of it is in the spirit we show, & the way we behave. We need a loving spirit & prayerful dependence on the H.S.
Repentance (3341) (metanoia from meta = after + noieo = perceiving clearly with the mind) (Click study of metanoia) means a change of mind which results in an action of the will. If a sinner honestly changes their mind about sin, the result is that they will turn from it. If they sincerely change their mind about Jesus Christ the result is that they will turn to Him, trust Him, and be saved.
Repentance is a change of attitude toward sin which leads to a desire to change our behavior accordingly. The way you can tell that repentance has been granted is that the opposers begin to agree with the Scripture. They accept it, they know it to be true, and though it may involve painful adjustments on their part, they are committed to it, they follow it.
Repentance is a change in one’s mind and is not the same as regret which is “being sorry I got caught.” Repentance is not remorse or a hopeless attitude that can lead to despair. True repentance is a godly sorrow for sin, and involves a decisive act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person's relationship to God.
A W Tozer - I think there is little doubt that the teaching of salvation without repentance has lowered the moral standards of the Church and produced a multitude of deceived religious professors who erroneously believe themselves to be saved when in fact they are still in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. God will take nine steps toward us, but He will not take the tenth. He will incline us to repent (see note Romans 2:4), but He cannot do our repenting for us.
This is surprisingly the only use of this great word repentance in the Pastoral epistles.
Repentance is a gift to undeserving sinners granted by a merciful, kind God. This does not deny human decision in repentance but rather points to the fact that even our repentance is rooted in God’s act and the opportunities granted by God.
The goal, when the “Lord’s bondservant” instructs or corrects, is never to get even. The motivation of such correction should be the sincere desire that perhaps God may grant them repentance. That is always the motivation of a humble and compassionate heart. Paul told the immature, worldly believers in Corinth, "I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us” (2Cor 7:9).
Even when those who are corrected are resentful of us and unrepentant, as some in Corinth were in regard to Paul, there is never a place in godly correction for personal animosity or judgmental self righteousness.
Repentance leads disobedient believers out of their sin and falsehood into the knowledge of the truth.
The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook defines conversion as "The decisive act in which a sinner turns away from sin in genuine repentance and accepts the salvation that Christ offers. The imagery in conversion is that of turning. A person is going along a road and realizes that he or she is on the wrong track. They will never reach the destination if they continue in that direction. So the person “turns,” or “is converted.” He or she ceases to go in the wrong direction and begins going in the right one. Conversion changes the direction of one’s course of life from the wrong way to the right way, the way that God wants.
The Presbyterian Shorter Catechism says that "Repentance is a saving grace whereby a sinner out a true sense of his sin and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ doth with faith and hatred turn from it to God with full purpose of an endeavor after new obedience.''
Here are some other quotes on repentance from Puritan writers...
Charles Spurgeon wrote that "Repentance is the inseparable companion of faith. All the while that we walk by faith and not by sight, the tear of repentance glitters in the eye of faith. That is not true repentance which does not come of faith in Jesus, and that is not true faith in Jesus which is not tinctured with repentance. Faith and repentance, like Siamese twins, are vitally joined together. ... Faith and repentance are but two spokes in the same wheel, two handles of the same plow. Repentance has been well described as a heart broken for sin and from sin, and it may equally well be spoken of as turning and returning. It is a change of mind of the most thorough and radical sort, and it is attended with sorrow for the past and a resolve of amendment in the future... Repentance of sin and faith in divine pardon are the warp and woof of the fabric of real conversion. Repentance adds nothing to faith but is rather an integral part of it. Saving faith is repentant faith. “Repentance toward God and faith in [the] Lord Jesus Christ” are inseparable (Acts 20:21). Because they are inseparable, Scripture sometimes refers to salvation as repentance. Paul declares that “the kindness of God leads you to repentance” (Ro 2:4-note), and Peter that God does not desire “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2Pe 3:9-note).
Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) in his book Precious Remedies Against Satan has the following thoughts related to repentance...
LEADING TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH: eis epignosin aletheias:
Leading (1519) (eis) is the preposition of motion into any place or thing. In this context into the devil's will. So the idea is literally "into" or "unto" the full knowledge of truth.
Knowledge of the truth - This phrase is found 5x - 1Ti 2:4, 2Ti 2:25, 3:7, Titus 1:1, Heb 10:26
Knowledge (1922) (epignosis from epí = upon, gives force of “fully” + ginosko = to know) (Click in depth word study of epignosis) means more than mere factual information. It is deep, thorough spiritual knowledge of God’s truth, which, as with repentance, only He can supply. Epignosis is precise, experiential knowledge. Epígnosis always describes moral and religious knowledge in the NT and especially refers to full and comprehensive knowledge of God’s will that rests on the knowledge of God and of Christ found today in His Word.
Vine rightly observes that "refusal to accept and obey the truth is a sure way to induce the blinding deception of error and of the evil one, who seeks ever to spread it. Only the mercy of God can produce the spirit of repentance in such cases, and the Lord may be pleased to use one of His servants to bring this about where the opposition is met with in the spirit of meekness."
Trench writes that concerning "epígnōsis, as compared with gnosis, it will be sufficient to say that epí must be regarded as intensive, giving to the compound word a greater strength than the simple possessed." He goes on to explain that "Paul, it will be remembered, exchanges the ginóskō, which expresses his present and fragmentary knowledge, for epignosomai when he would express his future intuitive and perfect knowledge (1Cor 13:12 "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know (ginóskō) in part, but then I shall know fully (epiginóskō) just as I also have been fully known (epiginóskō).
Trench goes on to explain that the idea in epígnōsis is that "It is bringing me better acquainted with a thing I knew before; a more exact viewing of an object that I saw before afar off. That little portion of knowledge which we had here shall be much improved, our eye shall be raised to see the same things more strongly and clearly.’ All the uses of epígnōsis which St. Paul makes, justify and bear out this distinction (Ro 1:28; 3:20; 10:2; Eph 4:13; Phil. 1:9; 1Ti 2:4; 2Ti 2:25; cf. Heb 10:26 --see notes Ro 1:28; 3:20; 10:2; Eph 4:13; Phil. 1:9; 1Ti 2:4; 2Ti 2:25; cf. Heb 10:26; this same intensive use of epígnōsis is borne out by other similar passages in the NT (see notes 2Pe 1:2, 8; 2:20) and in the Septuagint (Proverbs 2:5; Hosea 4:1; 6:6); and is recognized by the Greek Fathers." (Trench, R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. page 285)
Marvin Vincent says epígnōsis is "Clear and exact knowledge. Always of a knowledge which powerfully influences the form of the religious life and hence containing more of the element of personal sympathy than the simple gnósis knowledge, which may be concerned with the intellect alone without affecting the character." Vincent goes on to comment on Paul's use of epígnōsis in Ro 3:20 (note) ("...by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.") noting that "the knowledge of sin here (Ro 3:20) is not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character." (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New Testament. Vol. 3, Page 1-40)
Truth (225) (aletheia from a = without + lêthô = that which is hidden) in this context is whatever God says, for when He speaks in His Word, there is always a correspondence between what He says about any subject and what is the actual reality concerning that subject. In other words, God's truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth, the Word of God.
Amplified: And that they may come to their senses [and] escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, [henceforth] to do His [God's] will. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
NLT: Then they will come to their senses and escape from the Devil's trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: They may come to their senses and be rescued from the power of the devil by the servant of the Lord and set to work for God's purposes. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: and that they may return to soberness out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, [returning to soberness so as to serve] the will of that One [God]. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and they may awake out of the devil's snare, having been caught by him at his will.
|AND THEY COME TO THEIR SENSES: kai ananepsosin (3PAAS): (Lk 15:17; 1Co 15:34; Ep 5:14)
Come to their senses - be restored to (spiritual) soberness!
