“Few portions of the New Testament excel this chapter. It may well form the creed, system of ethics, and text book of every Christian preacher. Does any man inquire what is the duty of a Gospel minister? Send him to the second chapter of the Epistle to Titus for a complete answer.” (Adam Clarke)
A. How Titus must teach different groups of people in the church.
1. (1) The command to teach.
But as for you, speak the things which are proper 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. (2) What to teach the older men.
That the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
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 must live with the maturity and wisdom that their years should give them. This means sober, reverent, and temperate lives. The command to teach these things means that they do not come automatically with age.
c. Older men must also have stability, being stable in the right things: sound in faith, in love, in patience. 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 patience.
i. Patience 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. (3-4a) How to teach the older women.
The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they admonish the young women
a. The 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, not slanderers: 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. Not given 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. Teachers of good things: If the older women have special challenges, they also have special opportunities. God can use their wisdom and experience as they admonish 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. (4b-5) How to teach the younger women.
The young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
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. (6) How to teach the younger men.
Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded,
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. Sober-minded: “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.”
6. (7-8) Titus and his practical example to the young men.
In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
a. In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works: 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. In doctrine showing integrity: 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. That one who is an opponent may be ashamed: 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 evil to say: “The clause means having nothing evil to report concerning us: not, as the English versions, having no evil thing to say.”
7. (9-10) How to teach servants.
Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
a. Exhort 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. Obedient 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. Obedient: “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: “It literally means to take precious jewels and arrange them so as to show their true beauty.” (Draper)
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)
B. The place of grace in the Christian life.
1. (11) Saving grace.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
a. The grace of God that brings salvation: Grace brings salvation. You don’t go out and “get” salvation; it comes to you and you have the opportunity to receive it.
b. Has appeared to all men: There is one gospel of grace for all men. God doesn’t have a gospel of grace for some and a gospel of law or self-justification for others. All men find salvation by the grace of God.
i. “No rank or class or type of mankind is outside the saving influence of God’s grace.” (White)
ii. “There is a beauty and energy in the word epiphaino, hath shined out, that is rarely noted; it seems to be a metaphor taken from the sun. As by his rising in the east and shining out, he enlightens, successively, the whole world; so the Lord Jesus, who is called the Sun of righteousness, Malachi 4:2, arises on the whole human race with healing in his wings.” (Clarke)
iii. The light and warmth of the sun is for the whole earth; but it does not shine upon the earth all at the same time, nor in the same intensity from place to place.
2. (12-13) What grace teaches us.
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
a. Teaching us that: The ancient Greek word for teaching has in mind what a parent does for a child. It speaks of the entire training process: teaching, encouragement, correction, and discipline. Grace is a teacher in this sense.
i. “ ‘It teaches us’ declares that grace also operates in the lives of the saved. Grounded in God’s nature, grace makes ethical demands of Christians consistent with his nature. ‘Teaches’ pictures grace, practically personified, as instructing the believer in the things ‘in accord with sound doctrine.’” (Hiebert)
ii. “He means that God’s grace, should instruct us to order our lives aright. Some are quick to turn the preaching of God’s mercy into an excuse for licentiousness, while carelessness keeps others from thinking about the renewal of their life. But the revelation of God’s grace necessarily brings with it exhortations to a godly life.” (Calvin)
iii. “Thus you see that grace has its own disciples. Are you a disciple of the grace of God? Did you ever come and submit yourself to it?” (Spurgeon)
b. Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts: Grace puts ungodliness and worldly lusts in our past. Now grace teaches us to renounce those things, not only to avoid them.
i. Denying: “This indicates the renunciation of the Devil, of the vanity of this world, and of all the sinful lusts of the flesh.” (White)
ii. One may say that in a world where we are tempted to say “Yes” to every desire and feelings, that the reality of our faith can be demonstrated by what we say no to, by what we are willing to deny.
