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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

truth and error 8: false teaching, v. 23

Finally Paul describes a third danger that can keep us as serving as “vessels of honor”: false teaching…
23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. (2 Timothy 2:23)
From “word wrangling” to “idle chatter” to “spreading like gangrene” to several uses of “quarrel,” it is clear that Paul sees great danger in what was going on in Ephesus. It’s not just the false teaching in and of itself, that can lead one astray; it is also the arguing and fighting that can disrupt and damage a church community.

One of the real dangers I recognize is that we get so focused on righting the wrongs or fleeing the people with whom we disagree that we fail to focus on the primary and first order ministry and mission God has put before us as a church. We must try to find a godly priority and balance.

Paul advocates a grounding in God’s Word, which will help us avoid the quarreling that is primarily a fight between two people’s opinions. To return to scripture as the arbiter of truth is to seek God’s Word and will over and above our own. That grounding in God’s Word will also help us grow spiritually such that we can turn away from immature and ungodly behaviors and inclinations and be transformed by the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.

Paul is not done, though. Having warned against quarreling, he goes on to describe a means of engaging, confronting, and correcting those in error. His goal is not the purification of the Church, but the correction and redemption of people, outside and inside the human construct of the church. He also points ultimately to Satan as the source of this discord.

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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