Come to...senses (366) (ananepho from aná = again + nepho = be sober) is literally to become sober again, regaining one's senses and describing one who comes out from a drunken stupor (in the present context spiritually speaking which in some ways is even worse than an alcoholic stupor).
Satan makes people drunk with his lies, and the servant’s task is to sober them up and rescue them. The enemy intoxicates his victims with the vintage wines of "the lust of the flesh (pleasure), the lust of the eyes (possessions), and the boastful pride of the life (power and position)." (1Jn 2:15-note , 1Jn 2:16-note)
The victim will forfeit their spiritual senses by drinking of any one of these wines, and only divine intervention is capable of sobering and reviving them from Satan's grip. The truth is that unless God reaches down and supernaturally revives the drunken, slumbering victim (granting them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth), our words and warnings will fall on deaf ears.
Vine writes that "ananepho, rendered “recover themselves” denotes to return to soberness, as from a state of delirium or drunkenness (see the R.V. marg). The suggestion therefore is that the reception of error produces a state of insensibility to the will of God. The devil is ever seeking to capture the believer in his snare and prevent him from doing the Lord’s will. (2 Timothy 2)
John MacArthur - The destructive effect of false teaching and sin numbs the conscience, confuses the mind, erodes conviction, and paralyzes the will. (2 Timothy. Moody)
Barnes writes that ananepho "means to become sober again, as from inebriation; to awake from a deep sleep; and then, to come to a right mind, as one does who is aroused from a state of inebriety, or from sleep. The representation in this part of the verse implies that while under the influence of error, they were like a man intoxicated, or like one in deep slumber. From this state they were to be roused, as one is from sleep, or as a man is recovered from the stupor and dullness of intoxication. (Barnes Notes on the NT)
They were mentally intoxicated, drunk with the cup of the great harlot's abominations, full of her immorality. Lies, half-truths, falsehoods, worldly chatter, foolish and ignorant speculation produce spiritual inebriation, a stupor resulting in loss of judgment and proper control of one’s faculties. The destructive effect of false teaching and sin numbs the conscience, confuses the mind, erodes conviction, and paralyzes the will.
This word may refer to a practice in which sowers scattered seeds impregnated with drugs intended to put birds to sleep that a net might be drawn over them to capture them.
Kent adds that "These persons who have been trapped by the Devil were not the same type as those described in 2 Timothy 2:21 (note) or Titus 3:10 (note). From such, the minister is to remove himself. Those in 2Timothy 2:25, 26 are to be dealt with kindly in order to bring about a return to sober thinking. They are captured alive by Satan. There is at least an inference that these persons may be true believers who have become ensnared. If they are, the repentance and recovery may be expected, and the offenders may yet be restored to the will of God.” (From Paul Apple - 2 Timothy Passing the Torch of Leadership)
AND ESCAPE FROM THE SNARE OF THE DEVIL: ek tes tou diabolou pagidos: (Ps 124:7; Isa 8:15; 28:13; Act 26:18; 2Cor 2:11; Col 1:13; 2Th 2:9, 10, 11, 12; 1Ti 3:7; 6:9,10; Rev 12:9; 20:2,3)
This passage more literally reads "and they may awake out of the devil's snare."
Escape from translates the preposition ek (1537) which means out of or from.
As Dean Alford writes "These people have, in a state of intoxication, been entrapped; and are enabled, at their awaking sober, to escape.
Snare (3803) (pagis from pegnumi = set up, fix) is a trap (as that which is fixed or fastened by a noose or notch) and which can fall unexpectedly or suddenly (so that wild animals and birds are caught by surprise).
Pagis was used in Greek for a “net” (a piece of equipment for a bird-catcher), a “snare” or a “mousetrap.” In short a pagis is that which causes one to be suddenly endangered or unexpectedly brought under control of a hostile force.
