I like big buts and I can not lie! This is one time when I don't like my NIV translation. This verse has to start with a big "But". Paul just got done talking about a bunch of disobedient and unfit teachers at the end of chapter 1, and now begins chapter 2 with the exact opposite. They were detestable, but you be worthy of respect. They were disobedient, but you be self-controlled. They were unfit, but you be of sound doctrine. I guess that Paul is telling Titus that if he wants to make a difference on this God foresaking island; then he better get his "But" in gear.
God has always been about the "buts" ever since he set apart a people in his name. He told them not to eat certain things or do certain things because he wanted them to have a "but" in their lives. He has called us to be set apart; to be different than the world. That's what it means to be holy. So the real question is do we have big "Buts" in our lives or just a bunch of "ands". Those "ands" don't do us any good. That's like saying, " I believe that God can meet all my needs and I'm gonna get another job." "I enjoy praising God and telling dirty jokes." The "ands" in our lives don't set us apart. We are told that they will know that we are christians by our love, but the world loves too. So, what makes us different? As Christians we are supposed to love our enemies and turn the other cheek, and all that stuff. Now that is a big but of difference. Yes, this world has cultural norms that are acceptable to man, "but" not to God. Yes, it can seem like everyone is doing it, "but" not the godly. Yes we have to live in this world, "but" we don't have to act like it. Big Buts get noticed!!! Do you got one?"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine" (KJV). Yes, I did just throw some KJV in there, complete with a "thou" and everything. Sorry, but I just can't go with the NIV on this one. The NIV uses the word "teach", but the Greek is lalei, which is "speak". So what's the diff? Well, this isn't like a speech or lecture. This word is more concerned with just talking. Not like he says that we should teach or speak about anything in particular, but that the things we say should be appropriate and match up with sound doctrine. In-other-words, we got to be representin. If it comes out of my face; it should not be questionable. If I'm going to have an impact on those around me; then I can't have them scratching their heads wondering if I'm a christian because of something stupid that I said.
And this Greek word "lalei" is more like our word "talk". Like when we ask, "Can your baby talk yet." We aren't expecting great words of wisdom; we just want to know if the kid has said mama. You know, something ordinary. It's kinda like Paul is telling Titus that his "ordinary" ought to be lined up with sound doctrine. I think Paul assumes that Titus is already teaching or preaching in accord with sound doctrine, but now in ordinary everyday talk, what are we really saying? The most effective teaching I have ever had was during one on one talks. You know; someone is hanging on your words today. Will they fall back into the same ole discouragement that they had yesterday? Or will they hear something from your mouth that gives them a taste of sound doctrine and hope. Don't worry about speaking great wisdom. If you are a baby; everyone just expects you to say "mama". If you are a christian; everyone expects you to say "Abba" (Father). And when you start talking about your dad and everything that he has done for you; then your "but" is going to show