Church Teachers: Show Dignity and Teach Accurately

pampangaSecond, Titus is to show “dignity” in the content of his teaching (v. 7). The word “dignity” (semnotes) means “reverence, dignity, seriousness.” (Gingrich) Some scholars think that “dignity” refers to the style of teaching. It can mean dignified teaching. Yet it can refer also to the substance of teaching. The seriousness of one’s teaching refers to the gravity, importance, and significance of it. It does not mean that you should look serious when you teach. It means that the content of your teaching should be important and significant. Titus is to show seriousness, gravity, and importance and therefore, dignity, in the content of his teaching.

Why is this important to Paul? In v. 8, Paul cites an “opponent” to Titus’ teaching. There are false teachers who oppose Titus. These opponents are looking to find fault with Titus’ teaching—esp. a lack of substance, seriousness, or dignity with it. (W. Foerster, TDNT 7:195) Thus, Titus is to teach things that are substantial, serious, and significant. The content of the teaching must deal with serious truths that call for serious reflection by his hearers. Our teachings should be marked by substance, seriousness, and significance.

Third, in the teaching of Titus, he is to deliver sound speech “that cannot be condemned.” “And sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Tit. 2:8). “Sound speech” refers to things that are “correct, sound, accurate (TI 2.8).” (Friberg) In Titus’ teaching, he should be careful to say things that are biblically correct and accurate.

A candidate for ordination as a minister was asked, “What part of the Bible do you like best?”

He said: “I like the New Testament best.”

Then he was asked, “What Book in the New Testament is your favorite?”

He answered, “The Book of the Parables, Sir.”

They then asked him to relate one of the parables to the committee. And a bit uncertain, he began . . .
“Once upon a time a man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves; and the thorns grew up and choked the man. And he went on and met the Queen of Sheba, and she gave that man, Sir, a thousand talents of silver, and a hundred changes of raiment.

“And he got in his chariot and drove furiously and, as he was driving along under a big tree, his hair got caught in a limb and left him hanging here! And he hung there many days and many nights. The ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink.

“And one night while he was hanging there asleep, his wife Delilah came along and cut off his hair, and he fell on stony ground. And it began to rain, and rained forty days and forty nights. And he hid himself in a cave.

“Later he went on and met a man who said, ‘Come in and take supper with me.’ But he said, ‘I can’t come in, for I have married a wife.’ And the man went out into the highways and hedges and compelled him to come in!

He then came to Jerusalem, and saw Queen Jezebel sitting high and lifted up in a window of the wall. When she saw him she laughed, and he said, ‘Throw her down out of there,’ and they threw her down. And he said ‘Throw her down again,’ and they threw her down seventy-times-seven. And the fragments which they picked up filled twelve baskets full! NOW, whose wife will she be in the day of the Judgment?”[1]

Do you teach God’s Word? Do not teach inaccurate things. Teach things accurately so that it “cannot be condemned” (v. 8). The words “cannot be condemned” (akatagnostos) is one adjective in the Greek, meaning “above reproach” (Gingrich) or “blameless, above criticism, beyond reproach.” (Friberg) Paul is saying, “Titus, in your teaching, show accurate speech that is blameless.”

The purpose of this instruction of Paul is “so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (v. 8). Who is this opponent? Probably, they are the false teachers (Tit. 1:10-11, 15-16). Titus faced these opponents inside the church. They were teaching people in the church. They were planting false teachings in the minds of believers. These teachers opposed the teaching of Titus and Paul.

How can an opponent be put to shame? If you teach the Bible accurately, an opponent will be ashamed to face the accurate things you teach from the Bible. They will be ashamed by the correct truths you teach that refutes their false teaching. Paul is saying, “Titus, in your teaching, show accurate speech that is blameless, so that an opponent will be put to shame, with no ground to say bad things about you.”

The job of a church teacher and discipler is a serious job. We are accountable to God first, and then to the church. Are you a teacher in church and in small groups? Be a model of good works, not bad things. Be careful to teach only pure doctrine, not false teaching. Show seriousness in the content of your teaching. Teach accurately that is beyond reproach. Deny an opponent any excuse to criticize you.

[1] “A Parable of Parables,” Sermoncentral.com. Cited Jan. 22, 2017. Online: https://www.sermoncentral.com/ illustrations/sermon-illustration-sermon-central-staff-humor-doctrine-77312.

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