me nosphizomenous (PMPMPA): (2Ki 5:20-24; Lk 16:6-8; Jn 12:6;
Acts 5:2,3 5:3)
not purloining (KJV)
they are not...to be light fingered (Phillips)
Not taking what is not theirs (BBE)
Not defrauding (DRA)
and there must be no pilfering (NJB)
Nor to steal by taking things of small value (Amp)
from nósphi = apart, separated)
conveys the idea is stealing in small quantities or practicing petty
theft. KJV translates it as purloin (from Middle English,
to put away, misappropriate) which means to appropriate wrongfully and
often by a breach of trust. Whereas pilfer implies
stealing repeatedly in small amounts, whereas purloin
stresses removing or carrying off for one’s own use or purposes.
The verb nosphizo is
present tense (continuous action) and the
which conveys a reflexive sense ("yourself"). With the negative
particle (me) Paul is saying don't
(continually) keep setting
apart for yourself (reflexive) a part of that which has been entrusted to your care
by your master. Don't embezzle or appropriate wrongfully some of the
Master's goods for your own use as did
"a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira" who after they had
"sold a piece of property...kept
back some of (nosphizo
- Amplified adds "and wrongfully appropriated") the price for himself, with his wife's full knowledge
and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles' feet. But
Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy
Spirit and to keep back (nosphizo)
some of the price of the land?" (Acts 5:2-3
for the consequences of their actions read Acts 5:1-11).
Nosphizo is used 3 times in the NT in the NASB (Acts
and is translated as keep
back, 1; kept back, 1; pilfering (KJV = purloin), 1.
Nosphizo means to keep back
or misappropriate something for one's self that which should or does belong to
This term was found in secular Greek writings in reference to embezzlement of public treasures.
It speaks of secretly appropriating and setting apart for one’s self the
property of another.
A notorious OT use of
nosphizo is found in the Greek translation of the Hebrew (Lxx =
Septuagint) passages in Joshua 7 where we read that ""the sons
of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban (a vow or pledge under which property or persons devoted to pagan
worship were destroyed), for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of
Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some (Greek = nosphizo, Heb = laqah = grasped or seized) of
the things (the spoils of battle including here a mantle, silver and
gold) under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against
the sons of Israel.” (Joshua 7:1)
From observing what happened to
Ananias and his wife in Acts and to Achan and his family in Joshua,
pilfering from the Lord is neither prudent or profitable!
Vincent says nosphizo means "Purloining (nosphizomenous).
Only here and Acts 5:2-3.
LXX (Septuagint), Josh. 7:1; 2Macc 4:32. Often in Classic
Greek. From nosphi = apart. The fundamental idea of the word is to
put far away from another; to set apart for one’s self; hence to
purloin and appropriate to one’s own use. Purloin is akin to
prolong: prolongyn or purlongyn “to put fer awey.” Old French,
porloignier or purloignier.
The fundamental idea of the word is to put far away from another; to set
apart for one's self; hence to purloin (to take or carry away for one's
and appropriate to one's own use.
Another source says nosphizo means to
surreptitiously or clandestinely for one's own use".
ALL GOOD FAITH: alla pistin pasan endeiknumenous (PMPMPA)
agathen: (Ge 31:37;31:38 39:8 39:9; 1Sa 22:14; 26:23; Ps 101:6;
Mt 24:45; L, 16:10; 1Cor 4:2)
but to show
that they can be fully trusted (NIV)
but they must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good (NLT)
should show their masters that they can be fully trusted (ICB)
slaves to show their masters how good and completely loyal they can be"
but giving clear signs of their good faith (BBE)
but must show
themselves to be entirely trustworthy (TLB)
but to prove
themselves truly loyal and entirely reliable and faithful throughout
show complete honesty at all times (NJB)
from en = in, to + deíknumi = explain meaning or significance of something by
demonstration) means to indicate by word or act. The
indicates this should
be their habitual practice.
Regenerate, redeemed slaves are to
be continually demonstrating, showing forth or manifesting
words and works that show they are loyal and can be fully trusted. They
were continually proving themselves to be faithful servants in
everything they are entrusted with. In a parallel teaching to the
Corinthians, Paul wrote that "it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy." (1Cor
How might this spiritual dynamic work in everyday practice? Masters know
that the slaves could and would steal and God says our sin will find us
out so the masters surely knew who to trust with cleaning the expensive
silverware and dusting the bottles of fine wine. The point is that when the master saw such
integrity and fidelity in a slave, he would have been intrigued. What made this lowly man or woman tick different than the
average slave who thought little of cutting off for himself a small
portion of the fine rib eye steak the master & mistress were to dine on
that night! Ultimately these pagan masters would see through the
"beautiful lives" of these slaves, the beauty of the teaching about the
the One to Whom the slave belonged. Let us conduct
ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel so that our lives would be
like attractive ornaments that draw attention to the "Tree" of Calvary's
Matthew Henry writes that
"Faithfulness in a servant lies in the ready, punctual, and thorough
execution of his master's orders; keeping his secrets and counsels,
dispatching his affairs, and managing with frugality, and to as much
just advantage for his master as he is able; looking well to his trusts,
and preventing, as far as he can, all spoil, or loss, or damage."
