“But foolish and unlearned questions AVOID, knowing that they do gender strifes.” 2 Timothy 2:23
IN LIGHT of this instruction from the LORD, are there times when we attempt to answer questions that divert us from preaching God’s truth to the lost? Is Satan routing us away from the core issue that all men have – sin? Is the enemy hindering us from giving them the Law to convict them of their sins as we are told to do in 1 Timothy 1? Do we ever see Jesus or His apostles entertaining or answering questions such as, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Are not rebellious hearts the ones who demand to know such answers in order to condemn God and cloak their own sin? Why would we think that God owes them an answer?
Obviously, people who are sincerely seeking the truth ask questions too. Answering questions is the open doorway to communicate the Law and Gospel which will convict and bring salvation. Christians should wisely discern between those seeking answers and those who are not interested in repenting. It is this writer’s humble opinion that far too much time is spent preparing to and answering questions that are “foolish questions” and that we should obey God’s instruction in 2 Timothy 2:23 to “avoid … foolish and unlearned questions.” Note – “foolish” AND “unlearned.” Perhaps “foolish” refers to a question that is coming out of a mocker in ridicule, while “unlearned” refers to a question from someone who is unlearned at the time yet perhaps sincerely seeking. Even “unlearned” questions are to be avoided according to 2 Timothy 2:23.
The way an “unlearned” question can be avoided is to springboard off their question into the truth they desperately need in order to bring conviction of sin and salvation to that soul (Psalms 19:7). May God grant His true saints His wisdom!
Typical Foolish Questions
Someone has stated:
“Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, it has only happened once, and He volunteered!”
The father of lies is laughing as so many Christians unwisely follow mere misled men who call themselves apologists.
The following question is commonly asked by those who seek to divert attention from their own personal and core problem – sin:
“What about the people who have never heard the Gospel? Is God going to send them to hell too?”
A good way to handle this question can be to quote 2 Peter 3:9 which states: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3) (AMEN!)
Do we honestly think that people who are truly seeking would ever ask such a question? I doubt it. Yet, much of ministry today that calls itself “apologetic”, wastes huge amounts of time and resources trying to answer this question and other “foolish questions” which the LORD told us to “avoid.”
The Almighty has given all men life, untold blessings, and His only begotten Son. This is all spelled out plainly in His creation, in their conscience, and in the Gospel or Good News of Jesus Christ. What more does He owe them?
When was the last time you saw someone who asked one of these “foolish questions” get saved after they received an answer from an apologist or Christian? You see, it’s the Word of God by which we are “born again” and it’s the law of the LORD that is perfect and that converts the souls of men (1 Peter 1:23; Psalms 19:7). It’s the very Word of God that never returns to Him void and always accomplishes that for we He sends it forth and not our explanation to a foolish question asked by a rebel.
“The Secret Things”
The very use of the term “secret things” by our LORD reveals that there are some things He will not reveal to mere men; especially not in this life. He most certainly will not reveal the deeper things to the rebellious.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
Some who demand to know more than is fitting for a mere human, have not learned the critical foundation doctrine of fearing God in humility and wisdom. They cloak their rebellion and pride behind their requests to know more (Proverbs 1; Romans 2:1-7). They act as if God owes them the answer that they have already come up with. Have you ever met someone who acted like God owed them something? The very God who is their Creator and the Judge of their eternal soul?
Romans 1 and 2 will offer great insight into the rebellion of sinful men against God. Part of what He says here is that all men have His truth in their conscience, know He exist, know His wrath is upon those who refuse to obey the truth, and that they are “without excuse.”
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold (surpress) the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: … Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 1:18-20; 2:1-11
God has given all men more than enough for them to act on and get right with Him. He owes them nothing more.
Also, we must reckon with the truth that there is only one Savior and He is Jesus, not us. We cannot even save ourselves, much less someone else.
We are responsible to give others God’s Word and yet, only God can bless and save them.
Scott Alderman writes:
“The Gospel is a two-edged sword. People will either accept it or run away from it in anger. It’s not you Trudi. Here’s an example from the Bible. When Jesus raised Lazarus, He told men to roll the stone away, then He raised Lazarus. You’re doing your part. You’re rolling away the stone. It’s not up to you to raise the dead. If they are going to be raised, He will do it. Just keep rolling away the stones, relax, and don’t get discouraged. If the dead are going to rise, it will be His work. There’s absolutely nothing you can do, and there is great comfort in that.”
“Shake Off the Dust!”
