“Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (Titus 1:9)
The Apostle Paul gave an extensive list of the character qualities that Titus was to look for in the men who should lead the churches on the island of Crete. That list (found in Titus 1:5-8) is helpful not only for selecting leaders, but also as a way to examine and measure our character as followers of Jesus Christ.
After the character is described, Paul then begins to tell us what those leaders should do. Again, these words have first relevance to leaders in the church, but they are not only for those leaders. In part, this explains how leaders should lead us, and where we need to be and go as Christians.
What should leaders do? They should be holding fast the faithful word.
This means first that the leader must be sure of the faithful word for himself. When he brings the word of God to people he must bring it with confidence and authority, not mixed with theological speculation and academic doubts.
Holding fast the faithful word also that the leader will stick to God’s word, instead of a focus on fads and programs for the church. If a man will not first stick to the word and will not then stick with the word of God, he is not qualified for leadership in God’s church.
Don’t miss the last part of this phrase. The leader should do this as he has been taught. This means that the leader has been under the teaching of someone else. A qualified leader doesn’t necessarily need to go to Bible College or seminary, but they do need to be taught and discipled by someone, not just themselves. No one is really safe to teach until they themselves have been taught.
These are important things for leaders – but also for everyday Christians. How about you? Do you hold fast the faithful word? Do you stick to the word of God? Remember the example of Eleazar the son of Dodo (2 Samuel 23:9-10). He fought the Philistines with such might that when the battle was over, his hand stuck to the sword. That’s a great illustration of holding fast the faithful word.
– Eleazar had his grip on the right thing – a sword. We need to put our hands on the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
– Eleazar actually made use of his sword, and we must actually use the truth of God’s word instruct us, transforming our thinking and life.
– Eleazar held on to his sword tightly, and we must hold on tightly to the faithful word of God.
Believer, hold fast to the word of God – so tightly that you can’t let go of it!