What do you teach? Have you ever thought about this question seriously? In the face of false doctrines and distortions of truth, what is the content of your teaching? Even as the world around us is changing, are you boldly teaching the Word? What do you teach to people who need consolation, counsel, encouragement, motivation, and correction? What about people who are spiritually hungry and thirsty for the deeper things of God’s Word? Do you escort them to the heights of divine revelation with joy and excitement? Are you fully aware of the awesome magnitude of your calling to teach the Word? These are probing questions that must be pondered over by everyone who handles the Word of God.
Titus was Paul’s delegate on the island of Crete. Paul had invested in his life. Thus Titus became an honorable minister of the gospel (his name means “honorable”). The training and mentoring by the apostle made Titus the ideal man to bring order to the rugged, undisciplined assemblies of Christians on Crete. “For this reason I left you in Crete to set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you” (Titus 1:5).
In contrast to the false teachers described in Titus 1:16 (“but as for you”), Titus was commanded to teach the “things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (NASB) or “things that are consistent with sound teaching” (Holman Christian Standard Bible). The present imperative “speak” literally means continue speaking. The saints need diligent and constant instruction. Titus was to always maintain this type of teaching, no exceptions. He was to carry his ministry among the people of God according to their age and sex (Titus 2:2-10). Titus was to speak things fitting for sound doctrine. His teaching was to be healthy and wholesome. This chapter commences and concludes with a direct charge to Titus to “speak” (2:1) and “speak, exhort and rebuke with all authority” (2:15).
“But speak thou the things that become sound doctrine” (2:1). The Greek word hygiano rendered “sound” (2:1), is the term from which we get our word “hygiene.” Titus’ instruction was to be health-giving, uncontaminated, wholesome, and edifying. The purity of his teaching would disinfect what had been contaminated by the false teachers. It was to be a Word-oriented and Word-focused ministry. We should also not teach or preach what we like—our preferences, traditions, opinions, and pet ideas, or what we have read, or somebody has said or taught without doctrinally verifying it. It has to be “things which are proper for sound doctrine” (NKJV). It has to be befitting to or in accord with the sound doctrine of the Bible.
Timothy also was charged by Paul to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:1). Paul urged Timothy to “rightly divide the Word” and to handle it accurately (2 Tim. 2:15). Both Titus and Timothy had to be extremely careful about their teaching, so are we.
Paul’s command to Titus challenges us to evaluate our teaching. What do we teach? Do we just teach our opinions, opinions of others, our preferences, and traditions? What do we try to promote in our teaching? Parading of our spiritual pride and parochial spirit is too common today from many of our pulpits. Recently a brother sent me an audio message from a so called conservative assembly. Sorry to say that the teaching has nothing to do with the scriptural truth of the assembly, but rather it was just a promotion of certain peculiar views on the assembly. How misleading!
Since we enjoy the New Testament freedom in ministering the Word, our pulpits are wide open, and sometimes even for unprofitable and “any-man” ministry. Our freedom can easily be misused or abused. We have to be very vigilant and careful in this area. Our teaching has to be consistent with the written word of God. It has to be healthful (“sound”) instruction. All who teach the Word must find a basic guideline here. Our teaching has to be wholesome and health-giving, spiritually edifying and instructing. It must be the exposition of the Word: nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. We must make this a required policy in our assemblies thus doing justice to our claim for New Testament pattern. The purity of our teaching should disinfect the spiritual contamination. The instruction should be based on the Word through legitimate interpretation leading to proper application, with exegetical integrity, and not simply based on our “pet ideas.” After 43 years in full time ministry, I consider this to be one of the greatest needs of the assemblies.
God has promised to honor His Word, not our pet ideologies. “But on this one will I look…who trembles at my Word” (Isa. 66:2). His Word should be our focus in teaching. What do you teach? “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (ESV). What a timely counsel to all who teach the Word! by Alexander Kurian