Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Is Arguing about the Law Wrong?

January 2nd, 2015 Visited 571 times, 1 so far today

In Titus 3:9 we read the following:

But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

Does this mean that if we have differences of understanding about passages of the Bible that we should refrain from discussing them or holding a strong stand about them simply because we should avoid “strivings about the law?”

The Context

We learn a lot about a passage from studying the context of a verse, rather than taking a verse on its own.  This verse about what to avoid comes immediately after a passage talking about exactly how a Christian should behave in contrast to the world.  Paul admonishes Titus that we should speak evil of no man, to not be brawlers but gentle and meek.  This is in contrast, he says, to those that serve the flesh who seek their own gain—we are to be ones that seek the gain of others.

He then compares this to what Christ did by dying for us on the cross, saying that it was God’s mercy that saved us with the implication that we should show mercy to others.

So with this as the context, it would be easy to assume that we should strive to be pure by avoiding questioning, contentions and strivings or fighting about the law for it is unprofitable and vain and this could mean that we should just all get along.  Except for the next verse:

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. – Titus 3:10-11

What Now?

I think that the fair reading of this passage, taking it as a whole, is that there is a line with which people can fellowship, and on one side of that line we are to be harmless.  It is with people on this side of the line that we are to avoid petty fights—how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, what day of the week was Jesus crucified on, etc.—but those that are on the other side of the line are to be warned and then rejected.

There is great danger in those that seek to stir up strife, that are pushing false doctrine in your midst.  They are divisive and Paul’s warning is that the believers really should show Christian love to one another by avoiding stuff that has no value, but pay close attention to true theological error for that can bring down a local body of believers and mislead them.

But I Like Talking Through The “Harder” Topics

I don’t think that this passage is saying that you should not discuss the harder topics, or that you cannot hold different opinions about beliefs than your brothers and sisters in Christ.  In fact, Paul expects as much, otherwise he wouldn’t have written Romans 14 about Christian Liberty.  Instead, I believe that Paul is trying to warn us from being consumed by these topics because their end usually ends up in division instead of edification, and in the end they profit little to nothing.


Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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