II Tim. 2:14 Remind them of these things, and command them in God’s name to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
Paul wanted Timothy to remind the church that the most important issue in life is one’s relationship with Christ. Seeking Christ in His holiness trumps every other endeavor in life. He then wanted Timothy to intervene and stop the fruitless arguing going on in the church.
We don’t know what was being said to create such a ruckus, but evidently it was disrupting the fellowship of the church. People were taking a stand contrary to what others were taking. It probably had something to do with interpretation of how to best live out the faith. They didn’t have the written Scriptures that we do today, so it had to be more with practice than doctrine.
Fighting over words has plagued the church ever sense its formation. The reason why the church couldn’t stay together as one church was because people simply couldn’t stay in fellowship with those who disagreed with them. The need to be right trumped the need to live right with each other. People have struggled with the concept of agreeing to disagree agreeably for centuries. We talk a lot about grace, but we are poor to practice it with those we don’t agree with.
If as much energy were to be spent living out faith in a lost world as we spend on trying to be right, we would revolutionize the world for Christ. Arguing over Scripture is useless and a waste of time and energy. Seldom will anyone be convinced they are wrong through argumentative discussions. We dig our heels in and won’t listen to anyone who disagrees with us. We let our emotions drive us and not reason. Arguing just drives people away from each other and often ruins the faith of those who observe it.
The love of Christ ought to bind us together and not tear us apart. When we get into an argumentative mindset, we are not being driven by the love of God. We are not living what we preach and unless we repent, all we will do is to damage or destroy the fellowship of the brethren that should be the way of life in the church.