AVOID: tas de periistaso (2SPMM):
1Ti 4:7- note;
1Ti 6:20; Titus 1:14-note;
But (de) - Striking contrast between the "Word of Truth" (which sets men free from their old
nature, cp Jn 8:31, 32, 34, 36) and worldly and empty
chatter (which brings ungodliness).
from peri = around + histemi = to stand) means literally to
place around or stand around. The
picture conveyed by this verb is to go around something so as to avoid it.
Keep oneself away from being involved in some activity.
idea is to shun this type of chatter by deliberately and habitually
avoiding it. Timothy is to show his attitude toward these unholy errors
by going around them.
Phillips says "steer clear", while Wuest says "give them a
present imperative (command) indicates that this must
be Timothy's lifestyle, continually avoiding, evading, eluding, and
eschewing profane, godless talk.
(reflexive action - subject initiates and
participates in effect of the action) means to turn oneself about for
purpose of avoiding. The idea is to place oneself at a distance from and so to stand
Paul is commanding young Timothy to
turn yourself about so that you will avoid worldly, empty talk.
Continually place yourself at a distance from it and stand aloof from
it. It is unprofitable for the things of eternity and in fact actually
leads to ungodliness!
EMPTY CHATTER: bebelous kenophonias:
from basis = a
stepping or walking from baíno = to go + belos =
threshold, particularly of a temple) refers properly to one who either
was or ought to have been debarred from going over the threshold or
entrance of the temple.
The picture is that which is trodden
under foot and which thus describes that which is the antithesis of that
which is holy or set apart. Bebelos thus describes that which is
accessible to everyone and therefore devoid of real significance.
Bebelos can thus describe that which is worldly as opposed to having
an interest in transcendent (existing apart from and not subject to the
limitations of the material universe) matters.
Cole observes that bebelos...
has the nuance of trafficking lightly
in the things of God or of using God and the Bible for worldly gain.
This sort of thing is rampant in American Christianity in our day. The
“health and wealth” heresy is perhaps the most blatant form of it. Also,
many “Christian” self-help books approach the Bible from the perspective
of how to gain what you want in life, rather than reverently coming to
it to learn how to please God (see note
It is using the Bible for worldly success.
Note two things:
First, such false teachers are
always popular. Their talk will spread like gangrene. You don’t
have to help gangrene to spread! Because they appeal to the flesh, these
false teachers never lack a following. Some of the largest churches in
America use the Bible to help people succeed in their worldly, selfish
goals. But don’t judge a church by how big it is, but rather by how
sound is the teaching in producing genuine godliness. People who buy
into this kind of false teaching often testify of how much they’ve been
helped, and often, outwardly, it seems true. But any time people are
helped out of their troubles without learning to depend more on the
living God and submit more fully to His lordship, it is false help.
Second, Christians are to avoid such teachers and their teaching
(2 Ti 2:16). Steer clear of them. Don’t waste your time watching them on
TV or reading their books. What Augustine wrote over 1,500 years ago
(Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4, ed. by Philip Schaff [Ages
software], “Reply to Faustus the Manichaean,” Book 17, p. 432) applies
“For to believe what you please, and
not to believe what you please, is to believe yourselves, and not the
By appealing to the flesh and the
lure of the world, these false teachers draw away after them people who
are not fully submissive to the lordship of Christ and His gospel of the
cross. To use the Bible for worldly ends is to misuse it. (2
Timothy 2:14-19 How To Use The Bible)
Bebelos could be translated “unhallowed” and refers to any
talk or teaching that contradicts the Word of Truth.
The meaning of this adjective is
nicely conveyed by our English word profane which describes that
which disregards what is to be kept sacred or holy. The English word "profane"
is derived from the Latin profanus which means "outside the
temple, not sacred" and in turn is derived from pro- ‘before’
+ fanum = ‘temple’.
Bebelos suggests that which is
void of all connection with, or relation to, God. There is nothing
sacred about their words.
Paul is not talking of idle chitchat or gossip,
which can do considerable damage in a church. He is speaking of
destructive heresy that perverts divine truth. That which is "worldly"
is not initiated by God and therefore cannot be anointed by God.
in context is the language of a false teacher.
An example of "worldly chatter" would
be arguing over whether God really meant literal "days" in the creation
account in Genesis. God said "days" and the most logical interpretation
is literal days. All else is speculative "worldly empty chatter".
