You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
- Titus 2:1-15
Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments
On ‘sound doctrine’: “Meaning healthy – Paul uses this word 9 in the pastoral epistles (5 times in Titus), always in the sense that the truth produces spiritual well-being. The ‘things’ Paul mentions in Titus 2:2-10 pertain to truths, attitudes, and actions that correspond to and are based on biblical truth. In order not only to please God, but also to have an effective witness to unbelievers, God’s people must know the truth that leads to spiritual health.”
On ‘train the young women’: “Their own examples of godliness (Titus 2:3) give older women the right and credibility to instruct younger women in the church. The obvious implication is that older women must exemplify the virtues (vv. 4, 5) that they ‘admonish.’”
On ‘love their husbands’: “Like the other virtues mentioned here, this one is unconditional. It is based on God’s will, not on a husband’s worthiness. The Greek word Phileó emphasizes affection. See Eph. 5:22-24.”
On ‘subject to their husbands’: “The ideas of radical feminism were an integral part of ancient Babylonian and Assyrian mythology as well as Greek Gnosticism, which flourished throughout the Roman Empire during NT times and posed a constant danger to the early church. Modern feminism is neither new nor progressive; it is age-old and regressive. See Eph. 5:22.”
On ‘subject … to masters … please them’: “Paul clearly teaches that, even in the most servile of circumstances, believers are ‘to be obedient’ and seek to please those for whom they work, whether their ‘masters’ are believers or unbelievers, fair or unfair, kind or cruel. How much more obligates are believers to respect and obey employers for whom they work voluntarily! As with wives’ obedience to their husbands (Titus 2:5), the only exception would involve a believer’s being required to disobey God’s Word. Cf. Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-4:1; 1 Tim. 6:1, 2.”
On ‘For the grace of God’: “This is the heart of the letter, emphasizing that God’s sovereign purpose in calling our elders (Titus 1:5) and in commanding His people to live righteously (2:1-10) is to provide the witness that brings God’s plan and purpose of salvation to fulfillment. Paul condensed the saving plan of God into 3 realities: 1) salvation from the penalty (v. 11); 2) the power (v. 12); and 3) the presence (v. 13) of sin.”
On ‘all men’: “This does not teach universal salvation. ‘All men’ is used as ‘man’ in Titus 3:4, to refer to humanity in general, as a category, not to every individual. See 2 Cor. 5:19; 2 Pet. 3:9. Jesus Christ made a sufficient sacrifice to cover every sin of every one who believes (John 3:16-18; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; 4:10; 1 John 2:2). Paul makes clear in the opening words of this letter to Titus that salvation becomes effective only through ‘the faith of God’s elect’ (1:1). See 3:2. Out of all humanity, only those who believe will be saved (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24, 38, 40; 6:40; 10:9; Rom. 10:9-17).”
On ‘blessed hope’: “A general reference to the second coming of Jesus Christ, including the resurrection (cf. Rom. 8:22, 23; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 John 3: 2, 3) and the reign of the saints with Christ in glory (2 Tim. 2:10).”
On ‘redeem … purify’: “Another expression (cf. Titus 2:12) summarizes the dual effect of salvation (regeneration and sanctification). To ‘redeem’ is to release someone held captive, on the payment of a ransom. The price was Christ’s blood paid to satisfy God’s justice. See Acts 20:28; Gal. 1:4; 2:20; 1 Pet. 1:18, `9; cf. Mark 10:45.”
- John MacArthur, One Faithful Life
Titus 2:2 ‘older men’: “Among the heathen, old men often gave themselves up to drunkenness and gluttony. So now this is the teaching that is to be given to aged Christian men. They need faith, love, and patience, as well as the virtues of sobriety, gravity, and temperance. The infirmities of old age often create petulance, so the grace of God is to make the venerable Christian to be full of faith, love, and patience.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes
Titus 2:6 ‘encourage young men’: “That exhortation is as necessary now as it was in Crete! Young men often know a great deal – or think they do – and they are apt to be intoxicated with the idea of knowing so much and being able to do so much – so that the exhortation to them is to ‘be self-controlled.’”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes
Titus 2:12 ‘separation from the world’: “The Christian is called to separation from the world, but we must be sure we know what we mean (or more important, what God means) by the world. We are likely to make it mean something external only and thus miss the real meaning. The theater, cards, liquor, gambling – these are not the world; they are merely an external manifestation of the world. Our warfare is not against merely an external manifestation of the world. Our warfare is not against mere worldly ways, but against the spirit of the world. For man, whether he is saved or lost, is essentially spirit. The world, in the New Testament meaning of the word, is simply unregenerate human nature wherever it is found, whether in a tavern or in a church. Whatever springs out of, is built upon, or receives support from fallen human nature is the world, whether it is morally base or morally respectable.”
- A. W. Tozer, God’s Pursuit of Man
Titus 2:14 ‘The intent of Grace’: “Do we ever compromise tonight, knowing we’ll confess tomorrow?
It’s easy to be like the fellow visiting Las Vegas who called the preacher, wanting to know the hours of the Sunday service. The preacher was impressed. ‘Most people who come to Las Vegas don’t do so to go to church.’
“’Oh, I’m not coming for the church. I’m coming for the gambling and parties and wild women. If I have half as much fun as I intend to, I’ll need a church come Sunday morning.’
“Is that the intent of grace? Is God’s goal to promote disobedience? Hardly. ‘Grace … teaches us not to live against God nor to do the evil things the world wants to do. Instead, that grace teaches us to live in the present age in a wise and right way and in a way that shows we serve God’ (Titus 2:11-12). God’s grace has released us from selfishness. Why return?”
