2 Timothy 2:16 in the NKJV says, “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.” Doesn’t the image of a group of ducks fit this verse perfectly? So many Christians spend their time going on and on about nonsense and ungodly things. Several subjects could fit into this category: coarse joking, gossiping, slandering, cursing, demeaning, and engaging in discussions that will only lead to a dead-end, etc.
More specifically, Timothy was faced in Ephesus with the challenge of avoiding irreverent babbling concerning doctrine. The Apostle Paul’s point was not that Christians should not teach, learn, and discuss doctrine. His point was that Christians should not spend too much time discussing the peripheral subjects. We should not spend all of our time debating things that we will not be able to resolve. There were even some in Ephesus who were making up doctrines from obscure figures in the Old Testament genealogies (1 Tim 1:4). Things had gotten out-of-hand, so Paul tells Timothy to avoid these kinds of people and these kinds of disputes. Profane (idle, godless, irreverent) babble will only lead to more and more ungodliness. We have to keep the first things as the first things and not set our hearts and minds on sideline issues.
Not only was this counsel important for Timothy in the first century, but it is also relevant for us in the twenty-first century. How often are we tempted to jump into a conversation that is ultimately going to be pointless? Especially now that we live in a social media world where we are tempted to reply to comments on Facebook and/or @reply to a tweet on Twitter, we must guard our own hearts and mouths (and thumbs) all the more vigorously. Moreover, the same is true of something as simple as family get-togethers around the holidays. How often have chats about marginal topics become heated debates around the dining room table? It happens quite often.
Let us simply avoid irreverent babblings. I like the older language that sounds more deliberate: Let us shun godless chatter. In doing so, we will avoid the increase of ungodliness in our lives.