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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Timothy 2:4

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

Adam Clarke Commentary

No man that warreth entangleth, etc. - It is well remarked by Grotius, on this passage, that the legionary soldiers among the Romans were not permitted to engage in husbandry, merchandise, mechanical employments, or any thing that might be inconsistent with their calling. Many canons, at different times, have been made to prevent ecclesiastics from intermeddling with secular employments. The who will preach the Gospel thoroughly, and wishes to give full proof of his ministry, had need to have no other work. He should be wholly in this thing, that his profiting may appear unto all. There are many who sin against this direction. They love the world, and labor for it, and are regardless of the souls committed to their charge. But what are they, either in number or guilt, compared to the immense herd of men professing to be Christian ministers, who neither read nor study, and consequently never improve? These are too conscientious to meddle with secular affairs, and yet have no scruple of conscience to while away time, be among the chief in needless self-indulgence, and, by their burdensome and monotonous ministry, become an incumbrance to the Church! Do you inquire: In what sect or party are these to be found? I answer: In All. Idle drones: -

Fruges consumere nati,

"Born to consume the produce of the soil,"

disgrace every department in the Christian Church. They cannot teach because they will not learn.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-timothy-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life - Having alluded to the soldier, and stated one thing in which the Christian minister is to resemble him, another point of resemblance is suggested to the mind of the apostle. Neither the minister nor the soldier is to be encumbered with the affairs of this life, and the one should not be more than the other. This is always a condition in becoming a soldier. He gives up his own business during the time for which he is enlisted, and devotes himself to the service of his country. The farmer leaves his plow, and the mechanic his shop, and the merchant his store, and the student his books, and the lawyer his brief; and neither of them expect to pursue these things while engaged in the service of their country. It would be wholly impracticable to carry on the plans of a campaign, if each one of these classes should undertake to prosecute his private business. See this fully illustrated from the Rules of War among the Romans, by Grotius, “in loc.” Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry, or to engage in any husbandry or trade; and they were forbidden to act as tutors to any person, or curators to any man‘s estate, or proctors in the cause of other men. The general principle was, that they were excluded from those relations, agencies, and engagements, which it was thought would divert their minds from that which was to be the sole object of pursuit. So with the ministers of the gospel. It is equally improper for them to “entangle” themselves with the business of a farm or plantation; with plans of speculation and gain, and with any purpose of worldly aggrandizement. The minister of the gospel accomplishes the design of his appointment only when he can say in sincerity, that he “is not entangled with the affairs of this life;” compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 9:25-27.

That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier - That is, him who has enlisted him, or in whose employ he is. His great object is to approve himself to him. It is not to pursue his own plans, or to have his own will, or to accumulate property or fame for himself. His will is absorbed in the will of his commander, and his purpose is accomplished if he meet with his approbation. Nowhere else is it so true that the will of one becomes lost in that of another, as in the case of the soldier. In an army it is contemplated that there shall be but one mind, one heart, one purpose - that of the commander; and that the whole army shall be as obedient to that as the members of the human body are to the one will that controls all. The application of this is obvious. The grand purpose of the minister of the gospel is to please Christ. He is to pursue no separate plans, and to have no separate will, of his own; and it is contemplated that the whole “Corps” of Christian ministers and members of the churches shall be as entirely subordinate to the will of Christ, as an army is to the orders of its chief.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-timothy-2.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Timothy 2:4

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life.

Roman soldiers

were not allowed to marry or to engage in any husbandry or trade; and they were forbidden to act as tutors to any person, or curators to any man’s estate, or proctor in the cause of other men. The general principle was, that they were excluded from those relations, agencies, and engagements, which it was thought would divert their minds from that which was to be the sole object of pursuit. (A. Barnes.)

The soldier of Jesus Christ, enduring, and unentangled

(2 Timothy 2:3-4):--Soldiers read and scan attentively the military orders which are put forth from time to time by their commanding officers. Let us see what, in the articles of Christian warfare, are placed here for our instruction to-day.

I. The Christian soldier is to endure suffering for Christ. This is the true rendering of the expression, “Endure hardness.” It means, suffer or endure for Christ’s sake. The faithful soldier never deserts his duty. The hardships on the battle-field are fearful, but never, in his thought, unendurable. Officers in the Crimean war (as they themselves have told me) had for weeks nothing else than the hard rock for their pillow, and the sky (often obscured by deluging rain clouds) for their ceiling. Yet they “endured” it, and the soldiers “endured” it with them, and thus they “suffered” or endured hardness together, as “good soldiers” under a gracious queen!

1. The good soldier of Jesus Christ will often “endure” suffering by reproaches for Christ’s name.

2. And you must not wonder, if you have to endure persecution also, by taunts openly spoken in your hearing.

II. That Christian soldiers are not to “entangle themselves with the affairs of this life.”

1. The Christian is a warrior--is a “man that warreth.” There is the daily watch to he kept over yourself, and to bar out Satan, and to keep out the world. Ay, and all is not done even then, for there are those occasional surprises, when the enemy would pounce upon us from an ambush; for the Christian knows that sometimes he is vigorously assaulted at the time, and from the point where he thought injury impossible, and when he deemed himself quite secure. Then, too, there is the well planned attack, when Satan brings all his legionaries to the fight, and the hosts of temptations are directed against you with unceasing violence.

2. Well, then, be mindful you do not entangle yourself. You need not be entangled--if you become so, you entangle yourself.

I answer--

1. By watchfulness against first dangers. You know in an army, “pickets” are sent to the very outskirts of the camp, who give signal of the earliest beginning of any attack. Be you always on your guard; let conscience have fidelity and watchfulness, ever on the alert to give notice of the least cause of danger.

2. Then, next, daily prayer is as needful to a Christian soldier as daily food is to the winner of the earthly fight.

3. And, lastly, you will do well to make a profession. A man is just as brave in fustian as in full regimentals, but it is a fact long ago established, that the ornament and distinctive dress are extremely useful. (Geo. Venables.)

The military discipline

1. I begin with the particular matter suggested by the apostle; viz., the putting off or excision of the world, as an interruptive and disqualifying power. The only way to make great soldiership, as the military commander well understands, is to take his men completely out of the home world and have them circumscribed and shut in by drill, as being mortgaged in body and life for their country.. Trained to flinch at nothing, and suffer anything, he makes them first impassive, and so, brave. And under this same law it is that all Christian disciples are required to strip for the war, throwing off all their detentions, all the seductions of business, property, pleasure, and affection. All such matters must now drop into secondary places, for the understanding is, that no one gets the great heart, or becomes in any sense a hero, till his very life is drunk up in his commander, and his supreme care to please him that hath chosen him to be a soldier.

