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2 Timothy 2:14

ESV Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.
NIV Keep reminding God's people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
NASB Remind them of these things, and solemnly exhort them in the presence of God not to dispute about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the listeners.
CSB Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to fight about words. This is useless and leads to the ruin of those who listen.
NLT Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
KJV Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

What does 2 Timothy 2:14 mean?

In this verse, Paul changes from a focus on speaking to Timothy, to those Timothy led in Ephesus. "These things" is a reference to the lessons Paul has brought out in this chapter. This especially includes the hymn found in verses 11–13. Timothy is also meant to specifically teach others to avoid bickering. Paul had addressed this issue in 1 Timothy and again reminds him of the same issue here.

Paul then gives two reasons why arguing over words is unhelpful. First, there is no benefit to be gained by arguing over irrelevant details of Scripture (1 Timothy 1:3–4). By this, Paul does not suggest taking a shallow view of the Bible. Rather, he means to avoid conflict over doubtful issues (Romans 14:1). Paul specifically had in mind the false teachers mentioned in 1 Timothy. These men would attempt to re-interpret the Torah, seeking to make Christians obey Jewish laws. Second, Paul said arguing about words "only ruins the hearers."

Those who listened to the false teachers in Ephesus were "ruined" by such talk. The Greek word here is katastrophē, including the idea of destruction, or being overthrown. False teachers arguing over interpretative issues caused many problems among the Christians Timothy led in Ephesus.
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