the weblog of Alan Knox

Adorn the doctrine of God…

Posted by on Mar 27, 2007 in discipleship | 10 comments

I usually don’t copy long passages of Scripture in this blog, but take a moment and read this passage, carefully:

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:1-10 ESV)

I will be teaching this passage in a few weeks, so I’ve been studying it. I’ve noticed a few interesting things already.

First, notice that Paul encourages Titus to teach what accords (what is fitting) to sound doctrine. So, what “doctrines” does Paul encourage Titus to teach? This passage seems to focus on behavior, attitudes, speech, and relationships much more than what we usually call “sound doctrine”. Or, perhaps Paul is talking about “sound doctrine”, because he does not differentiate between “doctrine” and “practice” the way we do at times.

Second, and related to the first, did you notice what happens when the younger women do not live according to sound doctrine? The word of God is reviled. The word “reviled” is the same word that is usually translated “blasphemed”. I would think that this would apply to each group, not just the younger women. When we do not “live” according to sound doctrine, we blaspheme the word of God. Isn’t that interesting… blasphemy may have as much to do with our practice as our statements of doctrine.

Third, did you notice the “focus on the family” (oops… I hope I didn’t violate any copywrite laws). Seriously, this passage is directed toward older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. These are all the various “members” of a household in that society. Apparently, the “sound doctrine” was being taught and being caught, being spoken and being lived within family structures.

Finally, what happens when our actions match our doctrines? What happens when we actually practice what we preach? What happens when we walk the talk? We “adorn” the doctrine of God. “Adorn” is from a verb that can also mean “trim, put in order, decorate, make beautiful, make attractive”. I wonder, does my life demonstrate the doctrines of God and make them attractive to others?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 3-27-2007

    Alan -

    Yes, I have always noticed the focus on the family. This passage, among many others, is the reason that my family – my children – are my primary mission. I pray that when my daughters are older they can look back and say, “My mom was a Titus 2 woman.” And I hope they are able to say the same of Brandon (that he was a Titus 2 man, that is ;) – you never hear about being a Titus 2 man, only a Titus 2 woman … interesting …).

    This is, again, part of the reason for our current situation (funny – you keep bringing this stuff up ;) !).

    I agree with you that Paul is not focusing on “works” so much as he, as you said: “is talking about “sound doctrine”, because he does not differentiate between “doctrine” and “practice” the way we do at times.” I think to Paul, as it should be to us, there was no differentiation – if you had sound doctrine it would be evident by the life that you led. And that life would stand out among a wicked and perverse generation as a beautiful fragrance, the fragrance of Christ.

    Jesus said we are salt and light. Salt makes one thirsty – do our lives make others thirst for God? And light … people are drawn toward light in the darkness, are they not? Do our lives draw people to Jesus?

    If we truly live as salt and light, is we truly have sound doctrine as Paul is describing here, then we will make attractive (adorn) the doctrine of God.

    But I am learning more and more that it is a heart issue. Back to what I think is true of Paul that doctrine and behavior are all tied up together – correct is correct and incorrect is incorrect. I don’t think in his mind you could have correct doctrine and consistently incorrect behavior. Of course, we all sin, but I’m talking about being consumed with having “correct theology” and being arrogant, gossiping, hating your brother, etc.

    I see Jesus caring so much about people, about relationships. We can have “correct theology” all day long, but at the end of the day how have we treated people? How do we see others? How do we see ourselves?

    I must confess that this is something that I am currently learning and it’s painful to see the truth about myself, but good.

    Thanks for posting this! It has given me a lot to think about :)

  2. 3-27-2007


    Paul does not stop there. Ryan and I have been studying chapter 3 to get him ready to preach vv. 1-8. There he speakes of rulers and authorities also.

    Here is how the passage is summarized in v. 8 – This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

    Paul motivates all of this by pointing to the gospel.

    Kind of makes me think of James:
    But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. – James 1:22-25

    Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. – James 2:18

    Oh, well .. got to go live it out in with my highschool students.

  3. 3-27-2007


    Perhaps we should start “Titus 2 Women” ministries, and “Titus 2 Men” ministries, and “Titus 2 slave-owner” ministries. Or, we could encourage and enable people to teach and demonstrate God’s “doctrines” to those around them – especially their families.


    I am still studying. I have not gotten to Titus 3 yet. Thanks for the preview!


  4. 3-27-2007

    Alan, are you and Heather saying the same thing? Where she starts “I agree with you that Paul is not focusing on ‘works’ so much as he . . . ‘is talking about “sound doctrine” . . . .”??

    I thought you were noticing the fact that he is focusing on conduct; in fact, you say the passage seems to “focus on behavior . . . .”

    Interesting post and much to chew on. Many love to quote this as demonstrating why we must have “sound doctrine,” but no one ever explains what sound doctrine is except what they believe it to be. It usually isn’t looked at in the context of this passage as you are attempting to do. (of course, if you’ll just use sound hermeneutics, i’m sure you’ll figure it out… i say with a sly grin.)

  5. 3-27-2007


    When I read Heather’s comment, I concentrated on this statement: “I think to Paul, as it should be to us, there was no differentiation – if you had sound doctrine it would be evident by the life that you led.” Since this is the point of my post, I did not comment on her other statement. If she wants to explain it, I’ll let her do that.

    As for “sound doctrine” and “sound hermeneutics”… well… we’ll see in a few weeks.


  6. 3-27-2007

    Alan, Good thoughts and teaching from God’s Word here to us. Thanks!

  7. 3-27-2007

    Alan & Bryan -

    Was what I said confusing? If so, please let me know. I was agreeing with Alan, as I stated in my comment. :)


  8. 3-27-2007


    Thank you for the kind words.


    I thought you were agreeing with me. I think that Bryan was asking about your statement, “I agree with you that Paul is not focusing on ‘works’…” It does seem that in this passage doctrine and works (a combination that Paul does not separate) are the focus.


  9. 3-27-2007

    What in a few weeks will help us see about hermeneutics, Alan? I had just posted on hermeneutics versus the Holy Spirit, which is why I threw that in.

  10. 3-27-2007


    When I said, “We’ll see in a few weeks”, I was using the authorial “we”, meaning “I will see in a few weeks”. I’m teaching this passage in a few weeks. That’s all I meant.

    I recognized your reference to your post on hermeneutics and the Holy Spirit. I hope my readers will follow go to your blog and take part in that discussion.



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