2. Consider next how the military discipline raises spirit and high impulse by a training under authority, exact and absolute. Does it reduce the soldiers and all the subordinate commanders of an army to mere cyphers, when they are required to march, and wheel, and lift every foot, and set every muscle by the word of authority; when even the music is commandment, and to feed, and sleep, and not sleep are by requirement? Why, the service rightly maintained invigorates every manly quality rather; for they are in a great cause, moving with great emphasis, having thus great thoughts ranging in them and, it may be, great inspirations. God’s all dominant, supreme authority is our noblest educator.

3. How often is it imagined by outside beholders, or felt by slack-minded, self-indulgent disciples, that the military stringency of the Christian life is a condition of bondage. Liberty is not the being let alone, or allowed to have everything oar own way. If it were, the wild beasts would be more advanced in it than all states and peoples. No, there is no proper liberty but under rule, and in the sense of rule. It holds high sisterhood with law, nay, it is twin-born with law itself.

4. Ungenial and repulsive as the law of the camp may be, there is no such thing in it as enduring hardness for hardness’ sake, no peremptory commandment for commandment’s sake. Such kind of discipline would not be training, but extirpation rather. And yet how many of us Christian disciples fall into notions of Christian self-denial that include exactly this mistake. As if it were a proper Christian thing to be always scoring, and stripping, and mortifying ourselves. The truth is, that our human nature is made to go a great deal more heroically than some of us think; and our soldiers in the field are just now making this discovery. Why, if the fires of patriotic impulse can help our sons and fathers in the field to rejoice in so great sacrifice for their country, what pain can there be to us in our painstakings, what loss in our losses, when the love of God and of His Son is truly kindled in us?

5. The military discipline has as little direct concern to beget happiness, as it has to compel self-abnegation. It is never altogether safe for such as we to be simply happy, and that may be the reason why the best and solidest of us never are.

6. There is yet one other point of this military analogy, where in fact it is scarcely any proper analogy at all, but a kind of universal law, running through all kinds of mortal endeavour, secular, moral, mental, and spiritual; viz., that whatever we get, we must somehow fight for it. What begins in the conflicts of tribes and empires runs down through all kinds of experience. Fighting a good fight is the only way to finish the course, and the crown of glory comes in nowhere, save at the end. (H. Bushnell, D. D.)

The Christian warfare

What are the things with which we are in danger of entangling ourselves?

1. Doubtless we are in the greatest danger from our sins and especially from our besetting sin, i.e., that peculiar sin to which each one is liable either from some natural bias, or from acquired habit arising out of the evil within. We are in danger of entangling ourselves with our sins--

2. But the Christian’s dangers arise not only from his sins, but also from the ordinary affairs of daily life. These are more especially meant in the text. And what snare can be greater? Actual sin we may generally know to be sin. But in the affairs of this life, our daily occupations and our lawful enjoyments, it is often hard to find where the entanglement begins. If as moralists say and as experience proves, the difference between things lawful and unlawful is frequently one of degree, it must require both an enlightened conscience and much self-examination to ascertain the middle path of safety. Then keep as your safeguard the motive the text supplies: “to please Him who hath chosen you to be a soldier.” It is possible, we may think we do God service by acts which a more enlightened judgment would convince us do not; we cannot mistake a sincere desire to please Him. The old Crusader who, his heart aroused by the preaching of a Bernard or a Peter, laid his hand on his breast and swore to scare away the infidel from the holy sepulchre by his good broadsword, needed more light to learn that “our weapons are not carnal”; and yet who can doubt his desire to please his Saviour? Let us, then, see to it that we have this motive--Am I desirous to please Him who hath chosen me to be a soldier? (G. Huntingdon, M. A.)

The affairs of this life may entangle us

1. From weakness of judgment.

2. From inordinate affection.

3. From the rebellion of the will. Let us use all helps to avoid the danger; and

Not entangled with the world

St. Paul does not suggest that Christians should keep aloof from the affairs of this life, which would be a flat contradiction of what he teaches elsewhere (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). He has a duty to perform “in the affairs of this life,” but in doing it he is not to be entangled in them. They are means, not ends; and must be made to help him on, not suffered to keep him back. If they become entanglements instead of opportunities, he will soon lose that state of constant preparation and alertness which is the indispensable condition of success. (A. Plummer, D. D.)

Carnal ease not becoming a soldier

Milton excuses Oliver Cromwell’s want of bookish application in his youth thus: “It did not become that hand to wax soft in literary ease which was to be inured to the use of arms and hardened with asperity; that right arm to be softly wrapped up amongst the birds of Athens, by which thunderbolts were soon afterwards to be hurled among the eagles which emulate the sun.” Carnal ease and worldly wisdom are not becoming in the soldier of Jesus Christ. He has to wrestle against principalities and powers, and has need of sterner qualities than those which sparkle in the eyes of fashion or adorn the neck of elegance. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Wholly a soldier

Let not the minister of the gospel have one foot in the temple and the other in the curia. (Melancthon.)

Military service

Those who regard relationship are not fit for military service. (Tamil Proverb.)

Devotion to duty

The Countess of Aberdeen, speaking at Millseat, said, “If you have noticed Mr. Gladstone as I have done, he considers it a sacred duty never to think any part of his time his own while he is in office. He considers he has no right to have anything to do with his own private affairs. He has told me himself that he never reads a book which he does not think will help in some way to prepare his mind for the work which he has to do for the country. He never takes any relaxation, any recreation, but what he thinks is just necessary to prepare him in doing the work of his country. It is a life of hard and coutinuous work, and yet we all look upon that as the most honourable place in the country, that of being absolutely the servants of the country.” (British Weekly.)

That he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

That I may please Him

As we read his epistles, we feel that we know St. Paul better even than those who saw his face or heard his voice; and more and more the consciousness of his greatness becomes impressed upon us. There are two things in this greatness of his which strike us most forcibly. The first is his success in living the Christian life. What was the secret of this strength and success, making St. Paul’s life so different from the lives of other men? Another thing which strikes us, as we read his writings, is his deep spirituality. What was the secret of this spirituality? Perhaps the text wilt furnish us with an answer. There you have the ringing key-note of St. Paul’s whole life, the one thought that was ever uppermost in his mind, “‘That I may please Him.” There are three aims, or motives, under which men act, and these three give birth to three different kinds of lives. Each of these principles of action is exclusive.

I. Living to please self. This is the keynote of most lives--the central force into which they resolve themselves when they are analysed and dissected. The principle first manifests itself when the unconscious life of childhood passes into the conscious life of manhood or womanhood.

II. The second type of life is that in which the first aim is to please others. The highest good, some say, is to sacrifice all for selfish pleasure. The highest good, say others, is to sacrifice all to gain the approbation and admiration of the world. Some men will give honour and reputation for gold. Others will give gold for honour and reputation. Here you have the distinction between these two motives.

