What Doctrines Are Worth Arguing About? [Hint: This Is A Trick Question]

Do The Words “Doctrine” and “Argue” Belong In The Same Sentence?

I feel sorry for Timothy. I’m speaking of the Timothy who was Paul’s disciple in the Bible. Okay, I don’t feel sorry for him now, he’s with the Lord. I feel sorry for what he had to endure at the church where he was a pastor. He was a young man and had a lot to learn. It’s to our benefit that two of the letters Paul wrote to him teaching him how to be a pastor are part of our Bibles. The letters are packed with practical instruction. One issue that Timothy had to deal with was argumentative people.


Consider the following:

8 Warnings About Arguing from First and Second Timothy

  • so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations 1 Timothy 1:3-4
  • Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion 1 Timothy 1:6
  • desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. 1:Timothy 1:7
  • Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. 1 Timothy 4:7
  • Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words 2 Timothy 2:14
  • But avoid irreverent babble 2 Timothy 2:16
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels 2 Timothy 2:23
  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome 2 Timothy 2:24

Taken together these verses make a strong argument that we shouldn’t be arguing about doctrine or anything else for that matter.

What should we do when people are arguing instead of discussing doctrine?  I could give you a Bob Newhart style answer and say “Stop it!” This would be correct but an ineffective teaching technique. Rather, I’ll share with you what Paul told Timothy to do instead of arguing.

4 Biblical Responses To Arguing

  1. Be loving in all your words with pure motives, conscience and faith 1 Timothy 1:5.
  2. Train yourself in godliness, especially in your speech 1 Timothy 4:7.
  3. Give a carefully studied response to people based upon what the Bible says 2 Timothy 2:15.
  4. Be kind to everyone, seek to teach, patiently enduring evil from those arguing, correcting with gentleness 2 Timothy 2:24-25

Many of us have conversations with people who want to argue about the Bible. Don’t argue but don’t give up either. Follow Paul’s advice above and pray that

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:25-26

I’d love to hear from you, if you don’t want to argue. 🙂 Please leave a comment or question below.