Who is the one ensnared? Paul does not clearly distinguish the "victim" which leaves the interpretation open to either believers or unbelievers. While we might naturally favor the latter, we would be remiss to ignore fact that Sin is powerful and even believers can be entangled in this wicked web, and then becoming so deceived that they don't even see their grave condition and they can do it all while still being actively involved in church activities! Both groups of "victims" are in desperate need of the gift of repentance, which alone will enable them to escape the intoxicating power of Sin and Satan and this World System. Dearly beloved, potential vessel of honor, are you ensnared and so deceived that you don't even recognize your tragic condition?
Hiebert comments that "The snare of the Devil into which they have fallen was the error by which they have become intoxicated; in awakening to soberness they will escape the intoxicating snare. "The devil's method of taking men captive is to benumb the conscience, confuse the senses, and paralyze the will" (Horton). As men who are drunken, they are unable to free themselves from the snare of the Devil. (2 Timothy by D. Edmond Hiebert).
Pagis is found 5 times in the NT (Luke 21:35; Ro 11:9; 1Ti 3:7; 6:9; 2Ti 2:26) and is translated snare (4x) and trap (1x) in the NASB.
Pagis describes a trick or stratagem (temptation). It pictures that which comes unexpectedly, suddenly even as a snare entices birds or beasts who are caught unaware. This describes that which fastens or holds one fast.
Pagis here in 2 Timothy shows that those who resist the gospel are still in the snare of the devil; deluded by him and trapped into doing his will. The idea of gods and demons being equipped with traps and nets was ancient and widespread. The devil is not just an accuser but an active opponent who is at work to capture and destroy people.
Figuratively pagis was often used in Greek in connection with seductive women, Solomon writing of the lad who follows the seductress "Until an arrow pierces through his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life. (Proverbs 7:23)
The Trojan horse was called a “wooden pagis.” A religious phrase is “to be caught in the net of Ate” (delusion or perdition or guilt).
Pagis is found much more frequently (48 times) in the Septuagint (LXX) where it is snares both literally and figuratively (Psalms 69:22 "May their table before them become a snare; and when they are in peace, may it become a trap", ).
Pagis stresses the crafty or destructive element of the trap and the emphasis is often on the suddenness of the destruction.
Words are frequently describes as a snare...
Sin is a snare...
God is sometimes the source of snares, the psalmist recording that...
Jehovah delivers the righteous from snares:
Death is pictured as snare:
Evil men lay snares for the righteous:
Below are all the NT uses of pagis...
Guy King rightly laments...
Devil (1228) (diabolos from diabállo = accuse <> in turn from dia = through + ballo = throw) (Click in depth study of diabolos) is one who literally "throws between", picturing what the devil does. In the beginning he "threw" lies to Eve and Adam to create a gap between God and man which resulted almost immediately in a "gap" between Adam and his wife Eve. That's the devil's game plan...to wreak havoc in relationships (and churches) by "throwing between"!
Paul's point is that if men will not be the servants of God they inevitably become the captives of the Devil.
Wuest has an interesting comment that the literal meaning of "to throw through" means “to riddle one with accusations.” (Wuest, Kenneth. Golden Nuggets from the Greek New Testament: p.104. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Diabolos describes not only those one who brings a false charge against others, but also who maliciously, insidiously and with hostility disseminates statements about others.
Diabolos is used 16 times in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT, several of the uses recorded below. Note that it is not surprising that 10 of the 16 uses of diabolos are in Job 1-2!
Diabolos is applied 34 of 37 times to Satan, the god of this world, and in each case has the definite article in the Greek ("the" = defining a specific entity) and is never in the plural (the three uses below in the pastoral epistles are all plural) as when applied to men who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him.
The diabolos is a false accuser, slanderer (one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation), backbiter (malicious comment about one not present), given to malicious gossip or a calumniator (one who utters maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about, this term imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions).