III. From the slavery of these two motives--living to please self, and living to please others--let us now turn to the glorious liberty of the third--St. Paul’s motive--living to please Christ. The Christian religion is different from all other religions in this one respect: it is founded, not upon a system, but upon a person. Remember that this is not a dead person who lived eighteen hundred years ago, and then went back to heaven. It is not the memory of a life. It is a present life. II is a living person--“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” Here is the fountain of spirituality--the constant contact of heart and soul with the living Christ. We Christians are men of but one principle. We, with that feeling of loyalty in our hearts to Christ, have hut one simple rule of action: Will it please Him? (H. Y. Satterlee, D. D.)

One mind rules the army

Nowhere else is it so true that the will of one becomes lost in that of another as in the case of the soldier. In an army it is contemplated that there shall be but one mind, one heart, one purpose--that of the commander; and that the whole army shall be as obedient to that as the members of the human body are to the one will that controls all. The application of this is obvious. (A. Barnes.)

Heart devotion to Christ

Ofttimes a commander is so beloved and idolised by his soldiers, that they know no higher wish than to please him for his own sake. A French soldier lay sorely wounded on the field of battle. When the surgeons were probing the wound in the breast to find the bullet, the soldier said: “A little deeper, gentlemen, and you will find the emperor.” So heart-deep was his devotion to his captain. But there never, never was a captain who so held the heart and charmed the love of His soldiers as Immanuel does. For Him they fight, for Him they live, for Him they suffer, and for Him they die! if only they may “please Him who hath called them to be a soldier.” This Commander loves to mention his beloved “braves” in His despatches, and these are kept as a book of remembrance. (J. J. Wray.)

Duty more than safety

In evil times it fares best with them that care most careful about duty, and least about safety. (J. Hammond.)

Erratic soldiers

Erratic Christians, who dash about like Bashi-Bazouks, working according; to no law save the bidding of their own caprice, are sorry specimens of soldiers. (W. Landels, D. D.)

Obey orders and leave results

When Stonewall Jackson, who was personally a very tender man, was asked whether he had no compunctions in shelling a certain town, which had been threatened unless it surrendered, he replied, “None whatever. What business had I with results? My duty was to obey orders.” (H. O. Mackey.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Timothy 2:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-timothy-2.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

No man that warreth,.... Who is a soldier, and gives himself up to military service, in a literal sense: the Vulgate Latin version, without any authority, adds, "to God"; as if the apostle was speaking of a spiritual warfare; whereas he is illustrating a spiritual warfare by a corporeal one; and observes, that no one, that is in a military state,

entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; with civil affairs, in distinction from military ones. The Roman soldiers might not follow any trade or business of life, or be concerned in husbandry, or merchandise of any sort, but were wholly to attend to military exercises, and to the orders of their general; for to be employed in any secular business was reckoned an entangling of them, a taking of them off from, and an hindrance to their military discipline: and by this the apostle suggests that Christ's people, his soldiers, and especially his ministers, should not he involved and implicated in worldly affairs and cares; for no man can serve two masters, God and mammon; but should wholly give up themselves to the work and service to which they are called; and be ready to part with all worldly enjoyments, and cheerfully suffer the loss of all things, when called to it, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel:

that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier; his captain, or general, who has enlisted him, enrolled and registered him among his soldiers; whom to please should be his chief concern; as it should be the principal thing attended to by a Christian soldier, or minister of the Gospel, not to please men, nor to please himself, by seeking his own ease and rest, his worldly emoluments and advantages, but to please the Lord Christ, in whose book his name is written.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-timothy-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of b [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

(b) With affairs of household, or other things that belong to other ordinary businesses.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-timothy-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

“No one while serving as a soldier.”

the affairs of (this) life — “the businesses of life” [Alford]; mercantile, or other than military.

him who hath chosen him — the general who at the first enlisted him as a soldier. Paul himself worked at tent-making (Acts 18:3). Therefore what is prohibited here is, not all other save religious occupation, but the becoming entangled, or over-engrossed therewith.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-timothy-2.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

No soldier on service (ουδεις στρατευομενοςoudeis strateuomenos). “No one serving as a soldier.” See note on 1 Corinthians 9:7 for this old verb and 2 Corinthians 10:3; 1 Timothy 1:18 for the metaphorical use.

Entangleth himself (εμπλεκεταιempleketai). Old compound, to inweave (see Matthew 27:29 for πλεκωplekō), in N.T. only here and 2 Peter 2:20. Present middle (direct) indicative.

In the affairs (ταις πραγματειαιςtais pragmateiais). Old word (from πραγματευομαιpragmateuomai Luke 19:13), business, occupation, only here in N.T.

Of this life (του βιουtou biou). No “this” in the Greek, “of life” (course of life as in 1 Timothy 2:2, not existence ζωηzōē).

Him who enrolled him as a soldier (τωι στρατολογησαντιtōi stratologēsanti). Dative case after αρεσηιaresēi (first aorist active subjunctive of αρεσκωareskō to please, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, purpose clause with ιναhina) of the articular first aorist active participle of στρατολογεωstratologeō literary Koiné{[28928]}š word (στρατολογοςstratologos from στρατοςstratos and λεγωlegō), only here in N.T.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/2-timothy-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

That warreth ( στρατευόμενος )

Better, when engaged in warfare. Rev. no soldier on service. In Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 10:3. In Pastorals only here and 1 Timothy 1:18.

Entangleth himself ( ἐμπλέκεται )

Only here and 2 Peter 2:20(see note). This has been made an argument for clerical celibacy.

In the affairs of this life ( ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματίαις )

Better, affairs of life. Not as A.V. verse implies, in contrast with the affairs of the next life, but simply the ordinary occupations of life. In N.T., βίος means either means of subsistence, as Mark 12:44; Luke 8:43; 1 John 3:17; or course of life, as Luke 8:14. Βίος PoHim who hath chosen him to be a soldier ( τῷ στρατολογήσαντι )

N.T.oolxx. Better, enrolled him as a soldier.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/2-timothy-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

No man that warreth entangleth himself - Any more than is unavoidable. In the affairs of this life - With worldly business or cares. That - Minding war only, he may please his captain. In this and the next verse there is a plain allusion to the Roman law of arms, and to that of the Grecian games. According to the former, no soldier was to engage in any civil employment; according to the latter, none could be crowned as conqueror, who did not keep strictly to the rules of the game.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-timothy-2.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4No man who warreth He continues to make use of the metaphor which he had borrowed from warfare. Yet, strictly speaking, he formerly called Timothy “a soldier of Christ” metaphorically; but now he compares profane warfare with spiritual and Christian warfare in this sense. “The condition of military discipline is such, that as soon as a soldier has enrolled himself under a general, he leaves his house and all his affairs, and thinks of nothing but war; and in like manner, in order that we may be wholly devoted to Christ, we must be free from all the entanglements of this world.”