Later in this same
epistle, Paul uses hieros (sacred, holy, consecrated to
God) the true antithesis (antonym) of bebelos, to describe
sacred (hieros) writings which are able to give you the
wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Empty chatter (2757) (Kenophonia from kenós = empty, fruitless,
vain + phone = a voice) is literally empty, fruitless,
Kenophonia is talk that is without usefulness in building one up
spiritually. It is
devoid of any divine or spiritual character and is fruitless as far as the
satisfaction of man’s need of salvation and the molding of Christian
Wuest adds that “vain babblings”
are not merely empty words, but because empty, evil words, for as nature
will not endure a vacuum, so empty words become filled with evil, and
thus become words of evil content and purpose. Thayer defines
kenophōnia as “empty discussion, discussion of vain and useless
Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
These "profane babblings"
are unholy, empty discourses, having sound without substance, dealing
with subjects that lack solid worth rather than those that are serious
example might be a humorous speaker in a Christian setting who makes you
laugh but leaves you empty because your spiritual needs are not met. The only thing that
our spiritual need is the Word of Truth. Paul does not
encourage Timothy to answer these empty chatterers, for to do so would be to give them a
greater importance than they deserve.
FOR IT WILL LEAD TO FURTHER UNGODLINESS: epi pleion gar prokopsousin (3PFAI) asebeias :
Hos 12:1, 1Cor 5:6, 1Cor 15:33, Heb 12:15-note
Ezra 10:10;2 Thes 2:7,8; Titus 1:11-note;
For (gar) (because) - Whenever
you encounter this preposition at the beginning of a sentence stop and
asked what the "for" is explaining (See discussion of the
great value of interrogating
terms of explanation). In this context the answer is
straightforward - "for" introduces the explanation of why we are to
avoid worldly and empty chatter.
lead (4298) (prokopto
from pró = before or forward + kópto = cut)
means literally to cut forward or cut down in front. The idea is to
remove the obstacles from a road so that straight and uninterrupted
progress is possible.
The derivative noun is prokope
(3x in NAS = Php 1:12 Php 1:25 1Ti 4:15) which refers to forward
movement of something often of armies in spite of obstacles, dangers,
and distractions. Of used of an army of pioneer wood cutters which
preceded the regular army, cutting a road through an impenetrable
forest, thus making possible the pioneer advance of the latter into
regions where otherwise it could not have gone.
Comparing prokopto to the verb
auxano, with auxano the growth is caused by factors outside
oneself or by the element of life placed there by God Himself, whereas
with prokopto the advance is by one's conscious effort. Thus the noun
form auxesis is growth or increase brought about by God, while prokope,
is a conscious advancement through exertion.
Paul's use of prokopto
in Gal 1:14 is the figure of a runner in a race cutting ahead of others
- before his conversion Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews (Php 3:5-note)
in front of all his fellow countrymen in regard to his religion. Does
this not encourage us to believe that no Jewish person (in fact no
person period! No as yet unsaved relative! No as yet unsaved friend!, et
al) is beyond the reach of God's amazing grace and His supernatural
Wuest writes that prokopto
means “to lengthen out by hammering,”
(as a smith forges metals) metaphorically, “to promote, further,
forward.” The word speaks of progress made in some activity.
Vine - is used in a good sense in Luke 2:52,
in an evil sense in 2 Timothy 2:16; 3:9, 13; in a neutral sense in
Romans 13:12 and Galatians 1:14. (The derived noun prokope is
always used in a good sense)
1. to lengthen out by hammering (as a
smith forges metals); metaphorically, to promote, forward, further;
2. to go forward, advance, proceed;
of time: the night is advanced (AV is far spent) (day is at hand) (Ro
1. to move forward to a final stage,
of time be advanced, be far gone
2. to move forward to an improved
state, progress, advance in what is good or in what is bad
These false teachers are diligently "chopping forward",
removing every obstacle in their relentless advance in ungodliness.
Their behavior belies their message, for as Scripture and human
experience testify, there is a close connection between doctrinal
error and a lax, self-centered, godless lifestyle. So
Paul says these senseless talkers progress further and
further into the spiritual darkness and "miry clay" of ungodliness. Their progress is in spiritual reverse! The more they talk,
the farther they move away from holiness and toward the worldly and
There is a powerful principle in
this truth - the test of our talk is
if at the end of
the talking, we are closer to God, then all is well, but if we have erected
barriers between one another and have moved further from God, then all is
not well. The aim of all Christian discussion and
action is to bring a man nearer to God and fellow believers. The Words and Works of men will
their heart is pure.
