The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3

Titus 2

Tit 2:1

Vv 1-10: Exhortations to good works: This section, the central section of Paul's letter to Titus, emphasizes practical, personal holiness of life, and dedication and service to God. It is the logical continuation of Tit 1:16: Certain "believers" have made a great profession of knowing God, but in works they deny Him. Therefore, those who truly know God must manifest that knowledge in sober and sound lives that affirm Him!

Two of those key words which have received some attention already are used with full force in this section. "Hugiaino" (sound, healthy) and related words appear five times in the letter; three appearances are in this section (Tit 2:1,2,8). "Sophron" (sober) and related words appear six times in the letter; four are in this section (Tit 2:2,4,5,6), and one immediately follows it (Tit 2:12). Paul seems repetitious almost to the point of being tiresome; yet if he seems so, it is only because it is so important! His is an insistent, challenging repetition! Like the repetitive clanging of an alarm bell, it must wake us up! We are in constant danger of succumbing to what is no more than new and exciting. To the degree that we do this, we fail to give due weight in our lives to the sound and sober and sensible matters of our faith.

Paul is determined that Titus (and we!) never forget what is really important. It is one thing to enjoy the "trappings" of the Truth to play with theoretical questions, to discuss the latest controversy, to talk about the Truth as a hobby and a conscience-salver. But it is quite another thing to get down to the serious business of disciplining ourselves, giving up our own natural desires, coming to grips with the "deceitful serpent" in our own breasts. Our main concern must be how we ourselves live our daily lives -- what we do with our time and money and strength -- and whether we manifest the spiritual qualities of Christ: purity, patience, sobriety, goodness, kindness, and love.

Our minds, if they are to be like the mind of Christ, must be brought into subjection and centered on something greater than ourselves. It is the same principle by which the plowman must focus on some distant object in order to guide the plow. If he looks at the end of his nose, at what is right in front of him, his course will be quite erratic. But if he looks to Christ, and the distant goal, then all the "little things", the day-to-day distractions will not deter him from that worthwhile object.

Sobriety and soundness necessitate a balanced view of all the aspects of the Truth. A man who is constantly fretting about a fad, or a pet theory, or a matter of secondary importance, or a question of personal judgment, has a false center. Like an unbalanced bearing, he will behave erratically under pressure. Perhaps he has some concern immediately before him, and he cannot soberly put it in its rightful place amongst all the aspects of the Truth. So finally that fad, that triviality, gets the better of him and he sees nothing else. Much harm, and lasting harm, is done by such brethren when they are unwisely put in positions of prominence.

Vv 1,2: The older men: In this section, Paul through Titus addresses exhortations to every class in the ecclesias. First of all, the older brothers are to be sober and sound in the faith, loving and patient (v 2). It may be thought by some that the older brothers among us are often too "sober" already! It is true that age too often brings an irritable conservatism, unable to change and suspicious of any point of view except the one already imprinted on the mind. However, this is not true Scriptural "sobriety". Indeed, the older brothers more than any other ecclesial group may need to cultivate Scriptural "sobriety" -- which is balance of mind, for the very reason that the passage of the years can harden their minds in an eccentric intolerance.

Love and patience must also be cultivated by the older brothers. If their wealth of experience is to be of any help to other, younger members, it must be made available carefully and considerately, not handed down in dictatorial pronouncements. (Perhaps it would not be asking too much, also, if the older ones would try to encourage youth in at least some of its projects. It would seem that the only gift experience confers on some is that of pouring cold water on every new plan of the young!)

In short, it can be said that both young and old need one another in ecclesial life. The drawing of lines, and the erecting of barriers between the generations, can only injure Christ's body in the long run. We are all "one family" and "one body" -- young, middle-aged, and old together. Each class has a strength peculiarly its own, but each has its special weakness. Young men are wise to seek the help of the old that they may guard against the errors of inexperience. Old men are wise to listen to the young that they may guard against a self-satisfied and crotchety prejudice. This distinction is nicely made by the Apostle John: "I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him (ie, Christ) from the beginning" (1Jo 2:13). (The words "that is" are italicized in the AV; the sense is best when they are omitted.) The old have a great wealth of experience. Their strength is that experience; but their weakness can be a desire to live in the past, and to resist all change.

"I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong" -- strong and energetic in body, the envy of many older ones. But that strength is a two-edged sword; what may be great strength to serve God may also be great strength misdirected to satisfy natural desires.

"... and the word of God abideth in you" -- Youth has keener wit and quicker intelligence; the memory is better; ideas may be grasped and elaborated more readily by the young. But there is, again, the corresponding danger, that the desire for some "new thing" or for notoriety may mean a greater potential for harm. "... and ye have overcome the wicked one" (1Jo 2:14).

But what may look like an easy battle, at the beginning, against the lusts of the flesh, may only lull the "strong" young brother into a pride and a complacency that can prove fatal. "Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off" (1Ki 20:11).

V 1: SOUND: "Hugaino": healthful.

DOCTRINE: The word "doctrine" sounds a bit too formal; the idea is: that which is taught; not only first principles, but especially conduct. Gospel truth must be inseparable from the virtues of meekness, patience, faith, and love. Anytime we see a professing believer who does not adhere to the essential qualities Paul describes, we may be sure that whatever he has to say is of little use.

Tit 2:2

THE OLDER MEN: This word ("presbutees") and related words signify older people. Sometimes the terms are used to denote seniority in general (1Ti 5:2; Luke 15:25; John 8:9; Acts 2:17). At other tines, the related word "presbuteros" refers to the Jewish leaders of the synagogues (Mat 15:2; 16:21; 26:47, 57; Mark 7:3,5; Acts 4:5,23). Later, the term came to be virtually synonymous with "bishops" (cp Tit 1:5 with Tit 1:7, and Acts 20:17 with Acts 20:28).

It is most likely the word "aged" here should be taken in its literal sense -- referring to advanced years and not to special position. The whole context of vv 1-10, with its exhortations to young and old, requires this sense.

God's "school" is for old men as well as young. Men are not only initiated into the gospel, but they are trained with a view to perfection. Since that perfection is unattainable, it stands to reason that no man -- not even the oldest and most spiritual -- ever "graduates" from that school! Every man is only a "child" to God; like a child, he must continue to learn and grow in grace and knowledge.

Old age can either follow the natural course of degeneration into the pettiness and selfishness of childhood, or it can be led by the Spirit of Christ into a golden age of experience, understanding, and usefulness. Much depends on how we have prepared in earlier years. In the ideal ecclesial community that Paul portrays here, each age has its place and work: the aged to give counsel out of their deep maturity in the Word, the middle-aged to carry forward the work with zeal, and the young eager to learn and help. It is an altogether lovely concept -- a healthy, united Body of beauty and utility.

TEMPERATE: This is not the usual word "sophron" (which appears instead as the NIV "self-controlled"). This is "nephalios", which literally means sober in relation to the "not given to wine" of Tit 1:7. It is translated "temperate" in 1Ti 3:2,11.

One sign of true maturity is that a man learns what are, and what are not, legitimate and lasting pleasures. Elders should have learned that the "pleasures" of self-indulgence, in whatever form, cost far more than they are worth.

"Nephalios" carries the implications of clearness of mind, sober awareness, and thoughtful vigilance. We are to be active, spiritual thinkers, not passive natural "feelers"! It is so easy to drift into thoughtless obsession with trivialities, especially as old age approaches and one's horizons shrink -- so easy to slide off into mindless chatterings about foolish, passing things. The mind -- a lazy and deceitful organism as it is now constituted -- must be constantly disciplined and directed outward, away from the present and the self to eternity and others.

