2 Timothy 2:26
(26) That they may recover themselves.--The literal meaning of the Greek word rendered "that they may recover themselves" is. that they may awake from drunkenness. The English version, however, gives the meaning with great exactness. Those taken in the snare of the devil are represented as not only captives in the snare of the devil, but as also helplessly wrapped in slumber.

The deadly peril of all "captives of sin" is here well painted. These unhappy ones, before they can free themselves from the toils of the evil one, must awake from the deep slumber in which they are wrapped: in other words, must first be conscious of their awful danger.

Who are taken captive by him at his will.--These words have been variously interpreted by commentators. The meaning that, on the whole, seems most satisfactory, represents the captive to sin waking up from his deathly slumber and escaping the toils of the evil one, for the purpose of carrying out for the future the will of God. The rendering of the whole verse would be as follows: "And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil--being held captive by him--to do His (God's) will."

It must be remembered that the first pronoun in this sentence, "being held captive by him," referred here to the devil, and the second pronoun in the sentence, "to do His will," referred here to God, are represented in the Greek by two distinct words: the first by ???????, the second by ????????.

Verse 26. - They for that they, A.V.; having been taken captive by the Lord's servant unto the will of God for who are taken captive by him at his will, A.V. Having been taken captive, etc. This is undoubtedly a difficult passage. We will first take the individual words, and then turn to the general meaning. Recover themselves (ἀνανήψωσιν); only found here in the New Testament, and never in the LXX. In classical Greek, where it is, however, uncommon, it means literally "to recover from drunkenness," hence, "to come to one's self," "to come to a right mind" (see Steph., 'Thes.'). Snare (παγίς); as 1 Timothy 3:7; 1 Timothy 6:9. Compare the use of παγιδεύω (Matthew 22:15). Having been taken captive (ἐζωγρήμενοι); only found in the New Testament in Luke 5:10 besides this place, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek, in the sense of "to take alive," of prisoners of war, who, if not ransomed, always became slaves of the conqueror. Here, therefore, the meaning is "having been captured and enslaved." By him (margin), (ὑπ αὐτοῦ); i.e. of course the devil, who had just been named as having ensnared them. Unto the will of him (margin), (ἐκείνου θέλημα). The difficulty of the passage lies in the word ἐκείνου, which at first sight seems to indicate a different antecedent from the antecedent of αὐτοῦ. This grammatical difficulty has led to the strange rendering of the R.V., and to the wholly unjustifiable intrusion into the text of the words, "the Lord's servant" and of "God," producing altogether a sentence of unparalleled awkwardness and grotesqueness, and utter improbability. But there is no real difficulty in referring ἐκείνου to the same person as αὐτοῦ (meaning in both cases the devil), as in the passage from Plato's 'Cratylus,' cited by Huther, after De Wette, the cause of the use of ἐκείνου being that St. Paul was at the moment emphasizing the fact of these captives being deprived of their own will, and made subservient to the will of another. The passage may be paraphrased: "If peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, so as to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, after they had been led captive by him, so as to be no longer their own masters, but obliged to do his will." The implied contrast is οὐ τὸ ἑαυτῶν ἀλλ ἐκείνου θέλημα, just as in the passage from the 'Cratylus,' p. 430 (vol. 4. p. 306, Bekker's edit.), ἐκείνου is contrasted with γυναικός. The full passage is Δεῖξαι αὐτῷ α}ν μὲν τύχῃ ἐκείνου εἰκόνα α}ν δὲ τύχῃ γυναικός. Another example of the transition from αὐτός to ἐκεῖνος is in John 1:7, 8, Οῦτος η΅λθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτὸς ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι δι αὐτοῦ οὐκ η΅ν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, κ.τ.λ., where there is a contrast between John as the witness and Christ as the true Light (compare, too, John 4:25, where ἐκείνος has the force of "not you, but he"). For the general turn of phrase, comp. 2 Corinthians 10:5, "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," where αἰχμαλωτίζοντες (see 2 Timothy 3:6) corresponds to ἐζωγρημένοι and εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Ξριστοῦ to εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα. It should be noted further that the sentence is certainly rather a peculiar one, from the use of such uncommon words as ἀνανήφω and ζωγρέω, and the mixture of metaphors. But the sense of the A.V. is fully borne out. The interpretation preferred by Bishop Ellicott is "they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil unto his will (viz. God's), having (previously) been led captive by him (viz. the devil)."

2:22-26 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.And that they may recover themselves,.... Or "awake", and come to themselves, and appear to be sober, and in their right mind: the metaphor is taken from drunken men, who are overcharged, and are not in their senses, and being stupified fall asleep; and like these are persons intoxicated with errors and heresies, who when their minds are enlightened, and they are convinced of their evil tenets, repent of them, come to themselves, and acknowledge the truth, and so escape

out of the snare of the devil; for as carnal lusts and pleasures are the snares and nets, in which Satan, who may be compared to a fowler, catches some; so errors and heresies are those with which he ensnares others: "who are taken captive", or "alive",

by him at his will; such are taken in his nets and snares, as creatures are taken alive, by fowlers, and huntsmen; and they are held fast, and become his captives, and his slaves, and do his will, being led by him to whatsoever he pleases; he works powerfully in them, and they readily comply with him, and obey his lusts. Though some understand this, not of the will of the devil, but of the will of God; and that the sense is, that such persons are held captive by Satan, as long as it is the pleasure of God, and no longer; when the prey is taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive is delivered; and so it is an encouragement to the ministers of the word to go on in instructing, hoping this may be the case. Others connect this phrase, "to his will" or "according to his will", as they differently render it, with the word, "recover": and then the meaning is, that such, repenting of their errors, might escape out of the snare of Satan, in which they were taken alive; that so they might do the will of God, by professing and holding fast his truths; or that their repentance, recovery, and escape out of Satan's snare and captivity, are according to the will of God, and his sovereign good pleasure.

2 Timothy 2:25
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