2 Timothy 2:14
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Of these things put them in remembrance.—A new division of the Epistle begins with this 14th verse. St. Paul has been urging Timothy to be strong in endurance, to bear trouble and suffering with brave patience. He now proceeds to charge him respecting the special work he has to do; and, first he deals with his duties as a teacher of truth brought face to face with teachers of error. He prefaces his directions by bidding him, in the forefront of his teaching, “put them” (that is, those over whom he was placed: the members of his Ephesian flock) “in remembrance of these things”—namely, of those great and solemn truths set forth in 2Timothy 2:11-13, and which may be briefly summed up in the words: “Fellowship with Christ in suffering will be succeeded by fellowship with Christ in glory.” Surely such lofty, soul-inspiring thoughts as these will form the best safeguard against the pitiful controversies and disputes about words, which were occupying the thoughts and wasting the lives of so many in Ephesus called by the name of Christ.

Charging them before the Lord.—Better rendered, solemnly charging them before the Lord . . . In all Timothy’s solemn addresses to his flock he is, St. Paul reminds him, charging his people “before the Lord”—a very earnest, solemn thought for every public teacher, and one calculated now, as then, to deepen the life of one appointed to such an office. There was a grave danger that such empty, profitless disputes about words and expressions, which, we know, occupied the attention of many of the Ephesian so called Christian teachers, would end in distracting the minds of the members of the several congregations, who would naturally take their tone, in matters connected with religious life, from their teacher; and thus words would soon come to be substituted for acts in the lives of those men and women called by the name of Christ in Ephesus. (See 1Timothy 6:4, where these “strifes of words” are mentioned among the special characteristics of the false teachers.)

But to the subverting of the hearers.—Not only are such arguments and disputes useless and profitless, but they are positively mischievous. In the long history of Christianity, St. Paul’s repeated warning respecting the danger of these disputes about theological terms and expressions has been sadly verified. Such contentions serve only to unsettle the mind, only to shake true faith, only to distract the one who gives himself up to this fatal pursuit, from real, earnest, patient work for Christ.

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.Of these things put them in remembrance - These great principles in regard to the kingdom of Christ. They would be as useful to others as they were for Timothy, to whom they were specially addressed.

Charging them before the Lord - In the presence of the Lord, implying that it was a very important matter; see the notes at 1 Timothy 1:18.

That they strive not about words to no profit; - see the notes at 1 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 6:4.

But to the subverting of the hearers - Turning them away from the simplicity of faith. It is rare, indeed, that a religious controversy does not produce this effect, and this is commonly the case, where, as often happens, the matter in dispute is of little importance.

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).

Of these things put them in remembrance; that is, put other teachers in remembrance of all these things which I have given thee in charge.

Charging them before the Lord; charging them as in the sight of God, who most certainly observeth and taketh notice of them, and will call them to an account.

That they strive not about words to no profit; that they spend not their time in their pulpits in contests about words which tend to no solid advantage of their hearers.

But to the subverting of the hearers; but may tend to the subversion of them, and the destroying their steadiness in the faith, drawing them into parties and factions, the fruit of which is nothing but envy, and contentions, and different opinions in matters of faith; as to which it hath been always observed, that the affectation of new phrases hath been introductive of a novelty in opinion. 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.

Of these things put them in remembrance, {d} charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

(d) Call God to witness, or as a Judge: as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and Paul himself did, in Acts 13.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Timothy 2:14. In this verse the apostle goes on to set before Timothy how he is to conduct himself in regard to the heresy appearing in the church.

ταῦτα ὑπομίμνησκε] ταῦτα refers to the thoughts just expressed and introduced by the formula πιστὸς ὁ λόγος; of these thoughts Timothy is to remind the church, not future teachers in particular (Heydenreich). The apostle says ὑπομιμνήσκειν, because these thoughts were known to the church; comp. 2 Peter 1:12 (οὐκ ἀμελήσωὑμᾶς ὑπομιμνήσκεινκαίπερ εἰδότας).

διαμαρτυρόμενος ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου] 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:21. With the reading λογομάχει (see the critical remarks) these words belong to what precedes, a new section beginning with μὴ λογομάχει; on the other hand, with the Rec. μὴ λογομαχεῖν, the infinitive depends on διαμαρτ. Hofmann wishes to take the Rec. imperatively; but to give an imperative force to an infinitive standing among several imperatives, would be something unheard of.

