TITUS 2:1-15 EXTRA NOTES
Chapter Summary: Titus chapter 2 details instructions for various groups within the church. These include older men, older women, younger men, and younger women. Paul commands Titus to encourage these positive behaviors, and to correct anything which contradicts his teachings. Titus is also told to be bold, and authorita-tive, in his work. Titus 2:1-10 is Paul's instructions to Titus, regarding the way various groups within the church should be coached. It includes specific instructions for older men and women, younger men and women, and servants. Titus is to encourage traits such as faithfulness, respectfulness, dignity, and self-control. Living this way not only draws others to Christ, it leaves critics with no room to attack our faith. Titus 2:11-15 explains the grace of God as something which encourages believers toward right behavior and right thinking. The previous Scriptures gave instructions for proper behavior of church members. Here, God's grace is shown as the foundation on which traits such as self-control, respect, and godliness are built. Paul also commands Titus to teach these ideas boldly, and with authority.
v. 1: Chapter 1 ended with a discussion of false teachers. The first verse of chapter 2 shifts the focus back to Titus himself. In contrast to the false teachers, Titus was to instruct people according to "sound doctrine," or "sound teaching." Paul previously mentioned the importance of correct doctrine to Titus (Titus 1:9). He had also mentioned it to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:10), where he lists various sinful practices which are incompatible with sound teachings. Both of these passages explain sound doctrine as both a teaching and a way of life, which stands in stark contrast to sinful teaching and sinful living. As with many aspects of Jewish culture, life was viewed from a holistic perspective. Teaching and lifestyle were intimately connected. Paul will also mention doctrine in Titus 2:10. There, he will connect a godly lifestyle with "good faith." Paul also explains there that this doctrine comes from God, not his own mind. This God is the God of both Titus and Paul.
v. 2: Verses 2-10 instruct Titus regarding various groups of people. Verse 2 focuses on "older men." In that time and culture, this meant those about age 40 and over. These men were given six traits. First, they were to think clearly. They were not to be easily angered and certainly not drunk. The stereotype of Cretan culture was undisciplined and lazy (Titus 1:12), but these older men were to live differently. Second, they were to be "dignified," or "worthy of respect." This term implies a contrast to the disrespectful lifestyle which was mentioned among unbelievers in Crete. It is also different from the behavior of the "circumcision party" mentioned in chapter 1. Third, they were to be "self-controlled," or "sensible," which is also a qualification of elders (Titus 1:5-9). Fourth, older men were to be "sound in faith." Just as church leaders were to hold to sound doctrine (Titus 1:9), older men were to affirm biblical teaching, and live according to it. Fifth, older men were to be sound "in love." This trait is exemplified most clearly by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. It is the Greek term agape, which means a love focused on others, rather than on one's self. Sixth, they were to possess "steadfastness," or "endurance," which is a key theme both in this letter, and the book of Hebrews (Heb. 12).
v. 3: After discussing older men in v. 2, Paul discusses the traits of "older women." As with the men, they were to be "reverent in behavior." This again means clear thinking, slow to anger, and not prone to drunkenness. Three other attributes are given in this verse. These are added to a command to "train the younger women" in verse 4.
• The first of these three traits is not to be "slanderers," or "malicious gossips." Slandering involved speaking badly of others, which includes all forms of gossip. This sin was also condemned in the Torah (Leviticus 19:16). In the New Testament, Jesus also spoke against slander (Mt. 15:19; Mark 7:22). So did Peter (1 Pet. 2:1; 1 Pet. 3:16) and John (Rev.2:9). Paul mentions slander, or gossip, more than a dozen times in his writings.
• The second of the three traits was not to be "slaves to much wine." This parallels the qualifications of elders in Titus 1:5-9. Drinking alcohol was not itself condemned, and people commonly drank fermented drink in this time. What is forbidden is being controlled by it. The Greek phrase here is either translated as "slaves" to wine, or "addicted to" wine. It is the same Greek word translated "servant" in Titus 1:1, referring to Paul as a servant of God. Like the older men and elders, older women were to "teach what is good." Unlike the men, however, their teaching has a uniqueness seen in verses 4-5, focusing on helping younger women.
v. 4: Paul's instructions to "older women" began in verse 3, and continue here. Verse 3 gives instructions to "train the young women," or to "encourage" them. In that time and place, "older women" would have been those around 40 years old and over. These women were usually already married, had raised children, and had ample experience to pass on to younger women. This experience was important, given the immoral culture in which younger women of Crete were immersed (Titus 1:12). The focus of younger women was to be their immediate family. In contrast with the wild living of Crete's non-believers, a young Christian woman was to live faithfully to her husband, showing love to him and to her children (Proverbs 31:11). The theme of how husbands and wives are to treat one another is also discussed by Paul in Ephesians 5:22-33. Wives are meant to respect their husbands, and husbands are to love their wives as themselves.