THAT THEY MAY ADORN
THE DOCTRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOR IN EVERY RESPECT: hina ten didaskalian tou soteros humon theou kosmosin (3PPAS) en pasin
(Mt 5:16; Eph 4:1; Php 1:27; Phil 2:15, 16; 4:8; 1Pe 2:12; 3:16) (1Ti
5:17; 6:1 6:3; 2Jn 1:9)
so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior
Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in
every way (NLT)
so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our
Then, in everything they do they will make the teaching of God our
Savior attractive (ICB)
Then they will show the beauty of the teachings about God our Savior in
everything they do (GWT)
in all things doing credit to the teaching of God our Saviour (BBE)
In this way they will make people want to believe in our Savior and God
is a purpose clause (see
terms of purpose or result) explaining the purpose they are to
behave as he has prescribed. That they might, in their lives, “beautify
the Bible” (and thereby most importantly, the God of the Bible) making it
(Him) attractive to unbelievers.
The Amplified Bible is
especially expressive "So that in everything they may be an ornament
(Ed: Think of ornaments on Christmas trees!) and do credit to the
teaching [which is] from and about God our Savior (Amp)
Paul had similar instructions for
Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own
masters as worthy of all honor so that (purpose clause)
the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken
against. (1Ti 6:1)
= adorning or order,
ornament, decoration, adornment -- this root word gives us our English
something women use to "adorn" their face and
make themselves more physically attractive) speaks of that which is to
put in order. To make congruous, fitting or orderly. To decorate. To embellish (to make beautiful with
ornamentation; to heighten the attractiveness of by adding decorative
Kosmeo conveys the idea of
arranging something in proper order so as to give it symmetry,
comeliness, and beauty.
In the present context kosmeo
describes behavior that is in keeping with
the simplicity, purity and beauty of our Lord Jesus, radiating from a
new heart in Christ (Ezekiel 36:26, 27 = the New Covenant, cp Jer 31:31,
32, 33) and a new way of thinking enabled by the mind of Christ (1Cor
2:16). Kosmeo in
the context of Titus 2:9, 10 specifically referred to the Spirit enabled behavior of bond
slaves which was to be such that it caused the truth about God to be
beautifully "decorated". The
indicates this was to
be the slave's habitual practice, continually radiating the beauty of Christ in them the
hope of glory (Col 1:27), for Paul well knew that the lost world was always looking for a flaw in professed Christ
followers, whether they were slaves (cp employees today) or masters (cp employers).
In ancient times kosmeo was
used of arranging jewels in a brooch, necklace, ring, or crown in a way
that best displayed the beauty of the gems. So the idea is that the
excellent behavior of the bond slaves (God's "jewels") would be seen and
would make the "doctrine of God" "attractive" or beautiful to
unbelievers (Mt 5:16-note
and see illustrations in the notes below).
The noun kosmos reflects
an ordered system where harmony prevails which helps expand the picture
of what effect the behavior of a bond slave was to have on the doctrine
of God. Pagans would see the "harmony" produced by this doctrine which
would be in stark contrast to the disharmony and discord produced by the
"doctrine of Crete" which led to lying, laziness, etc! Paul's
exhortation has practical application to the lives of all believers (see
more discussion of this point below, including illustrations).
BDAG summary of Kosmeo...
(1) to put in order so as to
appear neat or well organized = make neat/tidy (Mt 12:44, 25:7, Luke
(2) to cause something to have an
attractive appearance through decoration = to adorn, decorate (Rev
Figuratively kosmeo meant to
make beautiful or attractive inwardly, morally (1Ti 2:9, 1Pe 3:5). To do
credit to (Titus 2:10)
The English dictionary definition of the word
adorn (Latin adornare from ad- ‘to’ + ornare =
add luster) is interesting to ponder in light of the context of Titus
2:9, 10) = 1: to enhance the appearance of
especially with beautiful objects (Adorn implies an enhancing by
something beautiful in itself ~ a diamond necklace adorned her neck) 2 : to enliven or decorate as if with
ornaments (people of fashion who adorned the Court) (Webster)
Adorn = to decorate or
beautify. In the New Testament, the Temple (Luke 21:5), the monuments of
the righteous (Matt. 23:29), and an empty house (Matt. 12:44; Luke
11:25) are all adorned. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Kosmeo - 10x in 10v in
the NAS = Mt 12:44; 23:29; 25:7; Lk 11:25; 21:5; 1Ti 2:9; Titus
2:10; 1Pet 3:5; Rev 21:2-note,
and is translated: adorn, 4; adorned, 3; put in order, 2; trimmed, 1.
For example, Peter uses kosmeo to describe
inner beauty of women in the Old Testament writing
For in this way (referring to the
hidden person of the heart...precious in the sight of God) in former
times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn
themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. (1Pe 3:5-note).
