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.
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?