“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.”
When we look at these words from the Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy, we should do an inventory of our attitude toward the truth and communication. Do we bicker about semantics? Do we present ourselves to God in a way which we would not be embarrassed by were the instant replay brought up on the jumbotron?
Paul tells Timothy to avoid irreverent babble. What is that but the working out in language of our lack of wisdom because we do not fear God? Forgetting our Creator, we conclude that there is no Judge. We then become nihilistic and frivolous. We say things flippantly which we either know are not true, or else do not care whether they are true. And who gets hurt by that? Who cares?
Yet Paul tells us that irreverent babble leads to more and more ungodliness. What we say, then, is the precursor to what we do. So if we are going to wrongly handle the word of truth, not be studious, and quibble about trivialities in definitions and grammar, or be godless in our expectations regarding the spoken and written word, what will come next is that we live like the truth has no bearing. We treat one another and ourselves in a contemptuous, callous, careless way.
By God’s grace, we can study to show ourselves approved workmen who need not be ashamed. We can be more intentional in our speech and conduct. We can do good instead of evil, and speak truth instead of falsehoods. And by God’s grace, we can bring the effects of disinfectants into corrupt, polluted, gangrenous situations.
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