The most significant reference is Rom. 1:16 about the power [δύναμις] of God for salvation. The Hebrew words translating δύναμις in the New Testament emphasize the idea of strength.
David H. Stern a Messianic Jew, wrote this commentary.
Most religion today is mere outer form, words and ritual without power; contrast 1C 2:4–5. Non-Messianic Judaism too must remain an outer form of religion lacking the spiritual power people want and need, so long as it continues to deny him who is the only way to the Father (Yn 14:6) and to the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:9–10), the source of that power (1:7 above).
Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., 2 Tim. 3:5). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
However, Jesus was more specific and accused the Sadducees of denying this power (Matt. 22:29). Thus, how the Sadducees interpreted Scripture is a more specific example. For Matt. 22:29, both Hebrew translations use גְּבוּרָה.
In this context the best Hebrew translation of δύναμις seems to be יְכוֹלֶת. However, כֹּחַ is good, or even גְּבוּרָה. For some reason the translation of Rom. 1:16 seems better.
אֵינֶנִּי בּוֹשׁ בִּבְשׂוֹרַת הַמָּשִׁיחַ, שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא כֹּחַ הָאֱלֹהִים לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶת כָּל מִי שֶׁמַּאֲמִין, אֶת הַיְּהוּדִי בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה וְגַם אֶת הַלֹּא–יְהוּדִי;
ha-Berit ha-ḥadashah. (2000). (Rom. 1:16). Israel: The Bible Society in Israel.
כִּי אֵינֶנִּי בּוֹשׁ מִבְּשׂוֹרַת הַמָּשִׁיחַ בַּאֲשֶׁר גְּבוּרַת אֱלֹהִים הִיא לִתְשׁוּעַת כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין
Franz Julius Delitzsch. (n.d.). Delitzsch Hebrew New Testament (Rom. 1:16).
Note: Franz Delitzsch [1813-1890) predates modern Hebrew.
לִכְאוֹרָה בַּעֲלֵי יִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם, אַךְ כּוֹפְרִים בְּתָקְפָּהּ. הִתְרַחֵק מֵאֵלֶּה
(2 Tim. 3:5, ha-Berit ha-ḥadashah)
וַאֲשֶׁר דִּמְיוֹן חֲסִידוּת לָהֶם וּמְכַחֲשִׁים בְּכֹחָהּ וְאַתָּה סוּר מֵאֵלֶּה׃
(2 Tim. 3:5, Delitzsch).
The Larger Context
Preceding this passage has the topic:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
(2 Tim 2:15, ESV)
The pitfalls of those who fail at this lead up to the passage in question.
Following this passage leads up to:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Tim. 3:16–17)
And, "preach the word" in 4:2.
The Immediate Context (2 Tim. 3:1-9)
The context jumps around describing a godless society that has civil laws derived from the Law of Moses and Christs teaching, even the external ritual of worship (giving the outward appearance/form of godliness), but essentially caught up in sin without the ability (δύναμις) to resist. Thus, Romans 1:16 and Rom. 8 is missing in their lives.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power [δύναμις] of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
(Rom. 1:16–17, ESV)
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
(Rom. 8:5, ESV)
Here is a prime description of science; always increasing in knowledge, but never reaching the end, never reaching absolute truth. The honest scientist acknowledges, "The more we know the more realize what we don't know."
always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
(2 Tim. 3:7, ESV)
- δύναμις has the idea of can. Denying δύναμις means can't. It means saying miracles can't happen, etc.
And Jesus said to them, “Can [δύνανται, יְכוֹלִים] the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
(Matt. 9:15, ESV)
And Jesus said to them, “Can [δύνανται, יְכוֹלִים] the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
(Mark 2:19, ESV)
And Jesus said to them, “Can [δύνασθε, יְכוֹלִים] you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
(Luke 5:34, ESV)
He also told them a parable: “Can [δύναται, הֲיוּכַל] a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
(Luke 6:39, ESV)
Nathanael said to him, Can [δύναταί, יָכוֹל] anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
(John 1:46, ESV)
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can [δύναται, יָכוֹל] do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can [δύναται, יָכוֹל] a man be born when he is old? Can [δύναται, יָכוֹל] he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
(John 3:2–4, ESV)
Nicodemus said to him, “How can [δύναται, יִתָּכְנוּ] these things be?”
(John 3:9, ESV)
Senses of δύναμις in the New Testament (Logos Bible Software)
Hebrew words δύναμις translates in the Septuagint (LXX).
- εὐσέβεια is the word using in the LXX to translate יִרְאַ֣ת fear/respect)
εὐσέβεια, ας, ἡ (Pre-Socr., Aeschyl.+; inscr., pap. as ‘piety, reverence, loyalty, fear of God’) in our lit and in the LXX only of the duty which man owes to God piety, godliness, religion ...
Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : a translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (p. 326). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
σέβω—1. act. (Pind.+) worship
BADG, p. 746.
εὐσεβέω (trag.+; inscr., pap., LXX) be reverent, respectful, devout
BADG, p. 326.
As used to Translate Hebrew in LXX