It can hardly be decided which is the right reading. De Wette and Wiesinger have declared themselves for the Rec., because “the verb διαμαρτ. is commonly used by Paul for introducing exhortations, and is not in keeping with the weak appeal ταῦτα ὑπομίμνησκε.” These reasons, however, are not sufficient, since διαμαρτ. may quite as well be connected with what precedes as with what follows, although it does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. in such a connection; and ταῦτα ὑπομ. is not used by the apostle in so weak a sense that he could not strengthen it by such a form of adjuration. Nor can it be maintained that the exhortation μὴ λογομάχει is unsuitable for Timothy, since there is again at 2 Timothy 2:16 an exhortation quite similar in nature; comp. also 2 Timothy 2:23. There is more force in Reiche’s observation: supervacaneum … fuisset, Timotheo, uno quasi halitu bis fere idem imperare, μὴ λογομάχει, and 2 Timothy 2:16, τὰς δὲκενοφωνίας περιΐστασο; but, on the other hand, μὴ λογομάχει is a suitable addition to the exhortation: ταῦτα ὑπομίμνησκε. On the whole, seeing that the transition from the one exhortation to the other is somewhat abrupt, and that the authorities are mostly on the side of the Rec., this reading should be preferred.

On the conception of λογομαχεῖν, comp. 1 Timothy 6:4.

εἰς [ἐπʼ] οὐδὲν χρήσιμον] Regarding this appended clause in apposition, see Winer, p. 497 [E. T. p. 669]. χρήσιμος is a word which only occurs here; in Titus 3:9 the ζητήσεις of the heretics are called ἀνωφελεῖς καὶ μάταιοι.

ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ τῶν ἀκουόντων] “which is useful for nothing, (serving rather) to the perversion of the hearers;” Chrysostom: οὐ μόνον οὐδὲν ἐκ τούτου κέρδος, ἀλλὰ καὶ βλάβη πολλή.[31]

ΚΑΤΑΣΤΡΟΦΉ (opposed to Τῇ ΟἸΚΟΔΟΜῇ) here and in 2 Peter 2:16, where it has its proper meaning; it is synonymous with ΚΑΘΑΊΡΕΣΙς in 2 Corinthians 13:10. ἘΠΊ here does not express the aim (Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 2:10), but the result (Wiesinger). Xenophon, Memor. ii. 19: ἐπὶ βλάβῃ.

[31] The harm of λογομαχεῖν consists not so much in this, “that its tendency with those who listen to it is to make the Christian doctrine seem uncertain, since it produces such contention” (Hofmann), as in this, that those who give ear to it are led away from the fundamental principles of Christianity.2 Timothy 2:14-26. Discourage the new false teaching by precept and example. There is no need, however, that you should despair of the Church. It is founded upon a rock, in spite of appearances. Take a broad view of the case: the Church is not the special apartment of the Master from which things unseemly are banished; it is a great House with places and utensils for every need of life. This great House differs from those of earth in that provision is made for the promotion of the utensils from the basest use to the Master’s personal service.14. Of these things put them in remembrance] See note on Titus 3:1 for this verb, and on 2 Timothy 1:5 for its noun.

charging them before the Lord] Or in the sight of. The ms. authority for ‘God’ instead of ‘the Lord’ is insufficient to justify the change.

The verb to ‘charge’ is properly ‘to bear solemn witness,’ the preposition giving intensity; hence the two meanings to ‘preach’ and to ‘charge.’ St Paul uses it in the latter sense three times with ‘in the sight of’ in these Epistles, 1 Timothy 5:21, 2 Timothy 4:1 and here; and in 1 Thessalonians 4:6 in the former. It occurs eight times in the Acts, and in Luke 16:28, where the construction is the same as here, and where we may equally well render ‘that he may charge them not to come also themselves into this place of torment.’

that they strive not about words] The infinitive; the ms. authority is now known to be against the imperative which was the reading of the Vulgate ‘Noli contendere verbis.’ The original is one word, occurring only here; its noun only in 1 Timothy 6:4, from which our own ‘logomachy’ has come.

to no profit] Lit. ‘a course useful for nothing,’ a neuter accusative in apposition to the sentence, somewhat as in 1 Timothy 2:6 ‘the testimony to be borne.’

but to the subverting of the hearers] Omit ‘but’; this clause expresses the result of the word wrangling,—viz. subversion, lit. catastrophe; a turning upside down of all right reason and sound morality. The word only occurs besides in 2 Peter 2:6 ‘condemned them (Sodom and Gomorrah) with an overthrow.’

