OF THESE THINGS: Tauta hupomimneske (2SPAM): (2Ti
Vine summarizes this last section
of chapter 2 noting that Paul
now gives directions how to deal with the unprofitable disputes which
were common amongst professed teachers in the assembly, and the evil
effects of such conditions in leading to false doctrines. The servant of
God is enjoined to keep himself free both from such useless questionings
and from the strife and error which they produce, and, keeping himself
from lusts, to behave in a Christ-like manner toward all and so to act
that those who have fallen into error may be recovered from the devil’s
snare. (Vine, W E. Collected writings of
W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
from hupó = under + mimnesko = to remind) means to put in mind of or cause to
remember or to
bring an image or idea from the past into the mind.
The implication is that "these
known but that without an active effort can be forgotten.
which is a command for Timothy to constantly remind them of gravity of the
"trustworthy statement" which Paul had just recorded.
The present tense here indicates the need of constant reminder of the
truths which had just been stated. The best
preventative for error is truth remembered. Truth forgotten has no
restraining effect against proliferation of truth perverted. Earlier
Paul had reminded (corresponding verb anamimnesko) Timothy to kindle afresh the gift of
God which was in him. (2Ti 1:6-note)
Here the reminder is to use the gift that he had been reminded of.
Peter also emphasized the importance of remembering
truth when confronting false teachers and their doctrines of
deceit, writing that he would
always be ready to remind (his
readers) of these things, even though (they) already know them
and have been established in the truth which is present with (them)
and...to stir (them) up by way of reminder." (2Pe 1:12, 13-note)
In fact Peter's purpose for writing his second epistle was to stir
(his reader's) sincere mind by way of reminder that (they)
should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the
commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by (their) apostles."
(2Pe 3:1, 2-note).
Milne remarks that...
No small part of the public teacher’s work is that of reminding people
what they may have already known but have forgotten through ageing,
spiritual immaturity or backsliding (2Pe 1:12, 13, 14, 15). If
it is human to err, it is also human to forget. Repetition is an
essential part of sound teaching method. ‘These things’ refers to the
spiritual assurances and warnings enshrined in the lines of the
trustworthy saying (2Ti 2:11, 12, 13).(Milne,
D. J. Focus on the Bible: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus)
Who is "them" that Paul is
addressing? It could be those who are denying the faith but this is unlikely. It is
more probable that
Paul’s purpose was to motivate and encourage Timothy to keep a firm
grasp on the truth himself and to pass it on to "faithful men"
(and practically to all believers) (2Ti 2:2-note). It is only with a thorough knowledge of God’s truth that
falsehood and deceit can be recognized, resisted, and opposed.
These things - (Remember to enhance your time with God in His
Word, always interrogate the text - In this case the natural question is
"What things?" - this little "maneuver" serves to actively engage you
with the author, to cause you to rely on your Teacher the Holy Spirit,
to slow you down so you don't "speak read" the Word of Truth, and
finally to cause you to meditate on the passage, the benefits of which
are simply inestimable! cp Josh 1:8-note,,
Now back to "these things" which certainly
might include all that Paul said thus far in this letter, but the immediate immediate
is the trustworthy statement. (2Ti 2:11f--note)
Guzik has a good word on
this section writing that...
The church is constantly tempted to
get its focus off of the message that really matters, and is tempted to
become an entertainment center, a social service agency, a mutual
admiration society, or any number of other things. But this temptation
must be resisted, and the church should constantly remember these
things. What things? The things of 2 Timothy 2:8: Remember that
Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according
to my gospel. The things of 2 Timothy 2:11-13: For if we died with Him,
we shall also live with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us. If we
are faithless, He remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself.
