Monday, May 17, 2010

Why False Teachers Should Be Silenced: Titus 1:10-16

Titus 1B

Theme: Promote Church Order

3) By gagging false teachers (1:10-12)

"For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers...who must be silenced..." (10-11 NAS)

Our text gives several reasons Titus should warn false teachers not to teach strange doctrines. 

They are rebellious men (10a). 2 Timothy describes false teachers as those who enter households and captivate gilt stricken women with their doctrine (3:1-9). The illustration that passage gives is apparently of two magicians in Pharaoh's court who imitated, but actually opposed the work of God through Moses (cf. Ex. 7:8-13). 

Their talk is empty and deceitful (10b). Colossians 2 describes "empty deception" as a gospel which teaches salvation through "shadow" observance of the OT Law, rather than through faith in Christ, who is the "substance".  

They upset whole families (11a). Apparently they worked their way into peoples houses, or house churches. 2 Timothy 3 warns of the same approach by men who profess religion, but lead ungodly lives.  

They teach things they should not teach (11b). The following verses describe this doctrine as "Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth" (14 NAS). This seems similar to the doctrines of merit-based salvation warned against in Colossians 2. Apparently, the primary fruit of such teaching is ungodly conduct (15-16). The remainder of Titus, and the primary thrust of the book emphasize that sound doctrine results in godly behavior.

They are motivated by dishonest profit (11c). 1 Timothy 6:5ff. and Jude 4-16 offer similar descriptions of false teachers. In each case, they are motivated by the desire for personal gain. 


They are evil, lazy liars (12-13a). This summarizes both their doctrine (which is false), and their conduct (which is ungodly). On the one hand, believers cannot be saved by their good works. On the other, the grace of God is not a license to sin, but should result in good works.  

4) By reproving their audience (13b-14). 

The word "reprove" means to convict someone of their error (cf. notes on 2 Tim. 4:2). Verse 14 seems to explain it is those who pay attention to false teachers who should be reproved..Convincing believers that paying attention to false teachers is wrong, will help make them "sound in the faith".

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