What does great teaching produce?

Great teaching produces great people. That's how I would sum up Paul's instructions in his letter to Titus. Ironically, as I have read Titus recently in my devotions, I stopped and noticed that I was somewhat surprised at what Paul was saying.

Chapter two of Titus starts with these often-quoted words: "teach what is in accord with sound doctrine" (2:1). What would we expect to find next? Doctrine. Theology. Soaring thoughts, and lots of them. But that is not where Paul goes. Instead, he describes personal character traits various sorts of people should develop. Older men should be "worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, love, and endurance." Paul has similar descriptions for older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves.

My point is this: "Teaching what is in accord with sound doctrine" is not ultimately a matter of intellectual activity. Rather, it is ultimately a matter of who people become. That's vital to remember if you are a teacher. But what if you are a listener? Receiving great teaching is not just about thinking more interesting thoughts. It is about becoming someone different. If we aren't becoming someone different, then either we aren't receiving quality teaching or we aren't doing the right things with it. Jesus has great love for those who listened to him and also put into practice what he has said.

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