Thursday, 31 May 2018
…whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. Titus 1:11
These words are referring to the “insubordinate” of the previous verse. Paul says that they are “both idle talkers and deceivers.” He then said this was “especially those of the circumcision,” meaning Jews. He now says of them, “whose mouths must be stopped.”
The Greek literally reads, “whom it is necessary to silence.” They are spreading falsities, and what they say can only bring harm to the saved, and keep the unsaved from ever knowing the truth. The idea then is to plug up their mouth so that they cannot speak. The imagery is that of bridling a horse, capping a wind instrument, or pigging a pipe to keep it stopped up. And the reason for this is that they “subvert whole households.”
Paul speaks of this in 2 Timothy 3:6 by saying that these ungodly people “creep into households and make captives of gullible women.” The idea is that they normally start with the women, who are susceptible to deception, and then they work their way through entire households. The faith of these people is overturned, and their foundation is destroyed. In order to stop this, the bishop is to be trained in Scripture, and he must be able to refute them directly from the word of God. Paul then explains why this so. They are those who are “teaching things which they ought not.”
There is the truth of Scripture, and from that arises sound doctrine. Anything contrary to the word of God, as it is properly handled (in context), is to be rejected. It is a false doctrine. Christ fulfilled the law, and thus we are not under law. What is normally on Paul’s mind at such times (he has already mentioned the circumcision) is a reinstatement of precepts of the law. However, Paul also addresses other heresies in his letters, such as Gnosticism.
One would ask why anyone would set aside the grace of Christ and teach such false things. Paul completes the verse with the answer. He says it is “for the sake of dishonest gain.” Here he comes back to the root of the matter. The lust for wealth is a strong inducement to ensnaring others and holding them in spiritual bondage. When you control another’s spiritual life, you will normally have control over his physical earnings as well. Thus, the teaching is introduced that the ultimate goal of this physical life is to “earn” what comes after it. And so they are brought into a type of bondage, passing on their earthly wages in order to secure what they believe is heavenly surety. But grace is a gift. It cannot be earned.
Life application: Of course teachers are willing to convey false teachings! The more bondage, the more likely profit will be gained. False teaching is a big and profitable business. Watch out for false teachers!
Lord God, there are so many varied views on doctrines found in Scripture, and yet in each category, only one can be what You intend. Grant us wisdom to pick up Your word, read it, and contemplate it always. In this, we will have a better idea of what is false. This will keep us from those whose doctrines are faulty. And Lord, guide our steps away from them in the first place. Keep us on a straight and sound path in our walk with You. Amen.