Kosmeo - 9x in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - 2Chr 3:6; Esther 1:6; Eccl 7:13; Jer 4:30;
Ezek 16:11, 13; 23:40f; Mic 6:9
Wuest adds that
kosmos (”order”), is opposed to chaos (our
“chaos”) which latter word the Greek philosophers used to designate
what they thought was the original condition of the universe, one of
disorder. In passing, it might be well to note that when the NT writers
speak of the universe as it came into existence, they use kosmos
indicating that the original condition was that of order, perfection. By
the use of this word (in
1Ti 2:9 "Likewise, I want women to
adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with
braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments"), Paul
indicates that the adornment of the Christian woman should be one in
which order, not disorder, obtains. And this orderliness must not extend
merely to the relationship of the various articles of wearing apparel to
one another, but also to the relationship of that apparel to her
Christian character and testimony. In other words, the apparel must be
congruous with, fitting to, and consistent with what she is, a child of
God. The word “modest” is the translation of kosmios “well
arranged, seemly, modest.” ...He goes on to add that "an artificial
display (when our external appearance and behavior are worldly - one
which then confronting the lost with the world not the Savior) also
destroys the personal testimony of the soul winner. We may be
fundamental in our doctrine, and yet defeat the power of the Word we
give out by the modernism of our appearance. It is forbidden because
God seeks to glorify Himself in the personality and life of the
Christian. He made men in His own image. That image is the ideal medium
through which He can reveal Himself. But if that image is marred and
distorted by artificiality (or inappropriate disorderly behavior
slaves were prone to do -- how is your behavior and reputation in the
workplace, school, community beloved?), it becomes an imperfect
medium, and the beauty of the Lord Jesus is hidden beneath a veneer of
worldliness." Are you convicted? I am!
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
from dáo = to know or teach)
is either the act of teaching or the thing taught. Titus is to encourage
the believing slaves who have been taught sound doctrine to live it out
before a watching world who is skeptical about the transforming power of
the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The term doctrine in
Scripture "is broader than a simple reference to
information passed on from one person to another or from one generation
to the next. Christianity is a religion founded on a message of good
news rooted in the significance of the life of Jesus Christ. In
Scripture, then, doctrine refers to the entire body of essential
theological truths that define and describe that message (1Ti 1:10;
4:16; 6:3; Titus 1:9). The message includes historical facts, such as
those regarding the events of the life of Jesus Christ (1Cor 11:23). But
it is deeper than biographical facts alone. As J. Gresham Machen pointed
out years ago, Jesus’ death is an integral historical fact but it is not
doctrine. Jesus’ death for sins (1Cor 15:3) is doctrine. (Sound)
Doctrine, then, is scriptural teaching on theological truths."
(parenthesis added) (Elwell,
W. A., & Elwell, W. A. The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology -
Believing slaves were to "embellish
with honor" the doctrines of Christianity. The genius of the word
picture of kosmeo
is the fact that adornment should be
that which is fitting, congruous, not diverse from one’s character. That
is, the adornment (figuratively speaking - the character and behavior) of the Christian slave (or the Christian woman
1Ti 2:9) should be in keeping with the new creature they are in Christ
They were not to be a saved person at heart and manifest the adornment
of a lost person. They were to show by their good behavior that
Christian doctrine was a "system" where order prevails.
How are Christians doing in this
regard in America as we enter the 21st century?
Titus 2:11 (note)
begins with "for"
(always stop when reading a text and you encounter a "for" and ask
"What's it there for?" You are training yourself to study inductively
and to meditate on the Scriptures!) which explains how such radical
behavior is now possible for believing slaves and for all those who are
now in Christ by grace through faith.
The Doctrine of God our Savior
- Is this not another way to say "the Gospel" by which we are
justified and then progressively sanctified daily? In the next verse
this doctrine is linked with salvation (justification) (Titus 2:11) and
then in the following verse with daily sanctification (Titus 2:12).
(In Behavior and
a personality is to be seen at its best, it must be seen
alone, not merged with another personality. Either the
Lord Jesus is seen in all His beauty, or the personality
of the believer is seen and her adornment. The Holy Spirit
attracts sinners to the Lord Jesus, not by displaying the
world's behavior or the world's latest styles, but by
exhibiting the Lord Jesus.
(2) If a sinner is attracted by worldliness of a
believer’s adornment in physical dress or external
behavior, the fundamentalism of the believer’s Christian
doctrine will be neutralized.
(3) When a Christian depends upon the Lord Jesus for
adornment in external dress and behavior, both the dress
and the behavior will all be in keeping with the purity,
simplicity, and beauty of the Lord Jesus. All will be
attractive without attracting from the Lord Jesus. All
will be beautiful without detracting from Him. All will
have character without attracting one to the person
herself. Then the sinner will see the Lord Jesus in the
heart and life of the believer, and in their adornment as
well. Then will the Holy Spirit be able to work through
the soul winner, attracting sinners to the Saviour.