AND SOLEMNLY CHARGE
IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD: diamarturomenos (PMPMSN) enopion tou theou:
(2Ti 4:1; Ep 4:17; 1Th 4:1; 2Th 3:6; 1Ti 5:21; 6:13)
from diá = an intensifier or through + martúromai
= witness, bear witness) means to
"testify through and through", to make a solemn declaration about the truth of something, to testify of or
to bear witness to (and originally meant to do so under oath). It means
to make serious declaration on basis of presumed personal knowledge. To
admonish or instruct with regard to some future action
with implication of personal knowledge or experience. Pagan Greeks used diamarturomai
to call the gods and men to witness. It was used in such an expression
as, “I adjure thee.”
present tense indicates that
Timothy is to continually warn earnestly about the danger of wrangling over words. Why solemnly?
Because the charge we have is about eternal life and eternal death and we
must plead with men to examine Truth instead of wrangling over words.
Diamarturomai - 15xin 15v
in NAS -
Lk 16:28; Ac 2:40; 8:25; 10:42; 18:5; 20:21, 23 24; 23:11; 28:23; 1Th 4:6; 1Ti 5:21; 2Ti 2:14; 4:1; He 2:6. NAS = solemnly
to testify(1), solemnly charge(3), solemnly testified(2), solemnly
testifies(1), solemnly testifying(3), solemnly warned(1), solemnly
witnessed(1), testified(1), testify solemnly(1), warn(1).
for I have five brothers-- in order that he may warn them, so
that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
Acts 2:40 And with many other words he solemnly testified
and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse
Acts 8:25 So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken
the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching
the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.
Acts 10:42 "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly
to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as
Judge of the living and the dead.
Acts 18:5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul
began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly
testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.
Acts 20:21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of
repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies
to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.
Acts 20:24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to
myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received
from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of
the grace of God.
Acts 23:11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his
side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly
witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome
Acts 28:23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his
lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly
testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them
concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from
morning until evening.
1 Thessalonians 4:6-note and that no man transgress and defraud his brother
in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just
as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.
1 Timothy 5:21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of
God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these
principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
2 Timothy 2:14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly
charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which
is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.
2 Timothy 4:1-note I solemnly charge you in the presence of God
and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His
appearing and His kingdom:
Hebrews 2:6-note But one has testified somewhere, saying, "WHAT IS
MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED
Diamarturomai - 25x in the
-Ex 18:20; 19:10, 21; 21:29; Deut 4:26; 8:19; 30:19; 31:28; 32:46; 1 Sam
8:9; 2 Kgs 17:13, 15; 2 Chr 24:19; Neh 9:26, 34; 13:21; Ps 50:7; 81:8;
Jer 6:10; 32:10, 44; Ezek 16:2; 20:4; Zech 3:6; Mal 2:14
Presence of God (9x in 8v
in NAS) - Ps 68:8-note
Eccl 5:2 Lk 1:19 1Ti 5:21 1Ti 6:13 2Ti 2:14-note
the presence of
from en = in + ops =
face, eye, countenance) means in the face of (God), in the presence
(sight) of (God), before or in front of. It means to be opposite any one
(God in this case) and towards which another turns his eyes.
pictures God as being the Witness to testify that the declaration has
been made. He knows that the hearers have heard and know what was said,
so now the onus is upon them to follow through in reverence to the Lord. The picture is summarized in the Latin
phrase "Coram Deo" (before the face of God). It is worth
noting that Paul used enopion 10 times (1Ti 2:3; 5:4, 20, 21;
6:12, 13; 2Ti 2:14; 4:1 - most referring to in the presence or sight of
in his two pastoral epistles to Timothy!
speaks of a consciousness of God's presence (2Chr 16:9, cf Pr 5:21,
15:3, Job 34:21, 22) which would add even more "weight" to the importance of
Paul's solemn warning.
Beloved bondservant of the Most
High God, do you conduct your life (really His life
- 1Cor 6:20-note)
and ministry (all
believers are priests [1Pe 2:9-note]
and all have divine works that have been prepared for them [Ep 2:10-note]!)
with a realization that it is ever in the presence of the Lord?
If not, what needs to change? We will all one day stand before those
piercing perfectly discerning eyes
1Co 3:13!!!) to be
recompensed for every deed in this life, whether it was good or useless.
