16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some (2 Timothy 2).
In chapter one Paul named two unfaithful men (Phygelus and Hermogenes), who abandoned him in Asia, and here he calls out two more (Hymenaeus and Philetus), who live in the midst of those he is now writing, and whose “worldly and empty chatter” is proving to “upset the faith of some” of them.
The word “avoid” means “to stop standing around” something or someone, which means instead just walking away. We are to walk away from people whose talk is “worldly” (literally “profane”) and “empty” (just “useless noise” based solely upon conjecture and speculation) which is not God-honoring and does not edify. We are not even to listen to them. Years ago, First Lady Nancy Reagan promoted a program for youth to “Just Say No” to drugs. Long ago, Paul said: “Just Walk Away.”
I don’t think Paul would have us not enter into a discussion to try to correct their misguided thinking. Yet, at some point, when it becomes obvious we are not met with fair and honest reasoning in return, that is when it is time to walk away.
Lord, help us This Day to know when it is time to Just Walk Away from anyone spouting off ungodly nonsense. Amen.