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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
2 Timothy 2

 

 

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Verse 1

1.] Thou therefore ( οὖν follows, primarily on his own example just propounded (cf. συγκακοπάθησον below), and secondarily on that of Onesiphorus, in contrast to those who had been ashamed of and deserted him), my child, be strengthened (reff. The pres. indicates an abiding state, not a mere insulated act, as παράθου below. The verb is passive, not middle: see reff., and Fritzsche on Romans 4:20) in the grace which is in Christ Jesus ( τουτέστι διὰ τῆς χάριτος τοῦ χριστοῦ, Chrys. But more than that: the grace of Christ, the empowering influence in the Christian life, being necessary for its whole course and progress, is regarded as the element in which it is lived: cf. αὐξάνετε ἐν χάριτι, 2 Pet. ult. χάρις must not be taken, with Ambr., Calov., Mack, al., for his ministerial office), and the things which thou heardest from me with many witnesses (i.e. with the intervention, or (as Conyb.) attestation of many witnesses: διὰ (reff.) imports the agency of the witnesses as contributing to the whole matter treated of: so διὰ πολλῶν δακρύων, and διὰ προφητείας, 1 Timothy 4:14. These witnesses are not, as Chrys., Thdrt., the congregations whom Timotheus had heard the Apostle teaching ( ἅπερ ἤκουσάς μου πολλοὺς διδάσκοντος, Thdrt.), or as Clem. Alex. in Œc., testimonies from the law and prophets: nor as Heydenr., the other Apostles: much less, as he gives in another alternative, the Christian martyrs: but the presbyters and others present at his ordination, cf. 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:12; and ch. 2 Timothy 1:6. No word such as μαρτυρούμενα or βεβαιούμενα (Heydenr.) need be supplied), these deliver in trust (cf. παραθήκην above, ch. 2 Timothy 1:14) to faithful men (i.e. not merely ‘believers,’ but ‘trustworthy men,’ men who τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην φυλάξονται) such as shall be (not merely ‘are,’ but ‘shall be’—give every hope of turning out) able to teach them to (so I take ἑτέρους, not as a first, but as a second accusative after διδάξαι, the first being included in ταῦτα above) others also ( καί carries the mind on to a further step of the same process—implying ‘in their turn.’ These ἕτεροι would be other trustworthy men like themselves). The connexion of this verse with the foregoing and the following has been questioned. I believe it to be this: ‘The true keeping of the deposit entrusted to thee will involve thy handing it on unimpaired to others, who may in their turn hand it on again. But in order to this, thou must be strong in grace—thou must be a fellow-sufferer with me in hardships—thou must strive lawfully—thou must not be entangled with this life’s matters.’ So that 2 Timothy 2:2 serves to prepare him to hear of the necessity of endurance and faithful adhesion to his duty as a Christian soldier, considering that he has his deposit not only to keep, but to deliver down unimpaired. It is obviously a perversion of the sense to regard this verse us referring (as Bengel, ‘ παράθου, antequam istine ad me proticiscare’) merely to his journey to Rome—that during that time he should, &c.: the ἔσονται, and the very contemplation of a similar step on the part of these men at a future time, are against such a supposition.

Mack constructs a long argument out of this verse to shew that there are two sources of Christian instruction in the Church, written teaching and oral, and ends with affirming that those who neglect the latter for the former, have always shewn that they in reality set up their own opinion above all teaching. But he forgets that these two methods of teaching are in fact but one and the same. Scripture has been God’s way of fixing tradition, and rendering it trustworthy at any distance of time; of obviating the very danger which in this Epistle we see so imminent, viz. of one of those teachers, who were links in this chain of transmission, becoming inefficient and transmitting it inadequately. This very Epistle is therefore a warning to us not to trust oral tradition, seeing that it was so dependent on men, and to accept no way of conserving it but that which God’s providence has pointed out to us in the canonical books of Scripture.


Verses 1-26

1–26.] Exhortations to Timotheus, founded on the foregoing examples and warnings.


Verse 3

3.] Suffer hardship with me (Conyb. happily renders it, ‘Take thy share in suffering.’ The συγ- binds it to what precedes and follows, referring primarily to the Apostle himself, though doubtless having a wider reference to all who similarly suffer: see above, on the connexion of 2 Timothy 2:2), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.


Verse 4

4.] No soldier when on service is (suffers himself to be: the passive sense predominates: ‘is,’ as his normal state. Or the verb may be middle, as Ellic., ‘entangleth himself,’ and vulg., ‘implicat se’) entangled (ref.; ἐν βιαίοις ἐνπλακέντων πόνοις, Plato, Legg. vii. p. 814 e. Grot. quotes from Cicero ‘occupationibus implicatus:’ and we have in de Off. ii. 11, ‘qui contrahendis negotiis implicantur’) in the businesses of life (cf. Plato, Rep. vi. p. 500, οὐδὲ γάρ πουσχολὴ τῷ γε ὡς ἀληθῶς πρὸς τοῖς οὖσι τὴν διάνοιαν ἔχοντι κάτω βλέπειν εἰς ἀνθρώπων πραγματείας: Arrian, Epict. iii. 22 (Wetst.), ὡς ἐν παρατάξει, μήποτʼ ἀπερίσπαστον εἶναι δεῖ, ὅλον πρὸς τῇ διακονίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦοὐ προσδεδεμένον καθήκουσιν ἰδιωτικοῖς, οὐδʼ ἐμπεπλεγμένον σχέσεσιν: Ambros. de Offic. i. 36 (184), vol. iii. p. 49, ‘si is, qui imperatori militat, a susceptionibus litium, actu negotiorum forensium, venditione mercium prohibetur humanis Iegibus, quanto magis, &c.:’ Ps-Athanas. quæst. in Epistolas Pauli 117: εἰ γὰρ ἐπιγείῳ βασιλεῖ ὁ μέλλων στρατεύεσθαι οὐκ ἀρέσει, ἐὰν μὴ ἀφήσῃ πάσας τὰς τοῦ βίου φρουτίδας, πόσῳ μᾶλλον μέλλων στρατεύεσθαι τῷ ἐπουρανίῳ βασιλεῖ; see other examples in Wetst. “Vox Græca πραγμάτεια ( פרקמטיא), pro mercatura, sæpius occurrit in Pandectis Talmudicis.” Schöttgen. On the whole matter, consult Grotius’s note), that he may please him who called him to be a soldier (who originally enrolled him as a soldier: the word signifies to levy soldiers, or raise a troop, and ὁ στρατολογήσας designates the commander of such troop. So ἀντὶ τῶν ἀπολωλότων ἀνδρῶν στρατολογήσαντες ἐξ ἁπάσης φυλῆς, Dion. Hal. xi. 24. The same writer uses στρατολογία for a muster, a levy of soldiers,—vi. 44; ix. 38. The ‘cui se prohavit’ of the vulgate is unintelligible, unless as Grot. suggests, it is an error for ‘qui se probavit.’ The taking of these precepts according to the letter, to signify that no minister of Christ may have a secular occupation, is quite beside the purpose: for 1) it is not ministers, but all soldiers of Christ who are spoken of: 2) the position of the verb ἐμπλέκεται shews that it is not the fact of the existence of such occupation, but the being entangled in it, which is before the Apostle’s mind: 3) the Apostle’s own example sufficiently confutes such an idea. Only then does it become unlawful, when such occupation, from its engrossing the man, becomes a hindrance to the work of the ministry,—or from its nature is incompatible with it).