- Max Lucado, In the Grip of Grace
Titus 2:14 ‘eager to do what is good’: “Our good works, if we have any, spring from a real conversion. Yet more, they also spring from a constant spiritual influence exercised on us from the time of conversion even until the hour of death. We would have no good works if we had no fresh influence day by day. We would not find the grace given us at our first hour sufficient to produce fruit today. It is not like the planting of a tree in our hearts, which naturally of itself brings forth fruit. The sap has to come up from the root, Jesus Christ. We are not trees by ourselves, but we are branches attached to the living vine. Good works are the gifts of God, his choice pearls, which he sends down with his grace.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes
Are we ready for a bit of modern-day controversy or can we look at this chapter of Titus for the purity in which it was intended, God’s Holy Plan, which we as sinners screwed up?
As for the Women’s Liberation movement, that Rev. MacArthur mentions above is more regressive than progressive, I like the Jerry Clower argument. He tells the following story about meeting the head “She-Coon” of the Women’s Libbers. I would love to know who he meant, but from the story, it is best that I do not. Regardless of your stance, I hope you enjoy his story about an embarrassing moment in a green room before appearing on a talk show.
I agree with Jerry Clower in that there should be equal pay for equal work, and if a woman can do the job, she should be given an equal chance at getting the job. That goes for any race, ethnic background, whatever. In all the efforts of Women’s Liberation, they may have gotten more women into management positions, but the pay difference has never been equalized across the board. I know that at some locations where I was employed, you could name your pay rate if you were a black female with a Spanish surname, but in many arenas, the woman gets paid less than the man for the same work, even today. This I feel is an abomination, yet greed exists and is one of the worst sins, as if one sin is worse than another.
Wives being subjective to their husbands is not conditional as Rev. MacArthur explains. We want to excuse battered wives, whether physical or emotional, and other wives due to circumstances, but then Paul talks of slaves, who have no rights at all, being subjective to their masters. As God is merciful to us, we must show mercy. We must forgive rather than retaliate, but sin exists.
Many argue that these are Paul’s ideas and not those of Jesus. They characterize Paul as a chauvinist pig, but when Jesus said that to be the master, one must be the servant of all, He did not apply any conditions there either.
But, with all that said, some experts say that older men in Paul’s time were semi-retired drunks, thus just going with the sobriety would be an improvement. MacArthur mentions above how the women’s liberation of their day was found in the pagan mythology, and thus would lead to blending the religions, introducing false doctrine.
But at face value, telling the old men to live lives worthy of respect, loving one another is something no one should argue against. Everyone should do that. As for the older women doing likewise, including teaching the younger women, that is a good way to pass along skills. Women’s Lib has led to a side effect of what MacArthur says is “regression” in that those skills are lost. In our son’s homes, if something gets cooked, it is our two boys who do the cooking. Without daughters, my wife passed on her skills to her sons. In today’s homes, things do not get done, because no one wants to do what used to be “woman’s work,” but we lose our civilization as a result, or we are rich enough to have servants.
As for our home, my wife grew up with a strong Asian influence, where it truly was “women’s work” to take care of her family, but I do not think that I ever held out a glass expecting her to fill it with a beverage, without saying a word. But I have seen that. The boys did their chores, learning as they went, and as the boys left the nest, I picked up the slack, now doing most of everything except the cooking as my wife’s health has gotten worse. The Titus 2 system works best when all are acting out their love for one another as they all help each other, and never checking the gender role worksheet.
The paragraphs about young men and slaves, which could easily be modified to employees today, are both great advice to all age groups and genders.
When the 60s were being turned upside down with the Civil Rights movement, Women’s Liberation, and anti-Vietnam protests, a lot of changes were made. Power was not shifted, but more rules applied to make things more balanced across racial, gender, and other lines. A lot of progress was made but let us take inventory overall. In the 60s, most women stayed home and took care of the children. Now it takes two incomes and sometimes three incomes to maintain the household budget. So, in all that upheaval, maybe Rev. MacArthur is right. We regressed. We are less civilized with those around us. We are more hurried, busier, more worried, and more stressed, and we are getting less for two incomes than I received from a single income when I got out of school, considering buying power. Our middle class in the United States has virtually disappeared, and many experts claimed that our strong middle class was the difference in the American economy compared to other countries. And we accomplished this by rebelling against “the Man” back in the 60s.
So, living by the advice of the Apostle Paul in this chapter of Titus is not easy, but to live by the Grace of God, as he ends the chapter, it is necessary. Rev. Tozer called for us to separate ourselves from the secular world. We may have two jobs to make ends meet, but as much as possible, we must resist the lure of the secular world, including the lure of complaining about how hard life is. Then Rev. Lucado talked about resisting temptation, living the Christian life 24/7 as opposed to living riotously and then begging for forgiveness later.
If we can accomplish those things, we will be as Rev. Spurgeon ends the chapter in explaining, a person who does good for others, making choice pearls, gifts of God, using God’s strength within us. And knowing it is impossible without God’s strength within us, we can do nothing else but to worship and praise God, as we remain eager to do what is good.
Some Serendipitous Reflections
“1. Who has taught you in practical ways what it means to be a Christian? How has that mentor helped you? Who could you help now?
”2. What would you do this week to ‘make the teaching about God our Savior’ (v.10) more attractive to your family? Among your friends? At work?
“3. How can the group help you say ‘no’ to a current temptation?
- Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups
Question 2 suggests “at work.” In some work environments, that could get you fired, at least when discussing Christian beliefs openly. As the secular mindset becomes more prevalent, we need to be more subtle when discussing our beliefs. That subtly might also help with friends and family as well. For the true believer, just about everything in life is relatable to God. Not speaking of it seems unnatural, but we live in hard times and we must stay a step ahead.
Again, since this version of the Serendipity Bible is for small groups, you can substitute “group” with those other Christians that you communicate with.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.