Why Must We Teach Sound Doctrine?

Why must we teach sound doctrine? Paul answers it for us in the same passage of Titus 2:1-10.

Titus 2:5 … that the word of God may not be reviled.

Titus 2:8 (ESV) and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Titus 2:10 (ESV) not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

The verses in Titus 2:5 and Titus 2:8 are both given in the negative in that sound doctrine is necessary so that God’s Word is not reviled, condemned or spoken evil of.  Yet in Titus 2:10 the same idea is given in a positive sense – adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

We are often guilty of breaking up these verses in Titus 2:1-10 into the component parts and saying this applies to women and that applies to men.  I’ve been guilty of that myself.  If you were to see my Bible program right here you would see my highlighting.  Green for general principles, pink for instructions to women and blue for instructions to men, makes sense to me.

But if we do that then we could easily just ignore Titus 2:9-10 because those verses were written to slaves, right?

Nevertheless, we can’t be so fast to dismiss a passage as not applying to us.  There are several different reasons we need to focus on this passage even for women.

Employee / Employer

This is the usual manner in which Titus 2:9-10 is studied.  It is hard to deny the correlation between master / slave and employer / employee.  While we in today’s USA think we do not have to worry about slavery, we can’t go around naïvely thinking that the Bible was written just to us in our time period or that slavery may not ever affect us.  There are people all through the world who deal with slavery.  Nevertheless, in the employer / employee relationship we do have much more freedom and choice in the matter than with slavery, yet with freedom comes much responsibility.  So yes, this passage does apply to us in our work.

Character Qualities

The character qualities in Titus 2:1-10 apply to all believers.   This is an interesting study all on its own.  But here are just a couple of examples.

Sober-minded

 Titus 2:2 (ESV) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

But we find a verse elsewhere in one of Paul’s letters that show women are to be sober-minded.

1 Timothy 3:11 (ESV) Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.

So see sober-mindedness applies to both men and women.

Dignified

Titus 2:2 (ESV) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Remember that verse in 1 Timothy also said women must be dignified.

1 Timothy 3:11 (ESV) Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.

Notice how dignified applies to all believers male and female alike.  Thus we can’t just negate the passage that refers to slaves as not applying to us.

The character qualities in Titus 2:1-10 really apply across the board to each believer.  The specifics in how they are displayed maybe different but the actual character qualities are the same.

 

Slaves of Christ

We as believers are slaves of Christ.

1 Corinthians 7:22 (ESV) For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ.

Ephesians 6:5-8 (ESV)

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,

7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,

8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

The word in verse 5 translated slaves is the same word in verse 6 translated servants and also the same word in verse 8 translated as slave.  For some reason servant is often used instead of the more accurate slave.  MacArthur suggests that it was a translation cover-up due to the negative connotations to the word slave.  An interesting book to read concerning believers as slaves to Christ is John MacArthur’s book  Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ.


For the full series of posts in order click below:

Renewing the Attitudes of our Heart Series


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