2 Tim. 2:14-17a
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.
I remember shortly after I started following Christ I became acquainted with a number of people around my age who had much more biblical knowledge than I did. I loved being able to pick their brains and learn more about scripture. Sometimes, however, the conversations would get rather contentious and heated. The reason for this was that I socialized with people from many different denominations, and they did not agree on every question I posed. One common argument revolved around the timing of the rapture or whether it will even occur. It did not take long for me to learn to remove myself from those conversations because I gained nothing from them. I did not see brothers and sisters coming together to explore and reach God’s truth. I saw people taking sides and forming factions, which ultimately created division and imparted no knowledge to me.
There is a correct way to use the word of God and an incorrect way to do so. If we think about the characteristics of God, it will make it easy for us to know when we are rightly handling his word. He is an encourager, and speaking his word should encourage others. He is a lover, and speaking his word should show that love. He unites, and speaking his word should unite us. It is too common for Christians to quibble about minor doctrinal beliefs that neither impact eternity nor effect redemption. Sometimes these conversations are held simply because someone wants to be right and prove a point. However, that is never the purpose behind the exploration of God’s word. It is a noble thing for us to pursue his truth and understand his word, but we cannot use it in a way that does not advance the unity of the Church.
When we speak the word of God it must be so that his word accomplishes his purposes. Seeking his knowledge and understanding corporately is an amazing thing, but we must be in agreement regarding the goal of such exploration. We cannot use the word of God to bring division or condemnation when He wants unity and restoration. Searching the scriptures and discussing their meaning and importance should bring us together. We must exercise wisdom to know when certain discussions should be avoided because they will only harm that goal of a united Church. Father, keep us from being people whose quarrels regarding your word damage the hearer and strip us of our approval, and make us a Church who rightly handles your word in unity.