And then even the motives of our heart
(1Co 4:5, Pr 16:2) will be
judged. Dare we pray Ps
(or better yet, dare we not pray
Timothy is to give utmost
attention to this warning because there is ever a danger of false
teaching, and Paul wants to make sure that Timothy and those he admonished
were consciously and continually aware of and motivated by an awareness
that all they did, they did in the presence of God. Being
especially aware of God’s presence adds a measure of healthy,
reverential fear of the
Lord (2 Chr 19:7, 9; Job 28:28; Ps 19:9; 34:11; 111:10; Prov 1:7, 29;
2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26f; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17; Isa
11:2f; 33:6; Acts 9:31; 2 Cor 5:11) and increases one's desire and determination to serve Him faithfully
motivated by a desire to be pleasing to Him (2Co 5:9).
A right atmosphere is to be
created. "before the Lord," that is, as in His sight, as
in His presence.
Speaking as in His sight. What
a difference that makes - there will be a loving care for our hearers, a
straight faithfulness with them. Dr. Plummer says, "One
is inclined to think that if ministers always remembered that they were
speaking in the sight of GOD, they would sometimes find other things to
say, and other ways of saying them."
You may, on an occasion, have been speaking about some man, his words
and views and actions, talking in a somewhat free and unrestrained
fashion, when all of a sudden the man himself entered the room. That
completely changed the whole atmosphere, he now could hear all you said
- you were more careful to measure and moderate your words. Oh, that we
preachers, when speaking of Him, and of His things, would recollect that
He has come into the room, the church, indeed that He was there first
(cf. "There am I . . .", Matthew 18:20), and that we were speaking "before
Listening as in His sight.
What a difference this makes in the manner of our reception of the
message. Personal preferences will not operate so forcefully, and we
shall find His word coming from even the preacher whom we dislike or
despise. We shall listen the more attentively, with something of the
purpose of the old prophet, "I will . . . see what He will say unto
me, and what I shall answer," Habakkuk 2:1. We shall be alert to
catch, through the human voice, the tones of the Divine voice (Ed:
Beloved, this is a good word!).
Yes, if instruction is to be given, it is well, to begin with, to get
the atmosphere right - that GOD may grant Utterance to the
speaker, and Understanding to the hearer. (2 Timothy 2:14-19
A young man once studied violin under
a world-renowned master. When his first big recital came, the crowd
cheered after each number, but the young performer seemed dissatisfied.
Even after the final number, despite the applause, the musician seemed
unhappy. As he took his bows, he was watching an elderly man in the
balcony. Finally, the elderly one smiled and nodded in approval.
Immediately, the young man beamed with joy. He was not looking for the
approval of the crowd. He was waiting for the approval of his master.
Christians should be living for God’s approval. We will be approved unto
Him as we use the Bible to grow in godliness. Are you growing as a
craftsman who uses God’s Word of truth accurately and skillfully to grow
in godliness? The misuse of the Bible will lead you to ruin. The proper
use will lead you to godliness.
NOT TO WRANGLE ABOUT WORDS: me logomachein (PAN): (2Ti
2:16,23; Ro 14:1; 1Ti 1:4;1Ti 1:6, 6:4; 6:5 Titus 3:9, 10, 11)
"not to fight wordy battles" (Phillips )
"avoid petty controversy over words" (Amplified)
about words (3054)
lógos = word + machomai = strive, contend, fight, quarrel, dispute) literally pictures a "war
over words" or word battles.
Paul says warn them not to continually
tense) dispute the meaning or use of words.
becomes clear in the following verses, Paul was not speaking about
immature wrangling over secondary matters, disruptive as that can be.
Paul was warning about those
deceivers who might use human wisdom and reason to undermine God’s Word. We know
also from the "rotten fruit" (useless, ruin) of these "word wars" that
these are not simply minor disagreements.