WORTHY OF RESPECT: The word "semnos" means "dignified". It points to seriousness of purpose and to self-respect in conduct. It does not describe the demeanor of a gloomy killjoy, but that of a man who honestly and whole-heartedly believes that one day he will leave the society of men to stand before the all-wise judge for the purpose of giving his account. This word and a related word are favorites in the Pastoral Letters -- appearing there six times ("grave" here and in 1Ti 3:8, 11; "gravity" in 1Ti 3:4 and Tit 2:7; "honesty" in 1Ti 2:2) and only once elsewhere in Scripture ("honest" in Phi 4:8).

SELF-CONTROLLED: "Sophron", "sober". "Sophron" signifies much more than "freedom from drunkenness" (as the modern word "sober" implies). It means "right-minded". It is used of the healed lunatic in Mark 5:15 and Luke 8:35, and thus is the antithesis of unruly behavior. The fact that such "sobriety" was very much lacking in the Cretan ecclesias is demonstrated by Paul's quotation of the proverb: "Cretans are always liars, slow bellies ('idle gluttons')" (Tit 1:12).

In the space of four verses (Tit 2:3-6), Paul addresses no less than four exhortations to "sobriety" to four different sections of the ecclesias! The one thing, more than any other, standing between the Cretan believers and godliness was the absence of "sobriety" -- the need for a balanced outlook and a right-mindedness and a restrained behavior. Establish this foundation, cultivate this frame of mind, look at the world and yourselves sensibly and soberly, Paul is saying. Then, and only then, will you truly be in the way that leads to godliness.

Clearly then, Paul's exhortation to be "sober" -- to be balanced both in doctrine and conduct -- lies right at the heart of his letter to Titus. And Paul's advice is just as valid today; for though our modern circumstances are vastly different from those existing in first-century Crete, it is still as true as ever that acceptable and Christlike conduct stems only from the soundness of a healthy spiritual outlook.

The "soberness" which Paul so deliberately stressed to Titus is the key to many of the things that are lacking in our own lives, both as individuals and as members of the body of Christ.

SOUND IN FAITH, IN LOVE AND IN ENDURANCE: The aged are to exemplify their spiritual health ("hugiaino") in three aspects: faith, love ("agape"), and patience. This "trilogy" of virtues appears three other times in Paul's writings (1Ti 6:11,12; 2Ti 3:10; and 1Th 1:3). It is practically the equivalent of the more often noted "faith, hope, and love" -- hope being approximated by patience.

In their attitude toward God, the aged men must show soundness in faith. In their attitude toward their fellows they must show soundness in love. And in their attitude toward their own lives and situations, they must show soundness in patience.

IN LOVE: Much might be written of "agape" which, while good and appropriate, would be more of a digression than an exposition of Titus. "Agape" is a word not found in Greek writers (where "philanthropy" is the closest approximation). "Agape" is a distinctively Christian concept, love in its fullest imaginable force, first exhibited to perfection by our Saviour. It is a self-denying love, not just benevolently but also compassionately devoted to its object. It is a love which gives up all for the sake of another, a love which is truly "out of this world"!

One of the greatest dangers of age is the tendency to drift into pessimism and fault-finding. The passage of years can cause kindness and sympathy to fade away, to be replaced by harshness and intolerance. Conscious effort is needed more and more by older folks, still to see another's point of view and to understand another's circumstances.

IN ENDURANCE: "Steadfastness" (RSV); "endurance" (NIV, NEB). The third ornament of old age is a willing and silent suffering of hard and painful things, for the sake of Christ. The years should temper a man like steel, so that he can bear more and more, and emerge more and more the conqueror over life's troubles.

Love and endurance are necessary to the old because spirituality is a matter of gradual growth. Youth is inclined toward many things of which age has seen the vanity. Therefore age must have patience and sympathy while youth is maturing. If there is movement in the right direction, then it must be careful to encourage it, and not to destroy it with criticism and intolerance. And youth will be much more inclined to listen if age can show in its own life that it has learned to manifest these lovely spiritual fruits.

Tit 2:3

Vv 3-5: To the sisters: Next, the older sisters are singled out (vv 3,4). In addition to the ever-present reminder to sobriety, they are to exemplify holiness and loving service to one's family (in the lesser and the greater senses). They are not to be "devils", or false accusers -- an implicit assumption that gossip (useless at best, and deadly at worst) can be a common fault of older women.

The older sisters are to teach the younger (vv, 4,5) to be sober, chaste, good, and obedient. This is a logical order. The closest links between the generations are generally forged on the female side. Women spend much more time with homes and families. Visiting the sick and caring for children and other practical expressions of religion often throw young sisters and old sisters into close companionship. Sometimes great benefits can accrue to both in these relationships.

The older sisters should be "mothers in Israel", to whom younger sisters may turn with their problems. But sometimes older sisters are guilty of criticizing the young while doing nothing themselves to counsel or help. It ought to be possible for the younger sisters always to approach the older on any matter, and feel assured of receiving sensible, sound advice.

V 3: THE OLDER WOMEN: Again, as in v 2, the elderly must be meant, and not a special office or grouping (as the "widows indeed" of 1Ti 5:3-16).

TO BE REVERENT IN THE WAY THEY LIVE: "Reverent in behaviour" (RSV). Two words in this phrase are unique in the NT: "katastema" signifies demeanor or a state of mind; "hieroprepes" means prepared or consecrated as "priestesses"! It suggests that older sisters are to be a living priesthood, carrying into their daily lives the attitudes, actions, and even appearance of a sanctified, special class of God's servants.

Paul's comments to Timothy may be considered an expansion upon his thought here: "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works" (1Ti 2:9,10).

With the qualities of modesty and self-restraint the sister must adorn herself, so as to be pleasing in God's sight. "The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1Sa 16:7). God sees the thoughts and intents of our hearts (Heb 4:12), and our "adornments" must be those characteristics in which He finds delight. These verses are especially for the women, but the ultimate application is for any with ears to hear.

Paul is commending the virtue of self-restraint, or refusal to conform to the foolish fashions of a vain and changing world. Perhaps this point is driven home most firmly when we consider the counter-examples of Scripture: The harlot of the Apocalypse, with her wanton ways, her brazen attitude, her rich clothing (Rev 17:4) -- the scarlet "attire of an harlot" (Pro 7:10), the garments of violence (Psa 73:6). Isa 3:16-24 presents the same type of grotesque picture: The daughters of Zion, the very members of the ecclesia in Isaiah's time, were haughty, wanton, flirtatious -- with every imaginable type of "fashionable" nonsense and tastelessness. Does not such a perverted, hideous picture indeed emphasize by contrast the virtues of modesty and sobriety?

NOT TO BE SLANDERERS: "Not false accusers" (KJV), "slanderers" (RSV, NIV), "scandalmongers" (NEB), or "malicious gossips" (NASB). This is the same word ("diabolos") as was usually translated "devil" by the King James Version. But the "orthodox" belief concerning a supernatural being of evil called the Devil cannot be fitted into such verses as this (or 1Ti 3:11, or 2Ti 3:3). Here "diabolos" is certainly applied to mortal women, and there is no way at all to escape this fact. So the translators were forced to render "diabolos" by its proper meaning "slanderer" or "false accuser" (which it should have in every instance). This is a perfect example of organized religion's preference (whenever the least bit possible) for heathen fables over God's word.

