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You are here: Home > Bible Commentary > 2 Timothy > Chapter 2 > Verse 16

2 Timothy 2

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2 Timothy 2:16
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2 Timothy 2:16
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But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Note 12 at 2Ti 2:16: The word "shun" was translated from the Greek word "PERIISTEMI," and this Greek word means "to turn oneself about...for the purpose of avoiding something" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon). The American Heritage Dictionary defines "shun" as "to avoid deliberately; keep away from." This word shows effort and action on one's part.

In 2Ti 2:17-18, Paul used Hymenaeus and Philetus as examples of people who spoke "profane and vain babblings." We know from those verses that they preached that all who were going to be resurrected had already been (see note 19 at 2Ti 2:18); therefore, "profane and vain babblings" include false doctrine.

Timothy, of course, was not supposed to hold any of these false doctrines himself, but he was to expose and counter those who did. There is a right and wrong way of doing this. It is possible to actually advance the cause of the very thing we are condemning. Paul gave us a good example of how to do this the right way (see note 7 at 1Ti 6:20).

Note 13 at 2Ti 2:16: The American Heritage Dictionary defines "profane" as "marked by contempt or irreverence for what is sacred."

Note 14 at 2Ti 2:16: The Greek word "KENOPHONIA," which was translated "vain babblings" here, means "empty discussion, discussion of vain and useless matters" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon).

This is nearly identical to the warning Paul gave Timothy in 1Ti 6:20 - "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." His insertion of the phrase "oppositions of science" in his first letter to Timothy helps us better understand what he meant (see note 8 at 1Ti 6:20).

Note 15 at 2Ti 2:16: Error or deception never comes on a person all at once. There are progressive steps away from truth. Therefore, if we can deal with the error before it increases "unto more ungodliness," then we have the best chance of turning the individual back to the truth.

The word "increase" was translated from the Greek word "PROKOPTO," and this Greek word means "to drive forward (as if by beating)" (Strong's Concordance). This means that "profane and vain babblings" don't just allow more ungodliness--they actually foster it.

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