|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:14-21 Those disposed to strive, commonly strive about matters of small moment. But strifes of words destroy the things of God. The apostle mentions some who erred. They did not deny the resurrection, but they corrupted that true doctrine. Yet nothing can be so foolish or erroneous, but it will overturn the temporary faith of some professors. This foundation has two writings on it. One speaks our comfort. None can overthrow the faith of any whom God hath chosen. The other speaks our duty. Those who would have the comfort of the privilege, must make conscience of the duty Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, Tit 2:14. The church of Christ is like a dwelling: some furniture is of great value; some of smaller value, and put to meaner uses. Some professors of religion are like vessels of wood and earth. When the vessels of dishonour are cast out to be destroyed, the others will be filled with all the fulness of God. We must see to it that we are holy vessels. Every one in the church whom God approves, will be devoted to his Master's service, and thus fitted for his use.
Verse 14. - In the sight of for before, A.V.; to for but to, A.V.; them that hear for the hearers, A.V. Put them in remembrance (ὑπομίμνησκε; John 14:26; Titus 3:1; 2 Peter 1:12). St. Paul skilfully strengthens his preceding exhortations to Timothy by now charging him to impress upon others - referring, perhaps, especially to "the faithful men" spoken of in ver. 2, but generally to the whole flock committed to him - the truths which he had just been urging upon Timothy. Charging (διαμαρτύρομενος); as 1 Timothy 5:21 and 2 Timothy 4:1. Strive...about words (λογομαχεῖν); only here in the New Testament or elsewhere. But λογομαχία occurs in 1 Timothy 6:4 and in late Greek. Another reading is λογομάχει, as if addressed to Timothy himself, but λογομαχεῖν is supported by the best authorities, and agrees best with the context. To no profit; literally, useful for nothing; serving no good purpose. Ξρήσιμον, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, is found repeatedly in the LXX., and is very common in classical Greek, where it is followed by εἰς ἐπί, and πρός. The construction is "not to strive about words, a thing useful for nothing, but, on the contrary, tending to subvert those who hear such strife." To the subverting (ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ); elsewhere only in 2 Peter 2:6, where it is used of a material overthrow, as it is in the LXX. of Genesis 19:29, to which St. Peter is referring. The history of its use here of a moral overthrow, which is not borne out by its classical use, seems to be that the apostle had in his mind the very common metaphor of οἰκοδομή, edification, as the proper result of speaking and teaching, and so uses the contrary to "building up," viz. an "overthrowing" or "destruction," to describe the effect of the teaching of those vain talkers and deceivers (comp. ver. 18).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Of these things put them in remembrance,.... Meaning either his hearers, or those to whom he was to commit the things he had heard of the apostle, and who must expect to suffer afflictions, and endure hardships, for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel; wherefore to remind them of the above sayings might be of use and comfort to them. This clause is wanting in the Arabic version.
Charging them before the Lord; the omniscient God, as in his sight, as they will answer it to him another day; see 1 Timothy 5:21,
that they strive not about words; it became them to strive and contend for the form of sound words, for the wholesome words or doctrines of our Lord Jesus, but not about mere words, and especially such as were
to no profit; to no advantage to truth, nor to themselves nor others; were not to edification, to spiritual edification, to godly edifying, which is in faith:
but to the subverting of the hearers; the confounding of their minds, misleading their judgments, and overthrowing their faith; and therefore were not only unprofitable, but hurtful and pernicious, and by all means to be avoided.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. them—those over whom thou dost preside (Tit 3:1).
charging—Greek, "testifying continually": "adjuring them."
before the Lord—(1Ti 5:21).
that they strive not about words—rather, "strive with words": "not to have a (mere) war of words" (2Ti 2:23, 24; 1Ti 6:4) where the most vital matters are at stake (2Ti 2:17, 18; Ac 18:15). The oldest manuscripts put a stop at "charging them before the Lord" (which clause is thus connected with "put them in remembrance") and read the imperative, "Strive not thou in words," &c.
to no profit—not qualifying "words"; but Greek neuter, in apposition with "strive in words," "(a thing tending) to no profit," literally, "profitable for nothing"; the opposite of "meet for the master's use" (2Ti 2:21).
to the subverting—sure to subvert (overturn) the hearers: the opposite of "edifying" (building up) (2Co 13:10).
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