The basic idea of "diabolos" is that of lying. Those who carried around lies about others were of their "father" the devil, the old serpent, who was a liar from the beginning. Lying was an established Cretan trait (Tit 1:12); but God cannot lie (Tit 1:2).

This word "diabolos" is also used of the faithless disciple Judas (John 6:70) and of a persecuting political power (1Pe 5:8; Rev 2:10). In its other occurrences it is used of the source of sin, temptation, and persecution (Mat 4:1,5,8,11; 13:39; 25:41; Luke 4:2,3,5,6,13; 8:12; John 8:44; 13:2; Acts 10:38; 13:10; Eph 4:27; 6:11; 1Ti 3:6,7; 2 Tin. 2:26; Heb 2:14; James 4:7; 1Jo 3:8,10; Jud 1:9; Rev 12:9,12; 20:2,10). What is ascribed to the "devil" in some verses (as Heb 2:14) is ascribed to sin in others (as Heb 9:26; compare Rom 5:21; 6:23; 7:17,18).

Paul has described elsewhere how it is that women may easily become "diabolos". It is through idleness, which may lead to an aimless wandering from house to house, and thence to becoming tattlers and busybodies (1Ti 5:13). Even the Law of Moses forbade such conduct: "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people" (Lev 19:16).

OR ADDICTED TO MUCH WINE: "Slaves to drink" (RSV). This is a stronger word than the similar ones in 1Ti 3:3,8 and Tit 1:7; It contains "doulo" (to be enslaved). Habit can be a form of slavery. It was common among the Greeks and Romans for old women to be fond of wine. And considering what we know already about the Cretan character (Tit 1:12), it is not difficult to imagine the reason for such a strong charge here.

BUT TO TEACH WHAT IS GOOD: Since Paul has elsewhere commanded sisters to be silent in the meetings (1Ti 2:12; 1Co 14:34, 35), then this must be a "teaching" of a different order -- a private instruction, by deed as well as word (1Pe 3:1,2). It is the implicit "teaching" of a life such as Paul describes of some older sisters: "Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work" (1Ti 5:10).

WHAT IS GOOD: Love what is good (Tit 1:8); teach what is good (Tit 2:3); and do what is good (Tit 2:7,14; 3:8,14).

Tit 2:4

By the examples of their lives of holiness and good works, the older women may teach the younger ones so also to live.

TO LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS: The word is "philandros". This love, as may be seen from other passages, must be shown by devotion and submission to the husband, after the pattern of Christ and the ecclesia: "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands... for after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well" (1Pe 3:1,5,6). (Wives who "trust in God" will not feel the necessity to assert their own "rights", but will place themselves in God's hands by submitting to their husbands, even if they are unbelievers.) "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything" (Eph 5:22-24; cp Col 3:18).

Although love is not mentioned in the three passages cited above, it must be the operative principle, since the love of a wife for her husband is the counterpart of the ecclesia's love for Christ. But, in either relationship, the natural or the spiritual, it is no true love which refuses to submit to the will of the "head".

TO LOVE THEIR... CHILDREN: "Philoteknos". By a stark contrast with this and the previous phrase, Paul elsewhere warns that in the last days, as a sure sign of perilous times, men will be: "philautos": lovers of themselves (2Ti 3:2); "philarguros": lovers of money ("covetous") (Tit 3:2); and "philedonos": lovers of pleasure (Tit 3:4).

In simplest terms, our spiritual state is demonstrated by whom or what we love. When men and women love their families, then society is solidly established on sound principles. But when men and women love most the sensual and the materialistic, when they seek their leisure and their entertainment and their gratification away from the family circle, then society is in grave danger. These are perhaps the most serious problems to face the brotherhood in the last days, for it is so easy to slip by little stages into a worldly attitude toward self and pleasure and money. It is so difficult to swim against the current, and to insist on keeping the family together and severely limiting the outside disruptive influences of a pleasure-mad and greedy world.

There is a link, perhaps, with Tit 1:11. In Crete the false teachers were subverting whole houses by their teachings and examples. In such circumstances it was doubly necessary that prudent women give their wholehearted attentions to strengthening their family's ties and defenses.

One other point might be made here: So often, in our materialistic age, parents think to show love to their children by showering them with expensive gifts. We have all heard the lament of the disappointed parent, "How could my child have gone astray? I have been a good mother. I gave him everything he asked for!" "Everything", perhaps, except attention, instruction, and discipline! Even as our Heavenly Father shows His love toward us by chastening us (Heb 12:5-11), so must faithful parents love their children. When this is neglected, when the parents never say "No" (1Ki 1:6) to their children, the results are spoiled, self-centered, childish young adults who are not fit material for the kingdom of God.

Tit 2:5

SELF-CONTROLLED: "Sophron" again.

PURE: The word is "hagnos", which always has reference to moral purity, to holiness and sanctification, freedom from any kind of defilement, even inward stain or blemish (Jam 3:17; 2Co 11:2; 1Pe 3:2; 1Jo 3:3). There may be a link between this idea and the "slaves to wine" of v 3. Older women must not become addicted to intoxicants, lest the younger women copy them, and be led into unchastity. (Paul seems to make the same connection between purity and wine in 1Ti 5:22,23, where he tells Timothy to keep himself pure, while adding that a little wine for medicinal purposes would not be improper.) This warning against the dangers of wine may have been necessary because of a prevailing weakness in the Cretan character and constitution. But to some degree it is a good warning for all of us, especially in this age of lovers of pleasure. The drunken harlot of the Apocalypse (Rev 17:1-6), while primarily indicative of the great apostasy, might almost be the parody of our whole sad, sick, selfish society, with which we must have nothing to do!

TO BE BUSY AT HOME: Or "keepers at home" (AV). This is a fair translation of "oikourous", as is "domestic" (RSV, Diag). But many mss have the divergent reading "oikourgous", a rare word meaning "workers at home" (RV). This is apparently the basis for the translation "busy at home" in NIV and NEB. Either possibility would be well suited to the context.

The good works for which widows should be known all involve a keeping at home, and a diligence about its affairs (1Ti 5:10). A sign of failure at such good works is an idle wandering from house to house (v 13). It was a distinguishing mark of the adulteress of Proverbs that "her feet abide not in her house: now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner" (Pro 7:11,12). Dinah "went out to see the daughters of the land", and she fell into great tragedy (Gen 34:1,2). But when an angel asked for Sarah, she was "in the tent" (Tit 18:9). The "daughters" of Sarah (1Pe 3:6) will follow her example, shunning taverns and "pleasure palaces" like the plagues they are, and remaining where their husbands or fathers can readily find them.

The question arises: Is this phrase a prohibition against married sisters working outside the home? After all, the "virtuous woman" is pictured as diligent in business, at least some of which must be transacted in "the business world" (Pro 31:16,24). It is best not to lay down absolute rules in this matter, while at the same time affirming the wisdom of general principles. Generally, and most of the time, a married sister's best and most useful sphere is the home. This is especially true when she is the mother of small children. No "baby-sitters" or "day-care centers" can begin to do for her children what she can. The young mother who goes out to work every day, for the sake of a higher "standard of living", will very likely do a second-rate job at both her tasks. The loss to her secular employment will be temporal and minimal, but the spiritual loss to her developing family may be incalculable!

The best answer to the economic dilemma imposed upon young parents is this: Forget about keeping up with your neighbors in material things. We are called upon to make sacrifices for the Truth; be thankful if your toughest "sacrifice" is the foregoing of a few "luxuries". Recognize that the common tasks of the household are a test of your patience and faith; as much as accomplishing some "great thing" for the Truth, they are the means to gain eternal life, if done joyfully and wholeheartedly, to God and not to men.