14–26. The Especial Sphere of both Personal and Ministerial Zeal is (1) Pure Doctrine, (2) a Pure Life

The proper connexion is to be sought in the earlier part of the previous passage, particularly 2 Timothy 2:2. For the whole of the paragraph now opening has reference to Timothy’s dealing with the teachers he is to appoint and train, and to his own bearing as an example for them. The ‘striving about words’ is clearly opposed to ‘teaching the truth,’ as in the similar use of the word 1 Timothy 6:3-4, where it is he ‘that teacheth a different doctrine’ who is ‘doting about disputes of words.’ ‘These things’ then will take up the same word ‘these’ of 2 Timothy 2:2, and the object after the verb will be the ‘faithful teachers’ ‘able to teach others.’ And the train of thought in chaps. 1 and 2 is this: ‘Be brave and true yourself like me; be faithful to the truth as I have been; suffer for the truth’s sake as I have done; choose teachers too with the same pure doctrine, the same pure life; twin seals these are of God’s firm foundation; false doctrine leads to vicious life; the pastor’s holy living goes far to draw men off from Satan.’2 Timothy 2:14. Ταῦτα) of these things, which thou hast heard of me, 2 Timothy 2:2.—ὑπομίμνησκε, put in remembrance) them, over whom thou presidest; Titus 3:1.—ἐνώπιον τοῦ Κυρίου, before the Lord) Comp. 1 Timothy 5:21, note [referring to the last judgment, but including also the present time].—μὴ λογομαχεῖν) Logomachy here does not mean a battle about words, but a battle which is engaged in by words, 2 Timothy 2:23-24, about the most important matters, 2 Timothy 2:17-18. Comp. Acts 18:15.—χρήσιμον, useful) viz. ὄν [“which tends to nothing useful—to no profit”[5]]. The accusative absolute, as in Luke 24:47. ΕὔΧΡΗΣΤΟΝ, admirably useful [“meet for the Master’s use”], 2 Timothy 2:21, corresponds to it.—ἐπὶ, tending to, or resulting in) They are not only not profitable, but they are also injurious and subvert. Ἐπὶ expresses the consequence, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:7, ΟὐΚ ἘΠῚ ἈΚΑΘΑΡΣΊᾼ, not to uncleanness. Subversion is opposed to edification.

[5] Or, perhaps, Bengel construes it rather, “Which is useful for nothing,” χρήσιμον εἰς οὐδέν.—ED.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). Put them in remembrance (ὑπομίμνησκε)

oP. See on ὑπόμνησιν reminding, 2 Timothy 1:5.

Charging (διαμαρτυρόμενος)

In Paul only 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Very frequent in Acts. See on Acts 2:40; see on Acts 20:23. The sense is rather conjuring them by their loyalty to God. Paul uses the simple μαρτύρεσθαι in a similar sense. See Galatians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:12 (note); Ephesians 4:17.

Before God (ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ)

See on 1 Timothy 5:4.

Strive about words (λογομαχεῖν)

N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Comp. λογομαχίας disputes of words, 1 Timothy 6:4, and see 1 Corinthians 4:20.

To no profit (ἐπ' οὐδὲν χρήσιμον)

Lit. to nothing useful. Ἑπ' οὐδὲν, oP. He uses εἰς κενόν to no purpose. See 2 Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:5. Χρήσιμος useful, N.T.o.

To the subverting (ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ)

Ἑπὶ does not mean here to or for (purpose or object). but indicates the ground on which the unprofitableness of the wordy strife rests. Unprofitable because it works subversion of the hearers. Καταστροφή subversion, transliterated into catastrophe, only here and 2 Peter 2:6. In lxx of the destruction or overthrow of men or cities. Καταστρέφειν to overturn, Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; Acts 15:16, cit. Paul uses καθαίρεσις pulling down, 2 Corinthians 10:4, 2 Corinthians 10:8; 2 Corinthians 13:10

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