Don’t Be Quarrelsome

William C. Brownson

Read: 2 Timothy 2:23-26

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. (vv. 24-25)

In proclaiming the message of the gospel, Timothy is to be bold and forthright, unafraid to confront error with revealed truth. But in manner, he is never to be quarrelsome or contentious. He must especially avoid controversies about fringe issues, matters on which the Scriptures do not clearly speak.

As a servant of the Lord, he is to deal kindly with every- one, to teach with skill and patience. When he must correct others, it must always be with gentleness. Sounds like the Suffering Servant, doesn’t it? “He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench” (Isa. 42:2-3).

A quarrelsome tone usually provokes anger and resistance. We may win the argument but lose the person. There is truth in the ditty by Samuel Butler, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” But a gentle spirit can some- times have blessed effects on others. Paul writes: “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil” (2 Tim. 2:25-26). —Bill Brownson

As you pray, ask the Lord to show you how to affirm the truth of his d others with a humble, gentle spirit.