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THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
BE GENTLE UNTO ALL MEN
By John C. Carpenter
 
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, wrote to Timothy, whom Paul considered to be his spiritual son in the faith, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word [Greek, logos, something said, account, communication, shew, speech tidings, utterance; in this context,logos refers to the word of truth, the gospel message, and not the bible or word, as many refer to it; see Ephesians 1:13 and Colossians 1:5] of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus, Who concerning the truth [of the gospel message] have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2:15-26).
 
In order to best understand what Paul is saying to Timothy regarding being gentle unto all men [all of mankind, including men and women], we should look briefly at the context of Paul's words. In verse 15, the word study is translated from the Greek word spoudazo, which means to use speed, make effort, endeavor, labour]. Spoudazo does not refer to learning of academic materials, as we might think, but to putting effort and energy into completely and accurately understanding whatever we are considering or examining For more on this doctrine, please read TCH Mini-Studies Thy Word Is Truth, Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth and TCH Article The Word Of Truth, The Gospel. The words rightly dividing are translated from the Greek word orthotomeo, which means to dissect, expound correctly, accurately and completely understand. Orthotomeo does not refer to correctly analyzing or the committing to memory of academic materials, but to accurately and completely understanding the point and context of a message. As seen in verse 15 above, making the effort to completely and accurately understand all aspects of preaching the gospel of Christ is certainly pleasing to and approved by God.
 
Clearly, the apostle Timothy was preaching the gospel message, but Paul wanted Timothy to do more than just preach the gospel. Paul wanted Timothy to properly and completely live out the gospel message within his own heart and life. To accomplish this, the apostle Paul gave Timothy some specific instructions to follow.
 
First, Paul wrote Timothy, ...shun [keep away from] profane [Greek,bebelos, heathenish, wicked] and vain babblings [Greek, kenophonia, empty sounding, fruitless and pointless discussions]: for they will increase unto more ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:16), and later added, in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful [juvenile, childish, immature] lusts [Greek, epithumia, a longing for the forbidden, concupiscence, to covet after]: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive [Greek, machomai, to war, to quarrel, dispute, fight]; but be gentle [Greek, epios, affable, mild, kind] unto all man, apt to teach [Greek, didaktikos, instructive, teach, communicate with], patient [Greek,anexikakos, enduring of ill, forbearing, put up with evil], In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves [Greek, anidiatithemai, to set oneself opposite, to be disputatious]; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:20-25).
 
As we see, Paul instructed Timothy to avoid wicked and pointless discussions which bore no good fruit and which only resulted in ungodliness, to purge himself of things which lead to dishonour so he could be meet for the Master's use, to flee youthful lusts, to follow righteousness, faith, charity, and peace, especially with those honestly seeking God and salvation, to avoid foolish and stupid and absurd questions which lead to strife, to not enter into arguments or fights, to be mild and kind to all men, to be inclined to teach and discuss, to be more willing to put up with evil, and to instructing with meekness those who oppose Timothy, the doctrines of Christ and the gospel.message. These are not only great instructions for Timothy, but great instructions for the believer in Christ as well.
 
BE GENTLE UNTO ALL MEN, APT TO TEACH, PATIENT
 
The apostle Paul not only wanted Timothy to continuing to preach the gospel message of Christ, the Kingdom of Christ, and salvation through faith in Christ only, but also instructed Timothy, who Paul clearly considered a servant of the Lord, that the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient (2 Timothy 2:24). Clearly, Paul's objective was to teach Timothy to be gentle unto all men. What does gentle mean, and what do the scriptures have to say about gentleness? Is being gentle unto all men a goal, or requirement, for all believers?
 
As we saw earlier, gentle is translated from the Greek word epios, which means to be affable, mild, and kind.  According to the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, gentle can also mean good natured, amiable, friendly, congenial, warm, pleasant, personable, sympathetic, good humored, good natured, kind, gracious, approachable, sociable outgoing, neighborly, hospitable, easygoing, open, communicative, or relaxed, among many other descriptions. The opposite of gentle is unfriendly or prickly.
 
We should ask, though, if believers in Christ are to express the gospel through being gentle unto all men, who are these men that this verse is referring to? Who are believers to be gentle to? The scriptures answer this question for us. Believers are to be gentle to unbelievers, carnal and sinful believers, and believers, as well. In essence, the believer, as the scriptures reflect, is to be gentle with everyone, believer and unbeliever alike. Can the believer in Christ be gentle with everyone all the time? No, not if we are human and still in our worldly trappings. Is being gentle with everyone a challenge, and our goal? It certainly is, or it should be.
 
