Day 4 Read: 2 Timothy 2:14-21
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.15 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. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
Reflect: Why did Paul stress to Timothy the importance of instructing his people not to fight about words? Why did Paul warn against “irreverent, empty speech”? According to Paul, what might the consequences be for ignoring such warnings (see vv. 16-19)? What does that tell us about the importance of what is taught at our church? What does it tell us about the power of our words?
Consider: Rightly handling also translates a Greek verb that occurs only here in the New Testament. Literally it refers to the act of cutting something in a straight way; figuratively it refers to expounding something rightly, or teaching something correctly. Here, what needs to be handled correctly is the word of truth, which may refer to the gospel itself (see Eph 1:13). The word of truth may be translated as “the true word” or “the true message,” or perhaps more properly “the message about the truth.” For truth see 1 Tim 2:4.3
Respond: Even if you’re not a pastor or teacher, what can you do to prepare yourself to be an approved worker who is able to share God’s Word correctly? What do verses 20-21 tell us about how we should respond to “irreverent, empty speech” in the church? What is promised to those who respond this way (v. 21)? What does Paul’s instructions tell us about how we should think about our church?
3 Daniel C. Arichea and Howard Hatton, A Handbook on Paul’s Letters to Timothy and to Titus, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1995), 206–207.