Second Timothy 2:14




The Bible says in Second Timothy 2:14, “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words of no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” One of the most important responsibilities for the minister of the gospel is to simply remind the believers of the great truths of the Bible. You do not have to come up with new things to say to entertain the hearers. Just remind the believers of the basic truths of Christianity. Remind them of the death and resurrection of Jesus and all that it means. Remind the believers of the promises of God, and remind them of His wonderful plans for the future. How quickly we forget, and therefore how often we need to be reminded.


One of the things that we need to be reminded of is stated here in Second Timothy 2:14 that says to “strive not about words of no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” Once again the emphasis is on the importance of words. The goal is to always use the right words in any situation, especially the words of God. “If any man speak, let him speak as of the oracles of God.” “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pitchers of silver.” Words are everything. The right words can build up and encourage. The wrong words can tear down and destroy. The “subverting of the hearers” means the bringing down of the hearers. The things that we say to others, the words that we use, are extremely important in the service of God and of Christ. Be careful what words that you use. Paul warned Timothy and he warned us to avoid “words of no profit  


If you are concerned about the words that you use, and if you want to use the right words in the right way at the right time, then make sure that you follow the instruction that Paul gave in Second Timothy 2:15. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Concerning the words that each of us have said at some time or other in our lives, we might have something to be ashamed of. A man will be judged by the words that he has said. But of the Word of God we will never be ashamed. Think of all the words that man has said in the history of the human race. So many of them were vain words, even foolish or blasphemous. But these words are the words of God. These are the words that God has given to man. If you want to be approved by God, then you will study these words. Of course, you must do more than study the word of God. It says to rightly divide the word of truth. That means to correctly understand it and to correctly interpret it. Some people have gone wrong because they have listened to the interpretation of man. Only the Holy Spirit can interpret to your hearts the truths of this great book. Hopefully you will be tuned to the Spirit when you read its great pages.


Paul gives additional warnings against using the wrong words. He wrote in Second Timothy 2:16-17, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as does a canker: of whom is Hymenaus and Philetus." One of the problems with the wrong words is that they will lead to the wrong actions. The wrong words will lead to more ungodliness. If you say the wrong thing, you will do the wrong thing. In these verses is emphasized the destructive force that wrong words can be. “Their word will eat as does a canker.” How wonderful the right words can be, but how horrible the wrong words can be.


Concerning the wrong words that some people might say, Paul had one more thing to say in Second Timothy 2:18. He wrote, “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” One of the reasons that false doctrine is so bad is because false doctrine will always “overthrow the faith of some.” Faith refers to having faith in what is true. If you believe something that is not true, then that is not true faith. One of the purposes of life is to know the truth and believe it. God wants every person to acquire faith in Jesus and then to spend the rest of life growing in faith. “The just shall live by faith.” “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” You have done a great thing if you have said things that have resulted in someone’s faith growing or getting stronger. The right words can encourage and build up the faith of others, but the wrong teachings and the wrong words can “overthrow the faith of some.” It is no wonder that Jesus said that we would be judged by the words of our mouths. Beware. Be careful. Remember that this passage points out three destructive things that the wrong words can do. The wrong words can be of no profit and can subvert the hearers. The wrong words can eat as doth a canker. And the wrong words can “overthrow the faith of some.”


Notice that the doctrine where these had erred was the doctrine of the resurrection. These false teachers claimed that no one else would be resurrected. Jesus said that everyone who believes in Him would be resurrected. An important part of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the fact that there will be a bodily resurrection of every believer. When Jesus rose from the dead, He had a resurrection body. It was a real body, a body that could be seen and touched by hands. Someday each of us who believe in Jesus will have a resurrection body. The Bible says in First Corinthians 15:52-53, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Do not underestimate the importance of the teaching of the resurrection in true Christianity.


No matter how many false teachers there are, we can still find the sure foundation that God has left for us. Second Timothy 2:19 says, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” The sure foundation that we have to rely on is the person and character of God Himself. God has promised and God will keep His promises. God knows those that are His, and God does not forget and will never forget those whom He knows. Our salvation is totally dependent upon what God will do for us through Jesus and because of Jesus. Of course, after we are saved, we are saved for a purpose; and part of that purpose is to do the right thing and to lead a holy life. “Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity


Some people appear to believe and to follow the Lord and then they fall away. Perhaps they are among those who ran into false teachers and had their faith overthrown. What will their eternal destiny be? Were they really saved in the first place? If they were really saved, then at least their eternal destiny is secure because “the Lord knows them that are His.” But once they have fallen away into doctrinal error, what should the attitude of Timothy be to these individuals? The Bible says in Second Timothy 2:20-21, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work


The attitude to have towards false teachers or those who have fallen into false doctrine is given very clearly in the phrase that says, “If a man purge himself from these…” To purge means to cleanse by removing that which needs to be removed. This concept of separation from false teachers is based upon the truth that human beings are influenced by those in whose company they choose to move around. Be careful whom you listen to. If you want to be meet for the master’s use and prepared for every good work, you must purge yourself from those who have fallen into false doctrine.


On the subject of how to be useful in the service of the Lord, there are other important things in addition to staying away from false teachers. Paul wrote in Second Timothy 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Paul told Timothy what to flee from and he told Timothy what to follow after. First Paul said, “Flee also youthful lusts.” He did not say, “Become so strong that you will never be tempted.” Everyone is tempted at one time or another. The important thing to remember is to flee, to depart from, and to get out of the place of temptation. One of the best ways to avoid falling into sin is to know the importance of simply getting away from the place of temptation. That is exactly what is said in First Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it


Notice that Paul said, “Flee also youthful lusts.” Why did he say, “Flee also?” Because in the previous verse Paul was talking about staying away from and getting away from those who were false teachers. Getting away from false teaching and false teachers is just as important as getting away from youthful lusts. Falling into doctrinal error is just as damaging as falling into sexual immorality.


These verses tell us two things to flee from, but four things to chase after. We should flee from false doctrine and youthful lusts, but we should chase after righteousness, faith, charity, and peace. Simply stated, righteousness means to do what is right. The question should never be, “What is the profitable thing to do?” The question should always be, “What is the right thing to do?” Do right until the stars fall. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled


We should chase after righteousness and we should chase after faith. The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith.” There is nothing more precious than your faith. If everything else is taken away from your life, you will still have the challenge and the opportunity to live by faith. Hopefully you understand the importance of trusting in the Lord and in His promises each day, and hopefully you always seek after faith and desire to apply the principles of faith to each situation in life.


Chase after righteousness, chase after faith, and chase after love. Human beings do not naturally know much about love. But if we are going to be like God, we must continue to progress in our understanding of love and in our ability to show it to others. “God is love.” We must learn to love the Lord more, and we must learn to love those who are around us more. Without love we are nothing.


We should always chase after love, and we should chase after peace. The world is involved in strife and war and competition incessantly. Hatred, anger, and resentment are the normal emotions and feeling that come from the selfish and sinful human heart. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When we know Him, and serve Him, and draw close to Him; we will naturally know more about peace. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Instead of causing division and strife, which comes so easily to human beings, we should always pursue peace.


Notice that when we are told to follow righteousness, faith, love, and peace; we are told to do it “with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” There is strength in unity. We can do a few things by ourselves. We can do a lot more if we are united with other Christians. We need one another if we are going to become all that we can become in the service of the Lord. The hand cannot say to the foot, “I have no need of thee.” As believers we have different gifts. We need each other, that is, we need the people who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Hopefully you call on the Lord out of a pure heart. If not, there is always that first time. Romans 10:13 says “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved          




Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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