Paul instructs Titus on the importance of the gospel message that had been delivered once and for all to the saints. It was inspired by God, fulfilled in Christ, passed down by the Apostles and must be believed, embraced, and passed on to each succeeding generation. I was struck by the phrase in Titus 1:9, where Paul tells Titus that true biblical leaders “hold firm” to the “trustworthy message” as they were “taught.” It was the word “taught” that got my attention. The faith that was taught and handed down by Jesus to the Apostles to the church fathers and to us is often referred to as the historic faith. Titus was “taught” the historic faith and he was also to teach the historic faith to others. Passing on the truth from one generation to another is the prime responsibility of the Church.

In order to be effective leaders we must be taught the truths of biblical Christianity. We cannot lead the way if we do not know the way. We must submit our thoughts, our ideas, to the disciplines God entrusted to those who came before us, but more specifically, to those who came before us who hold to and hold out the historic Christian faith. Paul submitted himself to learn from others and Titus submitted himself to learn from Paul. We too must humble ourselves and learn from others. We don’t always like that.

During my years of higher education I’ve preferred some teachers over others. Those whose style I preferred always received high marks from me on my class appraisals at the end of the class. Others did not. Yet, as I look back some of the best lessons I learned were from those whose style I didn’t truly appreciate. One professor at Dallas Seminary in my first year seemed to me to be unprepared class after class. He’d take us out on the lawn on nice days and we’d just talk. He’d share personal stories frequently, but he seemed to ignore the syllabus and never fulfilled the lesson plans for the day. I was so glad to get out of his class with a good grade. I saw him look at my poor student appraisal of him at the end of the class. I swore I’d never take him again. Then during my last year I had two classes that I had to take to graduate. The only ones available to me were those that he taught. When those classes started I was again frustrated by his style, but prayed deeply for God’s help and humbled myself to his instruction. I was astounded to find that his personal stories and laid back way were designed to illustrate the lessons he was attempting to teach us. I was surprised at how stupid I was! We all need to be taught!

“Surely I am more stupid than any man, and I do not have the understanding of a man.” Proverbs 30:1