Paul reminds Timothy about false teachers–don’t argue about words. Interpret the Bible correctly (the plain, normal sense). Avoid stupid conversations with trolls, narcissists, argumentative people, liars, slanders, etc. Having a conversation with such people is destroying, not faith building. We must tell the truth and correct them but not much else. The Resurrection of Christ Jesus IS important.

My translation and notes on 2 Timothy 2:14-19

False Teachers

14 Remind them of these things, emphasize [to them], in the sight of the Lord, not to argue about words, which is unprofitable, except to bring devastation to the listeners.

[This is referencing Bible interpretation. Pastors are to emphasize not to argue about words of Scripture. Arguing has two effects: there is no spiritual profit, and it only leads to spiritual devastation. The Greek word for ‘emphasize’ is (G1263) διαμαρτύρομαι diamartýromai. It means to exhort with authority in matters of extraordinary importance, freq. w. ref. to higher powers and/or suggestion of peril, solemnly urge, exhort, warn (BDAG). Compare 2 Chronicles 24:19 (LXX) ‘testified’ in the sense of authority, compassionate warning, and urgency. In the NT, compare Acts 2:40 (‘testified’). ‘Words’ also has the idea of nit-picking on single words, etc. The Greek word for ‘profit’ is (G5539) χρήσιμος chresimos. It means useful, beneficial, advantageous (BDAG). Thus, there is no benefit, no purpose, and obviously no spiritual benefit. Compare Jesus’s words in Luke 6:47-49, John 6:63, and John 17:17. More about words—Proverbs 10:11 and 1 Timothy 6:3-5. The Greek word for ‘devastation’ is (G2692) καταστροφή katastrophe. It means to upset, overturn a person, so instead of bringing spiritual growth, there is emotional and spiritual distress. We are to build up, edify, strengthen each other (Romans 14:9 and Ephesians 4:29). Compare Titus 1:11-12].

15 Be zealously diligent to present yourselfs approved by God, a laborer who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly interpreting the Word of Truth.

[Consider this comment from Wuest about ‘ashamed’, a workman who has no cause for shame when his work is being inspected. The words ‘correctly interpreting’ is the Greek word ὀρθοτομέω orthotoméō (G3718). It means cutting straight and plowing in a straight line. Thus, it has the idea of interpreting. Not interpreting the Bible in a wooden literal sense (God is a man because of John 10:34, Exodus 33:11, etc. or a chicken because of Psalm 91:4), or in an allegorical/symbolic sense, but interpreting in the plain, normal sense. If the passage is allegorical or symbolic, it will be obvious. For example, see Revelation 15:1 (sign) and Galatians 4:24 (allegory). It has always been true in the church that the Old Testament is always interpreted in the light of the New Testament, never the other way around. The basics of Bible Interpretation are to understand the culture of the people receiving God’s message, including their language, idioms, the setting, and the geography. The culture would be Jewish as well as non-Jewish culture, and so we include their religious beliefs, rituals, and governmental culture. Secondly, what the text means must be in its plain, normal sense. If it is symbolic, it will be clear by using words such as “sign,” “like”, “mystery,” etc. Thirdly, it must be interpreted in context—historical context, book context, and the Bible as a whole context. A word may be understood and even defined differently depending on the context. Compare water in John 1:26 with John 3:5, John 4:10, and John 19:34. The Bible has one author, the Holy Spirit, but many writers].

16 Stay away from irreverent and fruitless discussions, for they will increase into greater ungodliness,

[The type of speech and discussions with have does have an effect on people’s beliefs, actions, lifestyles. Truth in words given in love builds up, blesses, strengthens, comforts, etc. God wants more godliness, not less, so we must use words and think words that are reverent and have fruitful discussions. False teaching destroys faith and morals. Paul gives Timothy 2 examples of false teachers in the next verse].

17 And their words will eat away like gangrene. Among these are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

[Hymenaeus is a false teacher (1 Timothy 1:20) who shipwrecked his faith and lost a good conscience. Paul had delivered Hymenaeus over to satan to learn not to blaspheme—truly a severe chastening].

18 Who—concerning the truth—have erred, saying that the resurrection has already come and caused the downfall of some people’s faith.

[These false teachers had ignored and exchanged truth for lies. Their erroneous teaching was that resurrection for believers had already occurred. Some believed them, which caused the downfall of their faith. These have caused the overthrow of the people’s faith (G396) and also are used in John 2:15 and Titus 1:11. There is truth (verse 15), and there is this godless chatter that leads people astray. Some taught that at our baptism a resurrection is taught, but in Romans 6:4, we are taught of being raised to life which refers to spiritual life, not a bodily resurrection. After physical death, a believer will eventually be bodily raised (1 Corinthians 15). Ray Stedman (EXPOSITIONAL STUDIES) comments on this:

In teaching that, Hymenaeus was accommodating to the doctrine of the world by taking only partial truth from the revelation of the Scriptures. That is how heresy starts. Hymenaeus ignored the Lord’s own words when he predicted that the hour was coming when “all who are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall come forth, some to a resurrection of condemnation and some to a resurrection of redemption,” (John 5:28b-29). The resurrection is not only spiritual, it is also literal. Those teachers in Ephesus were ignoring that, as a result, “they upset the faith of many.”

In First Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul himself tells us that if we lose the resurrection we have lost everything. The whole of Christian truth rests on whether Jesus was actually bodily raised from the deadand as a consequence we too will be raised from the deador not. If we lose that, Paul says, our faith is vain and our preaching is vain (1 Corinthians 15:17); we have no hope beyond the grave. Here was a serious deviation from the revelation of the Scripture. It illustrates how error can take form and rapidly spread throughout a congregation].

19 Nevertheless, the foundation [placed] by God stands sure having this official seal, “The Lord knows those who are his.” And, “Let everyone who identifies with the name of Christ depart from wrongdoing.” [Numbers 16:5]

[This foundation is none other than Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11) and His apostles (Ephesians 2:20). Jesus being the chief cornerstone (Psalm 118:22 with Matthew 21:42). This foundation was designed and built by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It stands without failure or ruin. The seal is from the inspection that it meets the standard. Christians are the stones building this house of God (1 Peter 2:5). There are wheat and tares in every congregation, but God knows who is who. Those who are genuine must live a Christian life according to the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), not the Law of Moses. See Romans 12:2, Colossians 3:5-10, and James 1:19-27].

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