Sunday, 8 April 2018
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 2 Timothy 2:23
What a verse for modern times! How easy it is to get into inane, ignorant disputes with others on social media. How many people have been eviscerated, and who return the evisceration, by the use of a keyboard and mere words! This is true in almost every subject possible. Whether the earth is flat or not has brought people to ridiculous arguments as posts fly back and forth. Whether this person is suitable to hold office or not is argued to the point of nausea.
Paul is certainly referring to any such argument – be it religion, politics, or whether chicken tastes better than beef. However, this verse can be kept to religion alone, and that will suffice as an example for all other areas. Paul might say, “There are a million points which one could squabble over which will turn into foolish and ignorant arguments. Just don’t go there, Timothy.” He has already mentioned “fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes” in his first letter.
There are some things which might be inferred from Scripture that are debatable. There are some things which are completely unknown, such as the day of the rapture. There are things which are so complicated that we will never fully grasp them (such as the complete nature of God – it being an infinite subject). To endlessly argue over such things can be, and usually is, foolish. Those who do the arguing are normally ignorant.
The Greek word for “foolish” gives the sense of being dull (insipid) or flat (without an edge). It is móros, the root of our modern “moron.” It is a person who is mentally inert – a dolt – who speaks that which is moronic or insensible. We might call him “brainless.” The word translated as “ignorant” is found only here. It means “uninstructed.” Thus it is a person who shows a complete lack of proper training or education. Paul’s choice of these descriptive words is careful and purposeful.
With the coming of modern printing, the Bible has gone forth in a marvelous way. The word of God is opened up to millions, and there is true freedom in being able to pick it up, read it, and cherish it. And yet, at the same time, there are those who stick to one particular subject of doctrine, pulling it out of context, and then claim to be specialists in it. This is especially true with sensational subjects like angelology, demonology, or prophecy. They have no real training in proper theology, and they come to completely unfounded conclusions about these matters. And yet, they will argue their stand until blue in the face, constantly playing Scripture tennis in an attempt to look smart.
Such people are ignorant, and they are fools. He exhorts Timothy to stay away from them, “knowing that they generate strife.” This is what they live for, the argument for the argument’s sake. They have no desire to build anyone up, and they have no desire to be truly edified in the word of God. Instead, they perversely want to be proven right at all costs, and to the harm of any who would dare challenge them. Watch for them on Facebook or other social media. They are there, waiting to pounce. Paul has special words for dividers like this –
“Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.” Titus 3:10, 11
They are the special type for which the BLOCK option is particularly designed for on social media. Let them argue with themselves. You should choose the better path and use your time building others up, edifying them in their walk with the Lord, and showing the love of Christ to those who are in need of His loving care.
Life application: It is so very easy to get sucked into tit for tat challenges about matters which don’t matter. Be wise and cautious to not go beyond what is written. Make your case, state your view, and then warn the divisive person up to a second time, and then POW! Ignore him, or even hit the block button, lest you argue yourself into the same state of foolishness that he has done.
Lord God, help us to not get into divisive arguments with fools. Your word specifically advises against this. If we give our view, and another wants to argue, we are advised to warn them once, warn them a second time, and then have nothing to do with them. How good it would be if we would follow this advice! We would save ourselves much grief in this world of easy-to-slay-one-another on social media and elsewhere. Help us in this, O God. Amen.