Teach This: Worthless Words

“Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.” (2 Timothy 2:14)

For the next week or so, we’re going to learn how to live by reading someone else’s mail. Paul is writing to Pastor Timothy about what the younger preacher should be teaching people in his church.

teachthis_350The idea in today’s verse seems odd to me coming from a writer and a teacher. Under the inspiration of God, Paul wrote a serious chunk of the New Testament. I’m sure he was very careful about the words he chose (and the ones he skipped).

But words are not so important that they’re worth arguing about, he said. In fact, arguments about semantics (word meanings and choices) are a waste of time with the power to do real damage to listeners caught in the cross-fire. Focus on understanding and communicating the truth and the words will take care of themselves.

Think: Do you ever get caught in arguments about words? Things like: “I said this, and you said that!” “That’s not what I said; I said this!” Arguments that become about splitting the hairs of fact instead of revealing real truth. Why are those so dangerous, especially between Christians?

Pray: Thank God for His truth. Ask Him to help you to avoid arguing about words.

Do: Look for examples this week — in and out of church — of people arguing about words.