Verse 5

5.] The soldier must serve on condition of not dividing his service: now we have another instance of the same requirement: and in the conflicts of the arena there are certain laws, without the fulfilment of which no man can obtain the victory. But (the above is not the only example, but) if any one also (q. d. to give another instance) strive in the games (it is necessary to adopt a periphrasis for ἀθλῇ. That of E. V. ‘strive for masteries,’ is not definite enough, omitting all mention of the games, and by consequence not even suggesting them to the ordinary reader. The vulg. gives it ‘certat in agone:’ and Luth., merely kämpfet: so also Ostervald and Diodati: Scio,—‘lidia en los juegos publicos.’ The word ἀθλ εῖν, in the best Attic writers, means ‘to work,’ ‘to endure,’ and ἀθλ εύειν, ‘to contend in the games.’ (See however Ellic.’s note.) This usage belongs to later Greek: see Palm and Rost’s Lex.), he is not crowned (even in case of his gaining the victory? or is the word inclusive of all efforts made to get the crown,—‘he has no chance of the crown?’ rather the former, from ἀθλήσῃ below), unless he have striven (this seems to assume the getting of the victory) lawfully (according to the prescribed conditions (not merely of the contest, but of the preparation also, see Ellic). It is the usual phrase: so Galen, comm. in Hippocr. i. 15: οἱ γυμνασταὶ καὶ οἱ νομίμως ἀθλοῦντες, ἐπὶ μὲν τοῦ ἀρίστου τὸν ἄρτον μόνον ἐσθίουσιν, ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦ δείπνου τὸ κρέας: Arrian, Epict. iii. 10,— εἰ νομίμως ἤθλησας, εἰ ἔφαγες ὅσα δεῖ, εἰ ἐγυμνάσθης, εἰ τοῦ ἀλείπτου ἤκουσας (Wetst., where see more examples). Compare the parallel place, 1 Corinthians 9:24.— τί ἐστιν, ἐὰν μὴ νομίμως; οὐκ, ἐάν τις τὸν ἀγῶνα εἰσέλθῃ, ἀρκεῖ τοῦτο, οὐδὲ ἐὰν ἀλείψηται, οὐδὲ ἐὰν συμπλακῇ, ἀλλὰ ἂν μὴ πάντα τὸν τῆς ἀθλήσεως νόμον φυλάττῃ, καὶ τὸν ἐπὶ σιτίων, καὶ τὸν ἐπὶ σωφροσύνης καὶ σεμνότητος, καὶ τὸν ἐν παλαίστρᾳ, καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς διέλθοι τὰ τοῖς ἀθληταῖς προσήκοντα, οὐδέποτε στεφανοῦται. Chrys.).


Verse 6

6.] Another comparison shewing the necessity of active labour as an antecedent to reward. The husbandman who is engaged in labour (who is actually employed in gathering in the fruit: not κοπιάσαντα) must first partake of the fruits (which he is gathering in: the whole result of his ministry, not here further specified. The saying is akin to βοῦν ἀλοῶντα μὴ φιμώσεις—the right of first participation in the harvest belongs to him who is labouring in the field: do not thou therefore, by relaxing this labour, forfeit that right. By this rendering, keeping strictly to the sense of the present part., all difficulty as to the position of πρῶτον is removed. Many Commentators (Calv., E. V. marg., al., Grot., al., take πρῶτον for ‘ita demum’) not observing this have supposed, in the sense, a transposition of πρῶτον, and given it as if it were τὸν γεωργὸν δεῖ, κοπιῶντα πρῶτον, τῶν καρπῶν μεταλ., or as Wahl and Winer (so in older editions of his grammar, e.g. edn. 3, p. 458: but now, edn. 6, § 61. 5, he merely states the two renderings, without giving an opinion),— τὸν γ. τὸν θέλοντα τῶν κ. μεταλ., δεῖ πρῶτον κοπιᾷν: but in both cases κοπιάσαντα would seem to be, if not absolutely required, yet more natural. Thdrt. and Œc. understand πρῶτον of the preference which the teacher has over the taught,— πρὸ γὰρ τῶν κεκτημένων οἱ γηπόνοι μεταλαγχάνουσι τῶν καρπῶν. Ambr., Pel., Mosh. believe the bodily support of ministers to be imported by τῶν κ. μεταλ.: but Chrys. answers this well, οὐκ ἔχει λόγον· πῶς γὰρ οὐχ ἁπλῶς γεωργὸν εἶπεν, ἀλλὰ τὸν κοπιῶντα; but his own idea hardly seems to be contained in the words,— πρὸς τὴν μέλλησιν ἵνα μηδεὶς δυσχεραίνῃ, ἤδη, φησίν, ἀπολαμβάνεις, ἢ ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ κόπῳ ἡ ἀντίδοσις: and certainly there is no allusion to that of Athanasius (in De W.), that it is the duty of a teacher first to apply to himself that which he teaches to others: nor to that of Bengel, ‘Paulus Timothei animam excoluit, c. i. 6, ergo fructus ei imprimis ex Timotheo debentur’).


Verse 7

7.] Understand ( νοῖεν … “ist die innerlich tiefe, sittlich ernste Verstandesthätigkeit.” Beck, Biblische Seelenlehre, p. 56. It is the preparatory step to συνιέναι,—id. ib. note, and p. 59,—which is “ein den Zusammenhang mit seinen Grunden und Folgen begreifendes Erkennen”) what I say ( ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ παραδείγματα ἔθηκε τὸ τῶν στρατιωτῶν κ. ἀθλητῶν κ. γεωργῶν, καὶ πάντα ἁπλῶς αἰνιγματωδῶςἐπήγαγε, νόει ἃ λέγω, Chrys.: so also Thdrt., all.: not as Calv., who denies the above, “hoc non addidit propter similitudinum obscuritatem, sed ut ipse suggereret Timotheo quanto præstantior sit sub Christi auspiciis militia, et quanto amplior merces:” this would not agree with σύνεσιν δώσει): for the Lord (Christ) shall give thee thorough understanding (on σύνεσις, see citation from Beck above) in all things (i.e. thou art well able to penetrate the meaning and bearing of what I say: for thou art not left to thyself, but hast the wisdom which is of Christ to guide thee. There is perhaps a slight intimation that he might apply to this fountain of wisdom more than he did:—‘the Lord, if thou seekest it from Him’).


