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Titus 2.1-15 Notes

Titus 2:1-15 Biblical Commentary

CONTEXT:  We know little about Titus. He had been a companion of Paul, and was a Greek whom Paul did not require to be circumcised (Galatians 2:3). Paul regarded him as "my true child, according to a common faith" (Titus 1:4). Paul had left Titus in Crete to "set in order the things that were lacking, and to appoint elders in every city" (Titus 1:5). Tradition holds that Titus became the first bishop of Crete. Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and is approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of the Greek mainland.

In closing this letter, Paul asks Titus to "be diligent to come to me to Nicopolis, for I have determined to winter there" (Titus 3:12). Nicopolis is a city on the west coast of the Greek mainland.  In the verses that immediately precede our text, Paul addressed the problem of false teachers, "especially those of the circumcision" (1:10ff). He told Titus to teach sound doctrine (2:1), and included specific instructions for older men (2:2), older women (2:3-5), young men (2:6-8), and servants (2:9-10).

• These instructions promote a host of values, including temperance, sober-mindedness, faith, love, patience, reverence, kindness, integrity, seriousness, incorruptibility, and soundness of speech.

• They also promote a host of behaviors, including not slandering, not drinking too much wine, teaching what is good, chastity, wives subjecting themselves to their husbands, and not blaspheming.

A. How Titus must teach different groups of people in the church. 

1. (Titus 2:1) The command to teach

2  But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.  

a. But as for you: This sets Titus apart from the people described at the end of Titus 1. They may teach legalism and fables, but Titus was to teach the things which are proper for sound doctrine.

b. Things which are proper for sound doctrine: The idea behind this phrase has to do with right living, not just right thinking. The Living Bible translates this "Speak up for the right living that goes along with true Christianity." The New Living Translation has "Promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching."

            i. We can't escape it. The Bible is a book that tells us how to live. It is the height of hypocrisy to say that we believe its truth if we ignore how it tells us to live our lives. We don't always like it, but we always need to hear how God expects us to live.

            ii. Paul simply wants Titus to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 : Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

2. (Titus 2:2) What to teach the older men.

2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.

a. The older men: Titus had some older men among the Christians in Crete. They had to be approached with love and wisdom, or they might easily be offended when taught by a younger man like Titus.

b. Older men: Paul wanted Titus to know that they must live with the maturity and wisdom that their years should give them. This means temperate, dignified, and sensible lives. The command to teach these things means that they do not come automatically with age.

c. Older men: They must also have stability, being stable in the right things: sound in faith, in love, in perseverance As we get older, we tend to "harden" in our ways. This is a good thing if we "harden" in the ways of faith, love, and perseverance.

i. perseverance is the great ancient Greek word hupomone. It means a steadfast and active endurance, not a passive waiting. Older men are not to just patiently wait around until they pass on to the next world. They are to actively endure the challenges of life; even the challenges of old age.

4. (Titus 2:3-4a) How to teach the older women.

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4a so that they may encourage the young women

a. Older women likewise: Just as Titus had to give special consideration to the older men, also must he keep in mind how to approach the older women. They have their own set of temptations and opportunities.

b. reverent in behavior, malicious gossips: The idea behind behavior includes a suggestion of dress and how a woman carries herself. The word for slanderers is the same word used for "devils." When the older women - or anyone else, for that matter - slander and gossip, then they do the devils' work

            i. "The adjective 'reverent' basically means 'suitable to a sacred office' and conveys the image of a good priestess carrying out the duties of her office. The conduct of the older women must reveal that they regard life as sacred in all of its aspects." (Hiebert)

c nor enslaved to much wine: This was a common failing of older women in Roman and Greek culture. Paul recognizes that this special challenge needs special instruction.

            i. "The two prohibitions which follow, not false accusers and not given to much wine, again vividly portray the contemporary Cretan environment. The first has already been met in 1 Timothy 3:11  and the second in 1 Timothy 3:8 . Evidently in Crete the liability to these excesses was more severe than in Ephesus, especially among the women, for the verb (doulo) used here signifies 'bondage' (RSV 'slaves to drink'), a much stronger expression than the corresponding phrase in 1 Timothy." (Guthrie)

d. teaching what is good: If the older women have special challenges, they also have special opportunities. God can use their wisdom and experience as they encourage the young women. This gives the older women something positive to live towards, instead of the negative things of slander and alcohol abuse.

            i. "To bring out the required Christian characteristics the apostle uses a unique compound expression, kalodidaskaloi, teachers of good things." (Guthrie)

4. (Titus 2:4b-5) How to teach the younger women.

