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2 Timothy 2:16

ESV But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,
NIV Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
NASB But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,
CSB Avoid irreverent and empty speech, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness,
NLT Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.
KJV But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

What does 2 Timothy 2:16 mean?

Putting verses 14 and 15 together, we see how Paul divides the difference between defending important truths and bickering over lesser issues. In fact, a person cannot "rightly handle" truth (2 Timothy 2:15) unless they stay away from spiritually dead battles. In other words, Timothy is not to get involved in disputes with the false teachers, who mostly focused on shallow and unspiritual ideas.

According to Paul, falling into those traps would not draw others to Christ. Rather, it would have the opposite effect. Ungodliness was one of the chief evils to avoid in the Old Testament (Isaiah 32:6; Jeremiah 23:15) and was an idea developed by Paul in Romans (Romans 1:18; 11:26). In Titus 2:12, Paul told Titus "to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions." Jude 1:15 mentions the coming judgment "on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against [the Lord]."

In contrast, Paul frequently discussed the issue of godliness with Timothy (1 Timothy 2:10; 3:16; 4:7–8; 5:4; 6:3, 5–6, 11) and once with Titus (Titus 1:1). In addition to Paul, Peter focused on this key attribute as well (2 Peter 1:3, 6–7; 3:11). Godliness should be the goal of every believer, especially those who seek to lead others in the church.
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