Adorning the Doctrine of God

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In his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul encourages servants to be “subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:9-10, NASB).

What does Paul mean when he says that they were to “adorn the doctrine?” Perhaps a look at other Bible versions will give us a better understanding…

“…so that in every way they may make the teaching about God our Savior more attractive” (International Standard Version).

“…so as to bring credit to the teaching about God our Savior in all they do” (Good News).

“Then they will show the beauty of the teachings about God our Savior in everything they do” (God’s Word).

The point is that Christians have the opportunity to show the beauty of God’s word, not simply by preaching it to others, but by living it. The word of God is already beautiful beyond compare. However, Paul is saying that bondslaves, as powerless as they many have been in the eyes of the world, had the ability to make God’s word even “more attractive” (ISV) by putting it into practice in their lives.

Thus, to “adorn the doctrine of God” is to make it honorable before others. We commend God’s word to others when we ourselves are living illustrations of its teachings. By recognizing our utter dependence upon God and obediently following his word, we demonstrate its excellence, beauty, and power to change subjects of the domain of darkness into citizens of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).

The apostle Paul seems to refer to the impact that the lives of faithful Christians can have on others when he says to the Corinthians “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2).

Whether we like it or not, people in the world have Christians in their sights. They want to know if we “practice what we preach,” if what we have is real, or if it simply is shallow allegiance to a religious system. The thought may make us uncomfortable, but be assured, the world is watching.

For this very reason we sometimes say that “your life may be the only Bible some people will ever read.” What a sobering thought!

–Jerry Falk