Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 2 Timothy 2:14.
I’ve always thought words are important. Without words and the meanings we associate with them, communication would be non-existent. In fact, many arguments can be resolved by agreeing on the definitions of words both sides are using, without which both could be arguing on the same side!
Now, legitimate research into the meaning of words is necessary to ensure correct understanding and use, particularly in the Bible’s original languages. In the next verse, Paul encourages Timothy to “correctly handle the word of truth,” for which clarity of meaning of the text becomes critical.
So why is Paul concerned over quarreling about words? In simple terms, the search becomes more important than the answers. Maintaining the search assures the absence of any definitive answer; a diversionary tactic to avoid direct application of truth to our lives. Whether it’s arguing over words, or circling the gospel, the intent is the same: avoid the underlying truth.
Although the Bible addresses a variety of issues, its enduring value is the revelation of God’s glorious character and the opposite reality about ourselves. We lose the awareness of our sin if the proclamation becomes a discussion about everything but its personal message to us. Until we see ourselves clearly, the death of Christ can have no impact on our lives.