Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.
This is one of Princess Leia’s most memorable lines of dialogue from Star Wars, in part because it’s the first line Luke hears from her. As such, it prompts him to take action, seek out this Obi-Wan, and eventually follow Kenobi to Alderaan in search of his destiny. If you’re the only one to help, you must rise to the occasion, right?
I’ve felt this very same impulse anytime I’m at a Pride parade and the predictable bunch of protesters is serving up their hate-filled denunciation of homosexuality. The Bible says us homosexuals are evil, sinning, going to hell, etc., right? Ugh. Certainly I’m not the only one capable of engaging with these misguided people. Yet most—understandably—want to shout these people down, not parse through their faulty logic, explaining how they are misusing this book they claim to know so well. I feel especially emboldened now that I’m almost done reading the Bible. Though, to be fair, I doubt that many of these people have any interest on hearing anyone else’s take on the good book.
In 2 Timothy, Paul says basically the same thing to Timothy—you’re my only hope; everyone else has deserted me (1:14-15). You must carry the message for me.
Among the many challenges Timothy will encounter include stupid, foolish arguments (2:23), presumably espousing or defending incorrect or distorted beliefs. He should avoid these.
But how to engage with the people who spout off this nonsense? Paul suggests that all scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting (3:16), and he should be prepared to use it. Why should Timothy be extra prepared for this particular task? Paul suggests that there will come a time—soon, most likely—when “men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (4:3-4).
So apparently, people will stop following the example God and Jesus set and instead create their own version, one that suits their interests, believing only what they want to believe, not what has been put down. Sounds just like the groups who routinely protest gay events with their distorted version of the Bible by their side.
One day, I hope to actually engage with them and walk them through their points—to which they are so steadfast they would likely be incapable of rational conversation. Still, there’s a chance for change, right? Why are they so afraid of the very book they claim to embrace?