“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone….” (ESV)
I’ve also noticed that many times in Scripture when we are told NOT to do something, we are given something to replace it with. Here, we are to replace quarreling with kindness. And it’s not just a suggestion. It’s a command. If you are a “servant of the Lord you MUST…” Since it seems to be so important, I decided to do a word study to understand it a little more in-depth.
QUAR’RELSOME: adjective given to brawls and contention; inclined to petty fighting; easily irritated or provoked to contest; irascible; choleric; petulant.
CONTENTION: noun a violent effort to obtain something
The Greek word used for quarrelsome is machomai which is a verb and means to engage in battle or to strive.
The King James Version says: “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men…”
Strive: verb To make efforts; to use exertions; to endeavor with earnestness; to labor hard; applicable to exertions of body or mind.
Wow. Anyone who knows me knows I am always up for a good debate. I have a zeal for the truth that can definitely be described as quarrelsome or contentious. This passage tells me that is not of the Lord though. Sharing the Truth, yes. Striving to prove the Truth, not so much.
Let’s look at what we should do then.
The Greek word used for “be kind” is épios which Strong’s tells us means “gentle or placid”.
I don’t think anyone has ever used those words to describe me.
Helps word studies on that same page goes on to describe the definition this way :
properly, gentle (affable, mild), referring to calming words that bring God’s order to a situation. …..happens as we yield to God – i.e. are committed to handling matters according to His preferred-will. It describes the believer acting even-handedly, avoiding unnecessary harshness or excess by speaking into a situation that God reveals.
Here we are on the very first day, not even through an entire verse yet, and I already see a need for a change in my life and the way I approach things.
How about you? How has the Lord spoken to you today?
It doesn’t have to be through this passage. If you are studying somewhere else in Scripture, please comment below on how the Word of God is challenging you today.