Adoring the Doctrine

W. Ross Rainey, Dearborn, Michigan, USA [SEE PROFILE BELOW]

One of today’s neglected New Testament passages is Titus chapter 2. The entire chapter demonstrates the intimate conn - ection between creed and conduct, truth and life, belief and behaviour, speaking and showing, preaching and practising. It is a chapter which teaches all believers everywhere their sacred responsibility to ‘adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour, in all things’, v. 10. The Greek word for ‘adorn’ was used of adorning with jewels. The word is derived from kosmos, mean ing order, ornament, or adornment, and from it we get our Eng lish word ‘cosmetic’. Here, then, we have a passage largely de voted to what we might call, ‘Christian Cosmetics’.

Harry A. Ironside emphasized godliness as the leading theme in Paul’s Letter to Titus – godliness in the church, ch. 1, in the home, ch. 2, and in the world, ch. 3. Sound, or healthy, teaching is one of the most important things in the Christian life, and without it practical godliness is not possible. Thus, in order that godliness might be manifested in the life of every believer, Titus was instructed to bring God’s word to bear upon all classes in the church and upon every condition in life. In addition to Titus himself, five groups in the church are in view.

The Older Men, v. 2.

What a blessing a man of mature years is who is temperate, seriousminded, not a clown, but having a sanctified sense of humour, selfcontrolled, and spiritually healthy in his personal faith, in his love to others, and in his patient endurance.

As Matthew Henry said, ‘Old disciples of Christ must conduct themselves in everything agreeable to the Christian doctrine’.

The Older Women, v. 3.

Such were to behave reverently, in a manner suited to sound doctrine and in keeping with their New Testament priesthood. The New Testament word for priest is derived from the word for ‘holiness’. They were not to be slanderers or slaves to wine, but teachers of what is good, a reference to what is expressed in verses 4 and 5. By example and exhortation they were to instruct the younger women.

During my forty-five years in the Lord’s service, I owe an in estimable debt to the example, counsel, and encouragement of senior saints, beginning with my beloved father and mother.

The Younger Women, vv. 4-5.

It’s noteworthy that the task of teaching the younger women was assigned to the older women, not to Titus. This is in keeping with the emphasis placed upon purity in the Pastoral Letters.

The young women were to be soberminded, that is, sensible, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be prudent, pure, workers at home, that is homemakers or caring for the home, kind, and subject to their husbands. Why? ‘That the word of God be not blasphemed’, v. 5.

As E. W. ROGERS wrote, ‘In our present day these ex hortations are urgently needed, for modern looseness has brought the word of God into discredit. “If that’s what your Bible teaches you I don’t think much of your Bible”, is the re tort of the ungodly when they witness disordered domestic life on the part of professing Christians. The Bible gets the blame’.

The Younger Men, v. 6.

Sober-mindedness is the key instruction here. Youth must not be wasted, but put to good purpose for the glory of God. Young men need to be sensible and take life seriously, for life is not a picnic but a proba tion.

Slaves, vv. 9-10.

Christian slaves were instructed to be ‘obedient’, the same word as in verse 5, to their masters, cf. Col. 3. 22, to please them in all things, not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to demonstrate utmost loyalty, so that in all things they might adorn the teaching of God our Saviour.

In addition to these five groups there was, of course, Titus himself, vv. 1, 7- 8. Not only was he to teach what was in keeping with ‘sound doctrine’, v. 1, but to practice what he preached. In his speaking he was to demonstrate pur ity, seriousness, and sincerity, giving a wholesome, unblam eable message, so that an opponent might be put to shame, finding no legitimate cause to speak evil of him, vv. 7-8.

There is no doubt about it. The practical application of these guiding principles in Titus chapter 2 will enable us in our various spheres of service to genuinely ‘adorn the doc trine of God our Saviour’.

AUTHOR PROFILE: W. ROSS RAINEY is in fellowship with the assembly in Dearborn, Michigan, and is a commended full-time worker of over fifty years.