Theme of the Week: Titus
Bible Verse: You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Titus 2:1
Scripture Reading: Titus 2:1-15
Sound doctrine. The concept is easy enough to understand. Things that are correct and good. “Sound” is an adjective that gets used in a variety of ways. It’s used to talk about the stability or firmness of a building, or at least the frame: “The outside is rickety, but the frame is sound.” We use sound to talk about the basic premise of an argument: “I’m convinced the idea is sound.” It’s even used as a nautical term for determining the depth of water under a ship in order to assess for safe passage. In these examples, soundness describes the overall health or strength of something. In fact, that is what the Greek word means. Hugiainó (hoog-ee-ah’-ee-no), means “to be well, healthy.” It is the basis for the English word hygiene.
This relationship helps us understand what Paul is referring to when he tells Titus to “teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Titus is to teach what is healthy. What is healthy is what leads to growth. The good things that bring us to maturity.
Food is a good metaphor for this. Of course, you can eat a wide variety of things, of varying levels of nutritional value. Will you grow if you eat too much of the lower quality nutrition? Of course. But it may not be in the ways you really want to grow. And the side effects may be disastrous: high blood pressure and cholesterol, excessive weight, poor pulmonary and cardiovascular health, lack of energy and strength, stress on joints, tiredness, and reduced mental acuity. As the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
Healthy food, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It helps to regulate and even lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps maintain a healthy weight and vitality. Promotes good brain functioning and energy levels. To reverse the old saying, “Good stuff in, good stuff out.”
But, and this is something we’ll cover tomorrow, the content of the sound doctrine to be taught isn’t what we would expect. We expect Paul to say, “Teach good theology. Help them believe the right things. And, while that is probably implied, the explicit things that Paul tells Titus to teach the Jesus-followers on Crete are all actions.
The sound doctrine that we are to learn is related to our behavior as Christians. You may know what you believe. Is what you do connected to being healthy?
Prayer: Jesus, as important as it is to know what to believe about you, we know that it is equally important to live lives that reflect you to the world around us. Help me to see where you are working in me and in the world and to live a life that is healthy, a life that reflects your kingdom and invites others into that life.
Reflection: When you think of living sound doctrine, or unsound doctrine, what practices and habits come to mind? What might you need to do more of and what might you need to consider leaving behind?
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