29 May, 2006

Leadership: Titus and responsibilities

I love how Paul starts this second chapter of Titus. (All quotes are from Titus 2.)

1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.

The "however" is because Paul just finished listing the foul deeds of those who claim to know God, but in action deny Him. Now, Paul turns to telling Titus what needs to be done in these churches.

Paul does not tell Titus to give the Cretans sound doctrine.

Titus is to teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.

The Cretans appear to have enough sound doctrine. They need no more. Now, they need to know the things that spring from sound doctrine.

On the one hand, it looks like I am reading to much significance into the text, but I don't think I am. Paul might have good reason to be worried about Titus reinforcing the doctrine of grace in Crete. It is the people of the circumcision, the Judaizers, who are spreading meaningless talk, and deception, and making money at it to boot. Paul could have asked Titus to go in there and straighten the errors of the Judaizers out again.

Paul is silent on the whole subject.

The Cretans must know enough about grace, or Paul would be addressing that issue. Instead, Paul spends ALL of chapter 2 talking about deeds. Old men, old women, young men, young women, and slaves are all addressed. They are told to be reverent, good, self-controlled, sound and trustworthy.

These things become sound doctrine. In doing these things, Paul says:
10 ... so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

That's a goal!

Finally, though, Paul does get theological - toward the end of the chapter, right?
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Nope.

Paul still is not worried about doctrine.

Paul is still moving Titus to the things that matter. Doctrine is good, but there is an end to doctrine. Works of love do not end. Evidently, Paul was a little worried that the focus on works might upset some people, because he finishes the thought with these words.

15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

So far, in chapter 1 we have seen the outward signs of the kind of character that enable a leader to be effective in the church. In chapter 2 we have seen that the leader's primary goal is to encourage character in those he leads.

Maybe chapter 3 will be about the importance of right doctrine?

10 comments:

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Do you see a difference between 'right', 'appropriate' and 'sound' doctrine?

I think this is was Paul was trying to delineate here more than anything.

God Bless
doug

Milly said...

10 ... so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

I think that it’s very significant that we are examples of Godly people. Taking every moment we can to teach. Over and over again we hear of priest and ministers and even Christians like us who say one thing and do another giving way to those ready to deny Him a chance to turn away. Don’t ask to be a leader then act un Christian like. I know we’ve all seen it in our churches, those who seem to be there for the glory of themselves. If we are true Christians then our every day life must be right with Him at all times. So you never hear a “See that’s what I hate about them”

10 ... so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive

codepoke said...

DugALug,

The difference is not in the word "appropriate", but in the word, "of". Paul said things that are appropriate "of" sound doctrine. He was not dealing with the doctrine itself, but with the fruit that should flow from it.

Right, Appropriate, and Sound doctrine are all the same things, but fruit is the issue that is first and biggest on Paul's heart. He wants Titus to go and watch people's lives. I would even say, judge their lives.

codepoke said...

Yeah, Milly.

even Christians like us who say one thing and do another giving way to those ready to deny Him a chance to turn away.

This whole chapter is about Christians, not leaders. We can make it hard for those who oppose Christ to find anything to complain about, or we can make it easy. Sound doctrine should lead us to make it hard.

Amen.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Right, Appropriate, and Sound doctrine are all the same things,

Not so fast CodePoker! Let's just say that their were two children fighting, but it was obvious that one of the children was a bully. You could say that the child who was being picked on did something to provoke the bully, so the sound thing would be punish both of them. You could also send the victim away and discipline the bully... this would be the right thing to do. You could also separate them, get the full story from both of them and assess the guilty party and punish accordingly, this would be the appropriate response.

Perhaps Paul is saying use discernment to preach an uncompromised (aka sound) doctrine.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

OK. I concede that those three terms have nuanced differences. Paul still is not talking about doctrine at all in chapter 2. He is talking about the things that flow from doctrine. In chapters 1 & 2, Paul is talking about practical things, fruit, deeds.

The things that flow from appropriate, right, and sound doctrine take primacy over the doctrine itself. The doctrine comes first, but only as a means. The fruit is the end.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

The fruit is the end.

Amen to that. Nice post brother.

-Doug

Maeghan said...

Looks like I am always a "late bird" at your blog codepoke :)

I like your post. I have not really read up much on Titus before and so what I am reading is really interesting.

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. is really a good directive of Paul. In my involvement in teaching in the church, and at one time mostly on doctrines, we can get so carried away by it that it would have been reduced to nothing but academic. What is important is the living out of our lives according to the truth set out in the Word of God.

10 ... so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

This verse is very interesting. NIV translates κοσμωσιν as an adjective though it is a verb. NASB translate the verse giving it quite a different meaning:

... showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

NIV: through the teachings, make the Word of God attractive to others to want to know more

NASB: use what is learnt through doctrines and apply it in our lives

So NIV takes it one step further, in making the Word of God attractive to others with the way that we live our lives, though I am not sure if it is the case of the verb.

κοσμωσιν comes from the root word κοσμεω (kosmeo - now we know where our word cosmetics come from!) which means to put in proper order, to decorate, to adorn, to garnish, to trim. These actions do bring about attractiveness though it is not the word attractive.

codepoke said...

Thank you very much, Maeghan!

I am in your debt for your explanation of adorning (and for the tidbit on cosmetics :-). Very cool. I wonder what the folks at Better Bibles Blog would have to say about that?

Maeghan said...

codepoke,
i did visit that blog once before, quite interesting. i should visit it more often.