In his first epistle Paul warned
Timothy about those who would advocate a different doctrine that does of
unsound words which did not conform to godliness, noting that such a man
"is conceited (speaks metaphorically of a beclouded and stupid
state of mind as the result of pride - perfect tense speaks of their
settled state of pride) and understands (unable to do any
concentrated or reflective thinking) nothing; but he has a morbid
interest in controversial questions (processes of
inquiry” = idle speculations) and disputes about words (logomachia
= “a war of words”), out of which arise envy, strife, abusive
language, evil suspicions..." (1 Ti 6:4)
Their "disease" involves a preoccupation with useless
questions and fighting over words. As Milne has noted...
Words become an end in themselves,
and they alienate parties. Technicalities get in the way of truth, and
core issues like righteousness, self–control and the judgment to come
are never addressed. These controversies are full of heat but no light,
and lead to schism in the church and spiritual catastrophe (literally)
for those who allow themselves to be sucked into them. (Milne, D. J.:
Focus on the Bible: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus)
As John MacArthur notes "False
teachers do little more than quibble over terminology. They indulge in
pseudo-intellectual theorizing rather than in productive study of and
submission to God’s Word." (MacArthur, J. 1 Timothy. Chicago:
Ray Stedman notes that "word
battles" are a common trap in many modern day churches explaining
"The words in question, of course,
represented doctrinal viewpoints. The church has often struggled with
trying to define doctrine in words. The words themselves are all right,
but what is wrong is the battles that are waged over the words.
One of the outstanding examples in
church history in this regard occurred during the days of the
Reformation. Toward the end of his life, Martin Luther became engaged in
a controversy with the Swiss Christians over the meaning of the Lord's
words, "This is my body," when Jesus instituted the Lord's
Supper. Those words became the subject of a great controversy that split
the force of the Reformation. Under Martin Luther's teaching, the
Lutherans maintained that those words were to be taken literally
(that the bread really becomes, or is, the body of Christ), while the
Swiss Christians maintained that the words were a figurative expression
(that the words meant, "this represents my body"). Both sides argued
at great length, and the Reformation was almost brought to a halt by the
controversy. In an attempt to heal the dispute, Count von Zwingli,
the leader of the Swiss group, brought a delegation to Germany to meet
with Martin Luther. When Luther entered the room where the meeting was
to take place, he strode over to the large table, and, taking a piece of
chalk, he wrote across the length of the table the Latin words,
Hoc est corpus meum ("This is my body"). That was his stand.
Whenever the other side tried to enter into discussion, Luther would
refuse and again quote the words, Hoc est corpus meum. The
controversy was not settled, and the Reformation was severely limited as
a result." As a boy, I remember being involved in a congregational
debate over whether immersion or sprinkling was the proper mode of
baptism. Sometimes churches split over eschatology -- is the rapture of
the church going to be post-tribulation or pre-tribulation? Entire
churches have split over such word battles." (2 Timothy 2:14-19: Avoiding
Guy King on "words...useless"...
They can be of enormous importance,
as we have already indicated. Often they are of nothing less than
eternal significance. Take Luke 1:47, "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my
Saviour" - who can estimate the importance of that little word "my"?
Take Gal 3:16, "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but, as of one,
And to thy seed, which is Christ" - everything hangs upon the one word;
indeed, the one letter.
Take Mt 22:43, 44, "How then doth
David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord saith unto my Lord"? -
the whole argument turns on, the validity of the argument depends on,
that one word.