4b  to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

a. The young women: According to Paul's instruction, Titus was not to make it his ministry to teach the young women directly. Instead, he was to equip and encourage the older women to teach the young women.

            i. Of course, this doesn't mean that the young women were barred from listening to Titus teach. It simply means that it was wrong - and dangerous - for Titus to make the young women a focus of his ministry. If there was a young women Bible Study group, Titus shouldn't teach it. The older women should.

b. To love their husbands, to love their children: Instruction for the young women begins with home matters. God has given them a strategic position of influence and assistance to their husbands and their children, and they must let love dominate their influence and assistance.

            i. Paul says that love for husbands and children must be taught. Certainly, aspects of this love are inborn. But other aspects - especially aspects that reflect the self-giving sacrifice of Jesus - must be taught.

c. To be discreet, chaste, homemakers: The young women must be taught these attitudes (discreet, chaste) and skills (homemakers).

d. Good, obedient to their own husbands: Goodness isn't always easy in a world that blurs the line between good and evil, so the older women need to teach the younger to be good. Obedient to their own husbands is another way of expressing the wife's duty of submission in the marriage relationship (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18).

e. That the word of God may not be blasphemed: This shows how important it is for the older women to teach these things, and for the younger women to learn them. When Christians don't live in a Biblical, godly manner it means that the word of God may be blasphemed among the ungodly.

            i. "The practical worth of a religion is not unfairly estimated by its effects on the lives of those who profess it. If the observed effect of the Gospel were to make women worse wives, it would not commend it to the heathen." (White)

5. (Titus 2:6) How to teach the younger men. 

6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;

a. Likewise: This is a linking word. It shows that what the young men need to learn isn't all that different from what the younger women, the older women, and the older men need to learn. We may need a slightly different emphasis depending on our station in life, but the essential message of godly living is the same.

b. To be sober-minded: The Living Bible translates the thought well: Urge the young men to behave carefully, taking life seriously. This is the only command Titus is told to emphasize to young men, but sometimes a difficult one for younger men.

i. sensible: "The word is sophron, and it describes the man with the mind which has everything under control.... strength of mind which has learned to govern every instinct and passion until each has its proper place and no more." (Barclay)

6. (Titus 2:7-8) Titus and his practical example to the young men.

7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

a. in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds: Titus had to be more than a teacher, he also had to be an example. His guidance to others could not be taken seriously if he himself was not walking after the Lord.

b. with purity in doctrine: Titus had to be an example in doctrinal stability and integrity. If he wasn't comfortably settled in his understanding of the Scriptures, he wasn't ready to lead.

c. so that the opponent will be put to shame: So that your accusers will be embarrassed, having nothing to hold against you. Jesus could say to an angry mob, "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" (John 8:46)

i. White on having nothing bad to say about us: "The clause means having nothing evil to report concerning us: not, as the English versions, having no evil thing to say."

7. (Titus 2:9-10) How to teach bond-slaved [servants].

9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumenta-tive, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

 a. Urge bondservants: Titus was to teach bondservants about their specific duties as Christians. In the ancient world, Christians shocked the larger culture by mixing slaves and masters in the social setting of the church service. This meant that a slave might go to church and be an elder over his own master.

i. "I do not think for a moment Paul believed that the practice of slavery ought to exist. He believed to the fullest extent that the great principles of Christianity would overthrow slavery anywhere, and the sooner they did so the better pleased would he be; but, for the time being, as it was the custom to have slaves, they must adorn the doctrine of God their Savior in the position in which they were." (Spurgeon)

b. subject to their own masters: Paul doesn't say that bondservants should be obedient to every free man, only to their own masters. This means that Paul recognized that bondservants had obligations, but only to their own masters.

            i. well-pleasing [obediant]:  "The word 'obedient' was used to describe a company of sliders as they stand at attention and salute their commander. They are declaring as they stand at attention in front of him that they are ready to take his orders." (Draper)

            ii. At the same time, as in every arena of human submission, our obedience and submission is limited by our higher responsibility to obey God. As Peter said in Acts 5:29, We ought to obey God rather than men when there is a conflict between the two.

c. Not pilfering: This type of offence was so common in the ancient world that sometimes the words servant and thief were used interchangeably. It was assumed that servants would steal from their masters in these small ways.

            i. Pilfering: "The word signifies, not only stealing but embezzling another's property; keeping back a part of the price of any commodity sold on the master's account. In Acts 5:2 , we translate it , to keep back part of the price; the crime of which Ananias and Saphira were guilty." (Clarke)

d. Well pleasing in all things: Simply, Titus must direct servants to be good workers in all ways. By their hard work and humble submission, they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

            i. Adorn:  literally means to take precious jewels and arrange them so as to show their true beauty."

            ii. In one sense the gospel doesn't need adornment. At the same time, we can show the beauty of the gospel by the way we live. We often think we need better words to adorn the gospel. Better words are fine, but what we really need are better lives.

            iii. Wonderfully, those who (in this context) have the ability to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior are bondservants - slaves under a master. Even one in a low or disadvantaged station in life has the potential to beautify God's truth by they way they live.

            iv. "Thus we see how 'the doctrine of God our Savior' may 'be adorned.' It is adorned when its effects on life and character are expressed in conduct.... While it is still only a theory doctrine lacks the manifestation of beauty. When, however, it is realized and manifested in human life its beauty at once appears. The value of a theory is always supremely apparent in the results it produces." (Morgan)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we would live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; 13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; 14 who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works.

