Titus 2:1-15

Submitted by admin on Fri, 2010-04-23 12:53.

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Unlike the proponents of error, Titus needed to speak about matters that were fitting or suitable for “healthful,” sound, or wholesome teaching or instruction. His words were to contribute toward helping fellow believers to grow in faith and to make progress in living a life consistent with their faith. (2:1)

Paul’s previous words included comments about the requirements for those who would function as elders and servants in the community of believers. Here his reference is to older men generally. As believers, older men should be “sober [nephálios], serious [semnós], sensible [sóphron], healthy in faith, in love, in endurance [hypomoné].” (2:2)

The Greek term nephálios often relates to being moderate in drink but can have a broader significance. In this context, the word is probably to be understood as describing a person who is moderate or temperate, using restraint and avoiding extremes. (2:2)

A man to whom the word semnós applies would be serious or dignified in disposition and bearing. He would not be a person who is frivolous in his deportment nor would he treat important matters lightly. (2:2)

For a man to be described as sóphron would identify him as being sensible, prudent, or thoughtful. In his words and actions, he would reveal himself to be a person with good judgment. (2:2)

A “healthy” faith would be a sound, genuine, or solidly grounded faith. There is also a possibility that, in this context, faith denotes “faithfulness,” dependability, or trustworthiness. In that case, a man who is “healthy in faithfulness,” would prove himself to be outstandingly trustworthy. Love involves a selfless concern for others, a willingness to forgo one’s own interests to benefit fellow humans. A “healthy” love is genuine and strong, for it calls for courage when one’s coming to the aid of others poses serious personal risks. The Greek term hypomoné describes the capacity to endure under difficult circumstances, doing so patiently. For a man to be “healthy in endurance” would signify that he is strong in steadfastness, fortitude, perseverance, and patience, not easily giving in to complaint and despondency. (2:2)

Older women should likewise be exemplary, reverent in their conduct or demeanor, “not slanderers [literally, devils], not enslaved to much wine, teachers of good.” In keeping with their age and experience, older believing women should have a dignity or noble bearing that gave evidence of reverentialness or a purity of life. Their conversations should be meaningful and free from the kind of talk characteristic of idle gossips or slanderers. They should not be dulling their senses with drink. Listeners should be able to benefit from their words, learning good things from their fund of knowledge. (2:3)

As teachers of what is good, older women would be able to aid younger women to be praiseworthy examples. Their wise words could urge younger women to conduct themselves aright, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, chaste, good workers at home, subjecting themselves to their own husbands, “so that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (2:4, 5)

In the community of believers, younger married women were to be good wives and mothers, caring well for their responsibilities toward their own husbands and children, and having loving concern for their well-being. In handling family matters, they should have been sensible, thoughtful, or prudent, managing resources wisely for the benefit of all. As chaste women, they should have conducted themselves with decency and modesty. For them to be good workers at home would have meant that they attended well to household duties, giving no occasion for legitimate complaint or censure about how they discharged their responsibilities. In being submissive to their own husbands, the younger women would have accorded them the respect that was their rightful due as family heads and would have been cooperative and supportive. Their laudable conduct as wives and mothers would have honored God and Christ. It would not have given any valid basis for others to speak abusively of the “word of God,” or the divine message that centered on Christ and what his Father accomplished through him. If unbelievers had noticed that believing women did not conduct themselves like respectable wives and mothers in the community, they would have been inclined to attribute this to their belief and thus the “word of God” would have been brought into disrepute. (2:4, 5)

Paul directed Titus likewise to admonish or encourage the younger men to be sound in mind or sensible, using good judgment and exercising self-control. He himself needed to set a praiseworthy example in doing “good works.” These good works would have included every aspect of his conduct and activity that brought honor to God and Christ. (2:6, 7)

In his teaching, Titus needed to maintain “incorruption” (aphthoría), purity, or soundness, and seriousness. Instead of aphthoría, numerous other manuscripts contain a form of aphthonía (freedom from envy, which could signify willingness or the absence of any desire for personal gain) or adiaphthoría (sincerity or integrity). “Seriousness” in teaching would reflect a reverential and dignified manner and bearing. (2:7)

The reference to his being an example in “healthful word” that would not be censured could mean that Titus needed to make sure to convey sound teaching in a proper manner. (2:8) Translators have variously rendered the expression. “Use clean language that no one can criticize.” (CEV) “Your speech should be unaffected and logical.” (J. B. Phillips) “Speak the truth so that you cannot be criticized.” (NCV) “Offer sound instruction to which none can take exception.” (REB)