Verses 8-13

8–13.] This statement and substantiation of two of the leading facts of the gospel, seems, especially as connected with the exhortations which follow on it 2 Timothy 2:14 ff., to be aimed at the false teachers by whose assumption Timotheus was in danger of being daunted. The Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ were two truths especially imperilled, and indeed denied, by their teaching. At the same time these very truths, believed and persisted in, furnished him with the best grounds for stedfastness in his testimony to the Gospel, and attachment to the Apostle himself, suffering for his faithfulness to them: and on his adherence to these truths depended his share in that Saviour in whom they were manifested, and in union with whom, in His eternal and unchangeable truth, our share in blessedness depends. Remember, that Jesus Christ has been raised up from the dead (the accus. after μνημόνευε imports that it is the fact respecting Jesus Christ, not so much He Himself, to which attention is directed (see reff.). Ellic. takes exactly the other view, citing in its favour Winer, § 45. 4, who however implicitly maintains my rendering, by classing even 1 John 4:2, 2 John 1:7, with Hebrews 13:23, γινώσκετε τὸν ἀδ. τιμόθεον ἀπολελυμένον, which he renders “ihr wisset, dass … emblassen ist.” Ellic. refers to my note on 1 John 4:2, as if it were inconsistent with the rendering here: but the verb there is ὁμολογεῖν, not μνημονεύειν, which I conceive makes all the difference. According to Ellic.’s rendering, unless we refer ἐν ᾧ to Christ, which he does not, the context becomes very involved and awkward. The gen. is more usual in later Greek (see Luke 17:32; John 15:20; John 16:4; John 16:21; Acts 20:35, &c.)—but the accus. in classical, see Palm and Rost sub voce, and cf. Herod. i. 36, Æschyl. Pers. 769 (783 Dindorf), Soph. Ag. 1273, Philoct. 121, Eur. Androm. 1165 (1141 Matthiæ), &c.), (Jesus Christ, who was) of the seed of David (this clause must be taken as = τὸν ἐκ σπέρμ. δαυίδ, and the unallowable and otherwise unaccountable ellipsis of the article may probably be explained, as De W., by the words being part of a recognized and technical profession of faith. Compare Romans 1:3, which is closely parallel.

Mack’s attempt to join ἐκ σπέρμ. δ. to ἐγηγερμένον ἐκ νεκρ., ‘that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead in His flesh, as He sprung from David,’ is hardly worth refutation), according to my Gospel (‘the Gospel entrusted to me to teach,’ as in reff. Here the expression may seem to be used with reference to the false teachers,—but as in the other places it has no such reference, I should rather incline to regard it as a solemn way of speaking, identifying these truths with the preaching which had been the source of Timotheus’s belief.

Baur, in spite of ἐν ᾧ &c. following, understands this εὐαγγ. μου of the Gospel of St. Luke, as having been written under the authority of St. Paul. See Prolegg. to St. Luke’s Gospel in Vol. I. § iv. 6, note), in which (‘cujus annuntiandi munere defungens,’ Beza: see reff.) I suffer hardship (see 2 Timothy 2:3) even unto (consult Ellic.’s note and his references on μέχρι) chains (see ch. 2 Timothy 1:16) as a malefactor (‘ κακοπαθῶ, κακοῦργος—malum passionis, ut si præcessisset malum actionis,’ Bengel), but the word of God is not bound ( δεσμοῦνται μὲν αἱ χεῖρες, ἀλλʼ οὐχ ἡ γλῶττα, Chrys.: similarly Thdrt. But we shall better, though this reference to himself is not precluded (cf. ch. 2 Timothy 4:17; Acts 28:31), enlarge the words to that wider acceptation, in which he rejoices, Philippians 1:18. As regarded himself, the word of God might be said to be bound, inasmuch as he was prevented from the free proclamation of it: his person was not free, though his tongue and pen were. This more general reference Chrys. himself seems elsewhere to admit (as cited in Heydenr.): ὁ διδάσκαλος ἐδέδετο καὶ ὁ λόγος ἐπέτετο· ἐκεῖνος τὸ δεσμωτήριον ᾤκει, καὶ ἡ διδασκαλία πτερωθεῖσα πανταχόσε τῆς οἰκουμένης ἔτρεχε. The purpose of adding this seems to be, to remind Timotheus, that his sufferings and imprisonment had in no way weakened the power of the Gospel, or loosened the ties by which he (Timotheus) was bound to the service of it: hardly as Chrys.: εἰ ἡμεῖς δεδεμένοι κηρύττομεν, πολλῷ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς τοὺς λελυμένους τοῦτο ποιεῖν χρή).


