2 Timothy 2:14
Remind the believers of these things, charging them before God to avoid quarreling over words; this is in no way profitable, and leads its listeners to ruin.
A Good Memory2 Timothy 2:14
An Injunction to Put Ephesian Believers in Remembrance of These TruthsT. Croskery 2 Timothy 2:14
Cavilling and DisputationSunday School Teacher.2 Timothy 2:14
ControversyA. Plummer, D. D.2 Timothy 2:14
ControversyA. J. Froude.2 Timothy 2:14
Controversy a Sign of Moral PovertyH. Venn.2 Timothy 2:14
Preaching in the Sight of GodA. Plummer, D. D.2 Timothy 2:14
RepetitionJ. Barlow, D. D.2 Timothy 2:14
RepetitionCramer.2 Timothy 2:14
Strife of WordsJ. Barlow, D. D.2 Timothy 2:14
The Hydrostatic Paradox of ControversyQ. W. Holmes.2 Timothy 2:14
The Spirit of ControversyA. Plummer, D. D.2 Timothy 2:14
Conduct in View of Heresy Appearing in the ChurchR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 2:14-26
This begins a new portion of the Epistle.


1. We are apt to forget the consolatory aspect of truth under the pressure of present trial, as worldly men are apt to forget its threatening aspect under the absorbing worldliness of their lives.

2. The Lord has made provision, to "put us in remembrance," through the ministry and through the Word of God, to which we do well to take heed as to a light shining in a dark place.

II. CHRISTIAN PEOPLE NEED TO BE WARNED AGAINST RUINOUS STRIFES ABOUT WORDS. "Solemnly charging them in the sight of the Lord, not to contend about words, to r o profit, to the subverting of them that hear."

1. There are many religious controversies which turn rather upon words than upon things, and thus involve a waste of intellectual energy. These "strifes of words" were characteristic of the false teachers (1 Timothy 6:4).

2. There is nothing in the passage to warrant a disregard for "the form of sound words," for the "wholesome words of the Lord Jesus, which cover things as well as thoughts.

3. The apostle condemns a wrangling about terms which brings no advantage to truth, but rather tends to the subversion of the hearers, misleading their judgments and overturning their faith. Simple-minded people might begin to doubt the truth of a gospel about which contending controversialists were so much at variance. Unsettlement of mind is dangerous, while it lays an arrest on all earnest work. - T.C.

Put them in remembrance.

1. For at the first delivery of a thing we may not fully apprehend it; the eye of our mind is but opened by degrees.

2. Our faith by often repetition may be confirmed.

3. It is a help to cause the truth in the soil of our memories to take the deeper impression.

4. We are slow to practise what we conceive, believe, and remember: therefore the reduplication of Divine things is profitable.


(J. Barlow, D. D.)

A preacher must often repeat an exhortation, because we dwell in a land of forgetfulness.


Abraham Lincoln had a marvellous memory; nothing seemed to escape his recollection. A soldier once struck a happy description of him when he said, "He's got a mighty fine memory; but an awful poor forgetery." How many Christians have good "forgeteries." Charging them before the Lord. —

The whole section is applicable to ministers throughout the Church in all ages; and the words under consideration seem to be well worthy of attention at the present time, when so many unworthy topics and so much unworthy language may be heard from the pulpit. One is inclined to think that if ministers always remembered that they were speaking "in the sight of God" they would sometimes find other things to say, and other ways of saying them. We talk glibly enough of another man's words and opinions when he is not present. We may be entirely free from the smallest wish to misrepresent or exaggerate; but at the same time we speak with great freedom and almost without restraint. What a change comes over us if, in the midst of our glib recital of his views and sayings, the man himself enters the room! At once we begin to measure our words and to speak with more caution. Our tone becomes less positive, and we have less confidence that we are justified in making sweeping statements on the subject. Ought not something of this circumspection and diffidence to be felt by those who take the responsibility of telling others about the mind of God? And if they remembered constantly that they speak "in the sight of the Lord," this attitude of solemn circumspection would become habitual.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

