Back in the 1980s and 1990s there were a number of pastors and ministry leaders that got in trouble with the government over issues of fraud, misuse of funds, etc. Jim and Tammy Baker were one of those ministries. I read somewhere that when Jim Baker got out of prison he said that he began to read his Bible in prison. He discovered that what he had been preaching was not in the Bible at all. He said that there was a whole circle of pastors and ministry leaders that had just been listening to each other and preaching one another’s sermons without really searching the scriptures. It is easy to fall into false, twisted, or distorted teaching when we are not diligent in the Word.
Early in the life of the church a number of core teachings of the Apostles were challenged or threatened. The first was the gospel itself. Circumcision and Law were added to the gospel. The apostles were very clear that the gospel was a gospel of grace, not law. Later issues like the deity and the humanity of Jesus, and the nature of the Trinity were attacked. False teaching has always threatened the church.
In Titus 1 Paul said that elders need to “hold firm” to the Teaching, “to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Why is that so important? Why sound doctrine? Isn’t it enough just to teach people to do the right things? If we just do the right things isn’t all this doctrine stuff less important? Why do we have to know all this doctrine stuff? Why can’t we just leave that to the preachers and seminary professors? There are three reasons that Paul addresses in this passage. First, because sound Christian living is grounded in sound biblical teaching. Second, because we live in a world littered with false teachers. Third, because there is something in us that makes it so easy for us to fall into false, twisted, or distorted teaching when we are not diligent in the Word. Because false teaching threatens biblical living. Healthy Christian living is rooted in Healthy biblical teaching. We must know what we believe. What are you doing to increase your understanding of God and his Word?