The Scriptorium

A Goal for Younger Men

They need a little more than just teaching. Titus 2.6

Pray Psalm 4.6.
There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.

Read Titus 2.6.

Prepare.

1. What does Paul expect of young men in the churches?

2. Why should Titus “exhort” rather than simply “teach” them?

Meditate.
It seems strange that this one goal should be set forth for younger men. However, it is most appropriate. 

We do not need to dwell on the tendency of younger men to be led about by whims and passions, and to engage in all manner of activities which bring sorrow to their parents and shame to the Name of Christ. For young men to think right and clearly (Greek: σωφρονεῖν, sophronein), so that they would be aware of the temptations that come to their eyes, ears, mouths, and bodies, would be excellent discipline to prepare them for responsible adulthood. Titus must exhort or encourage them in this, which carries a much stronger and more personal meaning than merely teach.

Paul knew young men well, and he knew what pastors must focus on in helping them to escape the lusts of youth and enter adulthood ready to serve the Lord (Ps. 119.9-16). Every believer must discipline his or her body, so that it is effectively dead to sin and alive to righteousness. That challenge can be greater for younger men; thus, they must be encouraged to work at it with greater focus and intensity while they are young. We’re not helping young men become older disciple-makers if all we do is attract them to church with the promise of good times and the prospect of meeting some Christian women.

It is instructive to see how Paul thinks about the teaching and learning goals for different ages and types of people in the churches. Every church member has different challenges and a different calling; thus, each church member needs to be instructed in the Word according to the unique circumstances and opportunities of his or her life setting. 

When Paul thought about instruction, he concentrated on outcomes; too often our work of Christian education concentrates on content, making sure that we communicate ideas, precepts, insights, and so forth, in as interesting and perhaps entertaining a manner as possible, but without much regard for how these are processed into the life. In churches where pastors teach sound doctrine, exhorting and rebuking as needed, where elders shepherd the flock diligently, and where men and women take up their own discipling responsibilities in their proper settings, real, measurable discipleship outcomes will be in evidence.

Reflect.
1. Why is being “sober-minded” so important for younger men?

2. What’s the difference between exhorting or encouraging someone and merely teaching them?

3. What challenges or obstacles do young men face in seeking to become clear-thinkers for Christ?

He merely enjoins that young men be instructed to be temperate; for temperance, as Plato shows, cures the whole understanding of man. It is as if he had said, "Let them be well regulated and obedient to reason." John Calvin (1506-1564), Commentary on Titus 2

I pray for the young men in our church, Lord, that they might be clear-minded and serious about Jesus. Help me to exhort encourage them by…

Pray Psalm 4.6, 7.

Intercede with the Lord for the young men in your church, that He might show them His goodness, and they might grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Sing Psalm 4.6, 7.
Psalm 4.6, 7 (Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent)
Wicked men may scorn and try us, casting doubt upon Your grace. 
Send Your Spirit, Lord, don’t deny us till we see Your glorious face. 
You Who sent Your Son to buy us, fill our hearts with joy and grace.

T. M. Moore

What are church leaders supposed to do in leading the Lord’s flock? Our workbook, Shepherding God’s Flock, will show you how to bring effective pastoral ministry and disciple-making into the everyday life of your church. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.