Overcoming Sin Through Christ – Argumentativeness

Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Argumentativeness, Quarrelsomeness, Strife

Have you ever known a person who seemed to delight in arguing whatever the subject of interest might be?  Such people seem to take a position different from others, just to be different or to create strife.  This is an attitude that the servant of God must avoid.  Paul writes, “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2).  We have the impression that they were filled with argument and strife.  God calls for agreement and harmony.

Paul tells Timothy how to relate to others: “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).  He also writes about those who have “a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth” (1 Timothy 6:4-5).  Paul is not at all forbidding an interest in needful word studies, but he speaks of those false teachers who want to stir up strife and quarrels with no interest in truth-seeking.

The word syzeteo means “to debate, discuss.”[i]  It is used in a neutral sense to mean “discuss” in places like Mark 1:27, where some discuss or “debate” about Christ’s teaching.  However, it can mean to argue as well.  The Pharisees “began to argue” with Jesus (Mark 8:11; cf. 12:28) or argue with the disciples (9:14, 16).  The Jews “argued” with Stephen (Acts 6:9), and Paul was “talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews” in Jerusalem (9:29).

Arguing can be wrong when it is conducted with the wrong attitude and with the desire to “win” the argument out of pride.  Strife is another sin that we must avoid.  “Strife” or eris is repeatedly condemned in Scripture.  Strife is a sin of the pagans that is “worthy of death” (Romans 1:29, 32).  “The pagan world is a divided world; it is a world of broken and interrupted personal relationships, it is only in Christianity that there can be fellowship and unity in life.”[ii]

Paul says that those who walk in “the day” or in the light will avoid “strife and jealousy” (Romans 13:13).  The apostle speaks of false teachers who promote certain aspects of the Law of Moses.  He tells Titus, “Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (3:9).  Those who are “factious” about such matters are to be rejected (vv. 10-11).  Sometimes we meet a person who has the reputation of being quarrelsome and hard to get along with.  Strife is so serious that the one who practices it “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:20-21).

Quarreling and strife seem to have been a major problem in the Corinthian assembly.  Paul says, “I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you” (1 Corinthians 1:11).  He urges them to “all agree and that there be no divisions among” them (v. 10).  He charges them, “Since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (3:3). It is “fleshly” to enjoy strife and conflict among those who should be united in love.[iii]  Paul even mentions this in 2 Corinthians, stating that he fears he will find “strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances” (12:20).  All of these works of the flesh must be eradicated in repentance and cleansing for these fleshly and sinful attitudes will bar one from God’s coming kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).

 



[i] Mounce, Expository Dictionary, p. 161.

[ii] William Barclay, Flesh and Spirit, pp. 43-44.

[iii] “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).

 

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