In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he encouraged the saints to continue as good soldiers for Jesus Christ. He made reference to suffering for the sake of the gospel as soldiers of Christ. “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him” (2 Timothy 2:4). Paul made parallels to the Christian walk and an athlete who competes according to the rules. He also made reference to the hard working farmer, being worthy of the first share of a crop. Paul cautioned the church against arguing about words or scriptural interpretations. He wanted the saints to be prepared through their study of the word.
By their understanding of the word, they would be able to share the truth with others. Paul had another important caution. “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16). The challenge was that as people grew in the knowledge of Christ, there were dissenting views among the saints. Paul felt that encouraging these types of arguments, would cause these views to spread like gangrene. There were people who were once in the faith, who started to teach the people that the resurrection had already happened.
Paul considered these teachings to be upsetting to the faith. He cautioned against quarrels, but encouraged kindness, patience and a willingness to teach. “correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25). In other words, Paul was saying that for people who were willing to listen, to teach them what the scripture says. In circumstances where people are unwilling to listen and wish to engage in heated debates, leave them alone. While we teach people the gospel, God does not need anyone to come to his defence.
We need to daily read the word and also study the word with understanding. There are many resources available on the internet and other sources to help us to study and understand scripture. Church services, sermons and bible studies are good places to learn the scriptures. We need the word in our hearts to avoid sin and to help us to resist the devil. Bible reading and study is as necessary for the spirit, as food for our physical body. We need the word of God in us to avoid deception and to help us to minister to a lost world. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).