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2 Timothy 2:14-26

Context
Dealing with False Teachers

2:14 Remind people 1  of these things and solemnly charge them 2  before the Lord 3  not to wrangle over words. This is of no benefit; it just brings ruin on those who listen. 4  2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately. 5  2:16 But avoid profane chatter, 6  because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness, 7  2:17 and their message will spread its infection 8  like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are in this group. 9  2:18 They have strayed from the truth 10  by saying that the resurrection has already occurred, and they are undermining some people’s faith. 2:19 However, God’s solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” 11  and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord 12  must turn away from evil.”

2:20 Now in a wealthy home 13  there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also ones made of wood and of clay, and some are for honorable use, but others for ignoble use. 14  2:21 So if someone cleanses himself of such behavior, 15  he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2:22 But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others 16  who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 17  2:23 But reject foolish and ignorant 18  controversies, because you know they breed infighting. 19  2:24 And the Lord’s slave 20  must not engage in heated disputes 21  but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, 2:25 correcting 22  opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth 23  2:26 and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive 24  to do his will. 25 

1 tn Grk “remind of these things,” implying “them” or “people” as the object.

2 tn Grk “solemnly charging.” The participle διαμαρτυρόμενος (diamarturomeno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

3 tc ‡ Most witnesses (A D Ψ 048 1739 1881 Ï sy) have κυρίου (kuriou, “Lord”) instead of θεοῦ (qeou, “God”) here, while a few have Χριστοῦ (Cristou, “Christ”; 206 {429 1758}). θεοῦ, however, is well supported by א C F G I 614 629 630 1175 al. Internally, the Pastorals never elsewhere use the expression ἐνώπιον κυρίου (enwpion kuriou, “before the Lord”), but consistently use ἐνώπιον θεοῦ (“before God”; cf. 1 Tim 2:3; 5:4, 21; 6:13; 2 Tim 4:1). But this fact could be argued both ways: The author’s style may be in view, or scribes may have adjusted the wording to conform it to the Pastorals’ universal expression. Further, only twice in the NT (Jas 4:10 [v.l. θεοῦ]; Rev 11:4 [v.l. θεοῦ]) is the expression ἐνώπιον κυρίου found. That such an expression is not found in the corpus Paulinum seems to be sufficient impetus for scribes to change the wording here. Thus, although the external evidence is somewhat on the side of θεοῦ, the internal evidence is on the side of κυρίου. A decision is difficult, but κυρίου is the preferred reading.

4 tn Grk “[it is] beneficial for nothing, for the ruin of those who listen.”

5 sn Accurately is a figure of speech that literally means something like “cutting a straight road.” In regard to the message of truth, it means “correctly handling” or “imparting it without deviation.”

6 sn Profane chatter was apparently a characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus (cf. 1 Tim 1:3-4; 4:7; 6:20).

7 tn Grk “they [who engage in it] will progress even more in ungodliness.”

8 tn Or “eat away.”

9 tn Grk “of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, this last clause has been made a new sentence in the translation.

10 tn Grk “have deviated concerning the truth.”

11 sn A quotation from Num 16:5.

12 tn Grk “names the name of the Lord.”

13 tn Grk “a great house.”

14 tn Grk “for dishonor,” probably referring to vessels used for refuse or excrement.

15 tn Grk “from these,” alluding to the errors and deeds of the false teachers described in vv. 14-19.

16 tn Grk “and peace, with those.”

17 sn In company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart alludes to the value of the community of believers for the development of Christian virtues.

18 tn Or “uninstructed,” “silly.”

19 tn Or “fights,” although this could suggest weapons and blows, whereas in the present context this is not the primary focus. Although “quarrel” is frequently used here (NAB, NIV, NRSV) it may be understood to refer to a relatively minor disagreement.

20 tn Traditionally, “servant” or “bondservant.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”

21 tn Grk “must not fight” or “must not quarrel.” The Greek verb is related to the noun translated “infighting” in v. 23.

22 sn Correcting is the word for “child-training” or “discipline.” It is often positive (training, educating) but here denotes the negative side (correcting, disciplining).

23 tn Grk “repentance unto knowledge of the truth.”

24 tn Grk “having been captured by him.”

25 tn Grk “for that one’s will,” referring to the devil, but with a different pronoun than in the previous phrase “by him.” Some have construed “for his will” with the earlier verb and referred the pronoun to God: “come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap (though they have been captured by him) in order to do His will.” In Classical Greek the shift in pronouns would suggest this, but in Koine Greek this change is not significant. The more natural sense is a reference to the devil’s will.



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