There's victory for you over sin and its shame:
HAVING BEEN HELD CAPTIVE BY HIM TO DO HIS WILL: ezogremenoi (RPPMPN) hup autou eis to ekeinou thelema: (Isa 42:6,7; 49:25,26; 53:12; Mt 12:28,29; Lk 11:21; 2Pet 2:18, 19, 20) (Job 1:12; 2:6; Lk 22:31,32; Jn 13:2,27; Acts 5:3; 1Ti 1:20)
Held captive (2221) (zogreo from zoós = alive + agreúo = catch or entrap) means literally to catch alive as hunters or fishermen do their game. The idea is to bring under control and to continue to restrain. Strong's Lexicon says it means to make a prisoner of war, a good play on words since these poor individuals are indeed victims of a spiritual war in the heavenlies! It is used figuratively (or spiritually) to describe those who become live captives of the devil in a moral sense.
The passive voice indicates that the captivating influence or power comes from an source outside the one who is captivated, in this case the devil. Those who are in opposition to God’s work, whether they know it or not, are bound in a demonic deception, and are doing the devil’s work and need to be set free!
The perfect tense speaks of past completed action with continuing present effect or result. In other words, these individuals were captured alive at some point in time in the past and are still ensnared, held as a prisoner of spiritual warfare by the deceiver himself. This tense conveys the idea that the devil's intention is to keep them permanently captive. The devil snares people through clever arguments, fear, and appeals to selfish pride and ambition (appealing to our fallen sin nature). Christians should exercise a healthy awareness of (but not a preoccupation with) the participation of the Devil in the thinking of those who oppose us in the spiritual realm. We must be alert to the fact that contending for truth involves contending with spiritual powers. It follows that we must not be so naive as to think we can confront such opposition on purely human terms. On the other hand, as the Lord's bondservants we must maintain a healthy balance and not become so preoccupied with the devil's role that we lose sight of the Lord's sovereignty and omnipotence. Remember this is not a power struggle but a struggle over truth. Remember also that this verse does not instruct us to go off on "witch hunts", seeking demons behind every spiritual problem we encounter. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and the proper discernment and adequate empowerment will be supplied by the King, so that we are prepared for every good work.
Zogreo is used figuratively (spiritually) by Jesus in Luke's gospel where it refers to catching men by preaching of gospel. After showing the disciples His miraculous ability to bring about an incredible catch of fish, He said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching (zogreo = winning people for God's kingdom) men. (Lk 5:10)
Edwards notes that "God's program is to catch men alive and turn them into fishers of men; Satan's program is also to catch men alive, but then to turn them into destroyers of men. It is a rather sobering thought to realize that none of us can escape being used, whether by the Prince of peace or by the Prince of darkness. All of us are playing a part on the stage of human history, and our performance will promote either good or evil, light or darkness, Christ or Satan. There is no comfortable middle ground; no haven for the complacent and mediocre saint, though many would vainly imagine that there is.
Guy King rightly laments "One is reminded of the prodigal, in Luke 15:17, who "came to himself." He had not been himself for a long time. Benjamin Disraeli once said of W. E. Gladstone that he was "intoxicated with the exuberance of his own verbosity"; well, that prodigal, it seems, was intoxicated with the exuberance of his own conviviality - he had completely lost himself. But "when he came to himself" - he saw his utter folly, and found his way back home again. So he recovered himself; and so these parishioners of Ephesus. (2 Timothy 2:22-26 Meet Three Groups)
To do (1519) (eis) is the preposition of motion into any place or thing. In this context into the devil's will.
Will (2307)(thelema from thelo = to will with the "-ma" suffix indicating the result of the will = "a thing willed") generally speaks of the result of what one has decided. One sees this root word in the feminine name "Thelma." In its most basic form, thelema refers to a wish, a strong desire, and the willing of some event. (Note: See also the discussion of the preceding word boule for comments relating to thelema).