iii. “The most difficult part of the training of young men is not to put the right thing into them, but to get the wrong thing out of them.” (Spurgeon)
c. We should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age: Grace teaches us how to live in the present age. We must live soberly (self-controlled) in regard to ourselves. We must live righteously in regard to the people around us. And we must live godly (“to take God seriously”) in regard to our God.
i. “We are taught by that gentle school-mistress, the Grace of God, to live – soberly, as regards our personal life; righteously, in relation to others; godly, in our attitude towards God.” (Meyer)
ii. Taken together, we see that the fear of the legalist – that preaching grace produces Christians indifferent to obedience – is unfounded. Grace teaches us obedience. “Wherever the grace of God comes effectually, it makes the loose liver deny the desires of the flesh; it causes the man who lusted after gold to conquer his greediness; it brings the proud man away from his ambitions; it trains the idler to diligence, and it sobers the wanton mind which cared only for the frivolities of life. Not only do we leave these lusts, but we deny them.” (Spurgeon)
iii. The phrase godly in the present age is also a subtle proof against the idea of purgatory or some place of cleansing in the life to come. “Not supposing that any thing will be purified in the world to come that is not cleansed in this.” (Clarke)
d. Looking for the blessed hope: Grace teaches us to expect and prepare for our blessed hope. That hope is not heaven or glory, but Jesus Himself, face to face, closer than ever.
i. Looking for indicates that Christians should live in active expectation of the return of Jesus. It should be precious for Christians to consider:
· He came the first time to save the soul of man; He will come a second time to resurrect the body.
· He came the first time to save the individual; He will come a second time to save society.
· He came the first time to a crucifixion; He will come a second time to a coronation.
· He came the first time to a tree; He will come a second time to a throne.
· He came the first time in humility; He will come a second time in glory.
· He came the first time and was judged by men; He will come a second time to judge all men.
· He came the first time and stood before Pilate; He will come a second time and Pilate will stand before Him.
ii. Our great God: “This is the only place in the N.T. in which megas is applied to the true God, although it is a constant predicate of heathen gods and goddesses, e.g., Acts 19:28.” (White)
iii. “The discipline of grace, according to the apostle, has three results – denying, living, looking. You see the three words before you.” (Spurgeon)
3. (14) The heart of the God of grace.
Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
a. Who gave Himself for us: Every word of this description of Jesus’ work is important. Jesus gave, which means it was voluntary. He gave Himself, which means Jesus gave all He could give. And He gave Himself for us, which means Jesus was given as a substitute for sinful man.
b. That He might redeem us: Redemption means “to be bought out of slavery by the paying of a ransom.” We are bought out of our slavery to sin, and purchased for His service.
i. From every lawless deed: “And we are, therefore, taught that the death of Jesus was intended, not for our forgiveness and justification merely, but for our sanctification, and our deliverance from the power of all our besetting sins.” (Meyer)
ii. His own special people: “The word we have translated special (periousios) is interesting. It means reserved for; and it was specially used for that part of the spoils of a battle or a campaign which the king who had conquered set apart especially for himself.” (Barclay)
c. Zealous for good works: We are redeemed purchased to live with zeal. This is zeal with knowledge, and zeal for righteousness in our own life before zeal for righteousness in the lives of others.
i. “As you know, Titus was a teacher of teachers. He had to set in order the things that were wanting, and to show other preachers how they were to preach. . . . You see how much of the Epistle is taken up with the affairs of ordinary life, matters of holy practice; so let our preaching be, and let Christian people learn to receive joyfully such instruction.” (Spurgeon)
4. (15) The messengers of grace.
Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
a. Speak these things: Titus, and every one of God’s messengers of grace are directed to speak, exhort, and rebuke - and to do it with all authority. God’s messengers are to remember that they are messengers from a King, holding the word that brings life and turns back hell.
b. Let no one despise you: If Titus spoke with all authority, he had to back it up with his life. Titus had to live so that no one would despise him or his message.
i. “Since this letter would be read in the churches, the remark was apparently intended as much for the Cretans as for Titus himself.” (Hiebert)
© 2006 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission