sound (adjective) • competent, reliable, or holding acceptable views
doctrine (noun) • a belief or set of beliefs
Titus 2 opens with a command regarding these two words. They need to be understood together, because a lot is at stake. Why? Well, we all have doctrine. Everyone believes something, whether it’s about themselves, God, the world, the afterlife, beauty & aesthetics, law… you name it. We all have beliefs. That’s at the core of what it means to be human. We think — we reason — we believe. So doctrine is a given.
The adjective makes all the difference. As Christians, we must reign our beliefs under the authority of scripture. What we believe must be sound. It must be found trustworthy, aligned with God’s word. Here’s what Paul tells us about the reliability of scripture, the only source of sound doctrine:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)
What he says here is that God’s breathed-out words are able to teach us, show us where we are wrong, correct our wrongs, train us, equip us, and give us purpose by doing God’s work. To me, this really gives weight to the importance of sound doctrine. It reveals the need to make sure that I am seeking sound doctrine. And conversely, it gives more-than-subtle hints as to where unsound doctrine will lead me.
The rest of the section of Titus we’re studying today builds off of this discussion into how sound doctrine affects our lives. We find specific commands regarding character, behavior, and overall Christian living. Some of this is broken up by gender, which does show us God’s design and a good discipleship primer (“train the young women”, “urge the young men”). There are also commands found here that should be applied by any Christian (“sound in speech”, “show integrity”, “not slanderers”, etc). It would do us all good to ask the Holy Spirit to grow us in these areas.
All that to say, this is quite a passage. What did God teach you? What can you apply to your life and faith this week from Titus 2:1-8?
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor