"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." v.23. The easy at which I can be pulled into a foolish or stupid argument is alarming. There is something with in me that loves a good fight. When it comes to physical fights, I would not do well. If the battle is one with words, I can hold my own with the best of them. The result is I can find myself in an argument that I do not need to be in.
I cannot help but imagine Paul is counseling Timothy out of some pretty serious life experience. Paul does not seem like a guy who would back down from a challenge, especially a debate or argument. It seems as Paul is sitting in a Roman prison reflection on his life is well under way. In this reflection he offers to Timothy and us, to not get into foolish or stupid arguments. How is this done?
There are not words from Paul on this specifically, but I think it starts by us knowing who we are, and what God has called us to. Being clear about who we are means we understand how God has put us together. It means understanding that our primary identification is not with anything of this world, rather it is of the inbreaking Kingdom of God. Knowing what God has called us to will give us clarity of priorities. We will know which battles are important and which ones are foolish and stupid by how they relate to the call.
Not mentioned by Paul, yet worth mentioning, when we get sucked into these arguments, Satan gains a huge foothold. In fact Satan will bait us into these arguments that we might get sidetracked or trapped. This is why we must do all we can to steer clear.