Nearly 68% of the 50,000 women who responded to a 1988 survey by Family Circle magazine said they would prefer to stay at home with their children if it were economically possible for them to do so. The US Census Bureau says that more and more women are entering or staying in the work force after having a baby. In 1977 only 32% of women with a child a year old or younger were working. By 1982 this had increased to 43%. In 1988 it reached 52%. In 2000, 80%.

KIND: "Agathos" should be understood in the sense of "kind" (as in Mat 20:15). The thought is expressed in Proverbs: "She will do him (her husband) good and not evil all the days of her life... she stretcheth out her hand to the poor... in her tongue is the law of kindness... a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised" (Tit 31:12,20,26,30).

TO BE SUBJECT TO THEIR HUSBANDS: "Subject" is "hupotasso" -- a military term meaning to keep rank. It appears also in v 9 as "subject", in Eph 5:21,22,24 and Col 3:18 as "submit" -- with regard to wives; also in many other verses. Again, Paul expands upon this necessary obedience in his letter to Timothy: "Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve" (1Ti 2:11-13).

A wife's "love" for her husband is not true love unless it is shown in her obedience, or subjection. It should be stressed, however, that Scriptural passages commanding subjection should never be abused by tyrannical and unsympathetic men intent on suppressing godly women. Many women are more qualified than many men to exercise judgment and give counsel; God never intended that such should be ignored. Women prominently ministered to Christ (Luke 8:2,3), labored with Paul in the gospel (Phi 4:3), and served as official representatives in the ecclesias (Rom 16:1-3). The Scriptural ideal in marriage (or in the ecclesia as a whole) is achieved only when the loving submission of godly women is matched by the loving care and protection of Christ-like men (Eph 5:25,26).

SO THAT NO ONE WILL MALIGN THE WORD OF GOD: This phrase may be taken as the reason for all the advice in vv 2-5. To malign (Gr "blasphemeo") is, literally, to revile or speak contemptuously of God and God's things. Blasphemy may be hypocrisy: "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan" (Rev 2:9). Any teaching or act of a believer which is contrary to a faithful walk in the Truth is "hypocrisy" and, by this definition, blasphemy as well. Blasphemy is the denial of God or the denial of His power. Paul speaks of this blasphemy in a warning of apostasy in the last days, which may apply to the ecclesia: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away... Ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth" (2Ti 3:5,7).

We may seem to acknowledge God's power by an outward adherence to "the Truth" so-called, but we deny His power whenever we knowingly and continuously walk contrary to His commands. We deny His power to judge and punish wrongdoers. And we deny His living and ever-present power to save, uplift, and guide us into the right ways.

When a man or woman who professes high principles is seen to deny them in practice, then the "enemy" is given cause to speak evil of that profession. So it was that David gave occasion to God's enemies to blaspheme (2Sa 12:14). So it was that Israel by ignorance and disobedience allowed God's name to be blasphemed every day (Isa 52:5). And so it was, in Crete, that those who professed the true gospel "liberty" as Paul taught it were bringing that gospel into disrepute among the "circumcision" party (Tit 1:10-16) by their lax behavior!

Tit 2:6

Vv 6-8: To the younger brothers, last of the four classes, Paul has the least to say directly. They should also be sober (v 6). But Paul apparently has in mind that Titus must especially show the young brothers how to live by the example of his own life (vv 7,8): good works and sound speech.

Tit 2:7

Vv 7,8: Titus was to set an example for his younger brethren, both in word and deed. As a teacher, he was to be careful of what he taught, of how he taught it, and of how he "lived" it! His "doctrine" (or teaching) was to be pure, or without corruption. His manner was to be seemly, even solemn; he was to consider his words carefully both in his public expositions and in his private words. He was never to let a personal enjoyment of conversational frivolities undo the good his preaching might accomplish, The business of preparing oneself and others for eternal life is a serious one. Good humor and kindness and sympathy are fine and useful, but foolish talking and idle jesting are terribly harmful.

Sound speech must be preceded by sound reflection. This is the essence of Scriptural "sobriety" -- to see the world for what it really is, to develop a sense of proportion in spiritual things, and to have always at the forefront of the mind the essentials of the Truth.

No speech, whether public or private, can be sound or healthful which is out of harmony with one Word of God: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1Pe 4:11).

It is not simply that we must express ourselves correctly as to doctrine, but also that the essence of God's character might be expressed in our whole conversation: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Mat 12:34).

If a young man's heart is full of the word of Christ, his talk must coincide with the exalted character of that revelation.

There is much in the Bible about the power and uses of the tongue. It is naturally an unruly member of the body. Life and death are in its sphere of influence. By our words we may be justified or condemned (Jam 3:2-12).

Example is the greatest and most powerful exhortation. It is not worthwhile giving attention to anyone who does not first discipline and govern himself according to his professed faith. Regardless of any appearance of knowledge, such men have nothing to offer in the way of useful guidance.

IN EVERYTHING SET THEM AN EXAMPLE BY DOING WHAT IS GOOD: The Greek for "example" is "tupos" (Anglicized as "type"). It is from the root word for a blow or a tap; hence, an impression, as of a seal upon wax or an imprint upon paper. A type, then, is an exact (or nearly exact) facsimile of the original. In place of "example" (NIV) or "pattern" (KJV), the RSV gives "model". Titus was to be, as we are also, the type, pattern, or model of Christ in all his works -- truly an awesome task! Likewise, Paul said to Timothy: "Be thou an example ('tupos') of the believers" (1Ti 4:12). In dealing with the young especially, example is more persuasive than mere precept.

WHAT IS GOOD: Love what is good (Tit 1:8); teach what is good (Tit 2:3); and do what is good (Tit 2:7,14; 3:8,14).

TEACHING: Not so much "doctrine" (KJV) as currently understood, but "teaching" (as also in RSV). Its primary emphasis is upon moral teaching. Truth as a system of knowledge is inseparable from the virtues it requires; faith, patience, love, humility. The absence of these latter characteristics is proof that the truths professed are inadequately believed!

INTEGRITY: As also in RSV and NEB. The Greek word is unique in this passage. The brother who speaks or leads is always faced with certain special temptations: self-display, pride, power. There is the danger of holding wrong standards of success. Success of a preacher must be measured by the effect his words have upon himself and his listeners to change their lives for the better.

Success must never be measured by notoriety or number of speaking engagements or committee appointments.

SERIOUSNESS: "Semnotes" is related to the word "semnos" in Tit 2:2.

"Sincerity" in the KJV is considered to have insufficient evidence in the mss and is omitted by most modern versions.

Tit 2:8

SOUNDNESS OF SPEECH THAT CANNOT BE CONDEMNED: The same phrase appears in 1Ti 6:3 as "wholesome words". "Hugiaino" (sound, wholesome, healthful) has been discussed already.

THAT CANNOT BE CONDEMNED: The one word, "akatagnostos" (literally, "nothing known against") is unique to this verse. Titus must ensure that he gives no reason for the "opposers" or "gainsayers" (Tit 1:9) to bring an accusation against himself.

SO THAT THOSE WHO OPPOSE YOU MAY BE ASHAMED BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING BAD TO SAY ABOUT US: The phrase "about us" is supported by most manuscripts; it brings Paul into the picture, jealous not for his personal reputation but only that his mission not be hindered. This phrase is obviously an echo of the latter part of v 5. Both followers and leaders must so live that no one, either unbeliever or apostate believer, will have cause to condemn the Truth. (Of the two possible "opponents", the first is mentioned in 1Pe 5:8 and the second in Tit 1:9-16.)

