Praise the Lord Saints
Paul wrote to Titus, a Greek convert who he appointed to set elders in the churches established in Crete.
“Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).
He likewise mentions in Philippians 2:15-16: “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
The Greek word for holding fast is epecho, it means to hold upon, i.e. to retain; to pay attention to. In Titus 1:9 when Paul mentions “holding fast the faithful word” the Greek word is antechomai – it is more active and intense, it means to hold oneself opposite to, or against, hold back, withstand, to keep oneself directly opposite to anyone, hold to him firmly, cleave to, paying heed to him (the Lord by His word).
Holding fast the word is someone who is Bible based, sound in his understanding of what the Scripture says and does not say. He understands what God has said as God’s word is living and active today just as it was when it was spoken or written.
“As he has been taught” the Greek means “According to the teaching.” Meaning they received the truth for some time and are trained up in it. There are some people that know the truth, but need encouragement to continue in it, others are ignorant and unintentionally oppose it. Then there are some who intentionally align themselves AGAINST the truth with full knowledge they are not esteeming God’s written word.
Titus is told, “Exhort” (convict)- who? Those who contradict the word- the gainsayers (v.10). They are to actively refute the objections and defend the truth.
If you are firm in your belief of the doctrines of the Christian faith, you can be relied on to maintain and defend those doctrines. You can be expected to withstand those in opposition because you have become familiar and digested the faithful word.
2 Thess. 2:15: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, (holding fast) and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Hold or stand fast is the Greek word steko, a perfect tense meaning to be stationary, to persevere: in other words we are not to be moved. Those who continue in sound doctrine have not moved from what they were taught, it is those who do not teach sound doctrine that have moved from where they once were.
Convince- Greek (elengchein) “convict.” We are to both exhort and to convince those who contradict. To persuade them and bring them over to God’s correct view by using kind exhortation, and by instruction that will convince them they are wrong and this is what is meant. We convince by the truth and we know they are of us if they are willing to hear and seek the truth. However, if they do not listen and are contentious then we must take the next step.
By “Sound” doctrine (Greek: hugiaino) means healthy, like the saying, “sound advice,” to be uncorrupt (true in doctrine). A church becomes unhealthy not because the gifts are not being used but because of no sound doctrine being consistently taught. This is our problem today. To be healthy means we are growing to maturity, we are growing in love, in grace, not being dysfunctional. If you are sound in doctrine the gifts will flow out correctly. When we see people have an unbalanced obsession with healing, miracles and rigorously pursue experiences it is because they have not been taught sound doctrine. They have neglected to train themselves in godliness that sound doctrine produces.
“The Faithful word” are the true doctrines. This means that we are to hold this, in opposition to those who would wrest it away, and in opposition to all false teachers we would encounter.
Titus 1:10 “For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision” Paul calls them unruly- rebellious people, deceivers. These are those that do not receive the sound doctrine, and are not willing to submit to the authority of Scripture. They are ruled by their own opinions, not Christ.
We find that THOSE WHO OPPOSE SOUND DOCTRINE ARE: Proud 1Tim. 6:3-4; Ignorant 1 Tim. 6:4; Doting about questions; 1Tim. 6:4; abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work Titus 1:16; Not to be received 2 John 1:10; To be avoided Rom 16:17; Not to be endured by the saints 2 Tim. 4:3. Do you do this? Do you separate, withstand or expose those who contradict the truth and shipwreck people? Jesus said you are either for me or against me. Consider what the apostles did when they found false teachers or teaching surfacing or influencing a church. They wrote about it, they named names if necessary, they were actively withstanding the influence.
Till next week,
Rev. Dr. Robert L. Harrison, PhD