My six-year-old son, Owen, was thrilled to receive a new board game. But after a half hour reading the rules, he was frustrated. He couldn’t quite figure out how it worked. It wasn’t until later, when a friend came over who already knew how to play, that Owen finally got to enjoy his present.
Watching them play, I was reminded of how much easier it is to learn something new if you have an experienced teacher. When we’re learning, reading the instructions helps, but having a friend who can demonstrate makes a huge difference.
The apostle Paul understood this too. Writing to Titus about how he could help his church grow in faith, Paul emphasized the value of experienced believers who could model Christian faith. Of course teaching “sound doctrine” was important, but it didn’t just need to be talked about—it needed to be lived out. Paul wrote that older men and women ought to be self-controlled, kind, and loving (Titus 2:2–5). “In everything,” he said, “set them an example by doing what is good” (v. 7).
I’m thankful for solid teaching, but I’m also thankful for the many people who have been hands-on teachers. They’ve shown me by their lives what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ and have made it easier for me to see how I can walk that path too.
What lessons have you learned from those who have taught you about living for Jesus by their words and actions? What are others seeing as they view your faith in action?
For further study, see christianuniversity.org/HR202
Titus, one of Paul’s gentile converts (Galatians 2:3; Titus 1:4), was Paul’s faithful “partner and co-worker” (2 Corinthians 8:23). That Paul sent Titus as his personal representative to deal with the troublesome Corinthian church testifies to his character and maturity, as well as to his leadership and pastoral abilities (7:6–7, 13–14; 8:6, 16–17; 12:18).
Wherever Paul established a church, he appointed elders to take care of it (Acts 14:23). Scholars aren’t sure who started the church in Crete, but when Paul found out that no elders had been appointed to shepherd the young converts, he sent Titus to organize and supervise the church (Titus 1:5). Paul wrote this letter to guide Titus through the supervisory process, instructing him to teach the believers how to live holy lives. He emphasized godly leadership (ch. 1), gracious behavior and good deeds within the church family (ch. 2), and instructions for living within society at large (ch. 3).