"For the grace (Greek: charisof God has appeared" (Greek: anthropos) (v. 11a). The word "For" connects this verse to the previous verses that promote certain values and behaviors (vv. 2-10; see the last two paragraphs of "The Context" above). The sense we get, then, is that, because we are the recipients of God's grace and salvation (v. 11), we should reflect the values and engage in the behaviors that Paul promoted in verses 2-10.

▪ Grace (charis) is a significant word in the New Testament, especially in Paul's epistles. The use of charis in the New Testament has its roots in the Hebrew word hesed, used in the Old Testament to speak of God's lovingkindness, mercy, and faithfulness.

▪  Greeks often used the word charis to speak of patronage (the support of a patron, such as someone who provided financial or political support). To Greeks, the word charis connoted generosity-generosity that demanded loyalty on the part of the recipient.

▪  It is easy, therefore, to understand why Paul would adapt charis to the Gospel. Christian charis is the gift of salvation by God to all who accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God, therefore, is the patron-the benefactor. Just as we could never fully repay a person who left us an inheritance of unimaginable wealth, so also we can never repay God for the gift of salvation. However, if a patron were to grant us unimaginable wealth, we could be faithful to the patron by using the money in a way that would be consistent with the patron's wishes or values. So also, we can be faithful to the God who gives us salvation by living in accord with God's will.

"bringing salvation" (Greek: soterios) (v. 11b). While salvation in the Bible is sometimes being saved from one's enemies, in the New Testament it usually has an eschatological character-i.e., end of time events-God's judgment-heaven and hell.

▪ The idea of salvation is especially important in Paul's letters. The "Good News of the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). Paul says that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18), "but the righteous shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) which means that we are subject to an eternal penalty for our sins. However, we have been "justified freely by (God's) grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25a).

▪ We call this idea substitutionary atonement-being brought back into God's good graces by means of an atoning sacrifice. This has its roots in the Old Testament, where Jewish Law required Israelites to sacrifice animals to gain atonement-forgiveness for sins. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice, not just for an individual, but for the sins of all the world (Matthew 20:28; John 1:29, 36; Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 5:2).

"to all men" (Greek: anthropos) (v. 11c). This would be better translated "to all people" or "to all humans." The primary emphasis of the Greek word anthropos is to distinguish humans from God or animals rather than distinguishing male from female.

▪ Is it the grace of God or salvation that appears to all people? It could be either, but the distinction isn't critical. The grace of God ushers in the possibility of salvation, so the two are closely related.

Does "to all men" or "to all people" indicate universal salvation? That would not be in keeping with other scriptures that tell us that some will be saved while others will not (Matthew 7:21-23; 19:24-26; Mark 16:16; John 3:18, 36; Acts 4:12; 13:40-41; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; Revelation 21:8). The meaning here is that God's grace makes salvation possible for all people-not just Jews. Christ has widened the door to heaven. Gentiles are welcome.

"instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts" (v. 12a). It is the grace of God (v. 11) that instructs us.

▪ The grace of God instructs us in ways that are intended to help us to deny temptations to engage in ungodly behavior and to succumb to worldly lusts. Receiving this help is an essential first step, because the world in which we live is the kosmos-a world opposed to God-a world that is very often demonic-a world that tempts us hundreds of times a day to think thoughts and to perform acts that would be self-destructive and would separate us from God.

▪ God loves this kosmos and sent his Son to save it (John 3:16), but the kosmos won't be fully redeemed until Christ comes again. We must acknowledge that "the light has come into the world, (but) men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil" (John 3:19). It sometimes seems as if we are swimming in a sewer, so it is important that we allow God's grace (v. 11) to instruct us in ways that will help us to deny the ungodliness and worldly lusts (v. 12) that we find all around us.

Every temptation denied makes us stronger to face the next temptation. Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts today will make us stronger to deny them tomorrow.

"we would live soberly (Greek: sophronos) righteously (Greek: dikaios),  and godly (Greek: eusebosin this present world" (v. 12b). The word sophronos means "with a sound mind" or "with a sober mind." It bespeaks moderation-temperance.

