5. Watch Your Words
2 Timothy 2:14-26
Day One Study
1. Read 2 Timothy 2:14-26. In these verses, Paul continues to deal with the issue of false teachers. These people caused strife and division within the new church by their meaningless quarreling over unimportant details that focused not on Scripture, but on their own ideas. Paul reemphasizes to Timothy not to be “drawn in” to debates with these people. In the following verse, discuss Paul’s instruction to Timothy regarding wise and productive speech—what to avoid and why:
· Verse 14—
· Verse 16—
· Verse 23—
2. Quarreling about words is still a major problem today. Churches split over nonessentials, and many innocent people are attacked verbally. Why do you think some Christians engage so readily, perhaps even eagerly, in such negative talk?
3. What is the difference between quarreling about words and standing up to false teaching?
4. Although Paul instructs Timothy not to engage in quarrelsome talk, he realizes that it will surface within the church. In verses 24-26, what attitude is Timothy to have towards those who oppose him, and what actions should he take?
5. Why is having such an attitude so important, according to verses 25-26?
6. In verse 26, Paul uses the phrase, “come to their senses,” which could also be translated “return to soberness.”
· Under whose influence are quarrelsome people operating?
· Do you think they realize this?
· What is God’s desire for them? (See also 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and Titus 2:14.)
Think About It: Satan is at the root of all false teaching and division in the church. He knows the strength of a unified church and fears it. So he creates a “trap”—money, fame, pride of feeling intellectual—to draw people away from the faith and to false teaching. But there is hope—escape is possible. (Life Application Bible Commentary)
7. To Live Faithfully: Consider your words and actions (in general). Do you think they promote unity or division within your church? Ask someone you love and trust to help you evaluate this. Pray with that person that God will continue to bring you into a knowledge of Him, that your words and actions would bring encouragement to those around you.
Day Two Study
8. In 2 Timothy 2:15, how are we to present ourselves to God?
9. How can we handle God’s Word correctly? Incorrectly? What does Paul’s use of the term “diligent (NIV)” or “make every effort (NET)” imply?
10. To Live Faithfully: Think of someone you know who knows how to correctly handle the Word of Truth. How did he/she cultivate this ability? (If you don’t know, you might ask.) Discuss at least one step you can take to bring you closer to the goal of correctly handling God’s Word.
11. Read 2 Timothy 2:20. What types of “vessels” or “articles” are present together in a large house? What purposes do they serve?
Scriptural Insight: The identification of the vessels Paul mentions is a source of debate among commentators. Some believe Paul is clearly referring to true and false teachers within the church, while others believe they are persons within the church at various stages of spiritual development. Whatever Paul specifically meant, we know God can use every “vessel” within his church to accomplish His will.
12. Paul emphasized to Timothy that God would use “cleansed” vessels for honor and for noble purposes. Commentators disagree on exactly what the vessels are cleansed of—false teaching, godless chatter, moral impurity are all possibilities. According to verse 21, what three qualities characterize such a “vessel”?
13. To Live Faithfully:
· How can you be a vessel that Jesus can “set apart” and use for his noblest purposes?
· If your life has NOT been one used for God’s noble purposes, God still welcomes you with open, loving arms. If you haven’t already, repent (turn away) from your independence from God and offer Him your life. He will take your willing heart and renew you through the Holy Spirit, redirect your life, and use it for His glory and honor!