By being exemplary in his conduct and teaching, Titus would avoid providing an opening for an opponent to find legitimate fault. Any opponent would thus be put to shame because of being unable to justify saying anything bad about Titus (literally, “about us”). The plural “us” would include Paul or even the whole community of believers, as the wrongs of one member can reflect unfavorably on everyone. (2:8)

Slaves were to be submissive to their own masters “in everything,” that is, everything related to carrying out their assigned duties. “Everything” would not have included obedience to commands that would have required them to engage in dishonesty or lawlessness. Otherwise, in all respects, slaves should have done their best to please their owners, being diligent about doing what was expected of them. They were to be respectful, not talking back. (2:9)

Slaves were to be honest, not stealing from their masters but being completely trustworthy (literally, “demonstrating all good faith” or “all good fidelity”). Their diligence in following through on their duties, their laudable conduct, and their dependability would “adorn the teaching of our Savior, God, in everything.” As believers in the divine teaching about Jesus Christ and what his Father effected through him, exemplary slaves would make this teaching attractive to observers. It would reveal the transforming power for good that adherence to the teaching produced. God is the ultimate source of salvation or deliverance from sin and its consequences and, therefore, is the Savior of all believers. “In everything” that believing slaves did in a praiseworthy manner they would be adorning God’s teaching. (2:10)

The gracious favor or unmerited kindness of God became manifest when Jesus Christ ministered on earth and surrendered his life, making it possible for all who put faith in him to be forgiven of their sins and to be reconciled to his Father as beloved children. The words “to all men” can either relate to the reality that deliverance from sin and condemnation is available to all humans or that the manifestation of divine favor has been made to everyone. (2:11) Both meanings are found in modern translations. “For the grace of God has appeared, saving all.” (NAB) “For the grace of God has dawned upon the world with healing for all mankind.” (REB) “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” (NIV)

All who accept God’s gracious favor are instructed to renounce “ungodliness and worldly lusts.” They are instructed, disciplined, or trained in this respect by coming to the recognition that the cleansing from sin effected through Christ’s surrender of his life in keeping with his Father’s will requires conduct that is consistent with their faith in him and the divine arrangement for salvation. Accordingly, believers would reject everything that is contrary to God’s will and would resist the desires or lusts existing in the world of mankind in its state of alienation from him. In the present age, the life of believers should reflect sensibleness, sound judgment, or self-restraint, righteousness, uprightness, or honesty, and godliness or reverentialness. (2:12)

While conducting themselves in an exemplary manner, believers would be waiting for the fulfillment of “the happy hope and the manifestation of the glory of the great God and Savior of us, Jesus Christ.” This hope is the prospect of being united with Christ for all eternity in the sinless state. It is a “happy” or “blessed” hope, for its fulfillment will result in unspeakable joy and contentment upon having been found divinely approved and sharers in all the privileges and blessings that stem from having an enduring relationship with God and Christ. The Greek could be understood to mean that Jesus Christ is the “great God and Savior” of believers. Elsewhere in the Scriptures, however, Jesus is never called the “great God.” So the meaning appears to be that the glory, splendor, or magnificence of God, the Father, and of our Savior Christ Jesus will be revealed upon Christ’s return. (2:13) A number of modern translations, either in the main text or in footnotes, convey this significance. “And while we live this life we hope and wait for the glorious dénouement of God himself and of Jesus Christ our Savior.” (J. B. Phillips) “While we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” (NRSV, footnote) “We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” or “the return of Jesus Christ, who is the glory of our great God and Savior.” (CEV, footnote)

In the capacity of our Savior, Jesus Christ “gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all lawlessness and cleanse for himself a special people, zealous for good works.” Upon surrendering his life, Jesus Christ provided the basis for all who put faith in him to be redeemed or rescued from their lawless ways, ceasing to be the victims of personal lawlessness and in line for the associated condemnatory judgment. With his precious blood, Jesus Christ purchased all humans, and the cleansing that he effected with his blood in the case of those who put faith in him made them his special people, a people that belonged to him as his unique possession. As his cleansed people, they should be zealous for good works. These works would include all conduct and activity that honors Christ and promotes his interests. (2:14)

Paul had called attention to the kind of conduct that should distinguish the life of believers, including that of older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. These were the matters about which Titus was to continue to speak, exhorting and reproving believers on the island of Crete and doing so with all authority (literally, “all command,” denoting the authority or right to give orders or commands to correct wrongs). In carrying out his assignment, Titus was not to let anyone look down on him. This would have required his setting a good example, maintaining the kind of conduct and bearing that left no opening for valid censure. (2:15)