With the affairs of life By “the affairs of life”, (159) he means the care of governing his family, and ordinary occupations; as farmers leave their agriculture, and merchants their ships and merchandise, till they have completed the time that they agreed to serve in war. We must now apply the comparison to the present subject, that every one who wishes to fight under Christ must relinquish all the hindrances and employments of the world, and devote himself unreservedly to the warfare. In short, let us remember the old proverb, Hoc age , (160) which means, that in the worship of God, we ought to give such earnestness of attention that nothing else should occupy our thoughts and feelings. The old translation has, “No man that fights for God,” etc. But this utterly destroys Paul’s meaning.

Here Paul speaks to the pastors of the Church in the person of Timothy. The statement is general, but is specially adapted to the ministers of the word. First, let them see what things are inconsistent within their office, that, freed from those things, they may follow Christ. Next, let them see, each for himself, what it is that draws them away from Christ; that this heavenly General may not have less authority over us than that which a mortal man claims for himself over heathen soldiers who have enrolled under him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/2-timothy-2.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

AGAINST ENTANGLEMENTS

‘No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’

2 Timothy 2:4

The Roman soldier served under certain restrictions. The general principle was that he was excluded from those relations, agencies, and engagements which it was thought would divert his mind from that which was to be the sole object of his pursuit.

I. The Christian soldier is to be unentangled.—In the world—he must not be of it. He should aim at freedom from a worldly spirit. With regard to to-morrow he must have no anxious thought. His comrades should be one with him in the service of the Lord. His commercial or professional pursuits should be subordinate to the duties of his higher calling. He must not live in pleasure-seeking, or ever consider himself ‘off duty’—free to indulge in that which the service forbids.

II. The motive.—And all this ‘that he may please Him Who has chosen him to be a soldier,’ enrolled him in the Church Militant. What a grand motive is here put before us—pleasing Christ! Was not this the secret of St. Paul’s greatness? He stands in the foremost rank of those who have lived for Christ, who have fought a good fight; and do we ask, what brought him to this position, what was the reason of his success—his deep spirituality? The text is the answer. His whole life was spent with the aim and object of pleasing Christ. What, alas! is the motive in too many lives to-day in this selfish age? Is it not self-pleasing, self-gratification, self-aggrandisement? But Christ, Who pleased not Himself, said, ‘If any one will come after Me, let him deny himself,’ let him crucify self for My sake. Altruism is with too many in this twentieth century but a substitute for a truer conception of life. Love to Christ has produced more philanthropy than all other motives together. To see in every man a brother, and to aid him in his need because we love Christ, is one of the first duties of Christianity.

III. Have we been enrolled in Christ’s army?—Did we receive baptism rightly? Was our confirmation a reality? If so, the vows of God are upon us, and we are called to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. The Roman soldier renewed his oath of allegiance every year. It was his sacramentum. Not once a year only, but often we are called to renew our allegiance to our Lord. At His Holy Table, at that Holy Feast, which is the Christian’s ‘sacramentum,’ as we prostrate ourselves before Him and receive the tokens of His dying love, we shall receive fresh supplies of strength to enable us to fight manfully under His banner, and to continue His faithful soldier and servant unto our life’s end.

Rev. Dr. Noyes.


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-timothy-2.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Ver. 4. With the affairs] Or, gainful negotiations with marriage matters, say the Papists here, but without all show of sense. The Council of Chalcedon strictly forbiddeth ministers to meddle in worldly matters: Clericus in oppido, piscis in arido. (Canon 31.) The apostle seemeth to allude to the Roman soldiers, who might not be tutors to other men’s persons, proctors of other men’s causes; they might not meddle with husbandry, merchandise, &c.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-timothy-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Timothy 2:4. No man that warreth entangleth himself, &c.— The Roman soldiers were not suffered to be tutors to any person, curators of another man's estate, proctors for other men's causes, or to undertake husbandry or merchandize.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-timothy-2.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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).


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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.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

2 Timothy 2:4. “Hoc versu commendatur τό abstine; accedit versu seq. τό sustine” (Bengel).

οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος] alludes to στρατιώτης: “no one serving as a soldier” (de Wette); comp. 1 Timothy 1:18.

ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματείαις(22)] ἐμπλέκεσθαι elsewhere only in 2 Peter 2:20.

πραγματείαι] occurs only here in the N. T. (the verb πραγματεύεσθαι, Luke 19:13); αἱ τοῦ βίου πραγμ. are the occupations which form means of livelihood; Heydenreich: “the occupations of the working class as opposed to those of the soldier class.”

From these the στρατευόμενος abstains ἵνα τῷ στρατολογήσαντι ἀρέσῃ] στρατολογήσας (only here), from στρατολογεῖν: “gather an army, raise troops,” is a term for a general.

Only that soldier who gives himself up entirely to military service, and does not permit himself to be distracted by other things, only he fulfils the general’s will. The application to the στρατιώτης ἰησ. χρ. is self-evident; he, too, is to devote himself entirely to his service, and not to involve himself in other matters which might hinder him in his proper calling. The literal interpretation, according to which the apostle or preacher should take no concern whatever in civil affairs, is contradicted by Paul’s own example; according to the precept here given, he is to avoid them only when they are a hindrance to the duties of his office.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-timothy-2.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Timothy 2:4. οὐδεὶς, no man) The word abstain (abstinence) is recommended in this verse: sustain(3) (endurance) is added to the recommendation in the next.— στρατευόμενος, warring) Do with all thy might what thou art doing.— πραγματείαις, with the affairs [matters of business] of this life) in which merchants and workmen are involved.— ἀρέσῃ, may please) being entirely devoted to the duties of a soldier.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/2-timothy-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Having told Timothy that his life was to be the life of a soldier, in which he would be exposed to many difficulties, and dangers, and hazards, he here mindeth him of the law and custom of soldiers, who being once entered in the muster-roll, use to sequester themselves from other employments in trading, husbandry, or the like, that thereby they might be at the command of their general, or captain, to be called out upon what service he pleaseth. So he who is a minister of the gospel ought not voluntarily and of choice engage himself in secular employments, but give up himself wholly to the ministerial work, that so he might please the Lord Jesus Christ, who hath chosen him to be his soldier.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-timothy-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

2 Timothy

THE TRUE AIM OF LIFE - PLEASING CHRIST


2 Timothy 2:4.

PAUL had enough to do to infuse some of his own vigour into the feebler nature of Timothy. If we may judge from the prevailing tone of the Apostle’s letters to him, his young assistant lacked courage and energy; was easily beaten down, needed tonics for the ‘often infirmities’ of his mind as well as of his body. The delicate ingenuity with which this letter accumulates all conceivable encouragements for the drooping heart that was to take up the old lion-heart’s nearly finished work, is very beautiful. One topic of encouragement is conspicuous by its absence. There is no rosy painting of the Christian life, or of a Christian teacher’s life, as easy or pleasant to flesh and blood. On the contrary, none of Paul’s letters give more emphatic utterance to the fact that suffering is the law of both.

