John 17:15 KJV
I pray¹ not that² thou shouldest take³ them⁴ out of⁵ the world⁶,
but⁷ that² thou shouldest keep⁸ them⁴ from⁵ the evil⁹.
¹) Pray – ἐρωτῶ (erōtō) – Apparently from ereo; to interrogate; by implication, to request.
²) That – ἵνα (hina) – In order that, so that. Probably from the same as the former part of heautou; in order that.
³) You take – ἄρῃς (arēs) – To raise, lift up, take away, remove.
⁴) Them – αὐτοὺς (autous) – They, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.
⁵) Out of – ἐκ (ek) – From out, out from among, from, suggesting from the interior outwards. A primary preposition denoting origin, from, out.
⁶) World – κόσμου (kosmou) – Probably from the base of komizo; orderly arrangement, i.e. Decoration; by implication, the world (morally).
⁷) But – ἀλλ’ (all’) – But, except, however. Neuter plural of allos; properly, other things, i.e. contrariwise.
⁸) You keep – τηρήσῃς (tērēsēs) – From teros; to guard, i.e. To note; by implication, to detain; by extension, to withhold; by extension, to withhold.
⁹) Evil [one] – πονηροῦ (ponērou) – Evil, bad, wicked, malicious, slothful.
New American Standard Bible
I do not ask You to take them out of the world,
but to keep them from the evil one.
New King James Version
I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
Young’s Literal Translation
I do not ask that Thou mayest take them out of the world, but that Thou mayest keep them out of the evil.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.
The thought may naturally have come to their minds that they would be most effectually kept from the hatred and danger of which He had spoken if they were to be with Him taken out of the world.
But there is for them a work in the world (John 17:18; 17:24).
He has finished the work His Father gave Him to do;
He has glorified the Father on the earth (John 17:4).
There is a work for them to glorify Him (John 17:10), and He prays not that they should be taken out of the world before their work is done.
The Christian ideal is:
- not freedom from work, but strength to do it;
- not freedom from temptation, but power to overcome it;
- not freedom from suffering, but joy in an abiding sense of the Father’s love;
- not absence from the world, but grace to make the world better through our presence;
- not holy lives driven from the world, and living apart from it, but holy lives spent in the world and leavening it.
But that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
The usage of John is, beyond question, in favour of the masculine.
The only other passages where he uses the word in the singular are 1John 2:13-14; 3:12; 5:18-19.
We have to bear in mind also that the present passage occurs in the second “Lord’s Prayer,” and that His prayer for them may with probability be interpreted in the same sense as the words in which He taught them to pray.
On the whole, therefore, it seems likely, but yet is by no means certain, that we ought to read here, “that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one.”
Nature never builds fences.
▪︎ The mountain slopes down to meet the valley,
▪︎ The day fades and darkens into night,
▪︎ The shore shelves off into the sea,
but the exact point at which the one merges in the other is undetermined.
Is there, then, no distinction between them?
▪︎ Is the daytime as the night because no eye can fix the instant when the gates unclose to let the morning through?
▪︎ Is the separation between land and sea unreal because between them lies a narrow strip over which they alternately hold sway?
The Christian life must slope downward to meet the world and mingle with it.
▪︎ In business partnerships,
▪︎ In political interests,
▪︎ In social matters,
▪︎ In hundreds of affairs,
the Christian and unchristian man must meet on neutral ground.
Is the distinction between them therefore lost; even for an instant?
Because they have great interests in common,
because in many things they act alike,
is the one in all essentials like the other? No more than the day is as the night.
Narrow is the border-land on which the two men meet.
As regards all the great realities the one is in the shadowy valley and the other on the sunlit heights; both touch the twilight’s border-land, but one never passes over it into the day, nor the other beyond it into the night.
A young lawyer, going to the West to settle for life, made it his boast that he “would locate in some place where there were no churches, Sunday schools, or Bibles.”
He found a place which substantially met his conditions.
But before the year was out he wrote to a former classmate, a young minister, begging him to come out, and bring plenty of Bibles, and begin preaching, and start a Sunday school; for, he said, he had “become convinced that a place without Christians, churches, and Bibles was too much like hell for any living man to stay in.”
The Christ is “come into the world,” and therefore you need not to “go out of the world” to meet Him.
He does not call you away from your calling, but into your calling.
The dove went up from the ark, and down to the ark, and was not disappointed when it could only bring an olive-leaf.
You may come to the house of God at due times,
and you may do the business of the world in other places too;
and still keep your olive-leaf, your peace of conscience (Genesis 24:27; 1 Corinthians 5:10).
Jesus, in showing His love and care for his disciples in prayer before God, is our great example that we must, we should, and we can pray for God’s spiritual protection on those we love.
- Ask God to help you to glorify Him in your life.
- Ask God to protect people for whom you have deep concerns (mention them by name).
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