Prokopto - 6x in 6v - NAS
renders it - advancing(1), almost gone(1), increasing(1), lead(1),
make...progress(1), proceed(1). Not used in Septuagint.
Luke 2:52 And Jesus kept
increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us
lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Galatians 1:14 and I was advancing
in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being
more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.
(Gal 1:14KJV reads "And profited
in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being
more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.")
Comment by Wuest: The word
profit (KJV translation) is from prokopto, which means “to
blaze a way” through a forest, “to cut a pioneer path.” Paul means that
he outstripped his Jewish contemporaries in distinctively Jewish
culture, zeal, and activity. He pioneered in his studies, cutting new
paths ahead of his fellow-students. He was a brilliant pupil of
John MacArthur comments:
Advancing is from prokopto, which literally means to chop ahead,
as in blazing a trail through a forest. Saul kept on blazing his trail
in Judaism, which meant cutting down anything in his path such as Jewish
Christians, who in his mind were arch traitors to their ancestral
2 Timothy 2:16 But avoid worldly and
empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,
2 Timothy 3:9-note
But they will not make further progress; for their
folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes' and Jambres' folly was
2 Timothy 3:13-note
But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse,
deceiving and being deceived.
Will lead to further ungodliness
- Sound doctrine when heeded always leads to growth in godliness (cf 1Ti
4:6, 2Ti 4:3, 4-note,
Unsound, profane doctrine has the opposite effect. If you want to see
how healthy a given church, godliness is a good measure.
Paul reminds Titus of the
integral association of truth (the Word of truth) and
godliness "Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an
apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the
knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness (Titus 1:1-note) (NIV
renders it "the knowledge
of the truth that leads to a godly life",
NLT has "the truth that
shows them how to live godly lives")
Mark Dever in his interesting
treatise on Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (2004) reminds us of
the timeless truth that "A healthy church is a church that
hears the Word of God and continues to hear the Word of God. And such a
church is composed of individual Christians who hear the Word of God and
continue to hear the Word of God, always being refashioned and reshaped
by it, constantly being washed in the Word and sanctified by God’s
truth. For our own health, individually as Christians and corporately as
a church, we must continue to be shaped in new and deeper ways by God’s
agenda in our lives, rather than by our own agendas. God makes us more
like Himself through His Word, washing over us, refreshing us, reshaping
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
Steven Cole gives us
three tests of sound doctrine that
will keep you from being taken in by false teaching:
First, does it honor God and exalt Jesus Christ as Savior and
Lord? Sound doctrine always lifts God up in His majesty and holiness. It
exalts Jesus as fully God and fully man, who gave Himself for our sins
and was raised bodily from the dead.
Second, does it humble proud, fallen sinners? Sound doctrine
always brings sinners to the foot of the cross where they come to the
end of their own pride and self-sufficiency.
Third, does it promote holiness? Sound teaching always results in
obedience to the Word of God and progress in holy living. It leads to
genuine love for God and love for others
The fact that in four out of six
verses here Paul presents the negative should alarm us enough to examine
ourselves. Using the Bible is not enough! You can use the Bible to your
own destruction! Using the Bible for knowledge without obedience, to
promote worldly goals, or to teach half-truths as the entire truth will
lead to spiritual ruin. We need to be careful to use the Bible to grow
to know God and to grow in submission to Him.
The Bible wasn’t given to satisfy our
curiosity about the end times or to fill our heads with facts. It was
given to help us grow in godliness. (Ibid) (Bolding added)
from a = without + sébomai
= worship) means a want or lack of reverence toward God. It is a refusal
to retain Him in knowledge and that habit of mind leads to open
rebellion. The word does not refer to a person’s character as such, but
to his attitude towards God. Ungodliness then is the
attitude that results in living in a way that denies God's existence and
right as Supreme Ruler. Ungodliness results in the rejection of all that has to do with God.
adds that in general asebeia "is understood vertically as a lack of
reverence for deity and hallowed institutions as displayed in
sacrilegious words and deeds: impiety; its corollary adikia refers
horizontally to violation of human rights (Arndt,
W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)
Hiebert adds that ungodliness is "suggestive of the whole inner and
outer life of the one who lives without God and in opposition to His
To quote John MacArthur...
The legacy of false doctrine is to
further ungodliness of false living.
Cannot restrain the flesh
Cannot halt the devil
Cannot protect from the world
False teaching provides no defense
against iniquity and no strength for doing what is right and
J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press)