That is wise; for the best way to-brace people for difficult work and hardship is to tell them fairly what they will have to face. It will act as a filter and Gideon’s test, no doubt, but it will only filter out impure matter, and it will evoke latent enthusiasm; for there is always fascination to generous natures or fervent disciples in the thought of danger and toil, undertaken for a beloved cause or favourite pursuit. Boys are made sailors by the stories of wreck and hardship told them to keep them ashore. So Paul encourages’ son Timothy’ by putting before him all the toil and the peril which are the conditions of the work to which he has set his hand. In this context we have a number of illustrations and analogies, according to all of which self-denial and persistent work are indispensable. The wrestler has not only to brace every limb in his struggle till the muscles stand out like whipcord, but he has to abide by the laws of the arena. The farmer has to exercise long patience, and to labour hard in the field and wild weather, before he can sit down and eat of the fruit of the harvest. The soldier has not only to take his life in hand, but to abandon his civil pursuits and make the pleasure of his commander the law of his life. The diligence of other people in their worldly callings may well put us to shame; and if that is not enough, our own diligence in the one half of our life may shame our laziness in the other. All fire there, and all ice here !

Ready for any sacrifice of time and pains in that, grudging every such sacrifice in this!

Our text constitutes the first of that series of illustrative metaphors, each of which adds something of its own to the general idea. In it we have a whole series of striking thoughts suggested, which can be but very imperfectly worked out in the brief space at our disposal.

I. The first thing that strikes one in the words is their grand statement of the all-comprehensive life’s aim of the Christian soldier.

There is savagery and devilry enough about the soldiers’ trade to make it remarkable that it should be so constantly chosen to illustrate the life of the servants of the Prince of Peace. But there are grand qualities brought out in warfare, which need but to be transferred to their most worthy object; and for the sake of these, the metaphor is used here. The one great peculiarity of military discipline is prompt, unquestioning obedience. Wheresoever inferiors may discuss their superiors’ will, or reason on the limits of obedience, or allow themselves a margin of delay, all that is mutiny in the army, and short and sharp work will be made of it, if it appear. ‘Their’s not to reason why,’ but to do what they are bid, when they are bid, as they are bid. Their only standard of duty is their commander’s will, and men have been shot as mutineers for doing grand deeds of heroism contrary to orders. The highest guerdon of courage and faithfulness is the general’s praise, and men have gladly flung away their lives for a smile or a ‘well done’ from some Alexander or Napoleon, counting the gain far greater than the price paid.

Such an attitude towards a fellow-man makes men machines, and yet there is something in that absolute obedience and out-and-out submission to authority very noble in itself, and going a long way to ennoble even warfare. To obey may he bad or good, according to the master and the service; but obedience is fitting for a man, and there can be no attainment of the highest dignity, beauty, or force of character in lawless ‘self-pleasing, but only in willing submission to a law and a lawgiver, discerned by the will to be authoritative, by the conscience to be morally good, and by the heart to be love-worthy. If, then, we can find one ruler, leader, and commander of the people, whose authority is rightfully supreme, whose commands coincide with our highest wisdom and lead to our purest felicity, to obey him must lift a life into dignity. Then we have found the secret which will make little things great, and great things small; which will dignify all life, and make the most absolute service the truest freedom, the kingliest rule.

So our text lays hold of the great central peculiarity of Christian morals, when it makes pleasing Christ to be the great, all-comprehensive aim of the Christian soldier. It is this which makes the law of morality, as re-fashioned by Christianity, altogether new and blessed. How entirely different a thing it is to give a poor, feeble, solitary man a living, loving Lord to serve and to please, and to set him down before a cold, impersonal ‘ideal’; and say to him, ‘There! live up to that, or it will be the worse for you.’ The gospel sets forth Jesus Christ as the Pattern and Law of duty, in whom all the statuesque purity of the marble is changed into the warm, breathing flesh and blood of a brother. It sets Him forth as the power for duty, who stoops down from His height to reach forth a helping hand to us poor strugglers in the bogs at the mountain’s foot, while Law but looks on with pure and icy eyes at our flounderings, and counts the splashes on our dress. It sets Him forth as the Motive for duty, who draws us to what is right by ‘the cords of love and the bands of a man,’ while the world’s morality knows only how to appeal either to low motives of whips and pay, or to fine-spun considerations of right and obligation that melt like October’s morning ice before the faintest heat of temptation. Finally, it sets Him forth as the Reward of obedience, teaching us that the true recompense of well-doing lies in pleasing Him, and that to win a smile, an ‘honourable mention,’ from the General, life itself would be wisely paid.

Such are the great characteristics of Christian morality. Everything clusters round a living Person. All the coldness and remoteness and powerlessness which incurably weaken all law, whether it be that of a statute-book, or of conscience, or of moralists, are changed into their very opposites. Christ is duty; Love is law. Christ is power; Christ is impulse. Christ is motive; Christ is reward. Therefore the hearts and wills that found no attraction, nor owned any constraining authority in any tables of stone or any voice of conscience or any systems of ethics, yield glad obedience to Him who makes His law love; and feeble hands are strengthened to do His will by His own power breathed into them; and the hope of recompense is freed from selfishness when its highest object is His word of praise and His look of pleasure? This, and this alone, is the morality that will work. This is the new thing in Christianity, not so much the contents of the conception of duty, though even these have been changed, but the new form in which Duty appears, in a Person who being what all men should be, is the new power for its fulfilment which He brings, and the new motive whose touch moves all our conduct.

How much more powerful this thought of pleasing Christ is, as a motive, than that of a bare Theism, needs scarcely be named. ‘Thou, God, seest me’ grandly restraining and stimulating as it is, may easily become a trembling before ‘the great Taskmaster’s eye,’ or may fade into a very dim thought of a very far-off God. But when we think that the divine eye which rests upon us wept over the sinful city, and sought the denier with the look of sorrowing reproach, untarnished by one glitter of anger, we need not fear His knowledge, nor doubt that He is as near to each of us, as glad at our obedience, and as grieved by our hardness of heart, as ever He was to the little group that lived on His smile long ago. It is no remote God whom we have to please, but our very Brother, the Captain of the Lord’s host, who knows all the conditions of the fight.