Or let me take you to your Early
Church History. Some of you will remember the Battle of the Word at
Nicea, in A.D. 325: how that, as against the word of Arius for
the nature of the Second Person of the Godhead, the word which means "of
like substance," Athanasius brilliantly argued for the word that
indicates, "of one substance". Fortunately, that great young scholar saw
the vital issue that was at stake; the heretical Arius was defeated, and
the word is in our Nicene Creed to this day - to being of One Substance
with the Father." All that fuss over a word - in fact, one tiny letter,
the Greek "iota" our "i," which is the only difference between the two
words. Yet how much was involved. However, the contrary may also be said
They can be of trifling worth
- "to no profit" (useless). Alas, so much time, and heat, and
energy, and temper have been wasted on "word-fighting", when the
controversy has been unneedful and not called for. People have fought,
and fought, over a word expressive of little else than their own
personal opinion or preference. It is a little difficult to decide
whether the apostle is thinking here merely of a word, or of an
Dr. Moffatt is not the kind of man to
disparage, or to discourage, the exercise of mental gymnastics, the
battle of wits; but he sees in this passage the thought of the futility
of most of that habit. Some of us lesser mortals are inclined to wonder
whether, in spiritual things, argument ever does any good at all. One
further thing about such words,
They can be tragically perilous
- "to the subverting of the hearers". All this heat about matters of
doubtful importance can have a very serious effect on those" outside the
fight, those who are looking on, bewildered, disillusioned; so often
they have been undermined, overthrown, and have let go their faith. The
word translated "subverting" is the one from which our word
"catastrophe" comes; and, in the light of this verse, one is constrained
to acknowledge that while, in some circumstances, controversy is
necessary, and even a plain duty, yet in many cases, and for many
people, uncalled - for controversy is very near to catastrophe.
If we find ourselves involved in
controversy, let us make quite sure that it really is a necessity for
Truth's sake, and not for personal reasons, and, having decided that,
then let our words be as "before the Lord".
Let me repeat that controversy may
become incumbent upon us; but unless it be that, let us eschew it, lest
it prove the perilous word, that leads to a soul's undoing. Above all,
let us beware of the company of the man who really cares little about
the right or the wrong of his word, so long as he wins his argument.
(2 Timothy 2:14-19
WHICH IS USELESS: ep ouden chresimon:
(1Sa12:21; Jer 2:8; 2:11 7:8; 16:19; 23:32; Hab 2:18; Mt 16:26; 1Ti 4:8;
literally "of no profit" or "which is
profitable for nothing". This is a Greek phrase composed of absolute negative (oudeis
3762) and (chresimos),
the negative particle "reversing" the meaning of chresimos
(chresimos from chráomai = furnish what is needed;
in turn from chrao = to lend, furnish as a loan; only used in 2Ti
which pertains to that which has value and is useful, profitable,
beneficial and advantageous. So these "word wars" have
use, profit, benefit or advantage and instead of building up, they
tear down the body.
As Guzik reminds us "The stakes are high: If we take the
focus off the message of God, and put the focus on human opinions and
endless debates, it will result in the ruin of the hearers. The Bible
says, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans
10:17). But if people aren’t hearing the word of God, then ruin comes by
hearing the opinions and speculations and entertainment of man!. (2
Word wars never lead to moral and spiritual edification but always produce the opposite effect of subverting
those who are listening. The body of Christ must stand for the truth,
but it must not become a debating society. It is easy to become
distracted by negotiable issues and take our focus off our central
purpose which is to preach the Word of Truth and make faithful disciples
who are trained to in turn make other disciple makers. John Calvin put
it this way...
“Let us notice first that teaching is rightly condemned on the sole
ground that it does no good. God’s purpose is not to pander to our
inquisitiveness but to give us profitable instruction. Away with all
speculations that produce no edification!” (Amen!)
Pastor Steven Cole...
While we chuckle, it’s no laughing
matter when people really use the Bible improperly. In 2Timothy 2:14,
Paul tells Timothy to solemnly charge those under his pastoral ministry
“in the presence of God” that if they misuse the Bible, it will lead to
ruin. We get our word “catastrophe” from the Greek word for “ruin.” Paul
means, ultimate spiritual ruin! He names Hymenaeus and Philetus, who had
gone astray from the truth, upsetting the faith of some with their
misuse of the Bible! Paul is saying that…
To use the Bible for knowledge
without obedience is to use it improperly (2Ti 2:14).
Wrangling about words (2Ti 2:14) was a notorious characteristic
of the false teachers in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:6; 2:8; 6:3, 4, 5, 20, 21).