(Adapted and modified from
Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from
the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
our Savior - 6 uses of this same phrase in the NAS = 1Ti 1:1 1Ti 2:3
Titus 1:3 Titus 2:10 Titus 3:4 Jude 1:25. (Compare Isaiah 12:2 "God is
sozo = rescue from
peril > from saos = safe; delivered) in the context of
the Bible is our "soter" or our "Rescuer from peril and danger".
also describes One Who not only rescues and saves but Who heals,
protects and preserves. This truth is not restricted to the NT,
for Isaiah taught that
"God is my salvation, I will trust and
not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and song, and He has
become my salvation." (Isa 12:2-note)
The practical application of this truth is that God in Christ Jesus came to save us out of
or from our sins, not "in" our sins. It
follows that if there has been no life change (from Cretan to Christian
so to speak), then there is no evidence of the life of the Spirit of God
and of Christ within, for as Paul teaches "you are not in the flesh
but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if
anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to
Him...So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to
live according to the flesh--for if you are living according to the
flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the
deeds of the body, you will live." (see notes
Are you by the Spirit
death the deeds of the body?
In every respect
(pas) means no exceptions.
of Titus 2:9, 10
DOCTRINE OF GOD?
Is not that a wonderful passage? Here
is a slave able to be an "ornament" to the Gospel of Christ! This
blessed Gospel is not sent to kings and princes only; when Paul preached
it, the great mass of the population were in cruel bondage, treated like
dogs, or even worse; yet the Gospel had a message even for them, it told
them that they might, by a godly character, adorn the doctrine of God
The life of the Christian, even if he
be a servant, is to be an "ornament" of Christianity. Christ does not look
for the ornament of his religion to the riches or the talents of his
followers, but to their holy lives “that they may adorn the doctrine of
God our Savior in all things.”
Comment: Webster says that an "ornament" is "something
that lends grace or beauty" or "one whose virtues or graces add luster
to a place or society" (or the Gospel!). An ornament in
architecture is a "decorative detail enhancing
Can we not "apply" these definitions to our lives as Christ
followers? Beloved, are we "ornaments" of the Gospel or detractors
(those who lessen the reputation or esteem of the Gospel)?
truth of Titus 2:9-10 is applicable to all believers, for whether we are
"bondslaves" (employees) or not, our lives are continually
either adorning or besmirching the doctrine of God our Savior! I as have
often quoted the
words that I thought were those of St Francis of Assisi to "Preach the Gospel always,
and if necessary, use words." While it sounds good, it is wrong
on two counts. First, there is no evidence that Francis ever made this
statement and to the contrary Francis was known to be "quite a preacher,
actually more along the lines of Jonathan Edwards or Billy Sunday than
most of those who misquote him would like to think. Galli quotes Thomas'
biography, "His words were neither hollow nor ridiculous, but filled
with the power of the Holy Spirit, penetrating the marrow of the heart,
so that listeners were turned to great amazement." Our man clearly spent
a great deal of time using his words when he preached, “sometimes
preaching in up to five villages a day, often outdoors. In the country,
Francis often spoke from a bale of straw or a granary doorway. In town,
he would climb on a box or up steps in a public building. He preached to
. . . any who gathered to hear the strange but fiery little preacher
from Assisi.” He was sometimes so animated and passionate in his
delivery that “his feet moved as if he were dancing.” (FactChecker-
Misquoting Francis of Assisi) Secondly, Paul was quite clear
when he said that "faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of
Christ." (Ro 10:17) and "How then will they call on Him in whom they
have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not
heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Ro 10:14) To be sure
our visible witness is to be godly and engaging but it is not to be
Two other "enlightening" NT
passages that teach a similar truth about adorning the doctrine of God
our Savior are...
your light shine
(Jesus issues this command in the
which even conveys a sense of urgency. Like the secular saying the idea
is "Just Do It!") before men in such a way that they may see your
good works, and glorify your Father
Who is in heaven. (Mt 5:16-note)
is a command calling
for this to be our continual attitude and behavior. Warning - Don't try
to obey this by yourself! See context = Phil 2:12-note,
where the latter refers to the enabling energization and empowerment of
the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Lean on Him and then "Don't grumble"!)
all things without grumbling (goggusmos)
or disputing (dialogismos)
that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of
God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you appear as lights in the world. (Phil 2:14, 15-note)
Here are some other NT passages that
allude to our Christian conduct as a vehicle for making the Gospel
attractive to the spiritually dead and perishing world...
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so
that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that
you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for
the faith of the gospel;
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in
which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good
deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are
slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to
Steven Cole - SLAVES ARE
NOT TO PILFER. (Titus 2:10) Pilfer means to misappropriate or
embezzle money or goods for one’s own use. Slaves were often entrusted
with managing a family’s funds or with purchasing supplies for the
household. It would be easy to rationalize, “I’m living in poverty and
they are living in luxury. They won’t miss a little bit if I use it for
myself.” As an employee, it is easy to use the same kind of rationale
for taking things from the company, especially if it is a large company
or the government. But it is wrong.
SLAVES ARE TO BE LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY. (Titus 2:10) “Showing all
good faith” means, demonstrating that you are a dependable, faithful
worker. Your boss should know that if he gives you something to do, it
will get done on time. He should know that you keep your word. You don’t
pad expense accounts. You don’t goof off when you’re supposed to be
working. You seek to help your boss and company succeed. If a slave
behaved as Paul sets forth here, he would have stood out from the crowd.