▪ The tempter would tell us that anyone who lives soberly is a joy-killer-a stick-in-the-mud-a person who lives a flat and monotonous life. However, we know sophronos people whom we admire and whose company we enjoy-people who study issues before making a judgment-people whose opinions often prove correct-people who live rock-steady lives in the midst of kosmos gales.

Sophronos people won't always be the life of the party, but some will be. Contrary to popular opinion, many sophronos people are quite able to have a good time-to laugh-to sing rousing songs-to cheer for the home team-to dance-to enjoy a good movie. At a young adult gathering at Marble Collegiate Church a number of years ago, a young man who was visiting for the first time told me, "I never knew you could have this much fun without drinking."

▪ The advantages of sophronos behavior are many. The sophronos person won't have to pay for his/her revelry with sickness by night and hangovers by day. The sophronos person won't have to wonder whether he did something the previous night that might cost him his job today. The sophronos person's family will call him/her blessed, because they will live better because of his/her sobriety.

▪ Ask yourself this question-when the chips are down, what kind of person do you look to for help? Isn't it most likely a sophronos person-someone you know to be reliable and trustworthy? When your world is falling apart, doesn't "rock-steady" seem like the most wonderful thing you can imagine.

"righteously" (dikaios). The word dikaios means "righteous" or "just." The person who is dikaios-RIGHTEOUS will try to live his/her life in accord with God's will. The person who is dikaios-JUST will deal with other people fairly and honestly.

"and godly" (eusebos). The eusebos person is devout and godly, and will honor God by trying to live a reverent and holy life.

"looking for the blessed hope and (Greek: kai) appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (v. 13). The grace of God (v. 11) instructs us (v. 12) that we should look "for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (v. 13). We are living in a fallen world-a kosmos world-but God has promised better things ahead for those who are faithful.

▪ The Greek word kai is a conjunction meaning "and." As it is used here (an epexegetical kai), the second part of the phrase ("appearing of the glory") amplifies or explains the first part ("the blessed hope"). In other words, "the blessed hope" is the hope of the appearance in glory of our savior, Jesus Christ.

"our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (v. 13b). This phrase could be translated "our great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ"-meaning both God and Jesus. However, most scholars favor the translation, "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ," which ascribes to Jesus the title God as well as Savior.

While it is unusual in the New Testament to find Jesus called God, the Prologue to the Gospel of John clearly equates Jesus with God:  1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 214 And the Word became flesh, and [k]dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [l]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:1, 14).

"who gave (Greek: didomi) himself for us" (v. 14a). The "who" in this verse is the "God and Savior, Jesus Christ" of verse 13. The word didomi means "give," and has the ring of voluntary giving-generous giving. It can even mean sacrificial giving.

▪ The giving spoken of in this verse is Jesus Christ's gift of himself on the cross so that we might be forgiven our sins. However, the gift started much earlier with the Incarnation-the birth of Jesus. Paul incorporates both gifts-Incarnation and Crucifixion in a hymn in his letter to the Philippians:  5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  (Philippians 2:5-8). 

 "that he might redeem (Greek: lutroous from all iniquity" (Greek: anomia) (v. 14b). The word lutroo means "to redeem" in the sense of paying a ransom to buy someone's freedom. The ransom is the money paid to purchase the person's freedom. If a person were enslaved or imprisoned on account of debt, his family would try to get enough money together to ransom him-to set him free.

Christ gave himself to redeem us from iniquity-anomia-to pay the ransom to set us free from the consequences of our sin(Mark 10:45; Galatians 1:4; 2:20).

▪ The Greek word nomos means "law," and the "a" in front of that word means "not"-so anomia means unlawful or lawless. The person guilty of anomia (lawlessness) could be in violation of Jewish law. Alternatively, the word anomia could be used more generally to describe an unrighteous person or a rebel.

"and purify (Greek: katharizo) for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works" (v. 14c). The word katharizo means "to cleanse." Jewish law provided for the cleansing of those who were unclean for various reasons-physical, ritual, or moral.

▪ This verse means that Jesus Christ is concerned with cleansing people from the uncleanness that resulted from their iniquity (v. 14b)-so that they would become fit for inclusion in his realm and "zealous for good works."

▪ This last phrase, "zealous for good works," tells us something of the character of Christ's people. We are to be fervent in our pursuit of good works. We are to love doing good works. It isn't hard to develop that kind of affection for good works. Once we have done something that benefits the church or a neighbor in a significant way that will warm our hearts every time we think about it-inspiring us to look for other ways to do good things.

