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Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Suggestion

Earlier this year I shared an experience listening to a message on a passage I had recently studied.  I have been able to follow that same series off and on since January.  This morning the speaker was in 2 Timothy 2.  I mentioned last week that I have invested a significant amount of time in 2 Timothy and specifically chapter 2.  So as previously I had my iPad open to my recent study of that passage.
A Suggestion
As before the experience was more of a dialog.  There were several times that I missed points because I was thinking about what the speaker had just said or else was rereading the text and comparing my understanding to his.  That interaction led to some observations that I had not made during my study.  They were not points made by the speaker, rather things I noticed while I was working through what he was saying.

We were in 2 Timothy 2:14 – 26.  What I noticed is that paragraph is built on four statements.  Three of which are in contrast with the fourth.  Three of the statements command avoiding some action.  The last commands action.  In each statement the action named has a consequence the first three negative the last positive.  Here they are:
Verse Command Action Result of Action
14 Do not Wrangle about Words Leads to the ruin of the hearers
16 Avoid Worldly and empty chatter Leads to ungodliness
23 Refuse Foolish and ignorant speculations Leads to quarrels
24 – 25 Not to quarrel, but (Technically not imperative but the verb δει, it is necessary, carries some of the weight of an imperative.) be kind, teach, be patient Leads to the knowledge of the truth

Those relationships are significant.  One might be able to line the three or four requirements of 24 – 25 alongside the commands, but that may be a stretch.  The contrast though is stark.  What we choose to say should be intentionally meant to gently teach rather than argue.  Not an easy assignment, at least not for me.

But there is a further lesson here.  I would highly suggest that if you are able to discover what passages your pastor is studying or speaking from, study them yourself before you hear him speak.  It will radically change what you hear.  Plus, if your pastor knows that a significant number of men in your congregation are studying the passage from which he is speaking, I can guarantee that it will impact positively what he says about that passage.

1 comment:

  1. Challenging thoughts, and sobering as well. We are supposed to be aware of what we are hearing, and bring it to the Word ourselves. I suspect if we could do this better we would find much less heresy or paucity of application in the pew. I often feel sorry for pastors who study well and pour out their hearts week after week and wonder who is getting what. I have the privilege of a pastor like this and find my life challenged every week.

    I see very few taking any kind of notes. We are poorer for merely listening through our shepherd's insights with minor engagement of our God-given brain power and responsibility.

    I need to grow in this skill and opportunity.