Verse 10

10.] For this reason (what reason? ‘quia me vincto evangelium currit,’ says Bengel: and with this agree Huther, De W., al. But neither 1) is this sound logic, nor 2) is it in accordance with the Apostle’s usage of διὰ τοῦτοἵνα. 1) The fact, that the word of God is not bound, is clearly not the reason why he suffers these things for the elect: nor can we say with Huther, that the consciousness of this fact is that in which he endures all. De W. takes the predominant idea to be, the dispersion and success of God’s word, in and by which the Apostle is encouraged to suffer. But this would certainly, as Wolf says, render the connexion ‘dilutior et parum cohærens.’ 2) In 1 Timothy 1:16, διὰ τοῦτο ἠλεήθηνἵνα, and Philemon 1:15, διὰ τοῦτο ἐχωρίσθηἵνα, the reference of δ. τ. is evidently to what follows: cf. also Romans 4:16, 2 Corinthians 13:10. I would therefore refer the words to the following, and consider them, as in the above instances, as a marked way of indicating the reason presently to be given: ‘for this purpose, … that;’ so Chrys., Thdrt., Wolf, Wiesinger, al.) I endure all things (not merely suffer (obj.): but readiness and persistence (subj.) are implied in the word, and the universal πάντα belongs to this subj. meaning—‘I am enduring, ready to bear, all things’) for the sake of the elect (see reff., especially Titus 1:1. The Apostle does not, as De W., refer merely to those elect of God who are not yet converted, but generally to the whole category, both those who are already turned to him, and those who are yet to be turned: cf. the parallel declaration in Colossians 1:24, ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ χριστοῦὑπὲρ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἡ ἐκκλησία), that they also (as well as ourselves, with reference to what is to follow, the certainty that we, who suffer with Him, shall reign with Him:—De W. (see above) says, ‘those yet unconverted, as well as those already converted:’ and the mere καὶ αὐτοί might seem to favour this view; but it manifestly is not so) may obtain the salvation which is in (as its element and condition of existence) Christ Jesus with eternal glory (salvation here, in its spiritual presence and power— χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι, Ephesians 2:5; and glory hereafter, the full development and expansion of salvation, Romans 8:21). Faithful is the saying (see on reff.: another of those current Christian sayings, probably the utterances originally of the Spirit by those who spoke προφητείας in the Church,—and, as in 1 Timothy 3:16, bearing with it so much of balance and rhythmical arrangement, as to seem to be a portion of some hymn): for (Chrys., Œc., al., regard this γάρ as rendering a reason why the λόγος is πιστός, understanding πιστ. ὁ λ. of what has gone before, viz. the certainty that ὁ ζωῆς οὐρανίου τυχών, καὶ αἰωνίου τεύξεται. But this is most unnatural. The γάρ is not merely explicative, as Grot., Huther, al., but as in 1 Timothy 4:9, renders a reason for the πιστός,—in the assertion of the fact in well-known words: for the fact is so, that if &c.) if we died with Christ (on account of the aorist, pointing to some one definite event, the reference must be to that participation in Christ’s death which takes place at baptism in all those who are His, and which those who follow Him in sufferings emphatically shew that they then did really take on them: see Romans 6:3-4; Romans 6:8; Colossians 2:12. Certainly, if the aor. stood alone, it might be taken proleptically, looking back on life from that future day in which the συνζήσομεν will be realized: but coupled as it is with the present ὑπομένομεν and the future ἀρνησόμεθα, we can hardly take it otherwise than literally as to time, of an event already past, and if so, strictly as in the parallel Romans 6:8, where the reference is clear), we shall also live with Him (hereafter in glory): if we endure (with Him: the συν must be supplied, cf. εἴπερ συνπάσχομεν, Romans 8:17), we shall also reign with Him (see Romans 5:17; Romans 8:17. In the former pair, death and life are opposed: in this, subjection ( ὑπο- μ.) and dominion. See the interesting anecdote of Nestor, quoted from the martyrology by Grotius): if we shall deny (Him), He also will deny us (see Matthew 10:33): if we disbelieve (not, His Resurrection, as Chrys.: εἰ ἀπιστοῦμεν ὅτι ἀνέστη, οὐδὲν ἀπὸ τούτου βλάπτεται ἐκεῖνος: nor His Divinity, as Œc.(2) ὅτι θεὸς ἐστί, but Him, generally. Ellic.’s note (which see) has convinced me that ἀπιστία seems always in the N. T. to imply not ‘untrueness,’ ‘unfaithfulness,’ but definitely ‘unbelief:’ see note on Romans 3:3, in Vol. II. edn. 5), He remains faithful (to His own word cited above): for He cannot deny Himself (i.e. if we desert faith in Him, He will not break faith with us; He having declared that whosoever denies Him shall be denied by Him, and we having pledged ourselves to confess Him,—we may become unbelieving, and break our pledge, but He will not break His: as He has said, it shall surely be. See Romans 3:3. Chrys. gives a curious explanation: ἀληθής ἐστι, βέβαιός ἐστιν, ἄν τε εἴπωμεν, ἄν τε μὴ εἴπωμενἐκεῖνος γὰρ ὁ αὐτὸς μένει καὶ ἀρνουμένων καὶ μὴ ἀρνουμένων. ἀρνήσασθαι γὰρ ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται, τουτέστι, μὴ εἶναι. ἡμεις λέγομεν ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν, εἰ καὶ μὴ τὸ πρᾶγμα οὕτως ἔχει. οὐκ ἔχει φύσιν μὴ εἶναι, οὐ δυνατόν· τουτέστιν, εἰς τὸ μὴ εἶναι αὐτὸν χωρῆσαι. ἀεὶ μένει, ἀεὶ ἔστιν αὐτοῦ ἡ ὑπόστασις, μὴ τοίνυν ὡς χαριζόμενοι αὐτῷ, οὕτω διακεώμεθα, ἢ ὡς καταβλάπτοντες. But manifestly there is no such motive as this last brought forward, nor is the assertion ἐκεῖνος μένει, but ἐκ. πιστὸς μένει. Mack proposes another alternative,—‘If we fall from the faith and forfeit our own salvation, He still carries forward His own gracious will, in saving mankind by the Gospel.’ But that given above seems best to suit the context).


Verse 14

14.] These things (those which have just preceded 2 Timothy 2:8-13) call to their minds (reff.: the minds viz. of those among whom thou art ministering, as the context shews: see a similar ellipsis in Titus 3:8), testifying to them before the Lord not to contend with words (see 1 Timothy 6:4. The var. reading λογομάχει changes the whole arrangement, and attaches διαμαρτ. ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου to the preceding. The chief objections to this are 1) that ὑπομίμνησκε διαμαρτυρόμενος ἐνώπ. τοῦ κυρίου is a very lame and inconsistent junction of terms, the strong emphasis of the διαμ. κ. τ. λ. not agreeing with the far weaker word ὑπομίμνησκε: 2) that in the other places where διαμαρτύρομαι occurs in St. Paul, it precedes an exhortation, e.g. 1 Timothy 5:21; ch. 2 Timothy 4:1, and μαρτύρομαι, Ephesians 4:17),—(a thing) useful ( χρήσιμον is in apposition with the preceding sentence, as καθαρίζον in the rec. reading of Mark 7:19; see Winer, edn. 6, § 59. 9. b) for no purpose (the reading ἐπʼ οὐδέν, which has been put by,—cf. Ellic. here,—on account of the rec. illustrating St. Paul’s love of prepositional variation, does in fact illustrate it quite as much, ἐπί having dat. and accus. in the same sentence, cf. Ps. 117:9 Ed-vat [B1 def.] (3)3a &c. χρήσιμος is constructed with εἰς in LXX: e.g., Ezekiel 15:4; Wisdom of Solomon 13:11. Cf. also Wisdom of Solomon 15:15), (but practised) to (on condition of following from it as a necessary consequence as if it had been by covenant attached to it) the ruin (the opposite of οἰκοδομή, cf. καθαίρεσις, 2 Corinthians 13:10) of them that hear.


Verses 14-26

14–26.] Application of the above general exhortations to the teaching and conversation of Timotheus, especially with reference to the false teachers.


