But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
I. Amongst the QUESTIONS TO BE AVOIDED, such as the following may be included.
1. Those which savour of scepticism and unbelief, or which imply a doubtfulness of the truth of Divine revelation, or of any of its fundamental doctrines. Religion is not intended to gratify our curiosity, or to answer our speculative inquiries; its object is to renew and sanctify the heart, and to meeten us for heaven.
2. Intricate and controversial questions are in general to be avoided, as engendering strife rather than ministering to godly edifying.
3. Prying questions relative to futurity, and which tend only to gratify a vain curiosity, ought to be avoided.
4. Questions arising from impatience and discontent are generally in a high degree improper, and unworthy of a Christian. When the mind is disquieted and full of trouble, we are commonly dissatisfied with everything about us, and wish if it were possible to have it otherwise. But this is a spirit which the Scriptures condemn, as utterly inconsistent with submission to the will of God, and as savouring of presumption and unbelief.
5. Perplexing and disquieting questions, which have no tendency to promote the great objects of practical religion, but only to excite unnecessary doubts and fears, are also prohibited in the text. Instead of asking the anxious question, for example, Are we elected? our great concern should be to know whether we be effectually called? Not, are our names written in heaven, but is God's law written in our hearts?
6. Trifling and uninteresting questions which serve only to amuse and not to impart any useful information, ought by all means to be avoided. There is too great a disposition, even in serious people, to indulge in frivolous disputes, or in a strife about words rather than things, to the neglect of the weightier matters of the law, judgment, charity, and the love of God.
II. Notice some things that are NECESSARY TO A PROFITABLE CONVERSATION.
1. Beware of loquacity, or too much speaking. Let not your words go before your thoughts; think twice before you speak once.
2. Accustom yourselves to a sober way of thinking and talking, using at all times sound speech which cannot be condemned.
3. It may be proper to lay in a stock of interesting questions as matter for after conversation. Inquiries relative to our state, tending to promote experimental religion, both in ourselves and others, would at all times be useful and edifying. We cannot too frequently ask ourselves, Are we in a state of acceptance with God; do we grow in grace; do we hate sin and love holiness; are we more weaned from the world, and fit for heaven? An awakened sinner would naturally inquire, What must I do to be saved? and those who have believed through grace should be anxious to inquire, What shall we do that we may work the works of God?
4. Living as in the sight of God, and under a conviction that for every idle word we must give an account in the day of judgment, will exclude a great deal of light and trifling conversation, and give a savouriness to our speech, which will minister grace to the hearer.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.