Posted by: Ety W. | June 30, 2008

Dishonoring the Word of God

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Structuring is a Bible study technique which visually organizes a passage. It is similar to outlining, except that instead of numbering the main points and subpoints, phrases are arranged in columns, which refer back to the phrase being described or modified.

The purpose of this technique is to analyze the thought structure. It is helpful because it develops a visual record of the author’s flow of thought, regardless of grammatical structure (which isn’t the same in all languages.)

In inductive Bible study, we observe the text by asking questions: who what, where, when, why, and how. Structuring helps us find the answers, because it forces us to determine how the phrases and thoughts relate to one another. For example, in the above:

Who is being addressed? Older men
What are they to do? Be temperate, dignified, sensible, etc
Who else? Older women
How? likewise
What are they to do? Be reverent, etc.
Why? that the word of God may not be dishonored

By writing the text out and organizing it so that I can see how the thoughts relate, I can see that each phrase stems from another phrase and the context becomes clearer.

Sometimes it is a challenge to decide exactly what a phrase is referring back to. Such as the phrase “that the word of God may not be dishonored.” It answers why something needs to be done. But what? Wives being subject to their husbands? Or does it refer to the entire list of what young women are to do? Or, does it refer to “teaching what is good”? Or, all of the above?

I can’t decide. Perhaps there is some clue in the meaning of the word.

Dishonored – Strong’s 987 – βλασφημεω – blasphemeo = to vilify, to speak impiously, blaspheme, defame, revile, speak evil of.

What in Titus 2:2-5 would cause people to criticize the Word of God?

My next step is to see how blasphemeo is used elsewhere in the New Testament.

You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written. Romans 2:23-24

Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken against. 1 Cor. 6:1

And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you. 1 Peter 4:4

And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. 2 Peter 2:2

One common thread I see in these cross references is that it is our actions which either honor God, or dishonor Him. Returning to our passage in Titus 2: 3-5, we see a list of behaviors which honor the word of God. To see how we might dishonor it, let us consider the opposites:

Older women dishonor the word of God by:
continual silliness
dishonesty
impulsiveness
self-indulgence
irreverence
pessimism
unkindness
criticizing others
encouraging others to do the same by their words and their example

Younger women dishonor the word of God by:
disrespecting their husbands
putting themselves before their children
silliness
immodesty
neglect of home
unkindness
argumentative with husbands
rebellious

All these things describe the opposites of the behaviors listed in Titus 2 3-5.

Often we choose a behavior or an attitude to get our point across to another person. Perhaps what we aren’t always aware of, is that we are also making a point about our God.

I admit that I don’t keep this in mind often enough. Situations and circumstances come and go and are often forgotten, but how we deal with them leaves behind an impression about the word of God. This is a something to keep in mind as we ponder our course of action in working things out. We are going to make an impression one way or another. The question we need to continually ask ourselves is, what kind?


Responses

  1. This has been a great study! Though I haven’t commented, I’ve read all the posts. This is something that is very important and close to my heart. Being a Godly woman and wife was one of the first areas I was challenged in as a new Christian.

    I claim victory in this area, because although I don’t always measure up, I do believe what God’s word has to say about submission to our husbands. I can’t say I’ve always felt that way, but reading some of the other comments on the other posts reminded me of when I tried to find circumstances that God might not have thought of when writing His word. That way, maybe the word wouldn’t apply to me, just those in ideal situations! Silly, huh?

    Anyway – thanks for these thought provoking, challenging, and sometimes controversial posts.

    I’m a Believer!

    Laura

  2. Ety,
    Thanks for a very good post. Again.
    This one got me thinking also about the way we respond when wronged. Doesn’t that speak about our God too?

    You’ve encouraged me again to be responsible to God’s glory! And that in a very gentle way.

    Laura,
    Being a godly wife is a lifelong challenge. Just when you think you’ve mastered one area, up comes that ugliness again!
    I think we all have had times when we wondered whether God had thought about our circumstances when he was writing his Word. I can confess to telling Him “but you don’t know what it’s like to have x, y and z happen to you. Why do you give us such inflexible commands?”

  3. Laura, thank you for your encouraging comment. Submission, especially, is a difficult topic. My conclusion is that it requires trust in God, rather than in ourselves or our circumstances.

    Madame, I had to smile when I read what you tell the Lord, because I’ve often been tempted to tell Him the same thing. In thinking that through, I realized that as God Incarnate, He does know earthly trials and troubles. In the end, I could always tell him, “But you don’t know what it’s like to be a woman,” with the satisfaction that at least that much was true!


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