A trustworthy saying
Our church has a weekly women’s Bible study that meets on Wednesday mornings. I’ve been attending it since before I had children so I’ve been through many life changes since my first study. I now have the privilege and joy of teaching on Wednesday mornings. One of my favorite things about teaching is the accountability it creates for me to study in-depth. We use various studies depending on the year, and we most recently completed an Interactive Bible Study in Titus.
My Bible study prep routine at home usually involves late nights and early mornings due to my responsibilities as a wife and mother with young kiddos. The long-awaited quiet and tasks that haven’t been written down yet motivate me to get started. I like to wear earbuds (the noise-canceling function is life-changing) and listen to instrumental worship music on Spotify as I study. I want to share about a recent study session I had and walk you through my train of thought, hoping it will encourage you.
⏯️ “Hey Google, play my worship music playlist.”
I’ve never taught through Titus before but loved having the opportunity to—especially alongside a co-teacher who is in a different stage of life than me. She might laugh at my tact, knowing it’s just a nice way to say she’s older than me and retired. She is wise and a great teacher and encourager. But I was doing the extra preparing, as it was my week to lead. The week’s passage was Titus 3:1-8.
🔼 “Hey Google, increase the volume.”
Titus 3 is a great passage, isn’t it? Over the course of the study, I’ve tried to help our group clearly see the gospel message in the passages we’ve been reading. Titus 3 is perfect for this and makes it easy. It’s almost as if the Two Ways to Live presentation was written there between the lines. We can start to pick out where we see God as creator (v1), our rebellion (v3) and God’s justice (v 5, 7). I’d ask which of the six boxes would fit where. It’s a great exercise because it aids in our understanding of what the gospel is. (It was the Learn the Gospel course that got me thinking this way.)
What got me really digging is the phrase in verse 8: “This is a trustworthy saying.” I decided to look for this phrase in other parts of the Bible. It led me to 1 and 2 Timothy, which makes sense because those letters were written by Paul around the same time as his letter to Titus. We see in the letters to Timothy that Paul uses similar wording when assuring his recipient that what he is saying is true and deserves full acceptance. This saying that Paul is setting forth as trustworthy and true is the gospel, described in 1 Timothy 1:15 as: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” The message in this letter is true because we know Christ actually did come into the world. As I flipped back into Titus, the trustworthy saying in chapter 3 is that Jesus “saved us” (v5) and we are “justified by his grace.” (v7)
⏭️ “Hey Google, next song.”
As I connected the dots, it led me to think about the first time God gives us good news that we can trust. I flipped my Bible all the way back to Genesis 3:15. “The first gospel” is written in my margin:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
When we are looking through our gospel lens, God’s statement to the serpent is one we can find hope in. Our rebellion begins here, but God doesn’t leave us there. In Kevin DeYoung’s children’s books he describes this moment as the beginning of the search for the serpent crusher. As Christians, we know this search did not end in vain and the promise God makes here in Genesis 3 is trustworthy. And his name is Jesus.
⏭️ “Hey Google, play Christ is Mine Forevermore by CityAlight.”
Why stop in Genesis? Where else can I find this ‘trustworthy saying’? I flip to the very end of my Bible to Revelation 21:5:
“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
It was good to reflect on this verse here at the end of the Bible, after thinking about the beginning, in light of Jesus’ life and ministry, death and resurrection. In verse 3 we hear from the throne that “the dwelling place of God is with man.” Our God dwells with us, and King Jesus has come, and because he has, we know we can trust God to “wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4)
As you study God's word, be encouraged because the whole Bible testifies to the trustworthy saying that God did what he said he would do. ⏹️