Word studies in Titus 2:7-8
“In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,
“sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you” (Titus 2:7-8).
In this passage, Paul has turned his attention to this young preacher himself, emphasizing first the example the young man is to show in his own life but then giving four descriptors of the nature of the teaching he is to do.
The fourth descriptor is in the thought for today: Titus is to use “sound speech” in his teaching, that is, speech that is based so solidly on truth that it cannot be controverted even by the most ardent enemies of the Lord.
This teaching screams so loudly into the twenty-first century and into the self-assuming tone of religious teaching today that it bears our most serious consideration.
No teacher should ever assume the role of the Lord by rationalizing about the Lord’s words and making it appear that they teach any more or any less than they actually do. That would be the epitome of presumption.
“Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth” (Titus 1:14).
Even though Paul is in the middle of describing the failures of some in the church in Crete, he provides exhortation about dealing with any who either follow the traditions and practices they had before becoming a Christian or who just refuse to submit to the moral teachings proclaimed by the messengers of the gospel.
Paul has just said “reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,” speaking to church leaders about unruly Christians. Then in verse 14, he gives an example of the kind of teaching that has crept into the church and has made void the commandments of God.
The lesson is clear: the same directive of not giving in to “commandments of men” comes down to us today. Rather than giving in, we are to stay with sound doctrine that is taught clearly in the New Testament.
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty”
(2 Peter 1:16).
As the Apostle Peter begins this, his second epistle, he addresses those of “like precious faith,” clearly establishing that he is addressing those who have obeyed the gospel and have begun the Christian journey.
In this verse, it is with certainty that he validates the word of God as the only standard these Christians are to follow. He assures that he and his fellows were not teaching the ideas and imaginations of men as they taught the gospel.
Peter further assures his readers that he knows personally the word of God is true because he was among the “eyewitnesses of His majesty,” having been present at many of the Lord’s experiences during His ministry.
Such powerful assurances come down to us today with dramatic force and further confirm that it is not acceptable to follow religious ideas that are created by man—it is only in following the word of God—the New Testament—that we have the assurance of going to heaven.
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Having been let out of Thessalonica under the security of darkness because of the uproar caused by the unbelieving Jews, Paul and Silas found a more receptive audience in Berea.
There they taught the truth from God and found people who not only would listen to them but also who would search the scriptures to determine whether they were being taught the truth. Having determined they were, they obeyed the teaching.
Direction and attitude come out of this passage. Direction has to do with the teacher: he is to teach only what is authorized in the Word, as Paul and Silas did. Attitude comes from the recipients: those serious about going to heaven have an obligation to look seriously into the scriptures to learn the truth and to have a mind that is open enough and honest enough to act upon the truths learned.