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Saturday, August 07, 2010

truth and error 1: intro and core doctrine, 2 timothy 2.14-26

Truth and error are sometimes not easily discerned. This is one of the early lessons of childhood – children who are warned not to talk to strangers go ahead, explaining that “he was really nice.” Later along, we may hear the crowd of peers saying one thing, but sheer numbers do not create truth. We come to realize that our own feelings may mislead us, and wolves continue to dress in sheep’s clothing. What once seemed black and white only seems to come now in shades of gray.

In a world where truth is an elusive thing, how does one find it? How does one guard against untruth? If we are really going to be salt and light in a dark world, how will we do so without being swept away? In this series of blog posts, I will be exploring 2 Timothy 2:14-26, a text rich in answers to these questions and more.
14 Remind them of these things and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” 20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. 24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. ~2 Timothy 2:14-26
Before we focus on verses 14-15, we are first pointed elsewhere. Verse 14 begins, “Remind them of these things…” Well, we’ve got to know what “these things” are! The preceding verses (in 2 Timothy) provide a clearer picture of what is at stake.
11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:11-13)
It IS a trustworthy statement – but why was it being made? It was being made because there were those who were denying the resurrection. This was a bottom-line, essential, and core doctrine of the Christian faith. To deny the resurrection was to deny Jesus himself. Added to this reminder in verse 14 was the charge not to “wrangle about words.”

Posts in this "Truth and Error" series:
1 - intro and core doctrine, 2 timothy 2.14-26
2 - word-wrangling, v. 14
3 - study, v. 15
4 - a local challenge, vv. 16-18
5 - church pictures, vv. 19-21
6 - empty talk, vv. 16-18
7 - immaturity and distraction, v. 22
8 - false teaching, v. 23
9 - kind to all, v. 24
10 - able to teach, patient, gentle, vv. 24-25
11 - gracious hope, vv. 25b-26a
12 - enemy clarification, v. 26b

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