▪ Other New Testament passages call for good works (Romans 2:6-7; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Colossians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:17). Jesus tells us that our "good works...glorify (our) Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

▪ Elsewhere, Paul emphasizes that we cannot be saved by our works (Romans 3:27-28; 4:1-5; 11:6; Galatians 2:16; 3:2, 10). Salvation is available only through grace-as a gift from God. James, however, says that "faith, if it has no works, is dead" (James 2:17).

▪ While it might seem that Paul and James are opposed, that isn't the case. James doesn't say that we can gain salvation by our good works. He says that genuine faith will always manifest itself by good works. Any faith that produces no good works is not real faith.

▪ Paul would agree. While he emphasizes that we cannot win salvation by our good works, he also acknowledges "that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?" (1 Corinthians 6:9). He also says, "Walk by the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh." He says that the works of the flesh are: "adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these"-and warns that "those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." He says that the fruits of the Spirit are: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control"-and enjoins us to live, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26).




A. Paul admonishes different groups of people

1. older men (vv. 1-2)

2. older women. v. 3 (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9-15)

3. younger women (vv. 4-5)

4. younger men (v.6)

5. Titus, vv. 7-8,15 (cf. 1 Tim. 4:12-13)

6. slaves (vv. 9-10)

B. In Titus 2 the qualifications for church leaders found in Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Timothy 3 are extended to believers of both sexes and of all ages.

C. The purpose for Christians living godly lives is clearly expressed in vv. 11-14, which is one sentence in Greek.

D. Titus 2 is a real contrast to the lifestyles of the false teachers found in 1:10-16.


 1But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.

2:1 "But as for you" The singular pronoun "you" is emphatic. This shows the vast difference between the false teachers and Titus, a true leader/teacher (cf. 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:1,14).

"speak" This is a present active imperative (cf. 1 Tim. 4:13; II Tim. 4:2). The gospel and its implications must be articulated.

"the things which are fitting for sound doctrine" Sound teaching (healthy teaching) is a recurrent theme (cf. 1:9,13; 2:1,2,8; 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:13; 4:3). Notice that in this context the healthy teaching is not doctrinal, but practical lifestyle, people-centered Christlikeness. We must not separate justification from sanctification!

2:2 "Older men" This is the same word translated "elders" in Titus 1:5 and 1 Tim. 5:1,17, but this context demands a different translation (cf. Philemon 9). In this culture it would refer to men over 60.

"to be temperate"  This is literally "be sober," which could refer to intoxication (cf. 1:6,7). The term was also used metaphorically of mental alertness or vigilance (cf. I Tim. 3:2,11).

"sensible" This term is used in vv. 2,4,5,6 and 12. See note on "prudent" at 1 Tim. 3:2.

"reverent"  This term is used several times in the Pastoral Letters (cf. 2:2,7; 1 Tim. 2:2; 3:4,8,11; and a form of the term in 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:4). According to the lexicon by Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker, it can be translated "reverence, dignity, seriousness, respectfulness, holiness, or probity" (cf. p. 47).        

"sound" as in "doctrine: This is the recurrent metaphorical use of the term from v. 1, "healthy." Christians are to be healthy and stable in their faith, in their love, and in their perseverance (cf. 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:10), as well as in their doctrine. For Paul, believing and living were inseparable - just the opposite of the false teachers.

"perseverance" See Special Topic at 1 Tim. 4:16 and in a different form in 2 Tim. 2:11.




 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

2:3 "reverent in their behavior" This is a compound term of hieros, that which is holy or sacred (from hierou, for temple) and prepei, that which is fitting or proper. Older Christian women are to behave in godly, holy ways (cf. 1 Tim. 2:10).

"not malicious gossips"  The term used here (diabolos) is the same as is used of the Devil, the "slanderer" (cf. John 6:20; 1 Tim. 3:6. See SPECIAL TOPIC: SATAN at 1 Tim. 3:6). However, it is plural and does not have the article (cf. 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3). John Calvin said that "talkativeness is a disease of women, and it is increased by age."  The problem referred to is not only tale-bearing but possibly the sharing of false information (cf. 1 Tim. 5:13). The young widows may have been the surrogate speakers for the false teachers in the homes and house churches of Ephesus (cf. 2 Tim. 3:5-7). Whether this phrase (cf. 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3) refers to the same problem is uncertain.

"nor enslaved to much wine" This is a perfect passive participle. This is a stronger statement than Titus 1:7 or 1 Tim. 3:3,8. Alcoholism (see Special Topic at I Tim. 3:3) must have been a problem in Crete, which shows that NT guidelines may intensify or relax in certain cultures.

"teaching what is good" Because of I Tim. 2:12 this apparently means teachers at home or mentors of younger women. Verses 4-5 give the content of the teaching. See Special Topic at 1 Tim. 3:3.