BE NO BRAWLERS, BUT GENTLE, SHEWING ALL MEEKNESS UNTO ALL MEN
 
Regarding being gentle with unbelievers, the apostle Paul specifically instructed Titus To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men [including unbelievers]. For [before God and Christ saved us we] we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:2-7). Paul then reminds Titus, and all believers in Christ, that it was the kindness and mercy of God offered and administered through the ministry of Christ that believers come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ only, and not because of their own righteous efforts, acts, or works. Paul is exhorting the believer in Christ to show the same gentleness towards unbelivers that God the Father showed to we belivers before we came to faith in Christ. In other words, if God could be gentle and merciful with us when we were unbelievers, shouldn't we be gentle and merciful with others who are unbelievers, for mercys sake. As we saw in our subject verses, Paul also wrote to Timothy these instructions: the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
 
In order to model the gentleness in his own life and the lives of His disciples, Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle [Greek, epios, affable, mild, kind] among you, even as a nurse [Greek, trophos, a nourisher, to fatten, cherish, pamper, rear, bring up] cherisheth [Greek, thalpo, to warm, to brood, to foster] her children: So being affectionately desirous [Greek, himeironai, a yearning, to long for] of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us (1 Thessalonians 2:2-8). In these verses, Paul not only encourages the Thessalonian believers to be gentle with all men, but he also provides us with a description of true gentleness. Paul reveals to us that true gentleness is likened to anyone who desires to lovingly nurture, cherish, protect, and pamper their own children.
 
The apostle Peter even addressed how holy women of old were to deal with their unbeliving husbands. Peter wrote, Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [Greek, anastrophe, behavior, life] of the wives; While they behold your chaste [Greek, hagnos, clean, innocent, modest, pure] conversation [behavior and life] coupled with fear [Greek, phobos, to be put in fear, alarmed, fright, terror]. Whose adorning [Greek, kosmos, arrangement, decoration, that which is showed] let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek [Greek, praus, mild, humble, gentle] and quiet [Greek, hesuchios, sedentary, still, undisturbed, undisturbing, peaceable, quiet] spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands (1 Peter 3:1-5). As Peter teaches, the most effective way to win an unbelieving husband to faith in Christ is not through outward appearances and decorations such as plaiting of the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or special clothing, but through revealing the hidden heart of humility, gentleness, and a quite and peaceful spirit.
 
Having a gentle spirit is so important that even Christ, Himself, referenced His own inner spirit of gentleness.  Speaking to two of John's apostles, the Lord said, All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek [Greek, praos, mild, gentle, humble] and lowly [Greek, tapeinos, depressed, humiliated, cast down, humble, of low degree] in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:27-29).
 
RESTORE SUCH AN ONE IN THE SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS
 
Regarding being gentle with carnal and sinful believers in Christ, Paul wrote the church of believers, his fellow brethren, in Galatia: Brethren [Greek, adelphos, my brother in Christ], if a man [fellow believer] be overtaken[Greek, prolambano, to anticipate, surprise, take before, get hold of, to seize] in a fault [Greek, paraptoma, a side slip, lapse or deviation, error, transgression, fall, offence, sin, trespass], ye which are spiritual [Greek, pneumatikos, non-carnal, ethereal, supernatural, regenerated, religious], restore [Greek, katartizo, to complete thoroughly, repair, adjust, mend, make perfect] such an one in the spirit of meekness [Greek, praotes, mild, gentleness, humility]; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden (Galatians 6:1-5). Paul teaches here that when a Christian sees a fellow believer overtaken and seized by error or sin, the Christian is to repair or mend the fellow believer in a spirit of gentleness and humility, lest the Christian also be ensnared in temptation and error. The mature Christian is to restore the Christian found to be in error without a sense of superiority, anger, hostility, resentment, or pride. Paul exhorts us to bear one another's burdens [faults], to not think of ourselves as special, when in reality we are not special, because such an attitude reflects that we have deceived ourselves. Even though we are scripturally instructed to bear the burdens of other, the ideal approach for dealing with sin and error in fellow believers is, according to Paul, to consider, examine and test our own behavior, and to bear our own burdens. In other words, mind our own lives and business. Paul was certainly not soft on crime and sin, so to speak, but he always strove to beseech [Greek, parakaleo, to call near, invide, invoke, to console comfort exhort, intreat, pray for] others by the meekness and gentleness of Christ... (2 Corinthians 10:1).
 
WALK WORTHY OF THE VOCATION WHEREWITH YE ARE CALLED,
WITH ALL LOWLINESS AND MEEKNESS
 
Next, regrding being gentle with fellow believers in Christ, the scriptures also give us ample and valuable instructions. For example, in his letter to the saints [fellow belivers in Christ] in Ephesus, Paul wrote, I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you [fellow believers in Christ] that ye walk worthy of the vocation [as believers in Christ and responsive to the gospel message] wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness [Greek,tapeinophrosune, humiliation of mind, humbleness of mind, lowliness of mind] and meekness [Greek, praotes, mild, gentleness, humility], with longsuffering [Greek, makrothumia, longanimity, forbearance, patience, leniency], forbearing [to bear with endurance] one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3). Within these verses, how does Paul instruct members of the church in Ephesus, who are fellow believers in Christ, to behave towards one another? The apostle instructs fellow believers in the church at Ephesus to walk or live worthy of their Christian faith with all humility and lowliness of mind, with gentleness, with patience, and with leniency, and to endure each other as reflective of their love for one another. Paul found these instructions necessary so that the church in Ephesus could maintain the unity of the Spirit and the uniting principle of peace.
 
Additionally, Paul wrote and encouraged the saints in Colossae, ...put on the new man [Greek, neos, youthful, fresh, regenerated, renewed, young], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness [Greek, praotes, mildness, gentleness, humility], longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness (Colossians 3:14). Paul encourages the Colossians [and all believers in Christ], as the elect of God, to behave in a new way, a renewed and regenerated way, as Christ did, with mercy, kindness, humility of mind, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with endurance one another, and forgiving one another. These qualities of the heart and spirit were, and are now, found in the heart of Christ, and, according to the scriptures, they should be found in our hearts and spirits as well.
 
The true believer in Christ is to pursue and develop the quality of gentleness with all people. Look at what Paul wrote to Timothy: thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness [Greek,praotes, mildness, gentleness, humility]. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:11-12). Paul explains that the pursuit of these qualities are, or should be, a reflection of the believer's fighting the good fight of faith, which is the desired process resulting in eternal life. These qualities are not works to be performed in an effort to gain eternal life, but are qualities that should be found in the believer in Christ which are the result of his or her faith and salvation. For some, gentleness comes easily, for others, not so easily, and for some, gentleness comes not at all. But, as Paul expressed, all believers should fight the good fight of faith, and strive to be gentle.
 
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS,
GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE
 
Believers should pursue the quality of gentleness for another reason, as well. Gentleness is certainly a quality that God the Father wants to develop in the personality and life of the believer, and He specifically wants to accomplish this through the supernatural operation and working of His Holy Spirit. It is essential that the believer is obedient to the workings and leadings of the Holy Spirit, forIt is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are [the words and operation of the Holy] spirit, and they are [bring, result in] life (John 6:63). Paul taught the saints in Galatia about the development of gentleness through the will and working of the Holy Spirit with these words: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the [working and operation of the Holy] Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness [Greek, chrestotes, usefulness, moral excellence in character or demeanor, graciousness, gentleness, goodness, or kindness], goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in [live our lives according to the will and working of] the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-25). According to Paul, the opposite of gentleness is a fruit of the flesh, whereas Godly gentleness is identified as the fruit of the working and actions of the Holy Spirit. Paul adds that those who truly know Christ have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts, have rejected the desires and deeds of the flesh, and are becoming more Christlike and gentle by living according, not to the flesh, but to the will of the Father in heaven. Paul clearly instructs us, Walk in [obediently respond to to will and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). In order to walk by the Holy Spirit with gentleness, the believer should desire and seek wisdom, that is, wisdom from God, and not the wisdom of the world. As James taught, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8). James later adds, Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation [life and behavior] his works with meekness of [gentleness resulting from receiving Godly] wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom [resulting in gentleness] that is from above [and from God the Father] is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:13-18). Those that promote gentleness and peace are sowing the fruit of righteousness. AMEN.


 
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O Lord
Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant”
(Psalms 143:1-12).