“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.”
2 Timothy 2:23
Many people contend with one of two great problems with their attitude. On the one hand, there are those who refuse to stand up against injustice, deception, and blasphemy. These are the “go along and get along” types. They refuse to obey the prodding of their God-given consciences to stand up and say something. Christians are often guilty of ignoring or disobeying outright the Lord’s command to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). There comes a time when we must say something in order to stop the mouths of those who would subvert whole households (Titus 1:11). On the other hand, there are people at the opposite end of the spectrum, Christians and non-Christians alike, who seem to live for conflict. Today’s verse passage reminds us that even as ambassadors for Christ and courageous defenders of His Gospel, we need not answer every foolish question brought to us. We need not engage in rational combat those that challenge our faith out of a desire to start an argument or make us look stupid. The apostle Peter shared an important principle that speaks to this. Concerning the wives of disagreeable, unbelieving husbands, Peter wrote that they should “be in subjection to [their] own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (i.e. conduct) of the wives; While they behold [their] chaste conversation coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1-2). Peter carried this over to the common Christian and their apologetical encounters. The Christian’s good conduct, with or without any rational argumentation, may be sufficient to make our opponents ashamed of their harsh accusations (1 Peter 3:16). In any case, a Christian should be one who pursues peace (1 Peter 3:11) not conflict. We ought to be people who search the Scriptures together, praying for and with one another as we seek a right understanding of God’s infallible revelation. Paul writes, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations” (Romans 14:1). In other words, we ought invite people into our congregations for the purpose of fellowship and edification, not criticism and debate in order to prove them wrong. “Of these things,” wrote Paul, “put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting [ruin/overthrow] of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:14). Bitter arguments over peripheral doctrines and obscure passages will do nothing to glorify God or edify the saints. May God help us to speak only those things that are “good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
God bless you, dear church family,