2:4 "encourage the young women" The root term sōphrōn is found in vv. 4,5,6, and 12. Its basic meaning is "to be of a sound mind." It advocates a self-controlled, balanced life.

"to love their husband, to love their children" These two Greek words are found only here in the NT. God's will for married women is that they be lovers of husband and children. The false teachers were disrupting homes (cf. 1:11; 2 Tim. 3:6).

2:5: The characterization of young women as obedient homemakers was the expected social norm of the first century Mediterranean culture (cf. 1 Tim. 2:10). Does this message apply to married women in all cultures in all times? This is not an easy question! Modern Christians must allow some freedom of interpretation here without dogmatism. Please read How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart and The Gospel and Spirit by Gordon Fee.

"sensible" See full note at 1 Tim. 3:2.

"pure" This term is found only here in the Pastorals. Paul used it of a "pure bride" (i.e., the Church) in II Cor. 11:2.

▣  "workers at home"  There is a Greek manuscript problem in this phrase (see BAGD, p. 561). Most early uncial manuscripts (א*, A, C, D*, F, G, I), most early church Fathers, and most later minuscule manuscripts have the common term, houseworker (oikourgos, "house" + "worker"), but some ancient texts (אc, Dc, H, L, P) have housekeeper (oikouros, "house" + "guard"), which is similar to I Tim. 5:14, oikodesmoteu (household manager, "house" + "master").  This term, oikourgous, is a very rare term (Bruce M. Metzger, Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 654. One of the basic tenets of textual criticism is that the most unusual term or phrase is probably original because scribes would have been more likely to change it to something familiar.

"subject to their own husbands" The term "subject" or "submit" comes from a military term that referred to a chain of command. This is a present middle participle (cf. Eph. 5:21ff; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2;11-12; I Pet. 3:1). However, notice that Paul, in Eph. 5:21, links submission to being filled with the Spirit (cf. 5:18) and makes it a mutual responsibility of all Christians. Please read notes at 1 Tim. 2:11-12.

"so that the word of God will not be dishonored" Believers' lifestyles are significant. This is a recurrent theme in the Pastoral Letters, "no handle for criticism" (cf. vv. 8,10; 1 Tim. 3:2,7,10; 5:8,14; 6:1; Titus 1:6-7,8,10). Believers' lives and words should bring others to Christ. True, sound, healthy teaching never separates justification from sanctification!


 6Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

2:6  "sensible"  The younger men are given only one guideline ("be sensible," cf. vv. 2,4,5). It is the only imperative in vv. 2-6. See the full note on this common Greek term at 1 Tim. 3:1. It characterized many of the Greek philosophers' basic guide to life (i.e., "the golden mean").

2:7 "in all things" It is grammatically uncertain whether the "in all things" of v. 7 relates to this verse and is thereby another guideline for young men, or is related to the emphatic "yourself" of v. 7, which would refer to Titus.

"show yourself to be an example" This is a present middle participle used as an imperative ( 1 Tim. 4:12).

For "example" (tupos) see Special Topic: Form at 1 Tim. 4:12.

"of good deeds" This is a recurrent emphasis (cf. 1:16; 2:7,14; 3:1.8.14). Lifestyle change was the evidence of and an attraction to the Christian message.

▣  "with purity in doctrine"  This seems to describe the way Titus is to teach (in contrast to the false teachers' impure lives and motives), not only the content of his preaching and teaching. Titus was to pass on the Apostolic truths he had received from Paul. If it does refer to content, then possibly it is an emphasis on the resurrection (cf. Rom. 2:7; I Cor. 15:42,53,54).  There are several Greek manuscript problems related to this phrase. In A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger says the term aphthorian (incorruption)

            1. has the good manuscript support (i.e., א*, A, C, D*)

            2. fits the context

            3. explains the other variants

            4. is the most unusual of the options

The most common option (i.e., אc, Dc, L, and most later minuscule manuscripts) is adiaphthorian (sincerity) .

2:8 "sound in speech" This is the same recurrent term used in vv. 1 and 2 which meant "healthy" (metaphorically in contrast to the unhealthy message of the false teachers).

 ▣  "dignified" See full note at 2:2.

"which is beyond reproach" This is a guideline for both Christian leaders and believers in general (cf. 1:6-7,8,10; I Tim. 3:2,7,10; 5:8,14; 6:1). See Special Topic at 1 Tim. 3:2.

"the opponent" In context this could refer to (1) the false teachers of 1:10-16 or (2) the unbelievers of society who criticized Christianity out of pagan ignorance. Believers' lives should silence both groups and attract them to the gospel.


9Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

2:9 "Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters" "To be subject" is a present middle infinitive (cf. Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-24: 1 Tim. 6:1-2). The verb "urge" is implied from v. 6. Like women, slaves are urged to have a godly attitude toward cultural authority structures for Christ's sake. The issue is not personal freedom, but evangelism! See Special Topic: Paul's Admonitions to Slaves at 1 Tim. 6:1.

"in everything" This phrase is repeated at the end of verse 10. It is significant that believers realize that their lives, in all areas, reflect on God. This concept is theologically parallel to mutual submission found in Eph. 5:21 and the submission of godly wives in 5:22-6:9 (cf. H. E. Butt's The Velvet Covered Brick).

"to be well-pleasing" The unstated, but implied, meaning is not only to the slave owners, but supremely to God (cf. Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 6:7-8).

"not argumentative"  How believers handle even difficult situations and conditions is a clear, strong witness of their faith in Christ (cf. Eph. 6:5-9).

2:10 "not pilfering" This must have been a common problem for slaves (cf. Eph. 4:28).

"showing" This term meant to give outward and clear proof of something. Believing salves' lives must bring glory to God and evidence of the life-changing power of the gospel! One's social status was not the critical issue, but one's lifestyle was!

"God our Savior" This was a common title used by and for Caesar. This is a characteristic phrase of the Pastorals Letters for deity (cf. 1:3-2:10; 3:4). The same title is also repeatedly used of Jesus (cf. 1:4; 2:13; 3:6). See full note at 2 Tim. 1:10.



A. This brief passage (vv. 11-14) gives the theological reasons for Christians living godly lives. This discussion is very similar to Titus 3:4-7 and 2 Timothy 1:8-10.

 B. Verse 11 refers to the first coming of the Messiah, the Incarnation (cf. Titus 3:4; 2 Tim. 1:10). Verse 13, uses the same term, "appearing," to refer to the Second Coming of Christ (cf. 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1,8). The first coming was characterized by God's grace; the second will be characterized by God's justice!

C. Verse 12 is a summary of the godly characteristics required of leaders in chapter 1:5-9 and all Christians in chapter 2:1-10.

 D. Verse 13 sets the gospel in the characteristically Pauline category of "the already" (the Kingdom of God is present) and "the not yet" (the Kingdom of God is future). This tension is true of much of Paul's discussion about the Christian life.

 E. Is Jesus alone being referred to in v. 13 (cf. NASB, RSV, NEB, NIV) or is it a double reference to God the Father and to Jesus the Son (cf. KJV, ASV, Moffatt translation and II Peter 1:1)? There are several reasons why this seems to be a reference to Jesus' deity, clothed in titles used for the Roman Caesar:

1. only one article with both nouns

2. verse 14 relates only to Christ

3. the terms "great" and "appearing" are never used in the NT to refer to God the Father

4. there are several other passages in Paul and other NT authors where full deity is attributed to Jesus

5. the majority of the early church fathers also saw it as referring to Jesus. It should be noted, however, that the early versions tended to see the phrase as referring to YHWH and Jesus.

F. Verse 14 describes the Church in OT terms used of Israel. In some senses the Church is the fruition of God's desire for Israel (cf. Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 6:16; I Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6).. Yet Israel remains an object of God's unique love and care (cf. Rom. 11).



 11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

2:11 "For" Verses 11-14 are linked to 1-10, and give the theological basis for godly living.

"the grace of God has appeared" This refers to the incarnation of Jesus (cf. 2 Tim. 1:10; Titus 3:4-7). The life, teaching, and death of Jesus fully revealed the Father's love, mercy and grace. When we see Jesus, we see God (cf. John 1:1-14; 14:8-11; Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 1:1-3).  The term epiphany (appearing) is used in v. 13 for Christ's Second Coming (cf. 2:11,13; 3:4; II Thess. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 1:10; 4:1,8). See Special Topic: NT Terms for Christ's Return at 2:13.

"bringing salvation to all men" God sent Christ to die for the sin of all humans (see Special Topic at 1 Tim. 4:10), but they must personally respond by repentance, faith, obedience, and perseverance. The following passages reflect the universal scope of Christ's work.

            1. "for the world" (John 1:29; 3:16; 6:33,51; II Cor. 5:19; I John 2:2; 4:14)

            2. "all men" (Rom. 5:18; I Cor. 15:22; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; Heb. 2:9; II Pet. 3:9)

God made humans in His image (cf. Gen. 1:26-27). In Gen. 3:15 He promised to redeem all humans. He specifically mentions His worldwide agenda even in His call of Abraham (cf. Gen. 12:3) and of Israel (cf. Exod. 19:5). The OT promises to Israel (Jew vs. Gentile) have now been universalized to believer and unbeliever (cf. Eph. 2:11-3:13). God's invitation to salvation is worldwide, individually focused, and Spirit- energized.

