Continuing Education for the Christian
2 Timothy 2:14-21
14 Remind /them/ of these things,
charging /them/ before the Lord
not to strive about words to no profit,
to the ruin of the hearers.
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.
But shun profane /and/ idle babblings,
for they will increase to more ungodliness.
17 And their message will spread like cancer.
Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,
18 who have strayed concerning the truth,
saying that the resurrection is already past;
and they overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands,
having this seal:
“The Lord knows those who are His,” and,
“Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
20 But in a great house,
there are not only vessels of gold and silver,
but also of wood and clay,
some for honor and some for dishonor.
if anyone cleanses himself from the latter,
he will be a vessel for honor,
sanctified and useful for the Master,
prepared for every good work.
Continuing means enduring or lasting, characterized by uninterrupted flow or extension in time or space.
In other words, continuous.
A sense of continuity or connected whole.
Education then is either teaching, learning or training.
When we put them together, we get the idea that Paul is stressing to Timothy.
Paul begin with a general exhortation for Timothy to “present himself to God as one approved.
He then offered specific guidelines as to how Timothy could accomplish this through his study and teaching of God’s Word.
Finally, he offered a negative illustration followed by a positive one: timothy was not to be like Hymenaus and Philetus, who had strayed from the truth.
Instead, he was to be like a gold vessel in a great house.
That vessel, when kept clean and polished, would be used by the Master for a noble purpose.
Now, Let us look at these strong charges to Timothy as a means to Christian Education.
You know, more trouble is stirred and brewed by words than by any other act.
See James who tells us to brigle our tonges.
First, this passage reminds us no to argue and strive over words that do not profit the hearers.
*Words— Talk— Speculation*: That is, do not argue and strive over petty matters nor over religious theories, speculations, and ideas.
Time is short, and we are not able to fellowship nor to be together that much.
Therefore, when we are together, we must be communicating and sharing words that profit us all.
However, this is not always the case.
Too often, our words are useless and unprofitable, and sometimes they are even upsetting and destructive.
Picture both the unprofitable and the upsetting words that go on in the church and among believers, the arguments and strife of words that do not profit the hearers.
· the words over petty matters.
(Just think of some of the petty matters that go on in the church.)
· the words over buildings, traditions, and rituals.
· the words about people, the rumors, gossip, and criticism.
· the words about trivial day-to-day matters.
· the words that waste and pass the time.
· the words that focus on debating theological positions, speculation, and ideas.
· the words over pet ideas and theories.
There are essentially three kinds of unprofitable talk that go on among believers.
Þ First, there is the trivial talk that passes the time away, talk that fails to build up the believer.
Þ Second, there is the talk that engages in criticism and gossip, talk that tears a person down.
Þ Third, there is the talk that enjoys discussing the theories and speculations of theology.
William Barclay put it this way: “Discussion can be stimulating and invigorating for those whose approach to the Christian faith is intellectual, for those who have a background of knowledge and of culture, for those who are characteristically students, for those who have a real knowledge of, or interest in, theology.
But it sometimes happens that a [plain talking or an emotional person finds himself~/herself in a group which is tossing heresies about, and propounding unanswerable questions, and it may well be that the faith of that person, so far from being helped, is upset....
And it may well happen that clever, subtle, speculative, destructive, intellectually reckless discussion may have the effect of demolishing, and not building up, the faith of that person who happens to become involved in it.
As in all things, there is a time to discuss, and a time to be silent" (The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, p.197).
*"Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying…."
*"But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain" (Titus 3:9).*
The point is this: the preacher and teacher must remind believers—do not argue and strive over words that do not profit the hearers.
Do not upset or tear down people with your words.
Secondly, Paul says, study to be a true teacher of God's Word.
By study is meant to set your heart upon—be diligent, hurry, rush, and seek the approval of God.
Note that it is the approval of God that is to be the believer's concern.
A believer is a fool if he~/she does not seek the approval of God.
To be disapproved is to be displeasing and unacceptable to God.
How then can we secure the approval of God?
Þ By being a workman—the idea is a diligent worker who toils and labors to the point of exhaustion.
But note: our work is pinpointed and identified.
We are to study the Word of God and rightly divide it.
Rightly dividing (/orthotomounta)/, as the KJV says.
This word means “to cut straight,” as to cut a straight road or to keep a straight course.
The idea could also be that of plowing a straight furrow or of squaring and cutting a stone to fit it in its proper place.
In the Greek Old Testament, the word is used in Prov.
3:6; 11:5 to depict God’s provision of a straight path for the righteous.
Paul encouraged Timothy to handle the word of truth in a straight way, like a road that goes straight to its goal.
Believers are to cut straight to the truth; they are not to take crooked paths and side tracks to the truth.
We are to study the truth and rightly divide it.,
without being turned aside by useless debates
Once we have studied and learned the Word of God, we are to accurately teach the Word of God.
We are not to teach...
· our own ideas.
· the theories of other people.
· what we think.
· what other men think.
We are not to mishandle the Word of God: twist it to fit what we think or want it to say; over-emphasize or under-emphasize its teachings; add to or take away from it.
Any person who mishandles God's Word is not approved of God.
This is the point of this verse: if we want God's approval—if we want to be acceptable to God—we must study, rush and seek to be a true teacher of God's Word.
We must be workmen or workers who study God's Word, workers who study diligently: who correctly analyze and accurately divide—rightly handle and skillfully teach—the Word of Truth (Amplified New Testament).
This is the believer who will not be ashamed when he faces the Lord Jesus Christ in the great day of judgment.