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Thursday, August 19, 2010

truth and error 10: able to teach, patient, gentle, vv. 24-25

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… (2 Timothy 2:24-25)
A second quality of a follower of Christ is the ability to teach. This need not be a Sunday school teacher for a class of 20, but lines up with v. 15 from two weeks ago. We need to be able to handle God’s Word accurately. A Christian should neither be ignorant of Scripture nor mis-handle it from lack of study. This is a re-iteration of the plea for regular study to train your mind, heart, and spirit so that God’s Word and will shapes your life, your speech, and your choices.

A third quality of one who would serve the Lord is that he or she is “patient when wronged.” This is getting into “turn the other cheek” territory and is evidence of some Christian maturity and what the Bible calls “fruit” of God’s Spirit. Again, this is set in the context of the internal church conflict in the Ephesian church, but it has broad application. A follower of Jesus starts to look like Jesus. One of the results of diligently studying the Bible and obeying God is that we start growing up spiritually and otherwise. Remember last week? Staying immature in faith is something to avoid. We are to grow; patience is a sign of maturing in faith, even in the face of being wronged.

The fourth quality of one who follows Jesus – a “vessel of honor” – really takes the first three qualities, combines them together, and puts them into action. When confronted with error, we are to correct that error with gentleness and the truth. This is kindness lived out in our speech. This is “able to teach” in the most applicable kind of way – that we aren’t just imparting knowledge, but leading people to God’s truth. This is “patience when wronged” because one of the hardest times to be patience is when one is verbally or otherwise opposing you. It is Christian maturity and the presence of Jesus that enables one to correct gently and not retaliate against angry words with angry words.

It would be enough that we are simply to reflect the character of Jesus in our speech and behavior, but Paul goes on to give an additional and important reason for exhibiting these qualities in our lives.

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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