II Timothy 2:14-19 Not Ashamed.
In the midst of a cacophony of words, a striving for argument sake, the word of God comes as “the word of truth” (v. 15b). Paul’s charge to Timothy was to remind his flock of the things he has written to him about, in turn charging them to not “strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” (v. 14b). He elaborated on these words when he charged Titus with the same thing-“avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless” (3:9). In this letter to Timothy, Paul refers to this activity as “profane and idle babblings” which must be shunned, because “they will increase to more ungodliness” (v. 16). By the same token, sound doctrine will always issue forth in a life of godliness. The bible knows nothing of a theology that doesn’t make one more godly. Make no mistake, life follows doctrine, orthopraxy follows orthodoxy.
Some err when they use these verses to disparage the discussion of sound doctrine-usually a tactic of those who do not want to be tested and examined as to whether their beliefs are scriptural. In fact, it is the right dividing of the word which is the exact counter and anecdote to this disease. Orthodox Christian doctrine is that which has stood the test of biblical scrutiny down through the centuries, which is the opposite of what those who love to argue, for the sake of dividing, really want. There is a right dividing of the word which merits the catholic universal consent of the true church. There is a wrong dividing of the word which also wrongly divides the body. The former strengthens Christ’s church, but the latter does not profit, and only leads to the ruin of the hearers. The former have a “solid foundation” (v. 19) on which to stand, the latter stray and are overthrown (v. 18).
It takes diligence to present oneself as a worker, in this case a faithful minister of the word, who understands that scripture is it’s own interpreter, and that God’s truth is one not many. The scripture cannot contradict itself. Rightly dividing the word is letting the clear interpret what may seem to us to be less clear, that we truly understand the mind of the Lord. One ought to be ashamed if one is a minister of the word but having no understanding of biblical and systematic theology. Sadly, the profane and idle babblings of those who have strayed from the truth, often spread like cancer, or like weeds in a garden intended for flowers and vegetables (v. 17). Unless it is removed it will soon infect the whole body and choke it of it’s life. Note well the examples Paul gives, of those who rejected the orthodox doctrine of the resurrection (v. 18 Cf. I Cor. 15:12; I Tim. 1:20).
Sound doctrine is the lifeblood of a true church of Jesus Christ. Another doctrine which Paul highlights is the doctrine of predestination and election. Let no one say that this is a doctrine that divides-quite the opposite. Paul acknowledges that some stray from the truth, and their faith is thus overthrown, because they are persuaded by the false teachers. However, these by their departure, show that they never were numbered among the elect (Cf. I Jn. 2:19; II Pet. 1:10). “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’” (v. 19). “A quotation from Num. 16:5 (according to the Septuagint translation). Inscribed on the people of God is His eternal decree of election (v. 11), which ensures the security of the body of Christ (Jn. 10:29)” (NGSB p. 1920 Cf. Ps. 1:6; Nah. 1:7; Jn. 10:14).