Most slaves resented their lot in life and fought back with a sulky
attitude, an insolent tongue, petty thievery, or trying to get by with
as little work as possible. The same is true of many workers today. But
Christian workers should be obviously different. If they are, an obvious
result will follow:
THE RESULT OF A SLAVE’S GODLY EXAMPLE WILL BE THAT THEY WILL ADORN
THE DOCTRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOR IN EVERY RESPECT. (Titus 2:10) -
“Adorn” comes from a Greek word from which we get our word cosmetics. It
means to arrange in an orderly manner so as to enhance beauty or
attractiveness. Paul means that Christians should order their lives with
godly behavior so that the world will be attracted to our Savior. Our
main motive should be to honor and glorify Him. This means that you need
to think about your behavior and attitude, especially on the job. How
will it make others think about the Savior that you profess to follow?
Your life must be the foundation for any verbal witness. If your life is
not an example of godliness, as Paul spells out here, don’t let anyone
know that you are a Christian! If you do, you will dishonor the name of
Christ and give excuses to unbelievers to continue in their sins. While
you do need a consistently godly life to beautify the gospel, you don’t
have to be perfect. If that were the requirement, none of us could ever
be a witness! But when you fail, you need to confess your sin and ask
forgiveness of those you have wronged. That also shows the reality of
the gospel in your life, and it can be a powerful witness.
Conclusion - An evangelist preached a strong message on the text,
“You shall not steal.” The next morning, he got on a bus and gave the
driver a dollar bill for his fare. Counting his change, he discovered
that he had received a dime too much. He could have thought, “No big
deal,” and pocketed the dime. But instead, he went to the driver and
said, “You gave me a dime too much.”
The driver said, “Yes, I know. I did it on purpose to see what you would
do. Last night I was in your audience and heard your sermon. I’ve always
been suspicious of Christians. So when I recognized you this morning, I
thought, ‘If he practices what he preaches, I’ll go hear him again
tonight. But if he keeps the dime, I’ll know he’s a fake.’” The man did
go back to the meetings and was wonderfully saved. A ten-cent testimony
won him to the Lord (from “Our Daily Bread,” Fall, 1978).
God wants you to beautify your life by godly behavior so as to attract
others to the Savior. God’s beauty program starts when you repent of
your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. If you
haven’t started yet, why not now? (Lesson
7- Developing a Beautiful Body – Part 2 Titus 2:6-10 - Bible.org)
THE RADICAL IMPACT OF
A CHRIST ADORNED LIFE
ILLUSTRATION - During the Spanish
conquest of Mexico under Hernando Cortez in the early 1500s, a
resistance leader named Hatney was captured after a fierce battle and
sentenced to be burned alive. After tying him to the stake, his captors
urged him to become a Christian so that at his death his soul might be
given an entrance into heaven. He asked his tormentors if they expected
to go to this place. On being told that they did, he cried out, “Then I
will not be a Christian, for I would not again go to a place where I
would find men so cruel!” - H. V. Lugt
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Let the acts of
indicate similarity to the Father.
A Living Letter
Adorns the Doctrine of God our Savior - Believers exert a positive influence on others
by setting a good example with the consistency of their lives. Will
Houghton, president of Moody Bible Institute during the 1940's, was such
Before Houghton became president of Moody, he pastored a church in New
York City. An agnostic living there was contemplating suicide, but he
decided that if he could find a minister who lived what he professed, he
would listen to him. Since Will Houghton was a prominent figure in the
city and a pastor, the man chose Houghton for his case study. He hired a
private detective to watch him. When the investigator's report came
back, it revealed that Houghton's life was above reproach. The agnostic
went to Houghton's church, accepted Christ, and later sent his daughter
to Moody Bible Institute.
Nehemiah was another believer who dramatically affected the lives of
those around him. Even rich nobles and high officials listened
respectfully as he rebuked them. Why? Because of the quality of his
life. Whatever he asked of others, he was willing to do himself. And
because Nehemiah joined in the hard work and refrained from using his
position to accumulate wealth, the leaders couldn't help but listen to
what he said.
An exemplary life awakens
spiritual and moral sensitivity in those who observe us, and it gives
power to our words of witness.
—H. V. Lugt
We can preach a
better sermon with our lives
than with our lips
The Gospel According
There's a Gospel according to Matthew; To Mark;
To Luke; and John too.
There's another gospel that many are reading...
The Gospel according to You.
All teachings we find in the Bible
Are facts we know to be true;
You must live them to make them the Gospel...
The Gospel according to You
Many read not the words of the Bible;
I will tell you what some of them do...
They are reading the book you are writing...
The Gospel according to you.
There's Great Power In Gospel Preaching
The Bible teaches that this is true.
But the sermon most likely to influence others
Is The Gospel according to You.
God help us to be faithful to Jesus...
To live all His teachings so true,
So that all may see His Spirit
In the Gospel according to You
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day;
By things that you do; By things you say.
Others read that gospel, whether faithless or true!
Say! What is the Gospel According To You?
(Note some attribute words in highlight to Paul Gilbert,
SPEAK AND DO - In ancient
Greek dramas, a person behind a curtain spoke the lines while the
performer on stage acted out the role. We might refer to the speaker
behind the scenes as the one who didn't "practice what he preached."