Here is the power of godliness, for which there is no substitute. The Truth is not so much a matter of presentation and reasoning and logic, as of beauty and power. If we do not manifest the beauty of the Truth in ourselves, then we cannot teach it in any living way to others. We can pass on doctrines as such, but there will be no transforming power of godliness. We must show the way of life and holiness, so that our opponents may be put to shame.

The way of God, truly and joyfully lived, is the greatest persuasive power on earth. But it must be lived joyfully, as a glorious privilege and not as a burden. Jesus Christ singlehandedly changed the course of this evil world by the sheer impact of perfect holiness. Christ's opponents were sometimes struck dumb and powerless before the pure brilliance of his sinless character.

Tit 2:9

Vv 9,10: Finally, slaves as a class in the brotherhood are treated separately (vv 9,10), indicating that they must have been a sizeable number in Crete.

The Greek word signifies bond-servants; that is, servants under bondage -- more precisely, slaves.

Slavery was perhaps the most perplexing of questions which early Christianity had to face. It entered into all grades and ranks; it was common to all people and nations. The very fabric of society seemed knit and bound together by this miserable institution. Commerce was chiefly responsible for slavery in the old Roman world. To preach against it openly would be to foment rebellion, so foreign was the thought of social justice and equality to the "enlightened" mood of that age. (We also know from Christadelphian literature that there were in America, in the last century, slave-owners whose presence in the ecclesias was the occasion of some dissent.)

It is probable, in the very nature of things, that slave-owners would be very few among the brethren. The vast majority would be either slaves, or poor free men. The Gospel was preached to the poor, and its principles had the greatest appeal to them.

In the Roman Empire in NT times slaves outnumbered the free. Very often the slaves were in chains continually day and night. The master had power of life and death. Slaves had little or no right or protection under law, no property, no true marriage, no choice of a mate -- their master gave or took mates at his will. The children belonged to the master as slaves for any use or purpose the master desired. Runaway slaves usually received torture, branding, and often a cruel death. (If our version were more consistently translated, this aspect of NT times would be more obvious: Three-fourths of all the appearances of the word "servant" in the AV should be translated as "slave", as in some of the more modern versions.)

The Scriptures do not condone slavery. But neither do they seek to destroy any other of the vast multitude of inequities that make up natural human society. Through much of history, and almost to the present, slavery has been a major aspect of human society. Actually it is a much wider and more inclusive thing than generally regarded. That is, all dictatorship is actually slavery; all industrial and economic oppression is actually slavery, especially where the victim's circumstances leave him no choice but to submit. A world-famous Russian author has recently called to the attention of Westerners the true slave-and-master foundation of Communist society. We should never forget in our prayers our brethren striving to uphold the Truth in Communist and other totalitarian societies.

It has been a universal characteristic of man to seek to oppress and enslave his fellow man and to use him to increase his own wealth, power, and leisure. Slavery in its various forms -- fiefdom, serfs, peasantry, and so on -- has been the common lot of the poor up until very recent times. Practical slavery still exists in much of the world today, wherever the few rich, who own all the land and control access to legal and political redress, can exploit and oppress the vast and hopeless masses of the poor. Slavery is just one part of the great human fabric of evil and wickedness. For the Bible to seek to abolish slavery would require it to write the laws for all nations, appoint all rulers and judges, and enforce justice by divinely-led police forces. This is exactly what will happen -- but not now. It will come about in God's own proper time and not before.

The greatest slavery of all, before which all else pales into insignificance, is man's slavery to his own selfishness and fleshly desires; and to this all are in bondage. Most, indeed, are eager victims with no desire for freedom. This is the deep root of the weed to which we must lay the axe of Scripture. Chopping off the "branches" only makes the evil fruit grow bigger.

The purpose of God is concerned with preparing a people for eternity by adversity. And, in God's wisdom, slavery and poverty are sometimes part of the general, evil, human background that God is using to develop character and shape His determined ends. The Bible's purpose is not to reform the world -- not just yet! Its present purpose is to call out and prepare a people for God. The present evil constitution of man is the necessary furnace of affliction for the purifying of the saints. The Bible is concerned with the character of the individual, the release from the universal slavery of self and sin, and the preparation for God and eternity. It tells the slave to serve his master, whether he be good or bad, as service done to God and accepted by God. It tells the master to treat the slave as he himself would desire to be treated, with perfect justice and mercy, even as he hoped in mercy to be treated by his Master Christ.

TEACH SLAVES TO BE SUBJECT TO THEIR MASTERS IN EVERYTHING, TO TRY TO PLEASE THEM: As stated before, this can apply to more than the literal slaves of Paul's time. The believers were in reality the "slaves" of their Roman lords, being subject to "the powers that be" (Rom 13:1). And all the poor and middle-class believers (which certainly comprised the majority) were in effect slaves as well: slaves to a cruel, heartless economic system. The natural course would be for a slave or a humble workman to hate his lord, and to "cut corners" and cheat him of his due, or to escape bondage if possible. Paul, speaking God's words, puts this on a much higher plane: We are not just serving ignorant, wicked men; we are at the same time serving God in heaven: "Servants (Slaves), be obedient to them who are your masters according to the flesh... with good will, doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men" (Eph 6:5,7).

If the believer were a servant to an unbeliever, submissiveness would indicate how thoroughly the Truth affected the life of that person. If he were a servant to a believer, all the more reason to serve diligently in the bonds of love. Practicing this on a natural plane will develop the same characteristic on the spiritual plane. We are all slaves of the Lord.

It would not matter if the master treated the slave justly or unjustly. The slave should consider this system as temporary, passing, as a night mist -- remembering that Christ has purchased him with his life-blood, promising manifold payment for unquestioning duty (1Pe 2:18-24). The slave should be reminded that at one time he had served in the bondage of a master who was terribly exacting, and who had offered nothing in return; he had once served that fearful power Sin, and the wages of the employer Sin was everlasting death (Rom 6:17-23).

Again, turning to the natural, a slave was to be faithful to his master unless his master demanded that he violate a law of God; man must serve God first (Acts 4:19; 5:29; 1Co 7:21-23).

NOT TO TALK BACK TO THEM: This should probably be understood in the wider sense of any opposition to the will of the Master.

Tit 2:10

NOT TO STEAL FROM THEM: "Nosphizo" is the regular term for petty larceny, a vice to which slaves would be particularly tempted. The RSV and NEB have "pilfering". By the last command above, servants are taught to bridle their tongues; by this command, to bridle their hands! Jacob in his twenty years' service to Laban exemplified this quality (Gen 31:38-41).

BUT TO SHOW THAT THEY CAN BE FULLY TRUSTED: He who is faithful in a little prepares himself for greater responsibilities. But, "If ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" (Luke 16:12).

SO THAT IN EVERY WAY THEY WILL MAKE THE TEACHING ABOUT GOD OUR SAVIOR ATTRACTIVE: An echo of the last phrases of vv 5,8. The verb "kosmeo", translated "to make attractive" (or "adorn" in KJV), is used of the arrangement of jewels in a manner to set off their full beauty. By honest and righteous behavior the slave has the power to enhance the Truth and make it appear beautiful in the eyes of all onlookers.

Observers see the "adornment" and draw conclusions about those who are "adorned". All of us, not just servants, should be "adorned" modestly and sensibly, with good deeds (1Ti 2:9,10), and with a meek and quiet spirit (1Pe 3:3,4).

