In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Paul instructs Timothy (and the Church) to cleanse themselves of dishonor, so that they may be used as vessels of righteousness.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:22-26
The word used their for servant is not διάκονος (where we get our newly defined word Deacon) but instead it is the word δουλος (lit. slave or bond-servant). To put it into perspective it is the same word Paul uses in Romans 1:1 when he writes, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” There are numerous other examples in scripture where this word is used to refer to Christians and 2 Timothy 2:22-26 is no exception.
So, is Paul telling us that all Christians should:
- not be quarrelsome?
- be kind to everyone?
- be able to teach?
- patiently endure evil?
- gently correct (even our opponents)?
I think so.