They liked to display their “knowledge” on peripheral matters that did
not lead to godliness, but only to pride over “being right.” Paul said
(1Ti 1:5), “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Any time you use the Bible to grow in knowledge apart from godliness,
you’re heading for spiritual trouble. One of the most common sins Satan
uses to trip us up is spiritual pride-puffing us up with supposed
knowledge (1Co 8:1). To know God truly in His holiness and majesty will
humble us. When you study the Bible, always ask, “What does this teach
me about God and about myself? How should I apply this to my life?”
We need to be careful not to misinterpret what Paul is saying here. We
would be wrong to conclude that “wrangling about words” means that the
precise words of Scripture do not matter. In Gal 3:16 Paul builds an
argument over the fact that the promise given to Abraham uses “seed”
(singular) rather than “seeds” (plural). Jesus argued for the
resurrection based on the pre-sent rather than past tense of the Hebrew
verb in Exodus 3:6 (Mt. 22:32). He taught that the smallest letter of
the law would not pass away without being fulfilled (Mt. 5:17). It is
important to study the precise words of Scripture and to understand the
nuance of the original languages so that we interpret it properly.
Also, Paul is not saying that growing in spiritual knowledge through
Scripture is unimportant. He often mentions the need to grow in
spiritual knowledge and understanding (Eph. 1:17, 18, 19; Phil 1:9, 10;
Col. 1:9, 10). As we’ll see in a moment, accuracy in handling God’s
truth is crucial. So Paul is not discouraging careful Bible study. Truth
matters greatly and error always causes harm.
Rather, Paul is here combating those who like to get into intellectual
banter over obscure points of doctrine, but who are not seeking to grow
in obedience to God. These scholars like to prove their superior
intelligence by winning theological debates. But the point of Scriptural
knowledge is not to fill our heads but to change our lives. To use the
Bible for knowledge without application is to misuse it. (2 Timothy 2:14-19
Using the Word Properly)
Stedman illustrates this
point noting that "As the Battle of Trafalgar was about
to begin, Admiral Nelson came across two officers of his own flagship
who were arguing hotly and about to take sword to each other. Nelson
stepped between them and said, "Stop." Then, pointing to the French
fleet, he said, "There is the enemy." Christians need to remember that. We
are not to be engaged in debates that get so intense and so hot that we
forget what the Lord has sent us to do. Quarreling over words does no
good, so Timothy was to plead earnestly with them to avoid such
disputes. I have been present at several church quarrels, and it is very
evident that it is true that no further light is ever shed when a
controversy gets heated. Nobody is bringing out truth; they are simply
hammering away at each other with the Bible. Division, not unity, comes
out of that. No witness before the world is increased because of church
squabbles, but quite the opposite. (2
Wuest paraphrases "useless"
as that which "results in not even one useful thing, since it ruins those who hear."
our ministry the question should always be “Will my words profit the
body of Christ?” Do they edify or "nullify" (make of no
AND LEADS TO THE RUIN OF THE HEARERS: epi katastrophe
ton akouonton (PAPMPG): (Jer 23:36; Acts 13:10; 15:24; Gal1:7;
from kata = down
to a lower place + strepho = to turn; English - catastrophe) means to
turn upside down which describes a condition of total destruction and
ruin with the implication that nothing is in its customary place or
position. Destruction. Overthrow as of a city (2Pe 2:6 as in Ge 19:29)
Figuratively as in this verse katastrophe
describes the corrupting of persons and thus their (spiritual) ruin,
their perversion, which is the exact antithesis of edification
Catastrophe in English =
the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy; a
momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter
overthrow or ruin; a violent usually destructive natural event. It also
means the change which produces the final event of a dramatic piece or
the unfolding and winding up of the plot, clearing up difficulties, and
closing the play. Thus the ancients divided a play into the protasis,
epitasis, catastasis, and catastrophy. The destruction of Sodom and
Gomorrah was the "winding up of the plot, the closing of the drama" so
In context Paul describes the state of
those who are continually (present
intellectually upset to the point of spiritual ruin. Continual
word battles with others are not the way to share the truth of the
gospel and in fact result in catastrophe which Webster defines as a
"momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter
overthrow or ruin". In spiritual matters especially, we are to be
continually on guard not to engage in arguments or controversies,
fighting battles with our words. It may "make us feel good" the the end
does not justify the means!
