You’ve been spending time in the book of Titus. Probably more than you’ve spent during your whole life. You’ve been through the book to read it, then again to look for your Paul marks while listing him, and then again looking for your Titus marks. In this process, you may have noticed that there are a few words that are used quite frequently. You seem to remember that word being used at least once in each chapter, and even more frequently in some chapters. If you were to read the book outloud you would find that your tongue getting tired by these words.
These are called key words. Kay Arthur’s definition of key words are those that are frequently repeated, and those that if omitted, would change the meaning of the text. I just call them, “words that make your tongue tired.”
Going back to our frog analogy: no matter where I go to study frogs, there will be some repeated words. “Pond,” “lily pad,” tadpole,” and “ribbit” would be words key to frogs. The same is true for studying the Word – in each book the author repeated words because those words are crucial to his purpose for writing.
If you were to write to your Gramma to tell her about the carnival you attended, you couldn’t help but use key words. They’d be ones like “carnival,” “prizes,” and “cotton candy.” If those words were omitted from your letter, the meaning of the letter would be lost. That’s what Paul has done in his letter to Titus. He wrote a couple of phrases over and over again because those phrases told the main purpose of his letter. Go read through Titus one more time – this time read it out loud. Look for words that are repeated, that are important, and that make your tongue tired. Don’t read here any further until you’ve done that, then come back and see if your guess at the keys are the same as mine.
Did you read it out loud? Did your tongue get tired at “good deeds?” It probably did, because that is a key word. Now read the whole thing again, marking “good deeds”. You can choose any color you like and scribble over “good deeds” and its pronouns.
What else made your tongue tired? “Sound doctrine”? Go back through the book and scribble “sound doctrine” with another of your favorite colors.
Remember that in inductive study, the point of marking anything is to make a list. So, grab a piece of paper and make two lists; one with the heading of “Good deeds” and the other headed “Sound Doctrine.” Again, pretend that you are a reporter and are searching for the whole story – who, what, when, where, how, and why. Stick to copying the Word as closely as you can.
Now you are starting to see why Paul wrote. He wants Titus to do some things, chiefly to teach our people to engage in good deeds. There are other things he’s to do, but it all revolves around good deeds. When you come back, we’ll begin the next step of our wonderful Inductive Study of Titus!