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Saturday, August 14, 2010

truth and error 6: empty talk, vv. 16-18

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. (2 Timothy 2:16-18)
The first danger that can keep us as serving as “vessels of honor” is “empty talk” or “worldly and empty chatter.” In verse 16, we read that we should avoid this kind of talk, because it has at least three negative results. It will “lead to further ungodliness” (v. 16); it will “spread like gangrene” (v. 17); and it will “upset the faith of some” (v. 18).

A faithful Christian should speak truth with substance. This is one of the results of studying scripture. When our minds are soaked in scripture, it is far easier not to be characterized by “worldly and empty chatter.” Unfortunately, it is not simply a matter of braving the “worldly chatter” out there – but it is a danger within the church as well. We’ve seen that Paul cites a local example of men (Hymenaeus and Philetus) speculating and teaching about the resurrection in a way that did not accord with scripture. Their words evidently were wreaking havoc within the church and upsetting the faith of some believers.

Paul’s advice to Timothy and to us: avoid this kind of talk, whether it’s inside the church or outside. Let your words be full of truth and substance, bearing witness to Jesus Christ. Don’t engage in the chatter or add to it. Guarding the tongue is the best defense; grounding in the Bible is the best offense.

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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