Verse 15

15.] The connexion is close:—by averting them from vain and unprofitable things, approve thine own work, so that it may stand in the day of the Lord. Strive (reff.) to present thyself (emphatic, as distinguished from those alluded to in the preceding verse) to God approved (reff.: tested by trial, and found to have stood the test. Not to be joined with ἐργάτην, as Mack), a workman (a general word, of any kind of labourer, used (see reff.) of teachers perhaps from the parable in Matthew 20) unshamed (by his work being found unworthy: cf. Philippians 1:20,— ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι, and 1 Corinthians 4:4; “cui tua ipsius conscientia nullum pudorem incutiat.” Beng. Kypke quotes from Jos. Antt. xviii. 9 [it should be xviii. 7. 1, see Moulton’s Winer, p. 296, note 1], μηδὲ δευτερεύειν ἀνεπαίσχυντον ἡγοῦ, ‘neque credas id pudore vacare, si secundum teneas locum.’ Chrys., al., would take the word actively, ‘not being ashamed of his work,’ τουτέστι, μηδὲν ὅλως αἰσχύνου πράττειν τῶν εἰς εὐσέβειαν ἡκόντων, κἂν δουλεῦσαι δέῃ, κἂν ὁτιοῦν παθεῖν, Chrys.: and so Agapetus, in Wetst., παρʼ ἄλλῳ εὑρεθέντα μηδαμῶς παρορᾷ, ἀλλὰ μανθάνει μὲν ἀνεπαισχύντως: but the above seems more according to the context. The opposite to ἐργ. ἀνεπαίσχυντος is ἐργάτης δόλιος, 2 Corinthians 11:13), rightly administering (the meaning of ὀρθοτομέω is very variously derived and explained,—‘recte secare’ being unquestionably the rendering. (1) Melanchthon, Beza, Grot., al., suppose the meaning deduced from the right division of the victims, Leviticus 1:6 ff.: (2) Vitringa (de Synagog. p. 714, De W.), Calv., al., from the cutting and distributing of bread by the steward or father of a household: ‘ac si pater alendis filiis panem in frusta secando distribueret.’ (3) Pricæus, ‘a lapicidis, quos melius ἐργάτας vocaveris quam victimarios illos. Eurip. de Neptuno Trojam ædificante, λαΐνους πύργους πέριξ ὀρθοῖς ἔτεμνε κανόσιν,’—Apuleius, ‘non, inquit, e monte meo afferam lapidem directim cœsum, i.e. ὀρθοτετμημένον. Glossarium, directum, κατὰ κανόνα ὀρθωθέν:’ (4) Thdrt. ( ἐπαινοῦμεν τῶν γεωργῶν τοὺς εὐθείας τὰς αὔλακας ἀνατέμνοντας), Lamb-Bos, al., from plowers, who are said τέμνειν τὴν γῆν, σχίζειν and ἐπισχίζειν ἀρούρας: (5) Most Commentators, from the more general form of the last explanation, the cutting a way or a road: as ‘ καινοτομεῖν, novam viam secare, nova via incedere,’ so ‘ ὀρθοτομεῖν, rectam viam secare,’ but here used transitively, the λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας being itself the ὁδός: so in Proverbs 11:5, δικαιοσύνη ἀμώμους ὀρθοτομεῖ ὁδούς, and Eurip. Rhes. 422, εὐθεῖαν λόγων τέμνων κέλευθον: Galatians 2:14, ὀρθοποδεῖν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου. So De W.: but Huther objects, and I think with reason, that in all these places the idea of a way is expressly introduced, and that without such expression we cannot supply the idea in λόγον. (6) Huther’s own view, that, the original meaning being ‘rightly to divide,’ the idea of τέμνειν was gradually lost, as in καινοτομεῖν, so that the word came to signify ‘to manage rightly,’ ‘to treat truthfully without falsifying’, seems to approach the nearest to the requirements of the context: the opposite being, as he observes, καπηλεύειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, 2 Corinthians 2:17. (7) The meaning given by Chrys. and Œc.— τέμνε τὰ νόθα, καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς σφοδρότητος ἐφίστασο καὶ ἔκκοπτε, does not seem to belong to the word. (8) It is plain that the patristic usages of it, as e.g. in the Clementine Constt. vii. 33 (Grot.) ὀρθοτομοῦντας ἐν τοῖς κυρίου δόγμασι,—Clem. Alex., Strom. vii. 16 (104), p. 896 P., τὴν ἀποστολικὴν καὶ ἐκκλησιαστικὰν ὀρθοτομίαν τῶν δογμάτων,—Greg.-Naz. apol. fugæ, pp. 23, 28 (Kypke, from Fuller), opposing to ὀρθοτομεῖν, κακῶς ὁδεύειν,—have sprung from this passage, and cannot be cited as precedents, only as interpretations) the word of the (the art. seems here better expressed: cf. 2 Timothy 2:18 below, and the usage throughout these Epistles, e.g. 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Timothy 4:3; 1 Timothy 6:5; ch. 2 Timothy 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14) truth.


Verse 16

16.] But (contrast not to the ὀρθοτομεῖν merely, but to the whole course of conduct recommended in the last verse) profane babblings (see ref. 1 Tim.) avoid (= ἐκτρέπεσθαι, 1 Timothy 6:20; so Origen has περιΐστασθαι κινδύνους (in Hammond): Joseph. B. J. ii. 8. 6, of the Essenes, τὸ ὀμνύειν αὐτοῖς περιΐσταται: Lucian, Hermotim. c. 86, οὕτως ἐκτραπήσομαι καὶ περιστήσομαι, ὥσπερ τοὺς λυττῶντας τῶν κυνῶν: Marc. Antonin. iii. 4, χρὴ μὲν οὖν καὶ τὸ εἰκῆ καὶ μάτην ἐν τῷ εἰρμῷ τῶν φαντασιῶν περιΐστασθαι: see other examples in Wetst. The meaning seems to come from a number of persons falling back from an object of fear or loathing, and standing at a distance round it. Beza’s sense, ‘cohibe, i.e. observa et velut obside, nempe ne in ecclesiam irrepant,’ has no countenance from usage): for they (the false teachers: not the κενοφωνίαι: cf. ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν below) will advance (intransitive, see reff.,—not transitive, governing ἀσεβείας in the accus.: see below) to a worse pitch of impiety (cf. ref. Jos., and Diodor. Sic. xiv. 98, ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς οὐ βουλόμενος τὸν εὐαγόραν προκόπτειν ἐπὶ πλεῖον …), and their word will eat ( νομή (pasture, ref. John. Aristot. Hist. An. 10), from νέμεσθαι ( τὸ φῦμα ἐκραγὲν ἐνέμετο πρόσω, Herod. iii. 133), is the medical term for the consuming progress of mortifying disease: cf. νομαὶ σαρκὸς θηριώδεις, Plut. Mor. p. 165 e: τὸ ἕλκος θᾶττον ποιεῖται νομήν, Polyb. i. 81. 6, and Hippocrates and Galen in Wetst. It is also used of the devastating progress of fire, as in Polyb. i. 48. 5, τὴν μὲν νομὴν τοῦ πυρὸς ἔνεργον συνέβαινε γίγνεσθαι, and xi. 5. 5, τὸ πῦρ λαμβάνει νομήν) as a gangrene ( γάγγραινα, from γράω, γραίνω, to eat into, is defined by Hippocrates (in Wetst.) to be the state of a tumour between inflammation and entire mortification— ἕπεται ταῖς μεγάλαις φλεγμοναῖς ἡ καλουμένη γάγγραινα, νέκρωσίς τε οὖσα τοῦ πάσχοντος μορίου, καὶ ἢν μὴ διὰ ταχέων τις αὐτὴν ἰάσηται, νεκροῦται ῥᾳδίως τὸ πάσχον τοῦτο μόριον, ἐπιλαμβάνει τε τὰ συνεχῆ, καὶ ἀποκτείνει τὸν ἄνθρωπον. Sometimes it is identical with καρκῖνος, a cancer): of whom is (ref.) Hymenæus (see note, 1 Timothy 1:20) and Philetus (of him nothing further is known), men who concerning the truth went astray (cf. 1 Timothy 6:21), saying that the resurrection has already taken place (cf. Tert. de resurr. carnis, c. 19, vol. ii. p. 820,—“resurrectionem quoque mortuorum manifeste adnuntiatam in imaginariam significationem distorquent, adseverantes ipsam etiam mortem spiritaliter intelligendam. Non enim hanc esse in vero quæ sit in medio dissidium carnis atque animæ, sed ignorantiam Dei, per quam homo mortuus Deo non minus in errore jacuerit quam in sepulcro. Itaque et resurrectionem eam vindicandam, qua quis adita veritate sed animatus et revivificatus Deo, ignorantiæ morte discussa, velut de sepulcro veteris hominis eruperit: … exinde ergo resurrectionem fide consecutos cum domino esse, cum eum in baptismate induerint.”

