23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
avoid (v.23) = refuse, decline
foolish (v.23) = dull, sluggish, stupid
ignorant (v.23) = unlearned, uninstructed, untrained, undisciplined
disputes (v.23) = questionings, seeking
strife (v.23) = quarrels, fights — in contrast to “peace” in v.22
servant (v.24) = bondslave — here, pastor
must (v.24) = a necessity in the nature of the case
The word “strive” [quarrel] in v.24 is by no means the same as that found in Philippians 1:27, where the apostle bids us to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Thus the exhortation, “the servant of the Lord must not strive,” in no way refers to fighting the good fight of the faith, for it is our responsibility to fight this fight as “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” The word “strive,” here in 2 Timothy 2:24, is the Greek machomai, meaning to quarrel or dispute, and the servant of the Lord must indeed not be quarrelsome, but “gentle unto all men,” etc., “in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves” (v.25), i.e., who set themselves in opposition (as in Acts 18:6). This course of action has been used of God to win many to the truth, while heated debates have generally been fruitless. A meek and gracious approach has also been often used of God to help those deluded by Satan to “recover themselves” out of his snare” (v.26). — Stam, pages 190-191
gentle (v.24) = affable, mild, gentle in demeanor
able to teach (v.24) = skilled in teaching, with an aptitude for imparting knowledge — used elsewhere only in 1 Timothy 3:2.
patient (v.24) = lit. “patient of wrong”
perhaps will grant (v.25) — tense indicates an undetermined condition with a remote prospect of determination
know (v.25) = full knowledge, complete recognition
come to their senses (v.26) = return to soberness, as from a state of delirium or drunkenness
to do his will (v.26) = lit. “unto his will” — There’s some disagreement about what this verse means. I lean toward the position that the final four words should be translated “to do His will,” or “to do God’s will.” Wuest has it “that they may return to soberness out of the snare of the Devil, having been held captive by him [the Devil], (so as to serve) the will of that One (God).