v. 5: In verse 5, Paul instructs young women in godly living. He focuses on five specific areas. First, young women are to be "self-controlled," or "sensible," a trait also expected of older men in verse 2. Second, they were to be "pure." This trait, highly valued by Paul, is mentioned three times in Titus 1:15. Third, young women were to be "busy at home," or "homemakers." The phrase does not prohibit women working another job, or working outside the home. Rather, it highlights the critical value women have in caring for the home. Some women in Crete were likely known for being lazy (Titus 1:12-13) and living for pleasure. In contrast, godly young women were to be known for their concern for their home. Fourth, young women were to be "kind." This trait is also part of the fruit of the Spirit given by Paul (Galatians 5:22-23), which is relevant for all Christians. Fifth, young women were to be "submissive to their own husbands." In Titus, this is meant to be in contrast to the culture of non-believers in Crete, where wives likely disrespected their husbands. However, Paul also develops the concept of wives submitting to their husband elsewhere (Ephesians 5:22-33), as does Peter (1 Peter 3:5). This submission does not mean living as a servant, or never taking initiative. Rather, it means living with love under a husband's leadership. Paul compares Christian marriage with the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).
v. 6: So far, chapter 2 has spoken to Titus (Titus 2:1), older men (Titus 2:2), older women (Titus 2:3), and younger women (Titus 2:4-5). In verse 6, Paul speaks to "younger men." Titus is told to urge these men to be "self-controlled," or "sensible." This command uses the Greek parakalei, which means "to challenge" or "to admonish." In other words, Titus is supposed to motivate young men to live with self-control. This same trait is also expected of older men (Titus 2:2) and younger women (Titus 2:5). This is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It would have been an important correction for young men raised in the pleasure-seeking culture of Crete (Titus 1:12-13).
• Self-control is a crucial focus for young men seeking to live out the Christian faith. This involves both purity and other areas in which young men were to live as an example. In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul offered similar advice, commanding Timothy to be an example in everything he did, despite his young age. The concept of a godly example is similar to the Torah, where Moses was commanded to construct the tabernacle according to the "pattern" given by God. It is also developed in the next verse (Titus 2:7), similarly to how Paul addressed Timothy.
v. 7: Young men are instructed to live as clear examples in two general areas: their good works and their teaching. Here again, Paul's words to Titus resemble his advice to Timothy. Paul had instructed Timothy to study carefully so that others could see his spiritual growth, convicting others and leading them to Christ (1 Timothy 4:15-16). Verse 7 also begins a list of traits associated with proper teaching. First, the teaching of the young men, including Titus, must show integrity. This command uses the Greek word aphthorian, in a form which the New Testament only uses in this verse. It refers to soundness or incorruptibility. The second trait, "dignity," includes the ideas of honor and respect. Paul often encouraged people to live with respect for others (Romans 13:7), inspiring respect from others (1 Timothy 3:2), including the way they dress (1 Timothy 2:9), treat their spouses (Ephesians 5:33) and their church leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12).
v. 8: Verse 8 continues the list of attributes which Paul began in verse 6. Here, Paul commands young men to have "sound speech." This trait, also seen in 1 Timothy 4:12, was taught consistently in the early church. This is speech which is beyond criticism, so that those who attack it shame themselves. This mirrors Peter's instructions in 1 Peter 3:15-16. There, Peter instructs Christians to live so that anyone who attacks their character will embarrass themselves in the eyes of others. At the same time, Peter commands a gentle, respectful approach, and a readiness to answer those who question our faith.
• The discipline of "apologetics" is summarized by this idea. Verses such as these encourage believers to know the reasons for their beliefs, and be prepared to explain them. The Greek term is apologia, which literally means, "to give an answer." It has nothing to do with apologizing. Rather, it is about communicating Christian truth to those who doubt or oppose it. Paul clearly teaches young men to stand strong in this area of faith. The result is that opponents will have nothing negative to say about them, a point also made about the prophet Daniel (Daniel 6).
v. 9: Verse 9 continues Paul's instructions to Titus on how to guide various groups within the church. This verse is the first of two focused on "bondservants," or "slaves," from the Greek word doulous (plural). Paul considered himself a doulos (singular) of God (Titus 1:1). Paul was not bound to any person, but bondservants were a common part of first century culture and Paul included teachings for them in his letter. He showed concern for their well-being, including urging masters to free slaves whenever possible, such as in his letter to Philemon.
• Paul's commands apply to anyone operating under the authority of someone else. According to this text, bondservants are to obey their master in everything. Further, they are to strive to be "well-pleasing." This phrase is similar to God the Father saying He was "well pleased" with Jesus the Son at His baptism (Matthew 3:17). It reflects a person successfully performing the will of the Master. Likewise, the servant is not to be argumentative. Instead of opposing his or her master, the bondservant is to comply, and seek the good of both the master and their household. The goal of this instruction is given in the next verse: so that the actions of the believer will bring glory to God, and His truth.
v. 10: Continuing his instructions to bondservants from the previous verse, Paul instructs them to not steal. Instead, slaves are to demonstrate faithfulness. In other words, servants are to give their masters every reason to trust them. Their actions are to be noble. The last phrase of this verse explains why: so that everything the servant does will bring honor and glory to God and His truth. The life-goal of a bondservant is to make the teachings of God appealing, by living them out. An ancient bondservant had no direct influence over his or her master, but through godly behavior, they could influence their master to come to faith in Christ. The final phrase, referring to teachings about God, offers an interesting theological thought. Paul is a Jew, and is writing to Titus, an uncircumcised Gentile. And yet, Paul refers to God as "our" Savior. This means Paul saw both himself and Titus as brothers in Christ, part of a single family of God. This theme, often repeated in Titus, emphasizes unity through Jesus among all who believe in Him (Romans 10:11-13).
