Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


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
The Acts of the Apostles, 501-2

The true minister of God will not shun hardship or responsibility. From the Source that never fails those who sincerely seek for divine power, he draws strength that enables him to meet and overcome temptation, and to perform the duties that God places upon him. The nature of the grace that he receives, enlarges his capacity to know God and His Son. His soul goes out in longing desire to do acceptable service for the Master. And as he advances in the Christian pathway he becomes “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” This grace enables him to be a faithful witness of the things that he has heard. He does not despise or neglect the knowledge that he has received from God, but commits this knowledge to faithful men, who in their turn teach others. AA 501.1

In this his last letter to Timothy, Paul held up before the younger worker a high ideal, pointing out the duties devolving on him as a minister of Christ. “Study to show thyself approved unto God,” the apostle wrote, “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” AA 501.2

The apostle warned Timothy against the false teachers who would seek to gain entrance into the church. “This know also,” he declared, “that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy; ... having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” AA 502.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 30

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” Those who would become the educators of the youth and children must learn much, very much, both in precept and experience, in order that they may be successful laborers for God. They must grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, attaining unto the measure of the stature of Christ. Growth in grace is a testimony to the fact that you are abiding in Christ as the branch is abiding in the vine. If you abide in Him, you will have power to discern spiritual truth, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned. CSW 30.1

“I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” God calls upon the young men and young women to make the most of their entrusted ability. He would have you cultivate habits of industry, habits of study, that you may improve the talents He has given you. God will accept your service, and the improvement of your talents, but He cannot look with approval upon half-hearted, halfway work. Every branch of God's work calls for the exercise of the highest ability; it demands that you shall bring into requisition every available help, that you shall direct your noblest impulses to the propagation of the truth. The exalted, sacred character of the work requires the enlistment of the highest intellectual and spiritual powers, that it may be properly represented before those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. CSW 30.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 906

What Our Churches Should Be—The first and second chapters of Colossians have been presented to me as an expression of what our churches in every part of the world should be (Letter 161, 1903). 7BC 906.1

9-11. God's Will May Be Known—[Colossians 1:9-11 quoted.] How complete this prayer is! There is no limit to the blessings that it is our privilege to receive. We may be “filled with the knowledge of his will.” The Holy Ghost would never have inspired Paul to offer this prayer in behalf of his brethren, if it had not been possible for them to receive an answer from God in accordance with the request. Since this is so, we know that God's will is manifested to His people as they need a clearer understanding of His will (Letter 179, 1902). 7BC 906.2

15 (Hebrews 1:3; see EGW on Acts 1:11). The Perfect Photograph of God—We have only one perfect photograph of God, and this is Jesus Christ (Manuscript 70, 1899). 7BC 906.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 917-8

The affection between Paul and Timothy began with Timothy's conversion; and the tie had strengthened as they had shared the hopes, the perils, and the toils of missionary life, till they seemed to be as one. The disparity in their ages and the difference in their characters made their love for each other more earnest. The ardent, zealous, indomitable spirit of Paul found repose and comfort in the mild, yielding, retiring disposition of Timothy. The faithful ministration and tender love of this tried companion had brightened many a dark hour in the apostle's life. All that Melanchthon was to Luther, all that a son could be to a loved and honored father, the youthful Timothy was to the tried and lonely Paul (The Youth's Instructor, July 10, 1902). 7BC 917.1

9. See EGW on Luke 17:10; Ephesians 2:8, 9. 7BC 917.2

10. See EGW on Hebrews 2:14. 7BC 917.3

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