Overcoming Sin through Christ: Contentiousness

  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.

Contentiousness

Do you know of anyone who may be described as a “contentious” person? Could this sin describe you? Do you know what God’s Word says about this disagreeable and offensive trait?

Like so many other words, this word has a negative meaning but a related word can be used in a highly positive way.  Contention is a “struggling together in opposition; strife; conflict. . . . a striving in rivalry; competition; contest. . . . strife in debate; dispute; controversy.”  Contentious is “tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome.”[1] 

Positively, the Christian, especially the leader, is to struggle in opposition to all false doctrine and faulty reasoning.  Jude urges us, “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (v. 3).  The term contend here is epigonizomai, “to contend strenuously in defence of.”[2]  Paul stated that he was thrown into captivity “in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (Philippians 1:7), then he said, “I am appointed for the defense of the gospel” (v. 16). 

The apostle also wrote that elders/overseers were to “exhort in sound doctrine and . . . refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).  All of this does indicate that there is a legitimate place for the Christian to contend for the truth against all detractors.

On the other hand, contention can involve a rivalry, a competition, a dispute, and a strife.  It can indicate a quarrelsome attitude.  Paul earnestly warns Timothy, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged” (2 Timothy 2:24).  He says that foolish and ignorant speculations “produce quarrels” (v. 23).  He refers to certain false teachers who bring “disputes” that lead to “strife” and “constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth” (1 Timothy 6:4-5). 

Years ago I knew a knowledgeable and able preacher who had the reputation of being contentious wherever he was.  Some of his positions and views were accurate but the way he promoted them manifested a strife-filled attitude and desire to defeat the opposition. Many people concluded that he was filled with pride and he often boasted of his conquests.

This attitude of contentiousness must not characterize us, if we belong to the Lord.  Instead of promoting quarrels and strife, we “must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11).

 



[1] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

[2] Mounce and Mounce, Greek and English Interlinear New Testament, lexicon.

 

 

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