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2 Timothy 2:26

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And that they may recover themselves - The construction of this verse is extremely difficult, though the sense given by our translation is plain enough. I shall set down the original, and the principal English translations: -

Και ανανηψωσιν εκ της του διαβολου παγιδος, εζωγρημενοι ὑπ ' αυτου εις εκεινου θελημα .

And thei rise agein fro snaaris of the debyl, of whome thei ben holde captyffis at his wille. - Wiclif. First translation into English, 1378.

And to turne agayne from the snare of devell, which are holden in prison of him at his will. - Coverdale. First printed English Bible, 1535.

That they may come to themselves agayne out of the snare of the devyll, which are now taken of him at hys will. - Edward VIth's Bible, by Becke, 1549.

And they may recover their senses to perform his will, after being rescued alive by the servant of the Lord out of the snare of the devil. - Wakefield; who refers αυτου, him, to the servant of the Lord, 2 Timothy 2:24.

And being caught alive by him out of the snare of the devil, they may awake to do his will. - Macknight; who remarks that αυτου, the relative, means the servant of the Lord; and εκεινου, the demonstrative, refers to God, mentioned 2 Timothy 2:15.

I leave these different translations with the reader.

I Have referred, in the preceding notes, to inscriptions which appear on the buildings and coins of the Asiatics; such inscriptions are, in general, very curious, and carry with them a considerable show of piety to God, in the acknowledgment of his providence and mercy. I shall quote one merely as a curiosity, without supposing it to be immediately applicable to the illustration of the text.

There is extant a gold circular coin of the Great Mogul Shah Jehan, struck at Delhi, A. H. 1062, a.d. 1651, five inches and a half in diameter; on each side of this coin is a square, the angles of which touch the periphery; within this square, and in the segments, there are the following inscriptions: -

  1. Within the square, on one side,

The bright star of religion, Mohammed (a second Sahib Kiran) Shah Jehan, the victorious emperor.

  1. In the segment on the upper side of the square,

The impression upon this coin of 200 mohurs, was struck through the favor of God.

  1. On the lateral segment to the left,

By the second Sahib Kiran, Shah Jehan, the defender of the faith.

  1. On the bottom segment,

May the golden countenance from the sculpture of this coin enlighten the world.

  1. On the lateral segment to the right,

As long as the splendid face of the moon is illuminated by the rays of the sun!

  1. On the reverse, within the square,

There is no god but God; and Mohammed is the prophet of God. Struck in the capital of Shah Jehanabad, A. H. 1062.

  1. On the top of the square,

Religion was illuminated by the truth of Abu Beker.

  1. On the left hand compartment,

The faith was strengthened by the justice of Omar.

  1. On the bottom compartment,

Piety was refreshed by the modesty and mildness of Othman.

  1. On the right hand compartment,

The world was enlightened by the learning of Aly.

On these inscriptions it may be just necessary to observe that Abu Beker, Omar, Othman, and Aly, were the four khalifs who succeeded Mohammed. Abu Beker was the father of Ayesha, one of Mohammed's wives. Othman was son-in-law of Mohammed, having married his two daughters, Rakiah, and Omal-Calthoom. And Aly, son of Abi Taleb, Mohammed's uncle, was also one of the sons-in-law of Mohammed, having married Fatima, the daughter of his favourite wife, Ayesha. The Ottoman empire was not so called from Othman, the third khalif, but from Ottoman, the successful chief, who conquered a small part of the Grecian empire in Asia, and thus laid the foundation for the Turkish.

