Stupid Quarrels


2Tim. 2:23 Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 25 correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, 26 and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.


It may be hard to imagine that there were stupid and senseless controversies in the city of Ephesus, before there was social media. It seems that humanity has always had a propensity for disagreement and it’s simply the medium in which those discussions have occurred that has changed. In the first century there were those who were professionally trained in rhetoric; generally known as lawyers, or ministers. They went to universities where they were educated in the art of disagreement. Among those with the highest skill was the Apostle Paul. He knew how easy it would be to become enticed by a good disagreement. It was literally a sport and yet, it was destroying the church. 

Ground rules were established for the young Timothy. Stupid quarrels would become a distraction to the real work of ministry. He needed to have an attitude of love toward those who wanted to constantly be engaged in senseless controversies. Instead of allowing himself to get carried away by his emotions, he was to respond with kindness. He was never to add fuel to the fire of the controversy, but in love, he was to help put it out. The fruit of the Spirit was to be revealed, as he responded with patience, and gentleness, providing correction out of a heart of love. 

Somehow the spirit of controversy is associated with being held in the snare of the devil. By becoming consumed with controversy, one is distracted from the real work of the kingdom, and in this way, the enemy wins the day. This is why it is so important to understand that stupid and senseless controversies breed stupid quarrels.  


One of the earliest heresies of Christianity was gnosticism. This was a dualistic approach to the world, one in which there was a separation between the mind and the body. One was able to reach out to higher intellectual ascent (knowledge — gnosis), but the body was considered unclean. This provided a great way in which to excuse behavior. One could be engaged in gaining greater knowledge about God, but the ways in which lives were lived on a daily basis didn’t need to change. Therefore, one could be seen as super-spiritual, if engaged in debates. This desire for greater knowledge could be affirmed by those who adopted this gnosticism. The problem was that transformed lives in the flesh would no longer be a reality if one embraced this way of thinking. It was a very dangerous threat to the church. 

We cannot assume that we are super-spiritual because we can engage in lengthy debates with the world of social media. The ability to blog, tweet, or engage in on-line discussions may be enticing us into a new world of gnosticism. We can become so engaged in the discussions that we forget that there are real people, in the flesh, living and dying around us. There are people who need us to put down our electronic devices and spend the day with them, listening to the pain they are experiencing in their lives. We need to know our people so that we can bring the sermons that they need to hear. Living “fleshly” lives we touch the pain of this world and carry with us the healing balm of Jesus Christ. Rubbing shoulders with real people in real need doesn’t leave room for stupid quarrels. 

There is time for discussion, but this is the time for action; God’s people, engaged in a very needy world, reflecting Christ and revealing the fruit of the Spirit in all that we do. In this way, we escape the snare of the enemy. 


Lord, please help me to genuinely live in this world and touch the lives of others for you. Amen. 


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