Friday, 29 June 2018
But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Titus 3:9
Paul now writes words similar to what he had written to Timothy. In 1 Timothy 1:4, he said –
“…nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”
Other parts of his letters to Timothy also cover the other points of this verse to Titus. Here he begins with “foolish disputes.” This was specifically addressed to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:23 where he used the term, “foolish and ignorant disputes.” These are any disputes which have no importance in the overall scheme of things.
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.”
In engaging the mouth without proper brain matter to support whatever comes out of the mouth, these people argue over things that they have no true comprehension of. And worse, they argue it ad nauseam. Some argue over political matters, some over whether the earth is flat, some whether we can know reality. Paul would leave his exhortation solely with spiritual matters. In this, foolish disputes are started and engaged in over when the rapture will occur, why the King James Version is the only “true” version of the Bible, or some will even freely choose to argue over why we don’t have free-will.
These people grab onto a subject that has absolutely no basis in reality, and they suddenly argue as if they have all of the knowledge available on the subject, without any proof at all. In fact, when proof is presented, it is immediately rejected, and their line of unreasonable argumentation simply continues on, in its same brainless manner.
Paul then mentions “genealogies.” The Bible, particularly Genesis and Chronicles, is full of genealogies. They are scattered throughout other books as well. These genealogies inevitably are twisted, and spiritually manipulated to supposedly reveal a Jewish line which is superior to all others. Being a rabbi himself, Paul knew that this was the intent of constantly referring to these genealogies. By allowing the Judaizers to teach these things, it would effectually end any idea of a church of both Jews and Gentiles who were unified as one. Instead, two distinct classes – one supposedly superior over the other – would develop and flourish. All things Jewish would be considered as the ideal. All things Gentile would be considered as base and contemptible.
He next cites “contentions.” The word indicates a quarrel. It can even be used to speak of those who bear arms in a battle. This is what some people 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. If they can start a fight, it is a sure guarantee that they will do so.
Paul’s next category is “strivings about the law.” A hint concerning this: The law is annulled in Christ. There is no need to dwell on whether we can or cannot eat a pan full of bacon. The matter is settled. But some people will pick out points from Scripture, taking them completely out of the intended context, and they will strive about them. The Feasts of the Lord are a part of the law. The law is fulfilled in Christ. Thus, the feasts are fulfilled. There is no future application of them for those in the church. But people will strive about these things, charging ahead with something they have stuck in their mind, whether it is based on reality or not. The list could go on all day as to what people will strive about from the law.
Paul then says, “for they are unprofitable and useless.” There is no value in any of the things that such moral miniscules find delight in. If one understands the context of what is being presented in Scripture, then they are to make their point about it, but not get caught in an endless cycle of argumentation about it. It serves no purpose, and it only reduces the person to the same level as that of the one who wants to argue. There is no profit in such a waste of time, and in the end, nothing will get settled. The dolt-factor is simply too deeply ingrained in the person they are vainly trying to reason with.
Paul will give the cure for this in the next verse. O! If the Christian would pay heed to his words, maybe even citing them after having given their side of the matter, so much less grief would be found in the world today. There is enough of that outside of Christian circles. We need much less of it among those who are Christians, or who claim to be so.
Life application: Do you want to look like a fool? Then keep arguing with a fool. Eventually, you will have all the foolish appearance that he has. Solomon says as much in Proverbs 26:4. Don’t become one!
Lord God, give us wisdom to not argue with fools according to their folly, but to give a reasonable explanation for what we believe, and then leave them to either accept what is proper or to reject it. But arguing with fools will only make us look just like them. It is a pointless waste of time. Instead, give us the wisdom to seek that which is good, honorable, and right at all times. Amen.