Titus 2:8

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

…sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Titus 2:8

Paul’s words of exhortation to Titus, which are so that he can be an example to the younger men, continue here. He admonishes him that in doctrine he is to show “sound speech that cannot be condemned.”

The word translated as “sound” is hugiés. It gives the sense of wholesome or healthy. It is the basis for our modern word “hygiene.” The words of Titus were to always be that which would be beneficial. This would include both private conversations as well as his public speaking. Those to whom he spoke should be invigorated and built up by the words which he uttered. In this, his words would not “be condemned.”

The thought is that nothing could be spoken against what he said, as if he were to be blamed as a corrupting influence. Paul alludes to this type of thought in Ephesians 5:4 where he mentions filthiness, foolish talking, and coarse jesting, “which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

He then next gives the reason for this with the words, “that one who is an opponent may be ashamed.” An opponent of the gospel will search for its weaknesses as found in those who proclaim it. If a pastor or a preacher is found to violate his office by having an affair, an opponent will take pride in heralding this as a failure of the individual. The same is true with an elder’s speech. When he speaks that which is not wholesome and uplifting, it will be a point by which the opponent can boast over him. However, in always being circumspect in his words, Paul tells Titus that this will not be a point of boasting. He will instead be “ashamed, having nothing evil to be spoken of you.”

A person who is morally upright, and whose words are wholesome and pure may be attacked in various ways, but his conduct and speech will not be a part of it. One can think of the attacks against various Christian politicians. They may be the brunt of attacks, but those attacks are often empty. There is no basis for them, and those who make them are the ones who wind up looking foolish. This is the thought that Paul conveys to Titus, and thus to all who enter the ministry.

Life application: The world is watching. It is evaluating the ministers, preachers, and missionaries of the gospel. The judgments of the people concerning the gospel will be based upon the words and actions of those whose duty it is to spread it. It is therefore necessary for those so appointed to always guard their actions and their tongues.

Gracious, merciful, and exalted God! How good it is to know that You are there watching over us. You watch over a billion galaxies and more, and yet You also carefully watch over Your people here on earth. It is amazing to know that we can reach out to You because of Christ Jesus, and we can open our hearts to You in times of joy and in times of need. Thank You for such close attention to us! All glory to Your name. Amen.

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