Teaching First, Polemics Dead Last!

2 Timothy 2:24-25
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth.

Jesus did not say, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples: that you defeat others in arguments.”  The Lord’s servant is to be an apt teacher, not necessarily an apt debater or polemicist.  A debater makes an opponent feel like an opponent.  A polemicist makes an opponent feel like an enemy.  A teacher makes an opponent feel as though he might be wrong to be an opponent.  Today, speak the truth in love and ask God to change a heart.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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