This person behind the curtain reminds me of a problem we as Christians
experience today. Many of us are skilled at sounding religious, but we
don't put our words into action. This is hypocrisy.
When there is a discrepancy between what we say and what we do, we
create confusion in the minds of our "audience." That's why many
nonbelievers do not take the gospel message seriously.
A Christian who makes the greatest impact on a watching world, and who
furthers the cause of Christ, is one whose actions harmonize with his
speech (Ed: In short, his actions adorn the doctrine of God
our Savior!). When James spoke of the "wisdom that is from above," he
described it as "pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of
mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James
Our role as Christians is vastly different from the ancient Greek
actors. They had speakers who didn't do and doers who didn't speak. We
are to be people who speak and do the truth! - R W De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
When actions and
the message is loud and clear.
The positive motive, to make God’s
message attractive, and the negative motive, to keep God’s teaching from
being slandered, ought to control our lives.
(1853) wrote that
When a Christian walks irreprovably,
or free from need to be reproved, his enemies have nowhere to fasten
their teeth on him, but are forced to gnaw on their own malignant
tongues. As it secures the godly thus to stop the lying mouths of
foolish men, so it is as painful to them to be thus stopped as muzzling
is to beasts and it punishes their malice. And this is a wise
Christian's way instead of impatiently fretting at the mistakes or
willful miscensures of men to keep still on his calm temper of mind and
upright course of life and silent innocence. This like a rock breaks the
waves into foam that roar about it.
Maclaren the great Scottish preacher offered this sobering reminder...
The world takes its notions of God
most of all from the people who say that they belong to God's family.
They read us a great deal more
than they read the Bible.
In fact, they see us, they only hear
about Jesus Christ.
The bottom line
then in evangelism is not what we say, it is what we do. Someone has
Some of us speak so loud by what we
that no one can hear what we SAY.
Jowett rightly said that
Fine living is not only a fine
argument, it is also an effective silencer of bad men.
W E Vine commenting on Titus
2:9,10 wrote that a relationship
which could produce such a change in
the character and life of slaves as to carry out the teaching here
given, would influence powerfully the minds of unbelievers and even
those who were hostile to Christianity. The comment of Chrysostom on
these verses is worth quoting: he says that
Greeks form their estimate
not from the doctrine itself but from actions and life.
God often gets highest honor from the
godly life and testimony of those who are despised by men in general as
being illiterate and even ignoble. The meek and quiet spirit is in the
sight of God of great price, even in cases where a believer is little
known or heard of. If slaves in those olden days could bring glory to
the name of Christ by the faithful fulfillment of their work, so surely
can those whose occupation is in more favored circumstances. (Amen!)
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
D Martyn Lloyd-Jones
commenting on Titus 2:9,10 wrote that...
The idea is that the doctrine
is, as it were, the foundation or basic garment and that the life
is a kind of adornment which is added on to it. His exhortation is that
we must always be careful that our decorations, our adornments, are
suited to, and are congruous with, and match, this foundation garment
which we have already put on.
The doctrine is the foundation.
The life is the adorning.
The purpose of the adorning is to
make the doctrine attractive, to cause people to admire it, to look at
it and to desire to have it. The Apostle here, as everywhere else, does
much more than issue a general appeal to Christian people to live a good
life and to be philanthropic. The appeal is always in terms of the
doctrine; the life must always issue from it, must always
match it. You and I are to live the kind of life that will adorn the
doctrine. (Ed: What has
your "garment" looked like this past week? "Clothes by Christ" or
"Fashion by Flesh"?) (From
Christian Unity - Studies in Ephesians)
G Campbell Morgan wrote that
in this section there
are two ideas which flash with a
surprising brilliance. The first is that the doctrine of God our
Saviour can be adorned; and the second is that those who are
spoken of as able to do it are slaves. Perhaps we shall understand the
first better, if we begin with the second. The word servants here is
distinctly the word for slaves, and it may well be conceived that the
conditions of slaves in Crete, where Titus was laboring, were of the
worst. Paul had already said that the testimony of one of their own
prophets was true that the Cretans were liars, evil beasts, gluttons.
Slavery in a society of such must have been a terrible thing. Among
these slaves there were some who were saints, and these were declared
able in the very life of slavery, to adorn the doctrine.
Moreover, the Apostle had declared how they would do it. It would be
done by subjection to their masters; by seeking to be well-pleasing, by
not gainsaying; by honesty, by faithfulness; in short, by such action in
difficult circumstances as to win from their very masters recognition of
Thus we see how the doctrine of God our Saviour
may be adorned. It is adorned when its effects on life and
character are expressed in conduct. To be true and gentle and faithful
in circumstances that are hard and unfair, and even unjust, is only
possible in the power of some great spiritual conviction (Ed: And
some supernatural source of such power, that source in context being the
grace of God [Titus 2:11-note]]! Glory! Hallelujah! We can be more than conquerors through
the enabling grace the indwelling Spirit of Christ continually supplies!); and the value
of such spiritual conviction is revealed in such conduct.
