14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.—2 Timothy 2:14-15 NIV
Paul is instructing Timothy (and us) about the destruction and divisions that are caused by debating over doctrines. He is instructing us that our time would be better spent in meditating on God’s Word and doing exactly what it says without adding anything to it. This is what the scribes and Pharisees had done to the Old Testament law. They had added their own interpretations to it and were weighing the people down with useless requirements. Some of us do the same thing today and then wonder why our church attendance is down.
The important thing for us to remember is that God made the plan of salvation very simple for a reason. It is not a burden to bear, it is easy to understand and for us, it is free, even though, it cost God His only Son. Anyone can do it.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.–John 3:16 NIV
Is there more to the story? Yes, but just believing and repenting is all there is to salvation. Knowing the rest of the story will help you enjoy the journey.
14 Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. 15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. 19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”-–2 Timothy 2: 14-9 (NLT)
We should set the example of studying God’s Word and meditating on its meaning. Then we won’t have time for these useless arguments and idle gossip. Arguments and gossip lead people away from the truth of the Scriptures and away from salvation. We need to be able to explain the Word of truth and avoid foolish behavior. The world is watching us to see if we are walking out what we are teaching. If we are not, then sinners will not be interested in what we have to say. All this earthly religion will pass away but God’s Word will stand forever. Not the least point will be left undone. It is the foundation of the message we preach. It is not up to us to turn people from evil, God will do that if we use the words He gives us to say. We are the messengers, He is the author and the finisher of our faith.
14 Continue teaching these things, warning people in God’s presence not to argue about words. It does not help anyone, and it ruins those who listen. 15 Make every effort to give yourself to God as the kind of person he will approve. Be a worker who is not ashamed and who uses the true teaching in the right way. 16 Stay away from foolish, useless talk, because that will lead people further away from God. 17 Their evil teaching will spread like a sickness inside the body.– 2 Timothy 2:14-17a (NCV)
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is encouraging Timothy to continue his witnessing. He urges Timothy to avoid foolish arguments. We have all gotten into those discussions where no one is going to win and we are all worse off for our effort. As Benjamin Franklin put it: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We need to study and be ready to witness to those God puts in our paths. As Paul tells Timothy later in 2 Timothy 4:2 (NCV) 2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching,
We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel or change it to make it more acceptable. But every word we say must be spoken in love which will draw others to Christ and not push them away. Wrong or evil teaching will spread through the Church (body of Christ) just like a sickness spreads through the body.