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Contend without being contentious


We have been called by, purchased by, and kept for Jesus Christ. Whatever insights we may have into Scripture are not due to our superior intellectual or moral attainments—they are gifts from God meant to bring him glory and honor. (cf. 2 Peter 1:3–8) This is why, in all our contending, we must reject “an unhealthy craving for controversy,” (1 Timothy 6:4) and instead “be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” (Titus 3:1–2)

The contentious person is simply looking for a fight. He “ stirs up division … is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10–11) When Paul says in those same verses that we should have nothing to do with such a person, it follows that we must not be like him. Instead, we must count others as better and more important than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3–4) While this is clearly a struggle for many Christians, to contend biblically is nevertheless to illuminate where unbiblical perspectives fall short without condemning, demonizing, or pretending to be superior to those who hold such views.

—adapted from Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World, pp. 89-90

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