GOD OUR SAVIOR: This uncommon expression anticipates vv 11-15, which describe the manifestation of the "Savior God" in His "Savior Son".

Tit 2:11

See Lesson, Sayings of faith in Pastorals.

Vv 11-15: Grace, redemption, and purification: Paul appeals to the gracious revelation of God's salvation in Christ as a suitable reason and foundation for the general exhortations of vv 1-10. The phrase "God our Savior" of v 10 paves the way into this wonderfully expressive epitome of the gospel. God our Savior has caused His grace to shine forth in the sight of all men. Christ himself, who is the personification of that grace, says Paul, has taught us and continues to teach us that we must deny this present world and live lives of sobriety and righteousness. Our hopes must be set upon the future when our Lord will reappear in the fullest manifestation of the glory of Yahweh. Even now he has redeemed and cleansed us by his blood and his renewed mediatorial life. We are his special people, and we show how special we are by our zeal to do the works of him who redeemed us.

"God our Savior" is an expression found only in 1 Timothy and Titus (1Ti 1:1; 2:3; Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4). This phrase in Tit 2:10 is amplified in v 13: "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" -- a phrase which retains the old expression "God our Savior" whilst at the same time according a similar rank to Jesus. (For a discussion on the text, see v 13n.) It is the very nature of God that He be a Savior; the totality of His revelation to man is based upon this objective. He is the Savior of all men without distinction (1Ti 2:3,4; 4:10). This "salvation" revelation of God requires an "appearing" (Greek "epiphany": Tit 2:11,13), a "DIVINE appearing" (Greek "THEO-phany"!): "In hope of eternal life, which God... promised... (and) in due time (He) manifested ('phaneroo') His word... according to the commandment of God our Saviour" (Tit 1:2,3).

The means of implementing this promise was the manifestation (Greek "phanerosis") of God in a "Savior-man".

Of these special passages concerning the "Savior-God", the fullest is Tit 2:11-15. This passage is firmly rooted in the language of Isaiah, who speaks frequently of God as the Savior of Israel (Isa 43:3; 45:15; 49:6; 60:16; 63:8). Closely linked in the context of some of these passages is the shining of a great light for the Gentiles as well! In Isa 45:21-22 God declares Himself Savior for all the ends of the earth!

By the time Paul writes, that salvation, once only a promise (Tit 1:2) and a prophecy, has become a living and enlightening reality. The grace of God has become a man, a man gloriously raised from the dead to life eternal. The grace of God in this man has been manifested in the preaching of Paul and others. Yahweh ("He who will become") has become... salvation! The word of His promise has been made flesh (John 1:14), God has in Christ brought reconciliation to man (2Co 5:19-21). God has "sent" His Son (Rom 8:3). This, and nothing less, is the revolutionary message that Paul is preaching.

This passage highlights the two "epiphanies" or appearances of God in Christ. The one is past (v 11): God's "grace" has walked upon the earth, to teach men what to forsake, and what to seek and wait for. That for which men are to wait is the second "epiphany": God's "glory" (v 13) enshrined in a Son, who will appear for the salvation of his people. This wonderful section may be summarized in these two thoughts: first the grace, then the glory. The first appearance of God in Christ teaches us how to prepare for the second.

In this section are set forth both the negative and the positive requirements of the gospel. The negative: Denying "the world" and all it stands for; the positive, twofold: Living in a zeal for good works, and Looking for the coming of our Saviour. Here is our key to eternity. To deny one thing, and to follow after another, with our whole hearts and minds and energies.

V 11: FOR: This points back to vv 1-10. Especially it links v 10 ("God our Savior") with v 11 ("the grace of God that bringeth salvation") and v 13 ("our great God, and Savior Jesus Christ"). The reason and purpose and motivation for all the exhortations of the preceding ten verses is about to be explained.

THE GRACE OF GOD THAT BRINGS SALVATION: We are saved by grace through faith; we cannot save ourselves -- it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). This we would never deny. But it is equally true, because testified in Scripture, that we are justified by works, and not by faith only, since "faith without works is dead" (Jam 2:24,26). How to reconcile two apparently contradictory principles? "Christendom astray" has followed Martin Luther's lead in, by and large, dispensing with James, "explaining away" other inconvenient passages, and teaching half a gospel: salvation by faith alone. We must do otherwise.

The two "principles" are not mutually contradictory, but rather complementary. As in many matters, a balanced view is necessary. Paul did not regard the grace of God as a gift bestowed without any relation to the recipient. The grace of God is His mercy bestowed upon men for the specific purpose of salvation. But it is also intended to produce certain spiritual results in those who receive it. Particularly, God's grace is intended to effect His glory -- ie, that one day all the earth will be filled with that glory (Num 14:21; Isa 11:9). Grace or salvation apart from God's glorification would be itself a contradiction of the first magnitude!

God is glorified only when the outpouring of His grace produces in those who receive it changed lives- -- lives that deny ungodliness; lives of sobriety, righteousness and godliness: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit" (John 15:8).

Fruit-bearing is the necessary corollary to the receipt of God's grace; without such fruit that grace is received in vain. A barren vine is fit only for cutting off! "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away" (John 15:2). Paul defines for us the "fruit" we must bear: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance... and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal 5:22-24).

Here again are those positive and negative requirements of God's grace as seen in this passage of Titus. Those who do not exemplify Christ's character by a zeal for good works (Tit 2:14) cannot be his "peculiar", or special, people. By failing this test, they have received the grace of God in vain (2Co 6:1)!

THE GRACE OF GOD THAT BRINGS SALVATION HAS APPEARED TO ALL MEN: As Jesus Christ is the "word (or purpose) of God" made flesh (John 1:1,14), so he is also the "grace of God" made flesh! That divine grace in human form has already appeared, says Paul, using a verb ("epiphaino") signifying "to shine forth in light". The NEB catches the spirit of the word: "For the grace of God has dawned upon the world... "

"Epiphaino" occurs only four times in the NT -- twice in Titus (here and Tit 3:4, a very similar thought) and twice elsewhere (Luke 1:79; Acts 27:20). The usage in Acts 27:20 is connected with the literal sun and stars. And that in Luke 1 is a striking parallel to the present usage; it is the song of Zacharias at the birth of John the forerunner of Jesus: "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation to the people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring (Greek 'anatole': the rising or dawn) from on high hath visited us, to give light ('epiphaino') to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:76-79).

The appearance of Christ is likened to the sun rising upon a dark and chaotic world. On the pattern of the original creation, when God looked upon the darkness and proclaimed "Let there be light", the coming of Christ was no less than the beginning of a new creation!

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee" (Isa 60:1,2).

And, in a passage that includes that wonderful promise, "Unto us a child is born", there also occurs: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (Isa 9:2).

This latter passage is directly cited in reference to the beginning of Christ's ministry of healing and preaching in Galilee (Mat 4:13-17).

As the "Sun of righteousness", Jesus "arose" and shined forth upon the world (Mal 4:2). This is certainly a passage of dual fulfillment. From him beamed forth the moral glory to transform a sinful world: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God In the face of Jesus Christ" (2Co 4:6).

Finally, from him again, when he appears a second time to salvation (Tit 2:13; Heb 9:28), will shine forth a physical glory to complete the manifestation of God: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory" (Mat 25:31; cp 2Th 1:10).

Then the "new creation" which began with his birth will have been finished, and God will once again rest (Gen 2:2), or "tabernacle", with men (Rev 21:3)!

