Paul’s Charge to Titus

“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

- Titus 2:15

Trinitarian doctrine is established by many biblical passages, but one of the most important of these is Titus 2:13 wherein Paul speaks of “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The arguments regarding the Greek grammar of this verse are complex, but commentators are in near unanimous agreement that the apostle is not speaking of two different persons. Instead, the titles “God” and “Savior” both apply to Jesus, making this verse one of the clearest statements of the deity of Christ in all of Scripture.

Paul has reminded us that this Jesus died and was resurrected in order to defeat sin and death and to purify us from all unrighteousness. He has also shown us that He will come again to wrap up the covenant promises. Remembering this past event and looking forward to the renewal of all things give us the motivation to be “zealous for good works” (vv. 11–14). This is basic Christianity, and it is not surprising that Titus, primarily, and all elders, secondarily, are charged to declare these doctrines, exhorting and rebuking other believers (v. 15).

First Timothy 4:11–16 is an important parallel passage, demonstrating along with Titus 2:15 the significance of the teaching office in the church. In fulfillment of the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18–20), all believers have a role in instructing others; however, the church’s appointed teachers have special authority to teach biblical doctrine, exhort and encourage others to believe it, and rebuke professing Christians who reject it. This authority is not inherent in the teacher but is based on the Word of God (15:1–9; 18:15–20), and his teaching is not binding if it violates Scripture. Dr. John MacArthur comments, “Authority to command people in the spiritual realm comes only from God’s Word” (The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p. 1,824).

On account of their authority, we may never disregard the biblical teachings of Titus and all the faithful teachers who have succeeded him (Titus 2:15). We must receive biblical teaching even when it is difficult to hear, and we must not belittle our pastors and elders. Our leaders must likewise teach only the truth and never let anyone dissuade them from fulfilling their mission.

Coram Deo

The remaining presence of sin in our lives means that we sometimes find it difficult to receive the teaching of God’s Word. We would do well, then, to do everything we can to prepare for the authoritative teaching and preaching of Scripture. We can pray that the Lord would make our hearts receptive to His message. We can study the Bible in order that we might recognize aberrant teaching.

Passages for Further Study

Deuteronomy 33:8–11
2 Chronicles 35:1–2
Acts 11:19–24
2 Timothy 4:1–2

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.