"In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." (Titus 2:7-8)
Consider. Why is it important that we as Christians exemplify sound speech? What is the effect on hearers when our speech is "unsound"? How does sound (or unsound) speech (and what we say on social media) affect our witness for Christ?
Today's lesson is the first in a series on "Biblical Principles of Sound Speech." Today's lesson focuses on Paul's instructions to Titus in Titus 2:7-8.
Who was Titus? Titus was one of the Apostle Paul’s converts to the Christian faith. Paul refers to Titus as "my true child in a common faith" (Titus 1:4). However, Titus was not a new convert. Titus had accompanied Paul to the Council at Jerusalem described in Galatians 2:1. When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he said, "As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you" (2 Corinthians 8:23). Titus was a godly, Christian teacher (Titus 2:1-8). Paul also commissioned Titus to appoint elders in each city in Crete (Titus 1:5).
"Considering the assignments given him, he [Titus] obviously was a capable and resourceful leader" (Ref. 1).
"Show yourself to be an example of good deeds" (Titus 2:7). Let's unpack the Greek word definitions to better understand what Paul is saying. The Greek for the word, example, is tupos. Tupos means a proper pattern or model for others to follow (Ref. 2). The Greek word for good is kalos. The short definition of kalos is beautiful (Strong's Concordance, Ref. 3). Helps WORD-Studies defines kalos as attractively good; good that inspires (motivates) others to embrace what is lovely (beautiful, praiseworthy) (Ref. 3). Thus, Paul instructs Titus to be an example (pattern) of good (beautiful) works that others may follow and embrace what is praiseworthy.
Paul's instructions to Titus also apply to us. As Christians, we are to lead others by being a good example. Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). Paul wrote to Timothy. "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:12). The Apostle Peter wrote, "Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:12).
Keep in mind that as Christians we do not do good works in order to earn or keep our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, we are to be good examples so others will praise (rather than slander) Christ. Our good example should attract others to know and follow the Lord Jesus.
Teach with pure, uncorrupt motives. In Titus 2:7, the English words, "In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds" are followed by "with purity in doctrine." The two key words are purity and doctrine. The Greek word for purity is aphtharsia, which means incorruptibility, unable to experience deterioration (Ref. 4). The Greek word for doctrine is didaskalia, which means instruction, teaching (Ref. 5). Didaskalia refers both to the function of teaching as well as to the information which is taught (Ref. 5).
Paul instructs Titus not only that the content of his teaching must be incorruptible, but also that his bearing and behavior as a teacher must be incorruptible (Ref. 6). As Christians, we must be free from corruption (Ref. 7) and free from lower motives such as seeking popular applause (Ref. 8).
Exemplify sound speech that is beyond reproach so that the opponent will have nothing bad to say about us. Paul's instruction is clear. As Christians, our speech should be sound and beyond reproach. The Greek word for sound is hugiés, which means healthy, well (in body), true (in doctrine) (Strong's Concordance, Ref. 9).
Paul uses the Greek word logos for speech in Titus 2:8. Logos means something said. Logos also can refer to a topic (subject of discourse), the mental faculty of reasoning, and motives (Strong's Concordance, Ref. 10 below).
In summary, as followers of Christ, we are to have healthy reasoning and healthy speech. Our speaking, reasoning, teaching, motives, and doctrine should be healthy, uncorrupt, and true.
Apply. As a Christian, do you exemplify sound speech that is beyond reproach so that others will have nothing bad to say about you? How is your speech helping or hindering your witness for Christ?
10. James Strong, "The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible," Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995
The next lesson in this series will provide additional, Biblical attributes of sound speech.
Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37)
This article is the fifth and final in the series, "About the Truth."
Consider. In today's scripture (John 18:37), Jesus was facing Pilate, the representative of the highest political authority on earth (Ref. 1). Jesus courageously and nobly said to Pilate that he was born to be a king and came into the world - to bear witness to the truth. Ellicott's Commentary says the natural interpretation (based on Greek verb tenses) is "To be king I have been born, and to be a king I have come into the world, in order that I may bear witness to the truth" (Ref. 2).
Pilate asked Jesus, "So you are a king?" (John 18:37). However, Jesus' kingdom was not a kingdom in the political sense that Pilate inferred (Ref. 1, Ref. 3). Jesus' kingdom was a kingdom in the spiritual sense (Ref. 4). Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).
Jesus said he came to bear witness to the truth. Let's look at the meaning of the words for bear witness and truth. The English words bear witness are translated from the Greek verb martureó, which means bear witness, give evidence, testify, give a good report (Ref. 5). The Greek noun for truth is alétheia, which means reality, the opposite of what is false or illusion (Ref. 6). Jesus came into the world to show and tell mankind that God's truth is reality.
Consider these statements where Jesus bears witness to God's truth.
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).
"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31-32).
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
These statements, and the entirety of the Holy Bible are God's truth and are reality (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17). Believe in Jesus. Believe God's truth.
Jesus said, "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." To whom is Jesus referring when he says "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice"? (John 18:37) To be of the truth means to have root in it and to draw life from it (Ref. 7). People who have root in Christ and who draw life from him hear his voice.
In John 18:37, the Greek word for the verb hears is akouó (Ref. 8). Akouó literally means to hear (listen); figuratively, to hear God's voice which prompts Him to birth faith within (HELPS Word-studies in Ref. 8). Thayer's Greek Lexicon adds that hearing Jesus' voice prompts obedience (Ref. 8). Those who are of the truth hear Jesus' words, have faith in him, and yield obedience to him.
Jesus said, "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:24).
Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27).
Apply. Are you rooted in and drawing life from the truth of Christ?
Are you yielding obedience to Christ?
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