The thought implies the reality of Christ’s present knowledge of each of us. Who, then, is this, who is supposed to know so accurately the true characters - not only the actions, but the motives which determine the worth of the actions - of men in every age and country to the world’s end? Who can exercise such an office, and be the centre of such observance, but One only? This must be God manifest in the flesh. Else it is stark nonsense for people, nineteen centuries after His death, to think of pleasing Him; and it is blasphemy worse than nonsense, to set aside all other law and commandments in order to take our duty from His life, and our reward from His approbation. But when we see in Christ the Word made flesh, then it is reasonable to believe that He knoweth the hearts of all men, and reasonable to ‘labour that, whether present or absent, we may be well-pleasing to Him.’

Such singleness of aim contributes in many ways to make life blessed and noble. It simplifies motives and aims, because, instead of being dragged hither and thither by smaller attractions, and so having our days broken up into fragments, we have one great object which can be pursued through all the variety of our occupations, making them all co-operant to one end - and there is blessedness in that. It lifts us above many temptations, which cease to be temptations to a heart intent on pleasing Christ, as glacial plants and animals fled to the north when cosmic changes put an end to the ice age in England. It delivers from care for men’s judgment, for the opinion of the crowd matters very little to the soldier whose fame is to be praised by his commander. It gives energy for work, and turns hard, dry duty into a joy, for it is ever blessed to toil for One we love, and the work that is done with love for its motive, and with the hope of giving Him pleasure for its inspiration, will not be wearisome, though it may be long; nor grievous, though it may be hard. Freedom and dignity, and happiness and buoyancy, all flow from this one transfiguring thought, that the one all-sufficient aim for life is - pleasing Christ, the Captain of the Lord’s host.

II. But our text employs a significant form of speech to designate Jesus Christ: ‘Him who hath called him to be a soldier’; or as the Revised Version has it, ‘enrolled him as a soldier.’

And that phrase is used, I suppose, instead of the simple name, in order to bring out the reference to the great act of Christ’s, on which the duty of making His pleasure our sovereign aim rests.

In old-world times when war broke out each chief would summon his clansmen to his standard and enrol them as his force. To raise a troop was the act of the leader, who then took command of the men he had raised, and did so because he had raised them. Christ has enrolled us as His soldiers, and because He has done so, he has the right of command.

Now, while there are many ways by which our Lord summons us to His service, we shall, I think, be true to the usual current of New Testament representations, if we see here mainly a reference to the great act by which He draws us to Himself. The fiery cross used to be the signal which summoned the tribesmen to the fray. So Christ’s men are summoned by the Cross. His great work for us, His life of sympathy and sorrow, His death of sacrifice and shame, His resurrection of glory - these are the call which He sends out to all the world, to gather loving souls to His side whom He may honour by using as His servants and soldiers. The Cross is the magnet by which He will ‘draw all men unto Him’; or in other words, the one power which will draw men away from a life of self and sin, and hearten them to fight against the evils in themselves and the world which they used to serve, is the fact of Christ’s death, believed and rested on. This, and this alone, changes our tastes and makes us deserters from our old colours, to take service under a new Commander. That mighty and unspeakable proof of Love will bend our hearts to obedience when nothing else will, and the voice of endless pity for us, and awful suffering for our sake, which sounds out from Christ on the Cross, is His heart-reaching call to us all to enlist in His service. The message of the Cross is not only a message of forgiveness and blessedness for ourselves, but it is as a trumpet-note of defiance to all the powers of evil, and a call to us to take our part in the fight, which in one aspect was finished when He overcame by death, but in another will last till that far-off future day when He that is called King of kings shall ride forth, followed by all the armies of those who on earth were his soldiers, to fight the last fight, and win the final victory.

He has given Himself wholly for us, therefore He has absolute right of authority over us. Not merely because of His divine nature, not merely because, as we believe, He has been from the beginning the divine agent of all creation and of all providence, but because of His great love and of His utter and bitter sacrifice for us men, does He possess the right to their absolute obedience. His dominion is a dominion founded on suffering; the many crowns are twined round the crown of thorns, as the iron crown of Monza has for foundation a bit of iron said to be a nail of the cross beaten into a circlet, and covered now with gold and jewels. Nothing but entire self-surrender for us can warrant entire authority over us, and only He who tasted death for every man has the right to assume the captainship over men. He gave Himself for us, therefore are we to give ourselves to Him. He dies for us, and then living, turns to us with,’ Will you not serve Me?’ We owe Him lives, souls - all. They are ours by the purchase of His exceeding bitter pains and death. Surely we shall not refuse His summons to service, which is also a merciful invitation to joy and blessing, but yield ourselves to the attraction of His cross and the magic of His love. Let Him take the command of your lives, and give Him all the secret springs of nature and desire to control. He has called you to be His soldiers, and your plain duty is to please Him. ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,’ and most chiefly by that chiefest mercy, the sacrifice of Christ, ‘that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, acceptable unto God.’


III. Finally, the text brings prominently forward the discipline of abstinence which this warfare requires.

In Paul’s time there were no standing armies, but men were summoned from their ordinary avocations and sent into the field. When the hasty call went forth, the plough was left in the furrow, and the web in the loom; the bridegroom hurried from his bride, and the mourner from the bier. All home industries were paralysed while the manhood of the nation were in the field. That state of things suggests the language here. The word rendered ‘that warreth’ might be more vividly translated, as the Revised Version has it, ‘on service’ - the idea being that as long as a man is on a campaign, he can do nothing else but soldiering. When peace is proclaimed, he may go back to farm or merchandise; but in the field, he has but one thing to do - and that is to fight, He will scarcely win the general’s good word on other things.

What, then, is the corresponding Christian duty? Of course our text, though originally spoken in reference to Christian teachers’ devotion to their work, is not to be confined to them. The sort of work which a Timothy or a Paul may have to do may be peculiar to their offices, but the spirit in which it is to be done, and the conditions of faithfulness, are the same for all doers of all sorts of work for Christ. If the apostle and the teacher need non-entanglement ‘with the affairs of this life,’ all Christians need it just as much.

