My son, who is in the fifth grade, just graduated from his school’s D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). This is a police-led program designed to prevent kids from using or abusing drugs and alcohol by describing the physical, social, and mental consequences.
In today’s reading, Paul vividly describes the consequences of having false teachers in the church. Their “quarreling about words” was not just distracting but also destructive. It “ruins those who listen” (v. 14), makes those who engage in it “more and more ungodly” (v. 16), and causes the church to be unhealthy (v. 17). Paul names two ringleaders who were causing much of the damage, Hymenaeus and Philetus (v. 17). They had been teaching that the final resurrection had already happened (v. 18). By doing this, they were denying the future physical resurrection of believers and undermining the faith.
In contrast, Paul paints a picture of what a faithful minister of the gospel looks like. Instead of looking for the approval of people, the faithful minister will seek the approval of God (v. 15). Instead of quarreling about words, he “correctly handles the word of truth” (v. 15). Because of this, he can appear before God unashamed (v. 15).
Despite the damage done by false teachers, God promises to protect and preserve His church (v. 19). In the ancient world a seal was used to indicate ownership. Paul reminds Timothy that God has sealed us with the inscription, “the Lord knows those who are his” (v. 19). God is not confused by false teachers, and He knows His true children intimately. These are the ones who confess the name of the Lord and turn away from ungodliness (v. 19).
>> It is easy to look at the state of the church today and worry about its survival. Remember that despite persecution, false teaching, and internal conflict, the church has endured for almost 2,000 years! God promises that a “solid foundation stands firm” (v. 19).
Paul’s description of false teachers in the church is a sobering reminder for us today to pray for our churches, pastors, Bible teachers, and ministry leaders. But be encouraged that “God’s solid foundation stands firm” (2 Tim. 2:19).