Grotius and others have supposed that the apostle alludes to the custom of putting an inscription on the foundation stone of a city or other building, giving an account of the time in which it was founded, built, etc. Sometimes engraved stones were placed over the principal gates of cities and fortresses, particularly in the east, specifying the date of erection, repairs, etc., and containing some religious sentiment or verse from the Koran. But I do not think it likely that the apostle refers to any thing of this kind. There appears to be an allusion here to the rebellion of Korah and his company against the authority of Moses, Numbers 16:5, where, it is said: The Lord will show who are his: here the words of the Septuagint are nearly the same that the apostle uses in this verse, εγνω ὁ Θεος τους οντας αὑτου· God knoweth or approveth of them that are his. And the words in Numbers 16:26, Depart from the tents of these wicked men, are similar to those of the apostle, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity. We may therefore take it for granted that those false teachers, the chief of whom were Hymeneus and Philetus, had risen up against the authority of St. Paul; and he, in effect, informs Timothy here that God will deal with them as he did with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their company. And as the true Israelites were to separate themselves from the tents of those wicked men, so he and the believers at Ephesus were to hold no sort of communion with those workers of iniquity. This subject he farther illustrates by a contract between two parties, each of which sets his seal to the instrument, the seal bearing the motto peculiar to the party. This I conceive to be the meaning; but the common mode of interpretation will, it is probable, be most commonly followed.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And that they may recover themselves - Margin, “awake.” The word which is rendered “recover” in the text, and “awake” in the margin - ἀνανήψωσιν ananēpsōsin- occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, to become sober again, as from inebriation; to awake from a deep sleep, and then, to come to a right mind, as one does who is aroused from a state of inebriety, or from sleep. The representation in this part of the verse implies that, while under the influence of error, they were like a man intoxicated, or like one in deep slumber. From this state they were to be roused as one is from sleep, or as a man is recovered from the stupor and dullness of intoxication.

Out of the snare of the devil - The snare which the devil has spread for them, and in which they have become entangled. There is a little confusion of metaphor here, since, in the first part of the verse, they are represented as asleep, or intoxicated; and, here, as taken in a snare. Yet the general idea is clear. In one part of the verse, the influence of error is represented as producing sleep, or stupor; in the other, as being taken in a snare, or net; and, in both, the idea is, that an effort was to be made that they might be rescued from this perilous condition.

Who are taken captive by him at his will - Margin, “alive.” The Greek word means, properly, to take alive; and then, to take captive, to win over Luke 5:10; and then, to ensnare, or seduce. Here it means that they had been ensnared by the arts of Satan “unto ( εἰς eis) his will;” that is, they were so influenced by him, that they complied with his will. Another interpretation of this passage should be mentioned here, by which it is proposed to avoid the incongruousness of the metaphor of “awaking” one from a “snare.” It is adopted by Doddridge, and is suggested also by Burder, as quoted by Rosenmuller, “A. u. n. Morgenland.” According to this, the reference is to an artifice of fowlers, to scatter seeds impregnated with some intoxicating drugs, intended to lay birds asleep, that they may draw the snare over them more securely. There can be no doubt that such arts were practiced, and it is possible that Paul may have alluded to it. Whatever is the allusion, the general idea is clear. It is an affecting representation of those who have fallen into error. They are in a deep slumber. They are as if under the fatal influence of some stupefying potion. They are like birds taken alive in this state, and at the mercy of the fowler. They will remain in this condition, unless they shall be roused by the mercy of God; and it is the business of the ministers of religion to carry to them that gospel call, which God is accustomed to bless in showing them their danger. That message should be continually sounded in the ears of the sinner, with the prayer and the hope that God will make it the means of arousing him to seek his salvation.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The more we follow that which is good, the faster and the further we shall flee from that which is evil. The keeping up the communion of saints, will take us from fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness. See how often the apostle cautions against disputes in religion; which surely shows that religion consists more in believing and practising what God requires, than in subtle disputes. Those are unapt to teach, who are apt to strive, and are fierce and froward. Teaching, not persecution, is the Scripture method of dealing with those in error. The same God who gives the discovery of the truth, by his grace brings us to acknowledge it, otherwise our hearts would continue to rebel against it. There is no "peradventure," in respect of God's pardoning those who do repent; but we cannot tell that he will give repentance to those who oppose his will. Sinners are taken in a snare, and in the worst snare, because it is the devil's; they are slaves to him. And if any long for deliverance, let them remember they never can escape, except by repentance, which is the gift of God; and we must ask it of him by earnest, persevering prayer.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 291