Now it is to be noticed that the parallel of the soldier on service and the Christian in his warfare fails in this one respect: that the soldier had to abandon entirely all other occupation, even the most needful and praiseworthy, because he could not both do them and fight; but the abandonment of the affairs of this life is not necessary for us, because occupation with them is not incompatible with our Christian warfare. Nay, so far from that, these ‘affairs’ furnish the very fields on which a large part of that warfare to be waged. If these are abandoned, what is left to fight about? What is our Christian warfare but the constant struggle with evil in ourselves and temptation in the world; the constant effort to bring all the activities of our spirits and hands under the power of Christ’s law, and to yield our whole selves, in heart, mind, will, and deed, to Him? How then can that warfare be waged, and that ennobling self-surrender achieved, but by the heroic, patient effort to deal with all the affairs of this life in a Christ-like temper, and to Christ-pleasing ends? The Christian who abandons any of these is much liker the frightened deserter who runs from his post, and may expect a stern rebuke, if nothing worse, than the faithful soldier, whose face will one day brighten beneath the smile of his chief.

We must put stress on that word ‘entangled,’ if we would rightly understand this saying. It is not occupation with the things of life, but entanglement in them, that is fatal to the possibility of pleasing the King. The metaphor is plain enough, and vivid enough. As some poor struggling fish in the meshes of a net vainly beats its silver scales off, and gasps out its life, and swims no more in the free deep; or as some panting forest creature is checked in its joyous bounding, and, tangled in the half-seen snares, only tightens the cords by its wild plunging; or as some strong swimmer is caught in the long, brown seaweed which clings to his limbs till it drags him under and drowns; so men are snared and caught and strangled by these multitudinous cords and filaments of earthly things. The fate of Jonah befall, many a professing Christian, who, if he know what had really come to him, might cry with him, ‘The weeds are wrapped about my head.’

We are not bound to abandon the affairs of this life, but we are called upon to prevent their interfering with our warfare. If we are caught in the thicket whilst we are pressing on to the fight, out with the billhooks and hew it down. It may be full of pretty peeps, where there are shade and singing-birds; but if it stands in our way, it has to be grubbed up. ‘If thy right eye cause thee to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for thee.’

And that interference can easily be detected, if we honestly wish to do so. Does a certain thing - some legitimate, or even praiseworthy occupation, or possession, the exercise of some taste or accomplishment, some recreation, some companionship-clog my feet when I ought to march; clip my wings when I ought to soar; dim my eyes when I ought to gaze on God? Then no matter what others may do about it, my plain duty is to give it up. It is entangling me. It is interfering with my warfare, and I must cut the cords. I can only do so by entire abstinence. Perhaps I may get stronger some day, and be able to use it as not abusing it; but I cannot venture on that at present. So go it must. I judge nobody else, but whoever may be able to retain that thing, whatever it be, without slackening hold on Christ, I cannot.

So, brethren, if you find that legitimate occupation and affairs are absorbing your interests, and interfering with your clear vision of God, and making you less inclined and less apt to high thoughts and noble purposes, to lowly service and to Christ-like life, your safety lies in at once shaking off the venomous beast that has fastened on you into the fire. Unless the occupation be a plain duty, a post where the Captain has set you as sentry, and which it would be fiat disobedience to forsake, leave it at any cost, if you would kept your Christian integrity.

But if you have to stand to your post, perilous though it be, lift your heart to Him who can neutralise the poison, and who will so pour health into the veins of His servants, that, in the execution of His commands, ‘they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.’

The affairs of this life must not entangle us; that is the one indispensable condition to pleasing Him. That they may not, they must always be rigidly subordinated, and used as helps to our higher life. Sometimes, when they cannot be so used, they must be abandoned altogether. Each must settle that for himself. Only let us make it our one great purpose in life that, whether present or absent, we may be well-pleasing to Him; and that single, lofty motive will breathe unity into our life, and giving us clear, sure insight into good and evil, will instruct us, by the instinct of hearts and wills tuned to harmony to His, to shun the evil and cleave strenuously to the good. So living, ever looking to His face to catch His smile as our highest reward, it will not be hard to give up anything that hinders the light of His countenance shining upon us. So surrendering, we may hope to be His obedient, and therefore in highest reality, His victorious soldiers. So fighting, we may possess in our hearts the assurance that His wonderful mercy accepts even our poor service as well-pleasing in His sight, and may lay ourselves How, in peace on the field where we seem to ourselves to have berne ourselves so badly and been so often beaten, with the wondrous hope to keep us company in the grave, that when the triumph comes, and our King goes up as conqueror, we, even we, shall follow, and receive from His lips the praise, and from His face the smile, which make the highest heaven of reward for all Christ’s soldiers.


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Bibliography
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/2-timothy-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Warreth; enlists as a soldier.

The affairs of this life; the various kinds of business which other men pursue.

Please him; his commander, by devoting himself undividedly to his service. So Timothy must devote himself wholly to Christ in the work of the gospel.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/2-timothy-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

4. οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος, no one serving as a soldier.

ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματίαις, entangles himself with the affairs of life, sc. the affairs of worldly business, as distinct from the higher life (ζωή) of the soul; see note on 1 Timothy 4:8. ἐμπλέκειν only occurs again in the N.T. at 2 Peter 2:20, where it is also used of entanglement in ‘the defilements of the world.’ The connexion of this and what follows with 2 Timothy 2:3 is in the thought that no one, whether soldier, athlete, or husbandman, can achieve success without toil. Therefore take your share of hardness, &c. remembering that singleness of purpose and detachment from extraneous cares are essential conditions of successful service; cp. Romans 8:8; 1 Corinthians 7:32.

ἵνα τῷ στρατολογήσαντι ἀρέσῃ, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier. στρατολογεῖν, to levy a troop, is not found again in the Greek Bible, but is used by Josephus and Plutarch. Ignatius (Polyc. 6) takes up the thought and words of this verse in his exhortation ἀρέσκετε ᾦ στρατεύεσθε.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/2-timothy-2.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Warreth—Is engaged in the actual war.

Affairs—Mercantile or other engagements.

Him—His general or his king. The rule excluding the soldier from trade or other civil employments is strongly expressed by ancient writers. “Unworthy and disgraceful to a man in arms is business.” “He who fights for a commander is prohibited from undertaking litigation, the practice of law, and mercantile occupation.”


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-timothy-2.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘No soldier on service entangles himself in the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.’

2 Timothy 2:4-6 now give three examples of what is required of those who follow Christ. The first requires commitment and sacrifice. The second requires commitment and obedience. The third requires commitment and hard work. So the lesson about enduring hardship is applied. A soldier has to go forward ready for anything. He must lay aside all earthly entanglements, which in this case means all ‘the affairs of this life’. His one aim must be to please Him Who has chosen him to be a soldier. In future if he does anything connected with this world it must be for Him, not with eye-service as a man-pleaser, but as serving Christ and doing the will of God from the heart (Ephesians 6:6). It is a call for total commitment, and a demand that from now on everything be looked at in a new way. And it applies to all Christians. There are no exemptions. We have all been signed on.

