After explaining how that a multi-generational community of faith will have older women admonishing younger women, Paul continued his letter by telling Titus that older men should be teaching younger men the truths of scriptures. But as he continued his admonition of teaching young men, Paul transitioned from telling Titus to have the old men teach, to telling Titus to teach the young men himself.
In verse 7, he says, “showing thyself,” literally he means, “Titus, you show them by your own life.” It was not good enough that the young Titus tell the old men and women what to teach the younger, rather, in a community of faith, old and young could teach and learn. Titus would teach the younger just as much as he would teach the older. And Titus’s teaching must include a lifestyle that backed up his words. It was not good enough that he tell the young men how to live, he must show the young men how to live by his “pattern of good works.” His life was to be so consistently marked by right doctrine and right action, that the best word to describe it was a “pattern.”
So what did the pattern look like? Paul began the description of a well-patterned life with “showing uncorruptness in doctrine.” Before Titus could ever live right, he had to understand the truth. Before he could ever act right, he must believe right. The basis for a good Christian life is right doctrine and a deep understanding of the truth. Doctrine is primary. From it flows all the other things in the Christian life. Instead of starting with “wear the right clothes, cut your hair the right way, go to the right places, have the right friends” or anything else external, Paul started with the most fundamental thing in a Christian’s life – believe the right thing. Titus and all those who would follow his pattern of godly living must start with a pursuit of the deep and abiding understanding of the truths of God.
With a solid platform of biblical understanding and doctrine rooted securely in the pages of Scripture, a believer can proceed in their pursuit of good living. As Paul continued his list, we must note that the things he lists were not externals. Instead, he directed Titus to have the right mindset and the right heart so that he could lead others well. He was to train the young men to do the same. The church should never get side-tracked on the things that are not written to the neglect of the things that are explicit. Here Titus must be full of seriousness and sincerity. He must speak in ways that are indisputably honest.
Paul’s own principle in his life had been to live a life that was blameless. Now, in his admonition for Titus to set a pattern that other believers could follow, he instructed him to live in such a way and talk in such a way so that “he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” If you live a life of humility and sincerity then there is no way that hateful people could malign your good works without bringing shame upon themselves.
Here in this text the indications of a Christian have been laid forth clearly. The way you act and the words you use help the world around you to see that you are a Christian. Your speech should be different. Your mind should be different. With a level of gravity and sobriety, every young man and young woman should seek to follow after a life marked with sound doctrine and a pursuit of an understanding of the truth of God.
Reflect: What does Paul tell Titus in verse 2 and verse 6 that Christians both young and old must be? Why do you think that is?