2:24 And the Lord’s slave 1 must not engage in heated disputes 2 but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, 2:25 correcting 3 opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth 4 2:26 and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive 5 to do his will. 6
1 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.”
3 sn Correcting is the word for “child-training” or “discipline.” It is often positive (training, educating) but here denotes the negative side (correcting, disciplining).
4 tn Grk “repentance unto knowledge of the truth.”
5 tn Grk “having been captured by him.”
6 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.