So also Irenæus, ii. 31. 2, p. 164, “esse autem resurrectionem a mortuis, agnitionem ejus quæ ab eis dicitur veritatis.” (See Ellicott’s note.) This error, which belonged to the Gnostics subsequently, may well have been already sown and springing up in the apostolic age. If the form of it was that described by Tertullian, it would be one of those instances of wresting the words of St. Paul himself (cf. Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4, al.) of which St. Peter speaks 2 Peter 3:16. See on this Aug. Ep. iv. (cxix.) 4, vol. iii. p. 206. Thdrt. (so also Pel.) gives a curious and certainly mistaken meaning,— τὰς ἐκ παιδοποιΐας διαδοχὰς ἀνάστασιν οἱ δυσώνυμοι προσηγόρευον: (so Aug. Hær. 59, de Seleucianis, vol. viii. p. 42,—“Resurrectionem non putant futuram, sed quotidie fieri in generatione filiorum:”) Schöttg. another, but merely as a conjecture,—that the resurrection of some of the bodies of the saints with Christ (Matthew 27:52) may have been by them called ‘the Resurrection of the dead’), and are overturning (ref.) the faith of some.


Verse 19

19.] Firm endurance, notwithstanding this overturning of the faith of some, of the church of God: its signs and seals. Nevertheless (cf. Ellicott) God’s firm foundation standeth (not, as E. V. ungrammatically, ‘the foundation of God standeth sure.’ But what is ὁ στερεὸς θεμ. τ. θεοῦ? Very various interpretations have been given. παρασαλεῦσαι, says Thdrt., οὐ δύνανται τὴν τῆς ἀληθείας κρηπῖδα. ὁ θεὸς γὰρ τοῦτον τέθεικε τὸν θεμέλιον: Cocceius, Michaelis, Ernesti, explain it the fundamental doctrine of the Resurrection: Ambr., the promises of God: Bengel, Vatabl., fidem Dei immotam: Bretschn., al., Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:11. Heinrichs, Rosenm., the Christian religion: Calv., Calov., Wolf, Corn.-a-lap., al., Dei electionem. Rather, as Mosh., Kypke, Heydenr., Mack, De W., Huther, Wiesinger, al., ἐκκλησία τεθεμελιωμένη ὑπὸ θεοῦ—the congregation of the faithful, considered as a foundation of a building placed by God,—the οἰκία spoken of in the next verse. So Estius: “Ipsa ecclesia rectissime firmum ac solidum Dei fundamentum vocatur, quia super petram, i.e. Christum, a Deo firmiter fundata, nullis aut Satanæ machinis aut tentationum fluctibus subverti potest aut labefactari: nam etsi quidam ab ea deficiunt, ipsa tamen in suis electis perseverat usque in finem.” He then cites 1 John 2:19; Matthew 24:24; John 10:28; Romans 8:35; Romans 8:39; and proceeds, “Ex his admodum fit verisimile, firmum Dei fundamentum intelligi fideles electos: sive, quod idem est, ecclesiam in electis.” Against the tottering faith of those just mentioned, he sets the στερεὸς θεμ., and the ἕστηκεν. It cannot be moved: Hebrews 12:28), having (“ ‘seeing it hath,’ part. with a very faint causal force, illustrating the previous declaration: cf. Donalds. Gr. § 615.” Ellic.) this seal (probably in allusion to the practice of engraving inscriptions over doors (Deuteronomy 6:9; Deuteronomy 11:20) and on pillars and foundation stones (Revelation 21:14). The seal (inscription) would indicate ownership and destination: both of which are pointed at in the two texts following) (1) The Lord knoweth (see 1 Corinthians 8:3, note: ‘novit amanter (?), nec nosse desinit,’ as Bengel) them that are His (the LXX runs: ἐπέσκεπται καὶ ἔγνω ὁ θεὸς τοὺς ὄντας αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἁγίους, καὶ προσηγάγετο πρὸς ἑαυτόν): and (2) Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord (viz. as his Lord: not exactly equivalent to ‘calleth on the name of the Lord’) stand aloof from iniquity (the passage in Isa. stands, ἀπόστητε, ἀπόστητε, ἐξέλθατε ἐκεῖθεν, καὶ ἀκαθάρτου μὴ ἅψησθε, … ἀφορίσθητε οἱ φέροντες τὰ σκεύη κυρίου. It is clearly no reason against this passage being here alluded to, that (as Conyb.) it is expressly cited 2 Corinthians 6:17. Ellic. remarks, that it is possibly in continued allusion to Numbers 16:26, ἀποσχίσθητε ἀπὸ τῶν σκηνῶν, τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῶν σκληρῶν τούτων).


Verse 20

20.] Those who are truly the Lord’s are known to Him and depart from iniquity: but in the visible church there are many unworthy members. This is illustrated by the following similitude. But (contrast to the preceding definition of the Lord’s people) in a great house (= ἐν τῇ οἰκουμένῃ πάσῃ, Chrys., who strenuously upholds that view; so also Thdrt. and the Greek Commentators, Grot., al.: but far better understood of the church, for the reason given by Calv.: “contextus quidem huc potius nos ducit, ut de ecclesia intelligamus: neque enim de extraneis disputat Paulus, sed de ipsa Dei familia:” so also Cypr., Aug., Ambr., all. The idea then is much the same as that in the parable of the drag-net, Matthew 13:47-49; not in the parable of the tares of the field, as De W.: for there it is expressly said, ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐστὶν ὁ κόσμος) there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and earthenware; and some for honour, some for dishonour (viz. in the use of the vessels themselves: not, as Mack, al., to bring honour or dishonour on the house or its inhabitants. Estius, anxious to avoid the idea of heretics being in the church, would understand the two classes in each sentence as those distinguished by gifts, and those not so distinguished: and so Corn.-a-lap., al.: but this seems alien from the context: cf. especially the next verse. On the comparison, see Ellic.’s references).