v. 11: This verse turns the focus of Paul's letter from the Christians of Crete to a discussion of the grace of God. The mention of the appearance of grace is a reference to Jesus Christ and His appearance on earth (John 1:14). The grace Jesus brought was responsible for "bringing salvation for all people." In the past, talk of salvation was primarily focused on the Jews, as God's chosen people. However, with the coming of Jesus, the message of salvation was spreading to both Jews and Gentiles. This concept is especially important in this letter, since Titus was a Gentile and led churches on Crete, a Gentile territory. Paul develops this theme of human unity elsewhere in his writings. He wrote that being Jewish or Gentile, free or slave, male or female was irrelevant: all are equal in Jesus (Galatians 3:28). In Colossians 3:11, Paul says again that race and ethnicity are meaningless, in terms of our relationship to Christ.
v. 12: The grace of God, mentioned in verse 11, brings salvation as well as changed actions. Two main areas are presented here in verse 12. First, God's grace is involved in teaching us to turn away from worldly, unrestrained, godless behaviors. The Greek of this verse uses two words with similar meanings. One is translated as "ungodliness," or "godlessness," the other as "worldly passions," or "worldly lusts." Ungodliness is simply anything which contradicts God's will or His nature. God's grace helps believers in Christ to reject ungodly living. In addition, it helps us reject sinful desires. God's grace trains us, or teaches us, to avoid behaviors that are sinful. The second major point made in verse 12 involves living with self-control, morality, and godliness. "Self-control" is an idea frequently mentioned in Paul's letter to Titus (Titus 1:8; Titus 2:2-6; Titus 2:12). It emphasizes the importance of a disciplined life. This attitude was in sharp contrast to the lazy, self-focused lifestyle of many people in Crete (Titus 1:12-13). The Greek dikaios is translated as "righteously," or "upright," and literally means "proper," or "right." "Godly" is the polar opposite of "ungodliness," mentioned earlier in the verse. This is from the Greek eusebos, meaning "virtuously," or "piously."
v. 13: Verse 11 began a discussion on the grace of God, which continues until the end of chapter 2. Verse 13 refers to believers looking forward to a "blessed hope." This hope is the appearance of the glory of Christ. The New Testament mentions various "appearings" of Jesus. He appeared on earth as a human (2 Timothy 1:10). Jesus also appeared alive after His resurrection (Acts 1:3). There will also be a future appearing, mentioned in this verse, as well as 1 Timothy 6:14, 2 Timothy 4:1, and 2 Timothy 4:8. This future event is the one referred to as the "blessed hope," a phrase the New Testament uses only here. This appearing will be "of the glory," indicating the coming of Jesus in power. Jesus is called "our great God," a reminder that Paul and Titus were fellow believers, and that Jesus is divine. Jesus is also called both Savior (Redeemer) and Christ. The term "Christ" is from the Greek word Christos, translated from the Hebrew term Mashiyach, or Messiah. These multiple titles emphasize the majesty of Jesus, and speak highly of His future coming.
v. 14: This verse continues to comment on the work of Jesus Christ, referring to Him as the One who sacrificed Himself on our behalf. This is a reference to the death Jesus on the cross, offering His life as a sacrifice for sin. The purpose of His sacrifice was in two parts, according to this verse. The first is to rescue believers from sin or lawlessness. Second, the death of Jesus is able to cleanse-or purify-meaning to free from sin and its consequences. We are cleansed "for Himself," to serve God, not merely for personal fulfillment or improve-ment. Believers are "a people" or kingdom "for His own possession." As children of God, we are both family and citizens of a new kingdom. Because we have been freed from sin and its power, we have a zeal or passion to do good works. This reflects Ephesians 2:8-9, which speaks of salvation being by grace through faith apart from works. Ephesians 8:10 also states that we are created, by Jesus, for good works.
v. 15: The final verse of chapter 2 begins with a general command to "declare," or "teach," certain things. The ideas Paul has in mind are the ones he has given about various groups within the church (Titus 2:1-10), as well as his teachings on salvation and Christian living (Titus 2:11-14). Titus was to "exhort," or "encourage." To exhort is to teach or urge, focusing on the positive aspects of teaching Christian truth. Exhortation was often used as another word for preaching. John the Baptist exhorted people when he preached the good news (Luke 3:18). Paul exhorted people when he preached at Pentecost (Acts 2:40). Exhortation is even called a spiritual gift in Romans 12:8. To "rebuke," or "correct," focuses on the negative aspect of defending truth against false teachers, and speaking against sin. Titus had been commissioned by Paul for his leadership position, and was to follow Paul's commands "with all authority." Titus had been commanded by an apostle and was not to let false teachers-or his own insecurities-keep him from fulfilling his important calling to the people of Crete.