2:12 "instructing us" This literally meant child discipline or training (cf. 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:25; 3:16). Grace is personified as a loving parent (cf. Heb. 12:5ff).

"ungodliness" This is a word play between asebeia (ungodliness, alpha privative) and eusebia (godliness, see Special Topic at 1 Tim. 4:7). They may reflect the "two ways" of the OT Wisdom Literature (cf. Josh. 24:14-15; Psalm 1; Pro. 4:10-19; Matt. 7:13-14). We are to turn from evil because Christ gave Himself to deliver us from evil; we are to turn to good because Christ set the example. Grace teaches us both a positive and negative lesson!

"worldly desires" (cf. 3:3; 1 Tim. 6:9; 2 Tim. 2:22; 3:6; 4:3)

"sensibly" See full note at 1 Tim. 3:2.

"righteously" See verses 2,4,5,6 and the Special Topic following.

"in the present age" See Special Topic at 1 Tim. 6:17.

2:13 "looking for" This is a present middle which refers to a continual personal expectation of Christ's return.

"the blessed hope" This is another reference to the Second Coming.

"the appearing" See Special Topic below.

"of the glory" The phrase "of the glory" can be understood in two ways: (1) the "glorious appearing" (cf. NKJV) or (2) "the appearing of the glory" (cf. NASB, NRSV, TEV and NJB). Glory is often associated with God's presence in the OT (especially the Shekinah cloud of glory during the wilderness wandering period). Glory is from the Hebrew term kabod which refers to a radiant splendor. Two of the Greek terms associated with the Second Coming also refer to a brightness or radiance: epiphaneia, (cf. Matt. 25:31) and phanerōō (cf. Matt. 24:30). Jesus spoke of His and His Father's glory in John 17:1-5,22,24.

"our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" Jesus is here unambiguously given the title of God! The Caesars claimed similar titles (i.e., Ptolemy I). The terms "appearing" (which contextually relates to Christ's Second Coming) and "great" are never used of YHWH. Also, there is no article with "savior." The syntax of Koine Greek supports this as a title for Jesus because there is only one article with both nouns, thus linking them together (see NET Bible). Jesus is divine (cf. John 1:1; 8:57-58; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; II Thess. 1:12; Heb. 1:8; II Pet. 1:1,11; I John 5:20). In the OT the Messiah (see Special Topic at 1 Tim. 1:1) was expected to be a divinely empowered person like the Judges.

2:14 "who gave Himself for us" This follows the theology of Mark 10:45; II Cor. 5:21; and Heb. 9:14. It refers to the vicarious, substitutionary atonement (cf. Isa. 53; Gal. 1:4; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 9:12-15; I Pet. 1:18-19). God the Father "sent" but the Son "gave Himself"!

"to redeem us" The terms "ransom" and "redeem" have OT roots (the NASB prints v. 14 as an OT quote). Both words refer to someone being bought back from slavery as Israel was redeemed from Egypt. This also implies that believers are free from the power of sin through Christ (cf. Romans 6).

"to purify" Refer to the Special Topic on "Righteousness" at 2:13. The theological question is how does He purify people? Is it a free gift through Christ, given by divine decree or is it a mandated, repentant, obedient, persevering faith? Is it all of God or is a human response mandated?

▣ "a people for His own possession" This is OT covenant terminology (cf. Exod. 19:5; Deut. 14:2; I Pet. 2:5,9,10; Rev. 1:6). The church is spiritual Israel (cf. Gal. 6:16; Rom. 2:29). The church has the mandate to evangelize all humans (cf. Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8) by sharing the gospel and living the gospel!

"zealous of good deeds" The goal of Christianity is not only heaven when believers die but Christlikeness now (cf. Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:4 2:10). God's people are characterized by an eager desire for good works (cf. James and I John).


15These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

2:15 "speak and exhort and reprove" There are three present active imperatives: continue teaching (cf. 2:1), continue exhorting, and continuing reproving (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16). Church leaders must encourage the saints and recognize false teachers!

"with all authority" Jesus is said to have all authority (exousia) in heaven and on earth (cf. Matt. 28:18). He delegated this authority to His Apostles (Paul being the last, one born out of due time). Paul delegated his authority (epitaē) to both Timothy and Titus as his personal representatives.

Since the death of these eye-witnesses, the written New Testament (as well as the OT) has become the authority "for all subsequent generations of believers" (cf. 2 Tim. 3:15-17).

"let no one disregard you" This is a present active negated imperative (cf. 1 Tim. 4:12). This may refer to

            1. those within the church with regard to Titus' age or delegated authority

            2. those involved with the false teachers, possibly even a chief spokesperson.