Online Bible Commentary
2 Timothy 2:14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 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." (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy, who is helping at the church in Ephesus. False Teaching has infiltrated the church and this letter is the second Paul has sent in an effort to remedy the situation.
Paul is writing from prison in Rome, with Luke being his amanuensis, or scribe. This letter is being written about AD late 65-early 66.
In the previous passage, Paul has reminded Timothy of the eternal life and eternal rewards awaiting those who stay true to the Gospel. Here, he begins by writing “Remind them of these things” (v. 14a). He now urges Timothy to remind those in the church of this, including the false teachers
Paul continues by writing “charging them before the Lord not to strive about words” (v. 14b). The church is to be warned before God against quarreling about words.
The literal Greek for this phrase is “solemnly testifying before the Lord, not to dispute about words”. The warning is that we are being watched by God, and that we are not to cause confusion in the church by resorting to godless teaching, false teaching.
When it comes to the Bible, words are important. We are not to twist the meaning of words to promote our own agenda.
Paul continues by writing “to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” (v. 14c). This false teaching is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
False teaching is not useful. It distorts the Gospel instead of supporting the Gospel. It leads others astray.
Next, Paul writes “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (v. 15). Paul encourages Timothy to do his best to stay true to the Gospel, so that he will not “be ashamed” by falling into false teaching himself.
Paul writes “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (v. 16). Timothy is to avoid false teaching, described as “profane and idle babblings, because errors and lies lead to “ungodliness”.
Paul continues “And their message will spread like cancer” (v. 17a). False Teaching is like “cancer”. It will continue to spread unless it is cut out.
Paul writes “Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort” (v. 17b). Hymenaeus and Philetus are two of the false teachers. Hymenaeus has already been excommunicated from the church, but, somehow, he continues to hang around, and people continue to listen to him.
Next, Paul writes “who have strayed concerning the truth” (v. 18a). These false teachers are described as those who have wandered away from the truth.
Paul continues “saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (v. 18b). These false teachers have destroyed the faith of some in the church by teaching a different resurrection.
They are teaching that the resurrection has already taken place. This is not explained here, and is open to speculation, which is not useful.
Paul summarizes this passage by writing “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands” (v. 19a). God's solid foundation stands firm.
Even though some have fallen away from the truth of the Gospel, the Gospel will always stand. God is the “solid foundation”. If He sends out his word, nothing can hinder it.
Paul continues “having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His’ "(v. 19b). God knows who belongs to Him, they are sealed in Him through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The activity of the false teachers can not change this.
Paul concludes this passage by writing “and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’ " (v. 19c). Those who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are His children, Christians. Christians must turn away from wickedness.
So, even though we are Christians, and have the Holy Spirit as our helper, we still must take action to turn away from wickedness. This must be a conscious effort on our part.
Joseph encountered wickedness in the form of Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39). He did not hang around. He made a conscious effort and ran from sin.
In conclusion, false teaching in the church will always be with us in one form or another. It is the duty of every Christian to be so knowledgeable of the Bible that they are able to discern false teaching.
But Christians, as a whole are not knowledgeable of the Bible. This is a huge problem in the church.
This is how Christians get recruited by cults, such as the LDS church and Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is how Christians side with wickedness in the culture, because they do not know better.
They do not know what the Bible teaches, so they are vulnerable to being swayed by evil. We particularly see this happening with young Christians.
If you attach the word “love” to any movement they automatically think it must be something good. After all, God is love and so God must approve of that movement. Not so.
Those who have no knowledge of the Bible, have no discernment. They do not know what is evil in the eyes of the Lord.
They do not know what is sin. And since they do not know what is sin, they are vulnerable to sin themselves.
Christians must turn away from wickedness. We must turn away, from sin. God knows those who are His, and He is watching.