The statement is trustworthy:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He will also deny us;
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
Remind them of these things, and solemnly exhort them in the presence of God not to dispute about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the listeners. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth, claiming that the resurrection has already taken place; and they are jeopardizing the faith of some.

2 Timothy 2:11-18

If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a sick craving for controversial questions and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

1 Timothy 6:3-5

There is a certain kind of teaching that exists, and has existed for a long time now, which is not based on teaching the truth but advancing the teacher to greater material gain. Paul said that a good signal that you are dealing with one such teacher is that these individuals seek out arguments over words.

He contrasts this sharply with sound teaching, which could also be translated healthy teaching. Healthy teaching is from Jesus Christ and is for the building up of all believers.

The work of presenting the word must be done accurately, as a workman, Paul says; this is not in dispute. One who wants to be a teacher must present the truth and do so effectively and correctly. There are things that are correct and incorrect, and those who are in error should be taught.

These false teachers, however, are not seeking to lovingly correct or to show a better way but instead they seek to belittle and to win arguments in order to advance their own personal point of view or, more insidiously, to lead people astray for their own gain.

So, as a Christian who wishes to teach others, what do we do? We speak the truth and we do so boldly. But we also avoid such arguments that are not healthy for the listener or for the ones arguing. Speak healthy words.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published February 16, 2021