Zodhiates says that thelema is the "Will, not to be conceived as a demand, but as an expression or inclination of pleasure towards that which is liked, that which pleases and creates joy. When it denotes God's will, it signifies His gracious disposition toward something. Used to designate what God Himself does of His own good pleasure. (Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)
Thelema has both an objective meaning (“what one wishes to happen” or what is willed) and a subjective connotation (“the act of willing or desiring”). The word conveys the idea of desire, even a heart’s desire, for the word primarily expresses emotion instead of volition. Thus God’s will is not so much God’s intention, as it is His heart’s desire.
Thelema - 62x in 58v - Mt 6:10; 7:21; 12:50; 18:14; 21:31; 26:42; Mark 3:35; Luke 12:47; 22:42; 23:25; Jn 1:13; 4:34; 5:30; 6:38, 39, 40; 7:17; 9:31; Acts 13:22; 21:14; 22:14; Ro 1:10-note; Ro 2:18-note; Ro 12:2-note; Ro 15:32-note; 1Cor 1:1; 7:37; 16:12; 2Cor 1:1; 8:5; Gal 1:4; Ep 1:1-note, Ep 1:5-note, Ep 1:9-note, Ep 1:11-note; Ep 2:3-note; Ep 5:17-note; Ep 6:6-note; Col 1:1-note, Col 1:9-note; Col 4:12-note; 1Th 4:3-note; 1Th 5:18-note; 2Ti 1:1-note; 2Ti 2:26-note; He 10:7-note, He 10:9-note, He 10:10-note, He 10:36-note; He 13:21-note; 1Pe 2:15-note; 1Pe 3:17-note; 1Pe 4:2-note, 1Pe 4:19-note; 2Pe 1:21-note; 1Jn 2:17; 5:14; Rev 4:11-note. NAS = desire(1), desires(1), will(57).
How were they captured? A trap? Yes a trap of sorts...absolutely ANY DEVIATION from the PLUMBLINE of God's Holy Word results in WRONG THINKING & if not soon corrected will CORRUPT CHARACTER and result in WRONG BEHAVIOR. TRUTH (here EPIGNOSIS) RENEWS THEIR MIND, EXPOSING LIES & ERROR in one's thinking and thus setting the captive free (Isa 61:1, Luke 4:18) as God grants them the repentance so that they can even turn from their sin. Lord give REPENTANT HEARTS TO WES, MEREDITH, LAUREN. PLEASE.
It is a fearful thing that, because of sin and unfaithfulness, the devil can actually snare and hold a person captive...to do his will (see Jn8:44, 59). The vessel of dishonor becomes a pawn of Satan to work his evil will within the body of Christ. Such is the terrible & tragic power of sin.
Note that this verse literally read "having been taken captive by him unto the will of that one" and thus suggests several interpretations
Edwards explains that "The last part of this verse is a bit difficult to interpret. The difficulty arises in the differences between the pronouns "captive by him (autou) to do his (to ekeinou) will." Many take these pronouns to refer to the same person, the devil. This certainly is possible and makes for an easy interpretation. These men have been taken captive by the devil to do the will of the devil. The problem with this interpretation arises in the marked difference between the two personal pronouns. We would have expected Paul to maintain the same words if he was referring to the same person. With the change of pronouns there arises another possibility. The last pronoun ("his will") may refer to the next nearest antecedent, "God" (vs. 25); and so the interpretation would then be that the men have been taken captive by the devil to do God's will. In this case, Paul would be emphasizing God's divine sovereignty in the affairs of man and Satan. Satan's dealings with the Lord's people is always bound within the will of God. (Bolding added)
Guzik sums up this section "To be a servant of the Lord - a vessel of honor for Him - we must be empty, clean, and available. If we refuse to empty ourselves, clean ourselves, and make ourselves available to the Lord, we will find ourselves captive to the devil in one sense or another. May it never be!