2 Timothy 2:16-20
2 Tim 2:16 (KJB)
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
Shun - Avoid, draw back, or put back under cover
Profane - Worldly or unsanctified
Vain babblings - Empty chatter or empty talk
Paul now warns Timothy that he must stay completely aloof from the empty words of those who speak concerning two subjects. First, there is the empty babblings of the false teachers which as they continue, they continue to lead people into godlessness and as they do that, they are increasing their chances of spending an eternity in hell since false teachings are never based in truth. The second group of vain talkers Timothy is to avoid are the worldly talkers, the ones who use profanity or just tell dirty jokes and whose minds are consistently thinking upon evil things. If a Christian stops and listens to this, that will lead them into ungodly thinking and will derail them from their testimony and their Christian walk. (Eph 5:3-4 KJV) But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; {4} Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. If a Christian listens to this type of speech, it begins to divide the mind and they will find themselves walking more in the flesh than in the Spirit.
2 Tim 2:17 (KJB)
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Canker - Cancer or gangrene
Paul mentions two of the enemies of truth. Hymenaeus was also mentioned in 1 Timothy as a blasphemer. (1 Tim 1:20 KJV) Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. In 1 Timothy Hymenaeus is seen being aligned with Alexander which may be the coppersmith which Paul refers to in the fourth chapter of this epistle. These two false teachers were no doubt thorns in the side of Paul. When the passage states that their word eats like a canker, cancer or gangrene both latch on to certain parts of the body and if they are not dealt with, tend to eat away that part and that will proceed to kill the body. So we must never believe that false teachers do not affect many people because they do and that is why Paul, in Ephesians 5:11, speaks about exposing the works of darkness. (Eph 5:11 KJV) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Since Timothy was now in Ephesus, he would have known about the book of Ephesians which Paul had previously written. As Christians it is also our responsibility to expose the false teachers and their teachings. In our day there are many destructive teachings which are trying to make inroads into Christianity and unfortunately many already have.
2 Tim 2:18 (KJB)
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Overthrow - Destroy or ruin
These two false teachers had been teaching a major error which was affecting many of the believers. They had stated that the resurrection had already happened. The word for “past’ in the Greek is in the Perfect Tense, so they were teaching dogmatically that the resurrection had taken place at a certain time beforehand and their hearers were probably distraught thinking that they had missed the Rapture. When Christians listen to false teachers, they are in danger of having their biblical understanding distorted which if not checked early, can actually ruin the pure faith of a believer. This is why it is so important for believers to study the Scriptures and become strong in the power of the Holy Spirit, so when they hear a false teaching, they can instantly identify it and avoid it, thus avoiding the possibility of adopting any tenets of a false teaching.
2 Tim 2:19 (KJB)
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Depart - Abstain from, withdraw from, and desert
Here is a great encouragement for the true Christian. No matter what the false teachers are teaching or what false religions espouse, the Christian is not affected by these things. That is because the Christian is firmly established in the Kingdom of God and stands firmly on the foundation of God. (1 Cor 3:11 KJV) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Every believer stands firmly on Christ who gives us absolute truth through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Here is the seal of the believer. The Lord knows those who are His and no matter what false teaching they come in contact with, it will never cause them to depart from Christ, because we are kept by Christ. (Mark 16:18 KJV) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. If a believer drinks a deadly thing, it will not hurt them and this verse is not speaking about drinking Drano or Cyanide but is speaking about the deadliness of false teaching. (John 10:27 KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: The Lord Jesus knows His sheep and they hear His voice. This means that those false teachings which we come in contact with are not the voice of Christ and therefore we know instantly that we must avoid them. Then not only are we known and kept by Christ but the believer must depart from all forms of iniquity. We are not even to consider the ways of the unbeliever or the false teachers. Once we know the truth, we are standing on the solid rock and we cannot be moved. (Prov 23:23 KJV) Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. Whenever we consider false teachings, it is like we are selling the very truth which we have become saved by. False teachings can never enhance the true teachings we have. False teachings can only break down the truth and divide our minds causing us to serve two masters, one true and one false. (Gal 3:3 KJV) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Paul had chided the Galatians because they had started in grace and were now trying to mature themselves with the law. It is the same with the believer who starts in the truth and then tries to crown their Christian walk with false teachings. It is these we must avoid like a plague.
2 Tim 2:20 (KJB)
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
Here Paul compares a great house to the church itself. In a great house like in the palace of a king there are those who are honest and are of great service to the king, while there are those who are of less value and may even be detrimental to the service of the king. Now in the church are those who are saved and are of great value because they get involved with ministry, they evangelize and help mature the newer believers, and these are the Christians of honor who bring the truth and want to strengthen others in the faith. Then there are those who are unregenerate who bring only false teachings thus causing Christians, especially those who are new, to have a divided mind making it much harder for them to stay on the straight and narrow. The ones who bring the truth are the ones who are of honor but those who bring false teachings are the ones of dishonor. (Mat 13:29 KJV) But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. It is like the parable of the wheat and tares, where both the unbelievers and the believers grow together but on the last day, they will be separated for eternity.