John MacArthur comments
that word battles put "an obstacle in the way of
unbelievers, who may be turned away from the true way of salvation. It
also does harm to believers, by causing confusion, doubt, discouragement
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press)
Peter is the only other NT author
to use this Greek word katastrophe writing that God
condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to
destruction (katastrophe) by reducing them
to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly
thereafter." (2 Peter 2:6-note)
Katastrophe -10x in the
- Gen 19:29; 2 Chr
22:7; Job 8:19; 15:21; 21:17; 27:7; Pr 1:18, 27; Da 7:28; Hos 8:7.
19:29 Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley,
that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the
overthrow (Lxx = katastrophe), when He overthrew (Lxx
= katastrepho = overturn as a table, to cause to be in total disarray,
to destroy, ruin) the cities in which Lot lived.
2 Chronicles 22:7 Now the destruction (Lxx = katastrophe)
of Ahaziah was from God, in that he went to Joram. For when he came, he
went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had
anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.
Hosea 8:7YLT For wind they sow, and a hurricane (Lxx = katastrophe)
they reap, Stalk it hath none -- a shoot not yielding grain, If so be it
yield -- strangers do swallow it up.
(akouo) means to hear with attention, to hear with the ear of the mind or to
hear effectually so as to perform or grant what is spoken.
Word wars can have a catastrophic effect on the faith of hearers, tearing them down
instead of building up them up. Instead of enrichment, they bring
disaster. Many a religious debate has been a real catastrophe, as church
history amply confirms.
Ray Stedman gives such an example of the type of "catastrophe" that
can result from word battles...
Church quarrels can lead to
catastrophic events. Some years ago I read about a church that got into
a major quarrel over whether to have a Christmas tree in the church
building. One faction contended that Christmas trees were of pagan
origin, so to have one in the church would be to yield to a pagan
practice. The other group thought that having one was merely a pleasant
custom which they had grown up with since childhood, and there was
nothing wrong with the practice. That side got a tree, decorated it and
set it up in the church basement. When the other faction arrived, they
grabbed the tree, lights and all, and dragged it out into the parking
lot. The other faction then took the tree and dragged it back into the
church. A big fight resulted, right outside the church doors, and
somebody had to call the police! The police came, and locked the doors,
and all this was spread in the paper the next day. (2
Hiebert astutely notes
increase rather than remove doubts and stir up the bitterest passions."
Word wars subvert (overthrow or overturn from the foundation) and
overturn the listener. On the other hand, instead of tearing down, the
opposite effect is seen with the
"word of His grace, which is able to build up (edify the hearer) and to give (them) the
inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32-note).
So what is the antidote to wrangling over words? See the next verse,
2 Timothy 2:15.
WHY SHOULD WE AVOID
faith of some
John MacArthur writes: One of
the most popular and seductive false teachings is the promotion of high self esteem as a Christian virtue, when, in reality, it is the very
foundation of sin. Such destructive notions are inevitable when
Christians listen to the world above the Word, and are more persuaded by
men’s wisdom than by God’s. Far too few leaders in the church today can
say honestly with Paul that their “exhortation does not come from error
or impurity or by way of deceit” (1Th2:3). As Christians become less and
less familiar with Scripture and sound doctrine on a firsthand, regular
basis, they become easy prey for jargon that sounds Christian but
strongly mitigates against God’s truth. Such unbiblical and arbitrary
ideas as being “slain in the Spirit” and “binding Satan”
frequently replace or are valued above the clear teaching of and
submission to Scripture.
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press)