Verse 21

21.] Here the thing signified is mingled with the similitude: the voluntary act described belonging, not to the vessels, but to the members of the church who are designated by them. If then ( οὖν deduces a consequence from the similitude: q. d. ‘his positis’) any man (member of the church) shall have purified himself (not as Chrys., παντελῶς καθάρῃ: but as Bengel, ‘purgando sese exierit de numero horum:’ the ἐκ corresponds to the ἀπο below, and I have attempted to give that in the following) from among these (viz. the latter mentioned vessels in each parallel; but more especially the σκεύη εἰς ἀτιμίαν, from what follows), he shall be a vessel for honour (Chrys. remarks: ὁρᾷς ὅτι οὐ φύσεως οὐδὲ ὑλικῆς ἀνάγκης ἐστὶ τὸ εἶναι χρυσοῦν ἢ ὀστράκινον. ἀλλὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας προαιρέσεως (?); ἐκεῖ μὲν γὰρ τὸ ὀστράκινον οὐκ ἂν γένηται χρυσοῦν, οὐδὲ τοῦτο εἰς τὴν ἐκείνου καταπεσεῖν εὐτέλειαν δυνήσεται· ἐνταῦθα δὲ πολλὴ μεταβολὴ καὶ μετάστασις. σκεῦος ὀστράκινον ἦν ὁ παῦλος, ἀλλʼ ἐγένετο χρυσοῦν. σκεῦος χρυσοῦν ἦν (?) ὁ ἰούδας, ἀλλʼ ἐγένετο ὀστράκινον), hallowed (not to be joined, as Calv. and Lachmann, who expunges the comma after τιμήν,—with εἰς τιμήν, seeing that εἰς τιμήν stands absolutely in the former verse. ἡγιασμένος (reff.) is a favourite word with our Apostle to describe the saints of God), useful (see instances of the meaning of this epithet in the two N. T. reff.) for the master (of the house), prepared for every good work ( κἂν μὴ πράττῃ, ἀλλʼ ὅμως ἐπιτήδειόν ἐστι, δεκτικόν. δεῖ οὖν πρὸς πάντα παρεσκευάσθαι, κἂν πρὸς θάνατον, κἂν πρὸς μαρτύριον· κἂν πρὸς παρθενίαν, κἂν πρὸς ταῦτα πάντα. Chrys.).


Verse 22

22.] Exhortations, taken up again from 2 Timothy 2:16, on the matter of which the intervening verses have been a digression. But (contrast to the last-mentioned character, 2 Timothy 2:21, in the introduction of νεωτ. ἐπιθ.) youthful lusts (not ‘cupiditates rerum novarum,’ as Salmasius; see against him Suicer, vol. i. p. 1167,— νεωτερικαὶ οὐχ αὗται εἰσὶν αἱ τῆς πορνείας μόνον, ἀλλὰ πᾶσα ἐπιθυμία ἄτοπος, νεωτερική. ἀκουέτωσαν οἱ γεγηρακότες, ὅτι οὐ δεῖ τὰ τῶν νεωτέρων ποιεῖν. κἂν ὑβριστὴς ᾖ τις, κἂν δυναστείας ἐρᾷ, κἂν χρημάτων, κἂν σωμάτων, κἂν ὁτουοῦν δήποτε, νεωτερικὴ ἡ ἐπιθυμία, ἀνόητος· οὔπω τῆς καρδίας βεβηκυίας οὐδὲ τῶν φρενῶν ἐν βάθει τεθεισῶν, ἀλλʼ ᾐωρημένων, ἀνάγκη ταῦτα πάντα γίινεσθαι. Chrys.; and Thdrt., τουτέσττρυφήν, γέλωτος ἀμετρίαν, δόξαν κενήν, καὶ τὰ τούτοις προσόμοια. See also Basil. Cæs. in Suicer, as above) fly from, but (contrast to the hypothesis of the opposite course to that recommended above) follow after righteousness (moral rectitude, as contrasted with ἀδικία, 2 Timothy 2:19; not, as Calov., ‘the righteousness which is by faith;’ far better Calvin: ‘hoc est, rectam vivendi rationem.’ See the parallel, 1 Timothy 6:11), faith, love, peace with ( μετά belongs to εἰρήνην, not to δίωκε; cf. Hebrews 12:14, εἰρήνην διώκετε μετὰ πάντων: also Romans 12:18) those who call upon the Lord (Christ, see 1 Corinthians 1:2) out of a pure heart (these last words belong to ἐπικαλουμένων, and serve to designate the earnest and single-minded, as contrasted with the false teachers, who called on Him, but not out of a pure heart: cf. ch. 2 Timothy 3:5; 2 Timothy 3:8, and especially Titus 1:15-16. Chrys. draws as an inference from this, μετὰ δὲ τῶν ἄλλων οὐ χρὴ πρᾶον εἶναι, which is directly against 2 Timothy 2:25; Thdrt. far better, drawing the distinction between love and peace: ἀγαπᾶν μὲν γὰρ ἅπαντας δυνατόν, ἐπειδήπερ τοῦτο καὶ ὁ εὐαγγελικὸς παρακελεύεται νόμος, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν· εἰρηνεύειν δὲ οὐ πρὸς ἅπαντας ἔνεστι, τῆς γὰρ κοινῆς τοῦτο προαιρέσεως δεῖται· τοιοῦτοι δὲ πάντες οἱ ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας τὸν δεσπότην ἐπικαλούμενοι. See Romans 12:18).