Strive not about words to no profit
The spirit of controversy is a bad thing in itself; but the evil is intensified when the subject of controversy is a question of words. Controversy is necessary, but it is a necessary evil; and that man has need of searchings of heart who finds that he enjoys ii, and sometimes even provokes it, when it might easily have been avoided; but a fondness for strife about words is one of the lowest forms which the malady can take. Principles are things worth striving about when opposition to what we know to be right and true is unavoidable. But disputatiousness about words is something like proof that love of self has taken the place of love of truth. The word-splitter wrangles, not for the sake of arriving at the truth, but for the sake of a dialectical victory (see 1 Timothy 6:4). And here the apostle says that such disputes are worse than worthless, they tend to "no profit"; on the contrary, they tend "to the subverting of those who listen to them." This subversion or overthrow is the exact opposite of what ought to be the result of Christian discipline, viz., edification or building up. The audience, instead of being built up in faith and principle, find themselves bewildered and lowered. They have a less firm grasp of truth and a less loyal affection for it. It is as if some beautiful object, which they were learning to understand and admire, had been scored all over with marks by those who had been disputing as to the meaning and relation of the details.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

It has been a favourite device of the heretics and sceptics of all ages to endeavour to provoke a discussion on points about which they hope to place an opponent in a difficulty. Their object is not to settle, but to unsettle; not to clear up doubts, but to create them; and hence we find Bishop Butler in his Durham charge recommending his clergy to avoid religious discussions in general conversation; because the clever propounder of difficulties will find ready hearers, while the patient answerer of them will not do so. To dispute is to place truth at an unnecessary disadvantage.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

Christians are not to strive about words.

1. It wasteth time, consumeth good hours, which are to be redeemed.

2. Prevents better matter.

3. Kindles strife and contention.

4. And for idle words we are to give an account.Now, for the avoiding of these fruitless disputes, observe these following directions: —

1. Get a sound mind, a good judgment, to discern betwixt things that differ.

2. Root self-love and pride out of thy heart.

3. In matters of less moment reserve thy judgment; publish it not, lest thou trouble others.

4. Take heed of overmuch curiosity: pry not into God's ark; neither presume above that which is written.

5. Consider wherein thou and the party with whom thou hast to deal do agree, and let that consent make a stronger union than the dissent can a separation.

6. Abandon such companions as are always complaining of Church government.

(J. Barlow, D. D.)

If a fellow attacked my opinions in print, would I reply? Not

I. Do you think I don't understand what my friend the Professor long ago called the hydrostatic paradox of controversy? Don't know what that means? Well, I will tell you. You know that if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalises fools and wise men in the same way — and the fools know it.

(Q. W. Holmes.)

Controversy has kept alive a certain quantity of bitterness, and that, I suspect, is all that it would accomplish if it continued till the day of judgment. I sometimes, in impatient moments, wish the laity in Europe would treat their controversial divines as two gentlemen once treated their seconds, when they found themselves forced into a duel without knowing what they were quarrelling about. As the principals were being led up to their places one of them whispered to the other, "If you will shoot your second, I will shoot mine."

(A. J. Froude.)

In the course of more than twenty-seven years, I never knew one exemplary Christian a disputer, whether amongst Dissenters or in our own Church; and it is a rule with me to conclude any person who can be taken up with a desire to make men converts to any notion, and not to Christ, or to be zealous for anything more than the life of faith and holiness from knowledge of Christ crucified, is a sounding empty professor, or, at best, in a very poor low state.

(H. Venn.)

When Endamides heard old Xenocrates disputing so long about wisdom, he inquired very gravely, but archly, "If the old man be yet disputing and inquiring concerning wisdom, what time will he have left to use it?" Controversy may be sometimes needful; but the love of disputation is a serious evil. Luther, who contended earnestly for the truth, used to pray, "From a vainglorious doctor, a contentious pastor, and nice questions, the Lord deliver His Church." Philip Melancthon, being at the conferences at Spires, in 1529, made a little journey to Bretton to see his mother. This good woman asked him what she must believe amidst so many disputes, and repeated to him her prayers, which contained nothing superstitious. "Go on, mother," said he, "to believe and pray as you have done, and never trouble yourself about religious controversies."

(Sunday School Teacher.)

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