I often find myself speaking straight to sinners who make excuses and throw questions out as a smokescreen for their own rebellion. I say “God owes you nothing. You are drowning in the beauty of His creation and breathing HIS air that keeps you alive. He made you and you will stand before Him to be judged. You need God, He doesn’t need you!”
“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick (refuses the truth) after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” Titus 3:9-11
The disciple of Jesus should communicate God’s truth in love and yet never coddle the unrepentant in their sins (Proverbs 16:6; Ephesians 4:15).
For years I operated under the false assumption that it was MY duty to make sure everyone got saved. Yet, as the LORD has and is continuing to teach my heart, it becomes more and more clear that such a notion is false, and a false obligation. Before you ever met that person you are trying to lead to Jesus, the LORD has been convicting them and in most cases, had someone else minister to them. The Holy Spirit has been at work. So, we should give them His Word but never play into the scheme of sin and Satan that seeks to draw us in to this deceptive, false obligation. The LORD says in Romans 1:18-20 that all men have His truth in their consciences and in by the testimony of His creation, and that they are “without excuse.”
Jesus told us that if men refuse to receive the Gospel message, we are to “shake off the dust” and move on.
“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” Matthew 10:14
Beloved, God is not going to beg any soul to take Him up on this most grand privilege that He procured for us in His blessed Gospel. Since God is not going to beg any soul to be saved from sin and hell, we should not beg them either, nor should we pander to their rebellion, which they cloak behind their “foolish and unlearned questions.” The LORD commands us to “avoid” these foolish diversions (2 Timothy 2:23).
There’s even a time to shake off the dust and depart from religious folks who refuse biblical truth, especially in the foundational or major doctrines of the Christian faith. Jesus told His apostles to let the false leaders of His day alone.
“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14
We are responsible to give others God’s Word in love. We are not responsible to believe for them. God requires that of them. There are no grandchildren in His kingdom.
Beware of Dogs and Swine
One sister in Christ admitted:
“I also have wasted too much time on people who had NO interest in the Gospel thereby throwing precious pearls to swine.” Carol Z.
The LORD also tells us never to give the good things of God to the “swine” or rebels. This clearly reveals that He won’t allow them to have those good truths and blessings anyway, so why, O why, would we waste His time trying to give His blessed truth to the rebellious who refuse to repent after being shown His truth? If we do try to force the issue, will they not use them against us in the end?
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6
Dogs and swine are the most despised and lowest form of God’s creation, especially in middle-east culture. This is why Jesus used them here.
You are ONLY responsible for your own soul as far as the decision to repent, worship, trust, and obey the LORD is concerned. Every single individual is responsible to obey God. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that others don’t have the same full access to the LORD as you do. Yes, teach all men all these things and preach the Gospel as He commanded, but never think that you are obligated to go beyond what He has told us. Make a decision right now to never live under the spell of false obligation again. Read Ezekiel 3, 18, and 33. Much will be revealed to you concerning the individual responsibility God gives every single soul.
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. … 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:4, 20
Secret and Revealed Things are Exclusively for those Who Love God
“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” Proverbs 25:14
The LORD has chosen to give men understanding according to their faith in Him. He gives enough light for men to trust Him. If they choose not to, they lose even that light of understanding. This is what Jesus taught in His parable of the sower and the Word which is a teaching found in each of the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 13; Mark 4: Luke 8).
“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” Mark 4:11
God will give further light (understanding) only as the individual’s heart seeks Him. As the true servant of Christ embarks upon seeking His face, the veil is lifted little by little.
“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail (that blinds our understanding) shall be taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:14-16
God never promised to reveal all mysteries or knowledge and understanding to men. For now, “we see through a glass darkly.”
“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-12
The LORD requires faith – that we believe Him at His Word. – “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
The promise of greater understanding is ours for the seeking:
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.” Proverbs 2:1-7
All the treasures of Heaven’s knowledge are found exclusively in the crucified and risen Son of God sent from Heaven (Colossians 1-2).
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. … For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:2-3, 9-10
As we with “open face” behold our LORD Jesus, He is changing us into His holy “image from glory to glory” or from one level of understanding and maturity to the next.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
Prayer: Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I ask You to remove from my heart and thinking, any notion of false obligation towards others. Make my heart whole that I might love without dissimulation with Your pure love. Thank You for dying for me Jesus and I now praise You afresh that You are the Resurrection and the Life! Teach me Thy holy ways O LORD! Amen Jesus!
Sign up here to receive the Moment with My Master emails sent out 2-3 times weekly to edify the body of Christ.