Verse 23

23.] But (contrast again to the hypothesis of the contrary of the last exhortation) foolish (Titus 3:9) and undisciplined ( ἀπαίδευτος can hardly be wrested from its proper sense and made to mean ‘unprofitable πρὸς παιδείαν,’ but, as in reff., must mean lacking παιδεία, shewing want of wholesome discipline. Grot. limits it too narrowly, when he says, “Intelligit hic Paulus quæstiones immodestas: nam et Græci pro ἀκόλαστον dicunt ἀπαίδευτον (sine disciplina): quia idem est κολάζειν et παιδεύειν”) questionings decline (reff.), being aware that they gender strifes (reff.): but (contrast to the fact of μάχαι) the (better than a, as De W. The meaning being much the same, and δοῦλον in the emphatic place representing τὸν δοῦλον, the definite art., in rendering, gives the emphasis, and points out the individual servant, better than the indefinite) servant of the Lord (Jesus; see 1 Corinthians 7:22. It is evident from what follows, that the servant of the Lord here, in the Apostle’s view, is not so much every true Christian,—however applicable such a maxim may be to him also,—but the minister of Christ, as Timotheus was: cf. διδακτικόν, &c. below) must not strive (the argument is in the form of an enthymeme:—‘propositionem ab experientia manifestam relinquit. Assumptio vero tacitam sui probationem includit, eamque hujusmodi: servum oportet imitari Dominum suum.’ Estius), but be gentle (ref.) towards all, apt to teach (ref.:—so E. V. well: for, as Bengel, ‘hoc non solum soliditatem et facilitatem in docendo, sed vel maxime patientiam et assiduitatem significat.’ In fact these latter must be, on account of the contrast which the Apostle is bringing out, regarded as prominent here), patient of wrong (so Conyb., and perhaps we can hardly find a better expression, though ‘wrong’ does not by any means cover the meaning of the κακόν: ‘long-suffering’ would be unobjectionable, were it not that we have μακρόθυμος, to which that word is already appropriated. Plutarch, Coriolan. c. 15, says, that he did not repress his temper, οὐδὲ τὴν ἐρημίᾳ ξύνοικον, ὡς πλάτων ἔλεγεν, αὐθάδειαν εἰδὼς ὅτι δεῖ μάλιστα διαφεύγειν ἐπιχειροῦντα πράγμασι κοινοῖς καὶ ἀνθρώποις ὁμιλεῖν, καὶ γενέσθαι τῆς πολλὰ γελωμένης ὑπʼ ἐνίων ἀνεξικακίας ἐραστήν), in meekness correcting (not ‘instructing,’ see reff., and note on ἀπαιδεύτους, 2 Timothy 2:23) those who oppose themselves (better than as Ambrst., ‘eos qui diversa sentiunt:’ to take the general meaning of διατίθεσθαι, satisfies the context better, than to supply τὸννοῦν. The Vulg., ‘eos qui resistunt veritati,’ particularizes too much in another way), if at any time (literally, ‘lest at any time:’ but μήποτε in later Greek sometimes loses this aversative meaning and is almost equivalent to εἴποτε. Cf. Viger, p. 457, where the annotator says of μήποτε, ‘vocula tironibus sæpissime crucem figens, cum significat fortasse, vel si quando,’ and he then cites this passage. The account to be given of the usage is that, from μή being commonly used after verbs of fearing, &c.,—then after verbs expressing anxiety of any kind ( φροντίζω, μὴ … Xen.: σκοπῶ, μὴ … Plato: ὑποπτεύειν, μὴ … Xen.: αἰσχύνομαι, μὴ … Plato) its proper aversative force by degrees became forgotten, and thus it, and words compounded with it, were used in later Greek in sentences where no such force can be intended. De W. refers to Kypke for examples of this usage from Plut. and Athenæus: but Kypke does not notice the word here at all) God may give them repentance (because their consciences were impure (see above on 2 Timothy 2:22) and lives evil. Cf. Ellic.’s remarks on μετάν.) in order to the knowledge of (the) truth (see note, 1 Timothy 2:4), and they may awake sober (from their moral and spiritual intoxication: so ἐκνήφ., in ref. 1 Cor., and this same word in Jos.: the θρῆνοι there, as the ensnarement by the devil here, being regarded as a kind of intoxication. There is no one word in English which will express ἀνανήψαι: Conyb. has paraphrased it by ‘escape, restored to soberness’ (‘return to soberness,’ Ellic.): perhaps the E. V., ‘recover themselves,’ is as near an approach to the meaning as we can get. We have the word used literally by Plutarch, Camillus, c. 23: ὁ κάμιλλοςπερὶ μέσας τὰς νύκτας προσέμιξε τῷ χάρακιἐκταράττων ἀνθρώπους κακῶς ὑπὸ μέθης κ. μόλις ἐκ τῶν ὕπνων ἀναφέροντας πρὸς τὸν θόρυβον. ὀλίγοι μὲν οὖν ἀνανήψαντες ἐν τῷ φόβῳ κ. διασκευασάμενοι, τοὺς περὶ τὸν κάμιλλον ὑπέστησαν.… Sir Thomas North renders it, ‘There were some notwithstanding did bustle up at the sudden noise.’ See also examples in Wetst.) out of the snare of the devil (gen. subj., ‘the snare which the devil laid for them.’ There is properly no confusion of metaphor, the idea being that these persons have in a state of intoxication been entrapped, and are enabled, at their awaking sober, to escape. But the construction is elliptic, ἀνανήψωσιν ἐκ = ἐκφύγωσιν ἀνανήψαντες ἐκ), having been (during their spiritual μέθη) taken captive by him unto (for the fulfilment of, in pursuance of) the will of Him (viz. God: that Other, indicated by ἐκείνου. Thus I am now persuaded the words must be rendered: αὐτοῦ, referring to the devil, and it being signified that the taking captive of these men by him only takes place as far as God permits; according to His will. Rendering it thus, as do Aret., Estius, and Ellicott, I do not hold the other view, which makes αὐτοῦ and ἐκείνου both refer to the devil, to be untenable. I therefore give my note much as it stood before, that the student may have both sides before him. The difficulty is of course to determine whether the pronouns are used of the same person, or of different persons. From the Greek expositors downwards, some have held a very different rendering of the words from either of those here indicated: Thl. e.g.,— ἐν πλάνῃ, φησί, νήψονται, ἀλλὰ ζωγρηθέντες ὑπὸ θεοῦ εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα, τουτέστι τοῦ θεοῦ, ἴσως ἀνανήψουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ὑδάτων τῆς πλάνης. This, it is true, does not get rid of the difficulty respecting the pronouns, but it pointed a way towards doing so: and thus Wetst., Bengel, and Mack, understand αὐτοῦ to apply to the δοῦλος κυρίου,— ἐκείνου to God—‘taken prisoners by God’s servant according to His will.’ (Bengel however, as Beza, Grot., joins εἰς τὸ ἐκ. θέλ. with ἀνανήψωσιν, which is unnatural, leaving ἐζωγρ. ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ standing alone.) The great objection to this is, the exceeding confusion which it introduces into the figure, in representing men who are just recovering their sense and liberty, as ἐζωγρημένοι,—and in applying that participle, occurring as it does just after the mention of παγίς, not to that snare, but to another which does not appear at all. Aret. and Estius proposed the rendering given above;—‘taken captive by the devil according to God’s will,’ i.e. as Est., ‘quamdiu Deus voluerit, cujus voluntati nec diabolus resistere potest.’ De W. charges this with rendering εἰς as if it were κατά, but the charge is not just: for the permitting the devil to hold them captive, on this view, would be strictly εἰς, ‘in pursuance of,’ ‘so as to follow,’ God’s purpose. The real objection perhaps is, that it introduces a new and foreign element, viz. the fact that this capture is overruled by God—of which matter there is here no question. There is no real difficulty whatever in the application of αὐτοῦ and ἐκείνου to the same person. Kühner, § 629, anm. 3, gives from Plato, Cratyl. p. 430, δεῖξαι αὐτῷ ἂν μὲν τύχῃ, ἐκείνου εἰκόνα, ἂν δὲ τύχῃ, γυναικός (where the reason for the use of ἐκείνου, viz. to emphasize the pronoun, is precisely as here: see below): from Lysias, c. Eratosth. p. 429, ἕως ὁ λεγόμενος ὑπʼ ἐκείνου καιρὸς ἐπιμελῶς ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ ἐτηρήθη (which cases of ἐκεῖνος followed by αὐτός must not be dismissed, as Ellic., as inapplicable: they shew at all events that there was no absolute objection to using the two pronouns of the same person. See below). But he does not give an account of the idiom, which seems to be this: ἐκεῖνος, from its very meaning, always carries somewhat of emphasis with it; it is therefore unfit for mere reflexive or unemphatic use, and accordingly when the subject pointed out by ἐκεῖνος occurs in such unemphatic position, ἐκεῖνος is replaced by αὐτός. On the other hand, where emphasis is required, ἐκεῖνος is repeated: e.g. Soph. Aj. 1039, κεῖνος τὰ κείνου στεργέτω, κἀγὼτάδε. And this emphatic or unemphatic use is not determined by priority of order, but by logical considerations. So here in ἐζωγρημένοι ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ, the αὐτοῦ is the mere reflex of διαβόλου which has just occurred,—whereas in εἰς τὸ ἐκεινου θέλημα, the ἐκείνου would, according to this rendering, bring out and emphasize the danger and degradation of these persons, who had been, in their spiritual μέθη, just taken captive at the pleasure of ἐκεῖνος, their mortal foe. Still, it now seems to me it is better to adhere to the common meaning of the two pronouns, even though it should seem to introduce a new idea. The novelty however may be somewhat removed by remembering that God’s sovereign power as the giver of repentance was already before the Apostle’s mind).

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/2-timothy-2.html. 1863-1878.

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