II Timothy 2:16-17 “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.”

When I read this, I immediately keyed in on the very last word…gangrene. Now as a retired Nurse, I’ve seen my share of this serious medical condition, and thought to myself, what is Paul trying to tell the young Pastor Timothy here? Gangrene is caused by a bacterial infection that spreads throughout the tissue, causing the tissue to die. If not aggressively treated, gangrene can cause sepsis (infection in the bloodstream), cause major systems of the body to shut down, result in surgical loss of body parts (amputation), and/or death. So why is Paul comparing godless chatter to this life-threatening condition? Both can kill the body… and Paul wanted Timothy to be very aware of the dangers that mindless, worldly, vain babbling can bring. It was so important to Paul that he even ended his first letter to Timothy on the same note, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in doing have wandered from the faith.” (I Timothy 6:20)

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