I was directed to the power of God manifested through Moses when the Lord sent him in before Pharaoh. Satan understood his business and was upon the ground. He well knew that Moses was chosen of God to break the yoke of bondage upon the children of Israel, and that in his work he prefigured Christ's first advent to break Satan's power over the human family and deliver those who were made captives by his power. Satan knew that when Christ should appear, mighty works and miracles would be wrought by Him, that the world might know that the Father had sent Him. He trembled for his power. He consulted with his angels how to accomplish a work which should answer a twofold purpose: 1. To destroy the influence of the work wrought by God through His servant Moses, by working through his agents, and thus counterfeiting the true work of God; 2. To exert an influence by his work through the magicians which would reach down through all ages and destroy in the minds of many true faith in the mighty miracles and works to be performed by Christ when He should come to this world. He knew that his kingdom would suffer, for the power which he held over mankind would be subject to Christ. It was no human influence or power possessed by Moses that produced those miracles wrought before Pharaoh. It was the power of God. Those signs and wonders were wrought through Moses to convince Pharaoh that the great “I AM” sent him to command Pharaoh to let Israel go that they might serve Him. 1T 291.1

Pharaoh called for the magicians to work with their enchantments. They also showed signs and wonders, for Satan came to their aid to work through them. Yet even here the work of God was shown to be superior to the power of Satan, for the magicians could not perform all those miracles which God wrought through Moses. Only a few of them could they do. The magicians’ rods did become serpents, [See Appendix.] but Aaron's rod swallowed them up. After the magicians sought to produce the lice, and could not, they were compelled by the power of God to acknowledge even to Pharaoh, saying: “This is the finger of God.” Satan wrought through the magicians in a manner calculated to harden the heart of the tyrant Pharaoh against the miraculous manifestations of God's power. Satan thought to stagger the faith of Moses and Aaron in the divine origin of their mission, and then his instruments, the magicians, would prevail. Satan was unwilling to have the people of Israel released from Egyptian servitude that they might serve God. The magicians failed to produce the miracle of the lice, and could no more imitate Moses and Aaron. God would not suffer Satan to proceed further, and the magicians could not save themselves from the plagues. “And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” Exodus 9:11. 1T 292.1

God's controlling power here cut off the channel through which Satan worked, and caused even those through whom Satan had wrought so wonderfully to feel His wrath. Sufficient evidence was given to Pharaoh to believe, if he would. Moses wrought by the power of God. The magicians wrought not by their own science alone, but by the power of their god, the devil, who ingeniously carried out his deceptive work of counterfeiting the work of God. 1T 292.2

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 46

In this time of trial we need to be encouraged and comforted by one another. The temptations of Satan are greater now than ever before, for he knows that his time is short and that very soon every case will be decided, either for life or for death. It is no time now to sink down beneath discouragement and trial; we must bear up under all our afflictions and trust wholly in the Almighty God of Jacob. The Lord has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation and through His grace come off victorious. EW 46.1

If we overcome our trials and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is more precious than gold, and are stronger and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker and get no reward for the trial and shall not be so well prepared for the next. In this way we shall grow weaker and weaker, until we are led captive by Satan at his will. We must have on the whole armor of God and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus! Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might. EW 46.2

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 518

The great controversy between Christ and Satan, that has been carried forward for nearly six thousand years, is soon to close; and the wicked one redoubles his efforts to defeat the work of Christ in man's behalf and to fasten souls in his snares. To hold the people in darkness and impenitence till the Saviour's mediation is ended, and there is no longer a sacrifice for sin, is the object which he seeks to accomplish. GC 518.1

When there is no special effort made to resist his power, when indifference prevails in the church and the world, Satan is not concerned; for he is in no danger of losing those whom he is leading captive at his will. But when the attention is called to eternal things, and souls are inquiring, “What must I do to be saved?” he is on the ground, seeking to match his power against the power of Christ and to counteract the influence of the Holy Spirit. GC 518.2

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Ellen G. White
Medical Ministry, 111

The science of a pure, wholesome, consistent Christian life is obtained by studying the word of the Lord. This is the highest education that any earthly being can obtain. These are the lessons that the students in our schools are to be taught, that they may come forth with pure thoughts and clean minds and hearts, prepared to ascend the ladder of progress and to practice the Christian virtues.—Manuscript 86, 1905. MM 111.1

For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women that none but his voice will be heard.—Letter 244, 1907. MM 111.2

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