For it would have been better for them not to have [personally] known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to have turned back from the holy commandment [verbally] handed on to them.
For never to have obtained a [full, personal] knowledge of the way of righteousness would have been better for them than, having obtained [such knowledge], to turn back from the holy commandment which was [verbally] delivered to them.
·Yes, [L For] it would be better for them to have never known the ·right way [or the way of righteousness] than to know it and to turn away from the holy ·teaching [L commandment; law] that was ·given [passed on; handed down] to them.
If men have escaped from the world’s contaminations through knowing our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, and then become entangled and defeated all over again, their last position is far worse than their first. It would be better for them not to have known the way of goodness at all, rather than after knowing it to turn their backs on the sacred commandments given to them. Alas, for them, the old proverbs have come true about ‘a dog returns to his own vomit’, and “the sow that had been washed going back to wallow in the muck”.
If they’ve escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they’re worse than if they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of the proverbs, “A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.”
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