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Adorn the doctrine of God

Posted by on Mar 19, 2011 in discipleship | 5 comments

Adorn the doctrine of God

I wrote a post called “Adorn the doctrine of God” four years ago while we were studying Paul’s personal letters (1&2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon). I love the way that Paul describes “sound doctrine”! Then, at the end, he says that our life “adorns the doctrine of God.” Interesting way to put it… Here’s the post.

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Adorn the doctrine of God

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?


5 Comments

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  1. 3-19-2011

    Alan,

    “what happens when our actions match” what Paul understands as doctrines?

    We are at worship.

    “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”

  2. 3-19-2011

    I think blasphemy may have more to do with our relationships than with our doctrine.

  3. 3-19-2011

    When we call ourselves Christians, we are saying that we are God’s children, being conformed to Christ’s image. We’re saying that our character looks something like God’s character. By implication, we’re also saying that God’s character looks something like ours!

    If we call ourselves God’s children but live like the Devil’s, we are most definitely blaspheming, dragging God’s holy name through the mud, taking His name in vain (that is, to no good purpose).

    For this reason I think we ought to be very careful not only of how we live, but also of who we give the name Christian to. The world takes notice when we call another person or group Christian.

    Which is worse? To hurt some people’s feelings by requiring evidence before applying God’s name to them? Or to blaspheme our all-glorious Creator, Saviour, and King by always giving “the benefit of the doubt”?

    (The evidence being, of course, the kind of “doctrine” Paul describes in Titus 2.)

  4. 3-19-2011

    Aussie John,

    You said, “We are at worship.” What a great way to put it!

    Fred,

    I think you may be right.

    Tom,

    I think we can accept people as they are, but then we should also expect growth and change.

    -Alan

  5. 3-19-2011

    Thanks Alan for bringing doctrine to life. Love it.

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