A W Pink wrote that...
There are others who give themselves
unto the diligent study of doctrine, but, generally, they fail to
realize that the doctrine of Scripture is not a series of intellectual
propositions, but is the "doctrine which is according to godliness" (1
Tim. 6:3). The "doctrine" or "teaching" of God’s Holy Word is given not
for the instruction of our brains, but for the regulation of all the
details of our daily lives; and this in order that we may "adorn the
doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" (Titus 2:10). But that can
only be realized by a constant reading of the Word with one dominant
purpose-to discover what God forbids and what he commands; by our
meditating frequently on what we have read, and by fervent prayer for
supernatural grace to enable us to obey. (Practical
We profit from the Word when we are
taught thereby the great importance of good works. Condensing as far as
possible: "good works" are of great importance because by them God is
glorified (Matt. 5:16), by them the mouths of those who speak against us
are closed (1 Pet. 2:12), by them we evidence the genuineness of our
profession of faith (James 2:13-17).
It is highly expedient that we
"adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" (Titus 2:10).
Nothing brings more honour to Christ
than that those who bear His name are found living constantly (by His
enablement) in a Christ-like way and spirit. It was not without reason
that the same Spirit Who caused the apostle to preface his statement
concerning Christ’s coming into this world to save sinners with "This is
a faithful saying," etc., also moved him to write, "This is a faithful
saying. . . that they which have believed in God might be careful to
maintain good works" (Titus 3:8). May we indeed be "zealous of good
works" (Titus 2:14). (Profiting
From The Word)
Cornelius Tyre comments that
Titus 2:10 is like a "Second Edition of the Written Scriptures"
A conversion from depravity and
sinfulness--to active godliness, is a more sublime miracle, and a more
effectual proof for the divinity of the gospel--than was the
resurrection of Lazarus!
Of all modes of teaching Christianity, 'exemplifying it' is the best.
The best commentary on the Bible that the world has ever seen --is a
holy life of growing likeness to Christ.
The most eloquent sermon in behalf of the Gospel that the world has ever
heard--is a uniform, active life of piety.
The best version of the Bible which has ever been made--is a consistent
The Christian whose light thus
shines, not only correctly renders--but beautifies ("adorns" or
"ornaments") the sacred text. His life and conduct are a sort of
second edition of the written Scriptures--a 'living epistle' which all
can read, all understand, and which convinces and convicts all.
We must become living, radiant likenesses of gospel truth. We are to be
living verifications of the great doctrines of the Bible. A godly life
is a powerful argument for the truth of the gospel.
Moral Power of a Pious Life - 1859)
Bishop J C Ryle...
I have had a deep conviction for many
years that practical holiness and entire self-consecration to God are
not sufficiently attended to by modern Christians in this country.
Politics, or controversy, or party-spirit, or worldliness, have eaten
out the heart of lively piety in too many of us. The subject of personal
godliness has fallen sadly into the background. The standard of living
has become painfully low in many quarters. The immense importance of
"adorning the doctrine of God our Savior" ( Titus 2:10), and making it
lovely and beautiful by our daily habits and tempers, has been far too
much overlooked. Worldly people sometimes complain with reason that
"religious" persons, so-called, are not so amiable and unselfish and
good-natured as others who make no profession of religion. Yet
sanctification, in its place and proportion, is quite as important as
Sound Protestant and Evangelical
doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse
then useless; it does positive harm. It is despised by keen-sighted and
shrewd men of the world, as an unreal and hollow thing, and brings
religion into contempt.
It is my firm impression that we want
a thorough revival about Scriptural holiness. (Reference)
Theodore Cuyler on "Then they
will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way."
Christ enjoined upon every one of His
disciples to study Him, to learn of Him, and to imitate His example. A
true Christian is the representative of Christ in this world — the only
embodiment of gospel teaching and influences, that is presented in human
How vitally important is it, then,
that those of us
who profess and call ourselves Christians,
should make our Christianity attractive!
Multitudes of people know very little
and think very little about the Lord Jesus; nearly all the ideas they
get of His religion — is what they see in those who profess it!
An attractive Christian is the one who hits the most nearly that
golden mean between love on the one hand — and firmness on the other
hand. He is strict — but not censorious. He is sound — and yet sweet and
mellow, as one who dwells much in the sunshine of Christ's countenance.
He never incurs contempt by compromising with wrong — nor does he
provoke others to dislike of him by doing right in a very harsh or
hateful or bigoted fashion.
Our Master is our model. What marvelous example of gentleness,
forbearance, and unselfish love adorned His life! What He was — we, in
our imperfect measure, should pray and strive after.
Study Jesus, brethren.
Get your souls saturated with His
Spirit. His grace imparted to you and His example imitated — can turn
your deformity into beauty, and adorn your lives with those things which
are true and honest and lovely. We must make our daily religion more
Springs from the Fountain of Life 1883)
John Flavel (1628-1691)
Your duty is to adorn the Gospel
by your life. The words signify to deck or adorn the Gospel, to make
it attractive and lovely to the eyes of beholders. When there is a
beautiful harmony and lovely proportion between Christ’s doctrine and
our practice—then do we walk suitably to (worthy of) the Lord of glory.
