Yesterday we covered four signs you are talking to a church-going moron: they fixate on fables, genealogies, raising questions, and things that do not edify.
Paul goes on in the same chapter of 1 Timothy to mention other signs you are dealing with a moron.
“some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”
Here are two more signs that a moron is talking:
5) They use vain jangling.
“Vain jangling” is an awesome KJV phrase that means “empty talk.” They’re just saying stuff. This is a hard one to define, but I know it when I hear it. In my opinion, you have God’s “words of life,” and all else is vain jangling. God’s Word is eternal; vain things are very temporal and worthless.
Vain jangling is the verbal expression of stupid thoughts. Here’s an example I saw the other day.
Wow, if that isn’t “vain jangling,” I do not know what is. Empty words signifying nothing. Try to put as much of God’s Words into your conversations about God as possible. People who “put things in their own words” to improve upon what God said, or simply to avoid what God said, are evil.
6) They speak with confidence yet have no idea what they are saying.
To “affirm” means to speak with boldness and confidence. You want your teacher to know what he’s talking about, and there should be a level of confidence a teacher should have. At the same time, arrogance and cock-sure awesomeness is dangerous.
Typically, the more forceful someone puts something, the more you can know this person has no idea what they’re talking about.
In Paul’s day, people used the Law to do this. This isn’t typically our deal today, since pretty much no one talks about the Law anymore. But most Bible pontificators are one trick ponies. There is one main issue they hope to cram down your throat. Calvinism, Arminianism, Free Grace, Covenant Theology, Dispensational Theology, or any other such thing can be used this way. Usually they rely on some external, verifiable thing, code word, or object they cling to as proof you are in or out.
They’re one issue people. When they read the Bible, all they see is the stuff that backs up their point. They see nothing else. Ever. Since they ignore everything else, in the end, they end up having no idea what they are talking about.
In Paul’s day, people were so fixated on a couple of Law issues–circumcision and Sabbath keeping were the main ones–that nothing else mattered. By so doing, they ended up missing the whole point of the law:
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:“
In the end, watch out for over-confident purveyors of one niche area of theology. They aren’t giving you the whole council of Scripture; they are giving you their inflated opinion of their own opinion of their opinionated theology that trumps all other opinions. They like to hear themselves talk, and appear to be pleased the most at what came out of their dear, half-smiling mouth.
They help none at all. Avoid them like the plague.