Vincent Word Studies - 2 Peter 2:11 - 2:11

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Vincent Word Studies - 2 Peter 2:11 - 2:11

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Power and might (ἰσχύΐ καὶ δυνάμει)

Rev., might and power. The radical idea of ἰσχύς, might, is that of indwelling strength, especially as embodied: might which inheres in physical powers organized and working under individual direction, as an army' which appears in the resistance of physical organisms, as the earth, against which one dashes himself in vain: which dwells in persons or things, and gives them influence or value: which resides in laws or punishments to make them irresistible. This sense comes out clearly in the New Testament in the use of the word and of its cognates. Thus, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy strength” (Mar 12:30): “according to the working of his mighty power” (Eph 1:19). So the kindred adjective ἰχσυρός. “A strong man” (Mat 12:29): a mighty famine (Luk 15:14): his letters are powerful (2Co 10:10): a strong consolation (Heb 6:18): a mighty angel (Rev 18:21). Also the verb ἱσχύω. “It is good for nothing” (Mat 5:13): “shall not be able” (Luk 13:24): “I can do all things” (Phi 4:13): “availeth much” (Jam 5:16).

Δύναμις is rather ability, faculty: not necessarily manifest, as ἰσχύς: power residing in one by nature. Thus ability (Mat 25:15): virtue (Mar 5:30): power (Luk 24:29; Act 1:8; 1Co 2:4): “strength of sin” (1Co 15:56). So of moral vigor. “Strengthened with might in the inner man” (Eph 3:16): “with all might (Col 1:11). It is, however, mostly power in action, as in the frequent use of δυνάμεις for miracles, mighty works, they being exhibitions of divine virtue. Thus “power unto salvation” (Rom 1:16): the kingdom coming in power” (Mar 9:1): God himself called power - “the right hand of the power” (Mat 26:64), and so in classical Greek used to denote the magistrates or authorities. Also of the angelic powers (Eph 1:21; Rom 8:38; 1Pe 3:22). Generally, then, it may be said that while both words include the idea of manifestation or of power in action, ἰσχύς emphasizes the outward, physical manifestations, and δύναμις the inward, spiritual or moral virtue. Plato (“Protagoras,” 350) draws the distinction thus: “I should not have admitted that the able (δυνατοὺς) are strong (ἰσχυροὺς), though I have admitted that the strong are able. For there is a difference between ability (δύναμιν) and strength (ἰσχύν). The former is given by knowledge as well as by madness or rage; but strength comes from nature and a healthy state of the body. Aristotle (“Rhet.,” i., 5) says “strength (ἰσχὺς) is the power of moving another as one wills; and that other is to be moved either by drawing or pushing or carrying or pressing or compressing; so that the strong (ὁ ἰσχυρὸς) is strong for all or for some of these things.”

Railing judgment

Compare Jud 1:9; Zec 3:1, Zec 3:9.