- Identify the Text
vv. 8-11 create a natural break between the effects of salvation (vv. 3-7) and the closing remarks (vv. 12-15).
- Identify the Genre
Procedural: How you deal with certain people
Hortatory: Note the command of v. 10
- Identify the structure of the text
Stands alone and modifies what preceded it. “insist on these things.” The things before
Anticipates what is to follow, “These things (that follow) are excellent…”
The rest of the text unfolds clearly enough
Avoid silly controversies (v. 9)
Confront certain people (vv. 10,11)
- Exegete the Text
The division in vv. 8-11 is natural with one interesting rhetorical feature. It is best to understand the first “these things” of 8a-c as modifying what came before and the second “these things” of 3:8d as modifying what follows.
In other words, the first “insist on these things” is another way on repeating the imperative of 3:1, “remind them.”
vv. 8d-11 form a semantic unit devoted to explaining what is to be done with interlopers who are trying to disrupt the fellowship. He has already given the instruction that their mouths should be shut (1:13).
vv. 9-11 propose what appears to be a natural division based on the verb avoid and the two participles, warning and knowing.
However, it is best to understand this as two major divisions:
- Avoid the controversy
- Warn the person
The verb avoid, periı̈́stēmi, is an imperative. The verb can mean to walk around something in a literal sense. In this case it, of course, means to simply avoid. However the word picture is helpful. When people have genuine dissent they are to be rebuked (vv. 10-16). At other times people simply have silly controversies. These are to be avoided. By implication a pastor has to know which is which. The pastor must know when to apply Proverbs 26:4 and when to apply Proverbs 26:5. Here we read wisdom coming from Paul (re: the aspect of pastoral ministry that is as much art as science).
The knowing of v. 11 modifies the reason for the warning. To paraphrase, avoid controversies. For those who persist in them, they should be warned because they are acting like unbelievers. So, treat them as they are because they are sinful and self-condemned.
Note the three actions: confrontation, confrontation, and putting them out repeats the three-fold way of dealing with the offended/ing brother of Matt. 18:15-20. It is hard to imagine that this is incidental. It seems that Paul is taking his cues on how to deal with people from words passed down to him by the disciples themselves.
- Allow the structure of the text to be the structure of the sermon.
Based on the structure above, here is the outline of the text that could become a sermon.
Here is a profitable way to deal with problems (v. 8)
- Avoid certain controversies (v. 9)
- Confront certain people (vv. 10, 11)