Able To Exhort And Refute
AN ELDER MUST BE ABLE TO “EXHORT” AND REFUTE”
Titus 1:9 says that the overseer is to be one who is, “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (NAS).
We have already discussed the fact that this man is to hold fast to the faithful word. But as Paul continues, he says that the reason (or one of the reasons) is so that he may be able to “exhort in sound doctrine” and “refute those who contradict.”
“Exhort in sound doctrine”: Exhort is defined as “parakaleo”. . . primarily, "to call to a person" (para, "to the side," kaleo, "to call"), denotes (a) "to call on, entreat" . . . ; (b) to admonish, exhort, to urge one to pursue some course of conduct (always prospective, looking to the future, in contrast to the meaning to comfort, which is retrospective, having to do with trial experienced), translated "exhort" in the RV of Phil 4:2; 1 Thess 4:10; Heb 13:19,22, for KJV, "beseech"; in 1 Tim 5:1, for KJV, "intreat"; in 1 Thess 5:11, for KJV, "comfort"; "exhorted" in 2 Cor 8:6 and 12:18, for KJV, "desired"; in 1 Tim 1:3, for KJV, "besought. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers).
From the Strong's, “parakaleo (par-ak-al-eh'-o); from NT:3844 and NT:2564; to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): KJV - beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.).
Exhortation is something that Timothy had been instructed to do in 1 Tim 4:13; “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (NAS). We also find the word in the following passages:
1 Cor 1:10, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (NAS).
1 Cor 4:16, “I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me” (NAS).
1 Peter 5:1-3, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock” (NAS).
Exhortation involves more than just “speaking” or “teaching,” as we can see from these examples. Exhortation involves a special urging or even imploring for someone to behave in such a way. I might exhort the reader to pay more attention to Bible study and prayer, while not teaching you anything that you don't already know. Perhaps exhortation is done most frequently from the `pulpit' as the evangelist “exhorts” the congregation to remain steadfast in what they already have been taught.
The overseer is to be a man who is able to “exhort in sound doctrine,” therefore relying on the written word for his source of exhortation. Therefore it is essential that he hold fast to the Word of God!
“Refute those who contradict”: The word which the New American Standard Bible translates “refute” can be defined as, “elegcho (el-eng'-kho); of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish: KJV - convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.). The King James Version translates the word “convict,” while holding to the context of “convincing” one of error.
It seems from the context that the “convicting” or “convincing” would involve both those who were doing the contradicting as well as those who were witnesses to the false teaching. One who aspires to the work of deacon must be equipped and prepared to “refute” any false teaching that may arise from within (or without) the church. Therefore it is essential that he hold fast to the Word of God!
We could say much more about this subject, but will be discussing this further as we look at the responsibilities of the elders (See THE CHURCH AND ME, X. OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH: THE ELDERS).