Wednesday, 30 May 2018
For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, Titus 1:10
Paul has given the requirements for those who are to be ordained as bishops, both positive characteristics they must possess, and negatives that they must not possess. He then followed that up with the note that a bishop must hold fast to the word, and must possess sound doctrine which is able to “convict those who contradict.” With that now noted, he next says the reason for this with the words, “For there are many insubordinate.”
He has already used this word in verse 6 as a disqualifying factor for appointment. Now we can see the importance of this. It is because there are plenty of people who fit that very same category, and who must be refuted. The way this will be accomplished is through a proper handling of Scripture. It may not change their minds, but it will be a strong witness to those who might otherwise be seduced by these people who are “both idle talkers and deceivers.”
Both of the Greek words Paul uses are unique to this verse alone. “Idle talkers” are those who utter empty, senseless things. They may have a lot of words to say, but what they say is complete nonsense. A good example of this is comparing Ezekiel’s vision of God to a UFO encounter. It is utter nonsense, but the problem is that people may actually believe this line of reasoning because they don’t understand the connection of the vision to what it is showing us concerning God’s revelation of Himself. Therefore, the man of God must know how to refute such things.
The second word, translated as “deceivers,” is a compound word which gives the sense of a person who leads other people into delusions. This is especially true with those who are narrow-minded. Unfortunately, because they are narrow-minded, they are easily duped by such deceivers. It is as if they have their door open, waiting for them to come in and tell them something ridiculous to believe. An example would be those who put out conspiracy theories – flat earth, alien invasions, and a constant stream of new and nutty theories about the world around them.
They make stuff up, and there is an audience ripe to listen, absorb, and get their minds misdirected from what is reasonable. The problem with this mentality is that it transfers directly to Scripture. The deceivers of Scripture make up things by pulling verses out of context, and they completely confuse the minds of those who are uneducated in theology. Paul then identifies a main category of these deceivers by saying, “especially those of the circumcision.”
“The circumcision” are Jews. Paul is a Jew, but he had a proper understanding of the finished work of Christ. Other Jews, however, had been teaching only partial truths about what He did. He warns against these people in most of his epistles, but especially in Galatians. These are the deceivers who come into a congregation and claim a type of superiority over others simply because they are Jewish. With that supposed distinction being important, they then deceive others into going back under the Law of Moses, in part or in whole. In this, they rob people away from the grace of Christ. Instead of freedom, they are brought into bondage once again (Galatians 5:1). Unfortunately, this same group of “Judaizers” is still around today in the Hebrew Roots Movement and other cults. True teachers of the word are to be ready to refute these deceivers by properly applying Scripture, in context, and with the completed work of Christ as the main theme at all times.
Life application: How can one know if a teacher is proclaiming the truth about the word or not? In reality, the only way to be sure is to actually check the word while keeping all things in context. The more you read the word, the better off you will be. Further, by limiting oneself to a single teacher, you may be completely duped by him, no matter how on-target he sounds. Reading commentaries, and evaluating each doctrine from a multitude of angles, will help you to process the word in a more accurate way. It is incumbent on each of us to study to show ourselves approved.
Lord God, help each of us to be sound in our doctrine by reading Your word, listening to reasonable preachers and teachers, and by personally evaluating each major doctrine in Scripture from as many angles as possible. Your word is truth, but so many have incorrect opinions on it. And so help us to weed through them, and to form sound judgments which are in accord with Your will. Keep us from false paths as we study. Amen.