Method of Grace)
James Smith (The
Book That You Want) wrote that
Coldness and lukewarmness in the ways
of God, are peculiarly offensive to our Lord and Savior; for if anyone
deserves our whole hearts, if anyone ought to have the whole of our
energies — it is Jesus!
We should be zealous for the truth of the gospel.
It is God's mind.
It is the revelation of the Savior's love.
It is the remedy for the sinner's woes.
It is the charter of the Church's privileges.
It is dear to God's heart.
It is watched over with a jealous eye.
It should be prized as inestimably valuable.
It is . . .
the mirror, in which God is seen;
the map, on which our road is marked out;
the law, by which our duty is made plain!
"That they may adorn the teaching
of God our Savior in everything!"
We should zealously adorn the Gospel.
Not by the tinsel of human eloquence
— but by a consistent and holy walk.
We ought to be living expositions
of the truth!
In our conduct — the nature and
tendency of the Gospel ought to be seen!
By our meekness and gentleness,
by our fidelity and prudence,
by our self-denial and benevolence,
by our temperance and brotherly kindness,
by our patience and fervent love —
we ought to adorn the most holy truth
God calls for it.
The Gospel is calculated to produce it!
FROSTED BELLS! - Pastor
Raymond Biddle shared the following experience with me in a letter. He
wrote, "Our church has a good, clear-ringing bell. But yesterday we were
ashamed of it. The first dull sound sent me looking for the bell ringer,
who soon found out what was wrong. Nearly an inch of snow and sleet had
blown on it during a night storm, and it was thoroughly encased in ice.
What a poor call to worship it gave! Then the Lord impressed on me the
thought that Christians often become sheathed in the sound-deadening
things of the world. As a result, their witness becomes `ice-encased'.
The devil rejoices when Christians are drawn away from the Lord and
their testimony is dulled by an accumulation of worldly attitudes and
actions. Some of the "ices" that encase believers are pride, jealously,
materialism, hatred, lying, gossip, envy, and all the other sins that
characterize our old nature. The best way to keep from becoming "iced
up" is to keep "fired up." This is accomplished through prayer, the
study of God's Word, and regular fellowship with other believers.
Do you need a good spiritual "thaw"? Let your testimony sound forth loud
and clear! Richard W. De Haan
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Oh, may our lives ring loud and clear
With God's Good News for all,
So people who are lost in sin
Will clearly hear His call.
A cold heart doesn't ring true.
KEEP ON WRITING -
The following poem
written by Paul Gilbert is intended
to encourage us as Christians to be persuasive, flesh-and-blood
testimonies for our Savior.
You’re writing a “gospel,” A chapter
By the deeds that you do, By the words that you say;
Men read what you write, Whether faithless or true;
Say, what is the “gospel” According to you?
Sometimes, however, our writing is
done with scratchy pens. Maybe it’s badly blurred and so illegible that
God’s message can’t be deciphered.
Hannah More, an outstanding witness for the
Gospel in 19th-century
England, sometimes felt discouraged about the quality of her spiritual
penmanship. Although she organized schools for the unevangelized poor
and wrote many tracts and hymns, she had a low opinion of her
effectiveness. This was her self-appraisal:
God is sometimes pleased to work with
the most unworthy instruments—I suppose to take away every shadow of
doubt that it is His own doing. It always gives me the idea of a great
author writing with a very bad pen.
Yet we need not be discouraged. God, the great Author, is able to use
even scratchy pens like you and me to communicate His message to people
around us. Regardless of how we appraise our penmanship, let’s
prayerfully keep on writing (Ed: Keep on adorning the Gospel of
God our Savior!). -- Vernon C. Grounds
We're not called to work for God,
but to let God work through us.
FAITH (aka "Adorning the Doctrine of God") - Often we Christians are urged not just to "talk the talk"
but to "walk the talk." The same advice may be expressed in these words:
Don't let your
contradict your professed belief.
At other times we
are admonished to be sure that life and lip agree. If our conduct
doesn't harmonize with our confession of faith, however, that
discrepancy nullifies the testimony of the gospel which we proclaim.
As far as we can know, Mahatma Gandhi never became a Christian, but he
made a statement that we who follow Jesus would do well to ponder. When
asked to put his message into one short sentence, he replied, "My life
is my message."
Certainly we should explain the gospel message as clearly as possible.
Yet the clearest explanation isn't going to win hearts for our Lord
unless His love is embodied in our lives. To quote the apostle Paul in
1Corinthians 11:1, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." And
holding himself up as a pattern, he wrote in Philippians 4:9, "The
things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do,
and the God of peace will be with you."
Pray, then, that like Paul we may live out our saving faith before the
watching world.—Vernon C Grounds (Copyright
RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights
Let the beauty of
Jesus be seen in me—
All His wonderful passion and purity!
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
The world is watching us...
Do they see Jesus?
LIVING STONES - I’ve seen a
number of recent reports about efforts to remove monuments with the Ten
Commandments from public places in the US. It’s regrettable, for the
monuments celebrate righteousness, and “righteousness e