Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote a letter to Titus instructing him on leadership in the church on the island of Crete. Quite a bit of chapter 2 verses 1-15 has relevance and value to Christian schools. Teachers and school administrators, you can apply so much of this passage to your efforts that it seems like Paul was also writing it to you. This is VERY exciting, and I would encourage anyone involved in Christian education to fully consider this passage!
Titus 2:1-15 (click on the passage to view in a new window)
The first section of the scripture, in the light of qualities of sound Christian schooling, refers to the requirements of Teachers, Staff, and the Board of Trustees. For the next several posts, I will “unpack” each verse in this passage and apply each of Paul’s statements to sound Christian schooling:
What You Must Teach (From verse 1):
“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine”
- “Sound doctrine” means truth. Obviously the Bible is truth and is sound doctrine, and a Christian school must make sure their policies AND curricula are sound according to God’s Word. They must line up with biblical teaching. Each subject must be taught as if an extension of the Bible. Not an addition to the Bible, but an extension of the Bible.
Each subject, activity, and policy must include the truths of the Bible. That can be a bit difficult for some subjects, but entirely possible (consider that a challenge if you are a Teacher). For activities such as sports, drama productions, concerts, debates, etc., it takes creativity to find ways to bring in biblical passages, values, or principles, but can be done. For administration and all school policies, it definitely should be done. Conversely, entering false doctrines into subjects or policies (masquerading as truth) is detrimental to sound teaching, so beware of that, beware of Satan sneaking in un-sound doctrines. Remember, Satan uses a tactic of adding just a little bit of falsehood to truth. It is a huge responsibility to ensure that ALL of what you are teaching students is sound.
Consider these two metaphors:
If a person is in a relay race and handing the baton to the next runner, the giver must have good grasp on that baton, and make sure the handoff is accurate and solidly placed in the hand of the next runner. Or in a football game, the quarterback must have solid footing when he is handing off the football to the running back, or the transfer may not take place or not be complete, which could cause a fumble.
The “giver” must have a good grasp on the item being transferred, and make sure the transfer to the “taker” is correct and solid. A school, and more specifically the teacher, must have a good solid footing in biblical doctrine to accurately transfer the item (lessons, information, curriculum, policies) to their students.
To re-iterate, I believe the Bible, and its sound doctrine, can be a part of every subject taught in a Christian school. I would therefore challenge each faculty member to choose their curriculum based on sound biblical doctrine; to search out, and find biblical passages and references that support the subject matter they are teaching, and use those passages in the teaching. Include God’s Word in everything that is taught. It takes a little extra effort to do this, but the rewards are immense. The hand off of your subject to your students needs to come from a solid biblical foundation.
- Sound” means “healthy”. Eating nutritious foods produces a healthy body. A healthy body is better able to produce good works for the Lord. Truth produces a healthy spiritual well being. Biblical truth is the foundation of proper thought, wisdom, attitudes, and actions.
The New Living Translation has verse 1 as “promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.” Please make sure you staff members act, talk, teach, and live as a reflection of sound biblical doctrine; sort of a mirror image of the Bible. (By words and example) And, teach your students to likewise live that way. Please make sure your teaching is wholesome, which is a word that means conducive to, or promoting good health, physical, and moral well-being. That is great advice for a Christian teacher!
Eating spoiled or rotten food can make you sick, and when you are sick, you are not very useful. The same goes for what is taught to students. Therefore make sure sound, healthy, and wholesome doctrine is only what is taught, so the learner can be useful (especially to God). Healthy Sound Christian schools teach a diet of Biblical truth as the foundation of proper thought, wisdom, attitudes, and actions.
- “Sound Doctrine” means the Bible is sufficient as the basis of teaching. The word “doctrine” means “teachings.” Make sure you are teaching sound “teachings”.
You see, the Word of God is God-breathed, and is profitable (valuable) for doctrine (teaching), for reproof (discovering and affixing blame), for correction (discipline to change behavior), for instruction (training) in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) This passage of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, can be taken and used as individual elements, or it can be taken as a 7-step progression.
A godly person (the goal for your and your students) is perfected when the Bible is:
1. Understood to be inspired by God. Paul quite possibly invented a word here to explain this: the word in Greek is theopneustos, and means “God-breathed”. It is not used anywhere else in the Bible. The meaning of the word is pivotal to Christian life. It means the whole Bible is “breathed out by God”. Sometimes God gave exact words to the writers to use, other times He used their thoughts, experiences, or inspired them what to write. That means when the Bible is read, God is speaking. It means you can trust the whole Bible.
2. Considered very valuable, usable, profitable, or serviceable.
3. Taught as the foundation for Christian living.
4. Used for pointing out error. Error in doctrine, thought, or behavior.
5. Used to correct that error. (And, to not repeat that error)
6. Used for training how to live the right way. Righteous living is the goal.
7. So that people (you and your students) may be perfected and thoroughly ready for anything they do (every good work).
John 1:1 and 1:14 establishes that the Word of God is Jesus. That is a very important concept to ponder, understand, and convey to students. So is the concept that the volume, or total amount of the Word of God is written about Jesus (as Hebrews 10:7 says). Studying and teaching God’s Word the Bible, and about Jesus, is essential so that you and your students’ mind is strengthened: “that their hearts may be encouraged, . . . and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery (truths) of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3)
In Acts 20, Paul was teaching to the Ephesians, and he said in verses 19-20 that he served the Lord humbly, with many tears and trials (it was hard and he had successes and failures teaching the Word of God) and that he kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed to them and taught them publicly and from house to house, no matter who was the audience. In verses 27-30 Paul did not shy from teaching the Word of God. He was bold to declare to them the whole counsel of God, because the elders, pastors, and teachers were to shepherd God’s people (including students) because they were purchased with Jesus’ blood. Consider what Paul says there and apply it to your teaching of students. Paul says that boldly teaching them sound doctrine is important because people will come upon them like savage wolves, speaking wrong and distorted things to draw them away from the truths in God’s Word.
Paul goes on in verse 32 to say the Word of God is able “to build you up”. Sound Doctrine will build your students up, and give them a solid foundation to stand on, strength, and confidence when treacherous times and people come. (And, you can bet they will come). In the Colossians passage just mentioned, Paul said that in Jesus are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge, then he went on to say in verse 4 “lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.” To prepare for that deception, and to combat it when it comes, Paul said in verse 7 we are to be “rooted and build up in Him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
The Word of God, Jesus, is what we are to be made of. Yes, made of. That is why Paul used the words “rooted and built up”. These are growth and construction terms. Please, if you are a teacher, make absolutely sure you are teaching correct “growth” and “construction” at your Christian school or home school. If so, your school and students will be sound.
Copyright 2012 Kevin Brownlee