by: Pastor David Huffstutler
Paul peppered Titus with a number of commands about preaching that are instructive for us today. What follows below is a quick run through these commands, spoken as given to us as preachers today.
Be taught, convinced, and able to teach and refute. Titus 1:9 requires an elder to “hold firm to the trustworthy word.” He does so “as taught,” implying that he has somehow learned it for himself. Being convinced of it in his own mind and heart, he is “able to give instruction in sound doctrine” to believers and able “also to rebuke those who contradict it,” whether in the context of the assembly or evangelism. Those who preach today must meet these same requirements.
Stick to the Scriptures. Titus 2:1 commands, “Teach what accords with sound doctrine.” Not only does this teaching involve practical matters (Titus 2:2–10), but it also grounds these matters in the gospel itself (Titus 2:11–14). Teach only what fits with doctrine, the teaching of the Word.
Be blameless in your teaching. Titus 2:7–8 commands Titus to be an example and “in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech.” His manner of teaching was to match the manner of the text and be fitting with God and His Word. As a result, this teaching “cannot be condemned” since there is “nothing evil to say” about it or its preacher (Titus 2:8).
Speak and preach the Word, and don’t take no for an answer. After giving instructions to various groups and grounding this instruction in the gospel (cf. Titus 2:2–14), Paul rattled off a list of commands for Titus: “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you” (Titus 2:15). In other words, speak the gospel and how to live it out. Exhort on the matter. Persuade, appeal, and urge. Say no to the one who says no, and don’t let him discredit you as the preacher.
Say it, say it again, and say it with confidence. Titus 3:1, 8 commands Titus, “Remind them,” and, “Insist on these things.” Paul again gives practical instructions and grounds this instruction in the gospel (Titus 3:1–7). All of this teaching makes up “these things,” and the preacher’s role is to remind and confidently insist that his listeners obey these things. In doing so, he readies his hearers to do good works (Titus 3:8).
Reach the heart, the head, and the hands. Paul indirectly commands his readers, “Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works” (Titus 3:14). This learning takes place by hearing and doing. Implied in learning is teaching. Coming towards the end of the letter, we remember that the preacher reaches the heart through the gospel, specifies for the head what to do, and encourages the saints to use their hands in actually doing these works. Good preaching specifies why, what, and how.