2 Timothy 2:14-18 (Wrangling About Versus Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth)

2Ti 2:14-16 What are “these things” that Paul exhorts Timothy to “keep reminding” (NIV) people about?  See 2Ti 2:11-13 and confer 1 Tim 4:7-11 (esp. 2Ti 2:11), Tit 3:3-8 (esp. 2Ti 2:8).  With what three other admonitions does Paul charge Timothy in 2Ti 2:14-16?  How are they related?  Think: if people are religious but do not accurately handle the word of truth what is the common result?  See 2Ti 2:14 & 16.  What does it mean to “wrangle” about words?  Note: KJV = strive; NIV = quarrel; lit. “fight” or “dispute”.  What words in 2Ti 2:14 indicate the seriousness of such disputes?  See also 2Ti 4:1, 1 Tim 5:21, Lk 16:28.  What are some examples of matters that religious people wrangle over today?  To what does Paul say such wrangling leads?  Note: NASB “ruin” derives from the Greek word katastrofh, from which we get our English word catastrophe.  Do we understand how catastrophic to our faith wrangling about words can be?  Is it to our own ruin only that arguing over such things leads?  What is “worldly and empty chatter”?  Note: KJV = profane and vain babblings; NIV = godless chatter.  What are some examples of worldly and empty chatter people engage themselves in today?  To what does Paul say such worldly chatter leads?  See 2Ti 2:16-17.  In what primary way does one avoid being carried away to destruction or caught up in the ungodliness spawned by the strife and empty chatter that characterizes so much of man’s religion?  See 2Ti 2:15.  In what other ways does one avoid such?  See 2Ti 2:23, Tit 3:9-11.  What does it mean to “handle accurately” (NASB) or “rightly divide” (KJV) the word of truth?  Note: the Greek word means literally to “cut straight” and is the word used in Prov 3:6 for God making our paths straight.  Instead of being ashamed of the gospel message or of people like Paul who were branded as criminals by the state (2Ti 1:8), of what ought God’s people to be ashamed?  What is necessary on our part to handle accurately the word of truth and present ourselves as workmen approved to God?  What does it mean to be diligent?  Note: KJV = study; see also 2Ti 4:9,21 for the same word.  Are we making every effort to “cut straight” the word of truth, both for ourselves and for those whom we would lead to Christ?  Or does our exegesis wander from the “pattern of sound teaching” (2Ti 1:13, NIV) outlined by Paul?  Do we expend the time and labor necessary to carefully study God’s word so as to rightly divide it and show ourselves approved?  Or should we be ashamed that we have not had a greater devotion to that which is able to make people wise unto salvation (2Ti 3:15)?  See also Heb 5:11-14.

2Ti 2:16-18 What is the great danger both to ourselves and others of engaging in “worldly and empty chatter?  See also 1 Tim 6:20-21.  What does it mean to “spread like gangrene” (NASB) or “eat as doth a canker” (KJV)?  Note: NASB “spread like gangrene” is literally “have pasture as gangrene” and refers to a cancer  that spreads by eating away the flesh.  In what way is godless chatter like a spreading cancer?  What does it feed upon?  Whose talk does Paul mention as exemplifying what is to be avoided?  See also 1 Tim 1:20 for Hymenaeus.  Did Paul consider it wrong to publicly expose such men?  What specifically was the error they were teaching, and what was the result both to themselves and to those who were listening to them?  What does Paul mean that the faith of some was “upset”?  See Tit 1:11, Jn 2:15 for the only other occurrences of this word.  How was the error of Hymenaeus and Philetus different from the error some were teaching in Corinth that Paul addresses in 1 Cor 15?  See esp. 1 Cor 15:12-13.  In what sense would saying that the resurrection had already taken place be considered “worldly and empty chatter”?  See 2 Pet 3:3-7.  Are there other truths central to the sound doctrine of the faith that religious people spiritualize or explain away today in a like manner?  Think creation, the flood, the role of women, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, etc…  Have they also “spread like gangrene”?

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