‘The affairs of this life.’ This cannot mean literally that Christian leaders are not to do any secular work for Paul himself acted as a tentmaker in order to pay his way. The point with a soldier is that he leaves secular life and does not allow anything to get in the way of his efficiency as a soldier. Thus the same applies to a Christian leader. He must look on secular life as something that is not for him, and must thrust away anything that might hinder him in fulfilling his Christian responsibilities. All else must be subservient to properly fulfilling his ministry, and in that light the things of this life must count for nothing. His eye must be singly set on being the very best that he can be in the Lord’s service. Even in his recreation he must ask, is this genuinely making me better capable of serving God?

‘That he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.’ His aim must at all times be to please his commander-in-chief, and no less so when the Commander-in Chief is present all the time.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/2-timothy-2.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

2 Timothy 2:4. No man that warreth. Better, ‘no soldier on service.’

Affairs. The Greek word had acquired the secondary sense of affairs of trade, the businesses of this life. In Roman practice a soldier could not make a trade contract, or be plaintiff in a lawsuit

Who hath chosen him to be a soldier. The Greek word is-technical: the commander of a band which he himself has raised. As such it has a manifest fitness as applied to Christ, the great ‘Captain of our salvation.’ It was perhaps natural that the analogy thus stated should have developed in ecclesiastical legislation into a rule forbidding the ministers of the Church from engaging in any secular pursuits as a means of livelihood. Such a rule has much to be said in its favour on grounds of general expediency, but it should be remembered that it rests on them and not on St. Paul’s words. They are wider in their application, and extend to all soldiers of Christ, i.e. to all Christians, and they warn us, not against engaging in secular callings, but against so ‘entangling’ ourselves in them that they hinder the free growth of our higher life.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/2-timothy-2.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

2 Timothy 2:4. στρατευόμενος: militans Deo (Vulg.). Soldier, in the sense of a person belonging to the army, not soldier on service, as R.V., which makes the same error in Luke 3:14 marg. (See Expositor, vi., vii. 120).

ἐμπλέκεται: implicat se (Vulg.). The verb is used in a similar metaphor, 2 Peter 2:20, but in a more adverse sense than here. A soldier, who is bound to go anywhere and do any thing at the bidding of his captain, must have no ties of home or business. The implied counsel is the same as that given in 1 Corinthians 7:26-34, with its warnings against distraction between the possibly conflicting interests of the Lord and of this life. Note the use of ἀρέσκω in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34.

ἀρέσῃ: that he may be of use to (see Milligan on 1 Thessalonians 2:4).


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/2-timothy-2.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

===============================

[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Qui certat in Agone, Greek: ean athle tis.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-timothy-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

No manNo one. Greek. oudeis.

warreth. Compare 1 Timothy 1:18.

entangleth. Greek empteko. Only here and 2 Peter 2:20.

affairs. Greek. pragmateia. Only here.

life. App-170.

that = in order that. Greek hina.

hath chosen, &c. = chose, &c. Greek. stratoiogeo. Only here. The Master"s "Well done" is the reward.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-timothy-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

'No one while serving as a soldier' [ strateuomenos (Greek #4754)].

The affairs ... [ tais (Greek #3588) tou (Greek #3588) biou (Greek #979) pragmateiais (Greek #4230)] - mercantile, or other than military. [Zoee is the opposite of death, thanatos (Greek #2288): and as sin caused death, where life, zoee, is, there sin is not, or ceases to be. So zoee is the nobler term in Scripture, expressing holy blessedness and eternal life; bios (Greek #979), the present course of life: zoee, the life by which we live; bios (Greek #979), the life which we live.]

Him who hath chosen him - the general who enlisted him. Paul himself worked at tent-making (Acts 18:3). What is prohibited is, not all secular occupation, but the becoming entangled or over-engrossed with it.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-timothy-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) No man that warreth . . .—Better rendered, while engaged on military service, or serving as a soldier. The first picture is suggested by the last simile (in 2 Timothy 2:3). It was one very familiar to the numerous peoples dwelling under the shadow of the Roman power, this picture of the soldier concerned only in the military affairs of the great empire—the legionary wrapped up in his service, with no thought or care outside the profession of which he was so proud. None of these sworn legionaries have aught to do with buying or selling, with the Forum, or any of the many employments of civil life. So should it be with the earnest and faithful Christian; paramount and above any earthly considerations ever must rank his Master’s service, his Master’s commands.

The soldier of Christ should never allow himself to be entangled in any earthly business which would interfere with his duty to his own General. But while this general reference to all members of the Church lies on the outside, beneath the surface a solemn injunction may surely be read, addressed to Timothy and to others like him in after times specially engaged in the ministry of the Word and in matters connected with the government of the Church of Christ. And so the Catholic Church has generally understood this direction to Timothy as warning her ministers from engaging in secular pursuits, either connected with business or pleasure.

That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.—More accurately rendered, who enrolled him as a soldier. Only those soldiers who with heart and soul devote themselves to their military work win the heart of their commander. The question has been asked, What of St. Paul’s own example and that of other of the early Christian teachers, such as Aquila? did not they, at all events from time to time, pursue a secular calling—that of tent-makers? The reply here is not a difficult one. The Jewish life in those days contemplated and even desired that its rabbis and teachers should be acquainted with, and even, if necessary, practise some handicraft. The well-known Hebrew saying, “He that teacheth not his son a trade teacheth him to be a thief,” is a proof of this. In the case of these early teachers, this occasional practice of an industry or a trade brought them more directly into contact with their Jewish brethren. It was thus among the Jewish people that the Hebrew rabbi often passed imperceptibly into a Christian teacher. It must also be borne in mind that in St. Paul’s case, and also in the case of the presbyters of the first and second age, especially if missionaries, it was impossible always to ensure subsistence, unless by some exertions of their own they maintained themselves. It was, too, most desirable that these pioneers of Christianity should ever be above all reproach of covetousness, or even of the suspicion that they wished for any earthly thing from their converts. That however, it was not intended that any such combination of work—at once for the Church and for the world—should be the rule of ecclesiastical order in coming days, the positive and very plain directions of 1 Corinthians 9:1-15 are decisive, and incapable of being misunderstood.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-timothy-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
that warreth
Deuteronomy 20:5-7; Luke 9:59-62
entangleth
4:10; Luke 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:25,26; 1 Timothy 6:9-12; 2 Peter 2:20
that he
1 Corinthians 7:22,23; 2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:4

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-timothy-2.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

A soldier in active service. Timothy's position is unusual, because as Paul's spiritual Song of Solomon, he would be the target of the opposition. But this principle applies to every servant of God. The ministry of the Word must supersede everything else!!! [But Paul could be a tent-maker without violating this.] Compare 2 Corinthians 6:14.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/2-timothy-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.


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