ALL MEN: This echoes 1Ti 2:4, where Paul says that God "will have all men to be saved". He is "not willing that any should perish" (2Pe 3:9); He "has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezek 33:11; 18:23,32). While all this is true, nevertheless common sense and Scripture dictate that the offer of grace, salvation, and eternal life is conditional on the fulfillment of certain requirements. Salvation is offered to all men; it may even be said that it is given to all men in the sense that it is made available to all without prejudice or distinction. But salvation is not conferred upon all men indiscriminately.

"All men": That is, all classes of men, Jews and Gentiles -- are placed on the same basis with respect to God's grace. (The great light that shined forth upon Israel -- Isa 9:2; 60:1,2 -- also shined forth upon the Gentiles -- Isa 42:6; 49:6; 60:3!) All classes of men have sinned and come short of the glory of God; all classes of men may be "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus... is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also" (Rom 3:23,24,29).

Tit 2:12

IT TEACHES US: "Paideuo" means "instructing as a child", with the implications of discipline, correction, chastening, and admonition. The meaning is best illustrated by Pilate's usage of the word, when he offered, as a compromise with the Jewish leaders, to "chastise" ("paideuo") Jesus and let him go (Luke 23:16,22). In Heb 12:6, "paideuo" is joined with "scourging", further confirming this principal idea. Jesus, being "Grace personified" (v 11), taught us by the example of the chastenings he received, and he teaches us yet by the providential chastenings we receive!

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously... that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness" (1Pe 2:21-24).

SAY "NO" TO UNGODLINESS: "Use your mind. Don't waste it. Fill it with the right stuff, and keep it working on the right stuff. Keep out the rubbish. Whatever we deliberately put in our minds, or allow to enter, becomes part of us for ever. If it's worldly rubbish, then we are contaminating and criminally wasting the capacities of the most marvelous computer known, that we have been given for holy and eternal purposes. Keep worldly 'entertainment' out of your mind as much as possible... foolishness, fleshly amusements and diversions. Certainly do not deliberately seek such. These things are not 'harmless relaxation': they are dangerous, poisonous pollutants of the mind of Christ that we MUST develop. We have tremendous capabilities: few ever begin to put them to use for their sole intended purpose: preparing for eternity with God. We ARE whatever we put in our minds. That becomes US. What do we really WANT to be? Computer men have a saying: 'Garbage in, garbage out.' That is, nothing that comes out of a computer is better than what's put in. So with the human mind. Christ has a receptacle for the world's garbage, and he'll soon be putting it there" (GVG).

UNGODLINESS: "Asebeian", the opposite of "godly" in this same verse. Jesus teaches us both negatively and positively: both what to deny and what to affirm. Though it may seem repetitive, it is certainly profitable for us to follow the Spirit's guidance and consider both aspects: "Cease to do evil; learn to do well" (Isa 1:16,17). "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good" (Eph 4:28).

The same principle is graphically taught by Jesus in the parable of the unclean spirits (Mat 12:43-45). If we only "turn out" the ungodly thoughts and deeds, and fail to fill our "house" with good thoughts and deeds, it is only a matter of time before worse "spirits" will find and fill the vacuum. And our last state will be worse than the first.

WORLDLY PASSIONS: The word "epithumia" simply means "desire", and is sometimes used in a laudable sense (Mat 13:17; Luke 22:15; 1Ti 3:1). When, however, it is linked with "worldly" ("kosmikos" -- pertaining to this "kosmos", or present order of things), it signifies in the broadest sense all desires, whether explicitly "sin" or not, that are concerned with this age only. The uncompromising principle is, as Paul put it: "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom 14:23).

In this case, "passions" are the "lusts of men" -- the absolute opposite to the "will of God" (1Pe 4:2). These "lusts" are an integral part of the "world" or "kosmos" destined to pass away: "Love not the world ('kosmos'), neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust ('epithumia') of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1Jo 2:15,16).

AND TO LIVE SELF-CONTROLLED, UPRIGHT AND GODLY LIVES IN THIS PRESENT AGE: This "age" or "world" (KJV) is not "kosmos, but "aion", meaning "age" or "generation". It is the same word used by Paul when he writes sadly: "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" (2Ti 4:10).

SELF-CONTROLLED, UPRIGHT AND GODLY: "Herein lies the difference between the law and the gospel. The former shows itself in a denial of ungodliness and worldly lust -- in an avoiding of those things which tend to dishonor God, and pamper worldly desires and appetites. The latter, in an active following after good -- a necessary counterpart and complement to a renunciation of evil. 'Soberly' [self-controlled] expresses the self-command and restraint which the Christian should always exercise over his thoughts and actions. 'Righteously' [upright] describes the integrity that should regulate all his dealings towards his fellow men. 'Godly' indicates the state of mind and conduct he should maintain in his relation toward God" (Patrick Fairbairn).

SELF-CONTROLLED: A derivative of "sophron" (Tit 1:18; 2:2,4,5,6).

UPRIGHT: "Dikaios", meaning "justly", a common word already considered briefly (Tit 1:8).

GODLY: "Eusebos" -- related to that profound word describing "right worship": "eusebia", a staple of 1 Timothy (eight times), and also seen in Titus (Tit 1:1).

The three words, taken in turn, exhort us how to live our lives with regard to: (a) ourselves -- "soberly"; (b) our neighbors -- "justly"; and (c) our God -- "godly". These three aspects of the believer's life are amplified in the two verses that follow: (1) We live soberly when we see ourselves as in the world but not of it; that is, when our lives are a "looking for" the glorious appearing of our saviour (v 13). This is the ultimate in a correct view of our circumstances; put the hope of Christ's appearing at the forefront of your mind, and you are guaranteed to have the right perspective of everything else! (2) We live righteously toward our neighbors when we recognize and fully accept the example of Christ, who gave himself to redeem us from all iniquity (v 14). (3) We live godly lives in the measure that we visualize our position as purified and peculiar people. Then our zeal becomes a zeal for the things of God, for good works (v 14).

Tit 2:13

WHILE WE WAIT FOR THE BLESSED HOPE: The "blessed hope" is the "glorious appearing"; they are not two things but instead one and the same. That which we look for, that which is the center of our hopes, is the return of God's Son from heaven (1Th 1:10), the "coming" of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Co 1:7). The faithful are good servants who work diligently and always, in expectation of their master's coming (Mat 24:45); they look for him (Heb 9:28); they love his appearing (2Ti 4:8). As wise virgins they prepare themselves and their possessions for the bridegroom's coming (Mat 25:1-13). As strangers and pilgrims, their "citizenship" is in heaven, from whence they look for the Saviour (Phi 3:20, 21).

That "hope", of the appearing of Christ, is THE "hope". There is no other. It is "the hope" by which we are saved (Rom 8:24). It is equivalent to the "hope of eternal life" (Tit 1:2), and the "hope of the gospel" (Col 1:23). Although that "hope" is laid up now in heaven (Col 1:5) -- like the pot of incorruptible manna (Heb 9:4; Rev 2:17) -- it will one day come to us in the person of our Lord and Saviour (Heb 9:24,28). Until then, that "hope" which has entered "within the veil" of the most holy place, "even Jesus", is the "anchor of the soul" (Heb 6:19,20).

This last, graphic figure of Paul tells us much about that "hope". The true hope, the hope of Israel (Acts 28:20) is an "anchor" for our lives. An anchor is a device which when cast into the sea can prevent a ship from drifting. So likewise the true hope can be our anchor, for it can keep our lives from drifting aimlessly into "shipwreck" (1Ti 1:19), as they certainly would otherwise. No matter which way the "winds" of "doctrine" (Eph 4:14) or worldly attitude might blow around us, we will hold fast and weather the storm if we have found secure anchor upon the foundation rock of God's Truth.

THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF OUR GREAT GOD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST: The AV has: "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (notice the repetition of "our": there is a God AND a Savior!). Most modern versions blur the proper distinction between God and Christ, for examples: "our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ" (NIV; RSV). It is true that there is in the original no article before "Saviour", but the tendency in Greek usage to omit articles before proper names lessens the weight of such an argument. There is, grammatically, nothing that stands in the way of rendering the phrase as does the AV, or even more distinctly: "of the great God and of our Saviour".

More correctly, the whole phrase might be rendered (as does the RV and Diag): "The appearing of the glory of the great God... " It is true, notwithstanding the separateness of Jesus from his Father, that their glory is the same: "The Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father" (Mat 16:27; cp Luke 9:26).

This is the essence of the doctrine of "God-manifestation": Yahweh has become salvation in Christ, and Christ has now received the Divine name in its fulness: "God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow... and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phi 2:9-11).

The glory of the Father is now the glory of the Son (John 17:5), and will one day -- in the climax of the divine purpose of God-manifestation -- be the glory, in measure, of the saints (John 17:22; Mat 13:43; 2Th 1:10).

Tit 2:14

WHO GAVE HIMSELF FOR US: Jesus laid down his life, deliberately, willingly (Joh 10:11,15,18; 1Pe 2:23), on our behalf. The preposition "for" is "huper", as also in 1Ti 2:6 ("a ransom on behalf of all men"), which can bear this meaning; Jesus may be seen as a representative -- dying ON BEHALF OF men -- and not as a substitute -- dying INSTEAD OF men.

TO REDEEM US FROM ALL WICKEDNESS: The original word for "redeem" here is "lutron", which means to release for a price, or -- put simply -- to buy. It is one of the several words (or word groups) translated "redeem", "redemption", and "ransom": See Lesson, Redemption.

ALL WICKEDNESS: This phrase is perhaps cited from Psa 130:7,8: "With the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities."

This, from one of the "Songs of Degrees", is probably based upon the experiences of righteous King Hezekiah, who out of the depths of a grievous illness cried unto the Lord, and was heard and healed as a token of deliverance for the nation from the Assyrian threat. As such Hezekiah typified his greater son Jesus, who out of the depths of the grave would arise for the salvation of Israel and the world. Psa 130:8 is an anticipation of God's words to Joseph: "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins" (Mat 1:21).

Those in Christ are not saved merely from death, the penalty of iniquity. They are saved from iniquity itself! When Jesus redeems, when he liberates the slave of sin, sin is to have no more dominion over him (Rom 6:14). He has been redeemed from "all wickedness". There is no half measure, no half cleansing. No bringing into the ecclesia of half the old life of the flesh, and persuading ourselves that God is not so very particular about this thing or that!

The literal meaning of "wickedness" ("anomia") is lawlessness, failure to submit to divine law. God's law is beauty and order and harmony. Conformity with that law is the only means of achieving unity with God. And the perfect law, the "royal law", is: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (James 2:8). Anything we do that is not in perfect harmony with God's law is lawlessness. How hard would we strive to achieve this ideal? When we realize that Christ suffered and died to redeem us from all iniquity, to lift us up out of all lawlessness, there can be only one answer.

AND TO PURIFY FOR HIMSELF: Having "purchased" a people with his blood, Christ must next "purify" them so that they may be fit for companionship with him. "Katharizo" is variously translated "cleanse", "purge", and "purify". It is used most often in the NT for the cleansing of lepers (Mat 8:2,3; 10:8; 11:5; Mark 1:40-42; Luke 4:27; 5:12,13; 7:22; 17:14,17). It is used also in the sense of declaring clean what was previously unclean in a legal sense (Acts 10:15; 11:9). And finally, and particularly in the NT letters, it is used to describe a moral cleansing (Acts 15:9; 2Co 7:1; Eph 5:26; Heb 9:14; James 4:8). In this latter usage there is a diversity of agents. At times, it is Christ who performs the cleansing, as here in Tit 2:14 and in Eph 5:25,26: "Christ... loved the church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word".

At other times, it is us who must cleanse or purify ourselves: "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2Co 7:1). "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners" (James 4:8). All the above aspects are parts of the full truth concerning our cleansing. From a state, or "constitution", of sin we pass at baptism into a condition of "righteousness" -- righteousness being reckoned or imputed to us because we have in faith identified ourselves with the righteousness of Christ. This answers closely to the sense of declaring "clean" what was previously "unclean", and occurs more or less apart from the related moral cleansing. But also, we are put into a process of being cleansed morally, by Christ and his word, and by our own efforts directed thereto: "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Eph 2:10).

Christ is the craftsman, the "potter" perhaps, and we are the objects of his careful, painstaking, loving labor. An artisan's progress with his work is often slow and difficult, but if he is talented and patient, the final result is exquisite.

But the labor of the potential "product" is also needed in this spiritual manufacturing! By a deep and incessant consideration of that word which is a cleansing agent (Psa 119:9; John 15:3), and by a humble submission to the providential discipline of God, we may contribute to this sublime process of molding godly characters.

Finally, for those who have been faithful participants in this cleansing process, there will come the final step, when our "leprous" bodies will be changed in a moment to be like his glorious body (Phi 3:21; 1Co 15:53-55)!

A PEOPLE THAT ARE HIS VERY OWN: The word translated "his very own" ("peculiar people": KJV) is the Greek "periousios", which literally means "something beyond". Paul is quoting from the OT: "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be MY TREASURED POSSESSION (Heb 'segullah') . Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exo 19:5,6). "Segullah", we are told, referred to the private treasure of kings; in societies where kings were more or less absolute dictators, everything in their realm was considered to be legally their property -- but even a king could not control and spend and enjoy all properties in his kingdom, and so he would possess certain properties, properties which were set apart as his own "special treasure", his "peculiar" or unique property, and no one else's.

In the figure here, God Almighty is the great king, and all the universe belongs to Him, and all men, and all they have -- it is all His. The cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him! But... the Heavenly Father has condescended to choose a special few of all His subjects to be His own family, His own special possession, His own cherished riches. They stay close to His person; they recline in His bosom; they hear His whispers of endearment; they feel the tender touch of His special love. They are dearer to Him than the stars in the heavens, or the glorious snow-topped mountains. They are dearer to Him than the treasures of the richest mines, or the harvests of the richest fields. They are the ones He has redeemed with the precious blood of His Son. "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 'They will be mine,' says the LORD Almighty, 'in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him' " (Mal 3:16,17).

EAGER TO DO WHAT IS GOOD: To become the actual possession or property of Jesus Christ, and hence of God, is a very different relationship from that which some of the Cretan believers had envisioned. They were baptized and conformed outwardly to the Truth in its ordinances, and consequently they considered that they had fulfilled the conditions for salvation. Outside their religious exercises they felt free to indulge themselves in worldliness in its many forms, some innocuous and some vicious. Yet if they had truly been baptized into Christ, they had become his possession, a new creation; body and mind and spirit and heart, they belonged to him alone. They must therefore be distinctly different from the world around them, shunning its activities and associations. They must interest themselves in the things of God, and energetically and vigorously pursue good works. No less would be sufficient.

Those who have become a part of the new creation in Christ Jesus have become his "workmanship"; the reason for their "creation" is "good works" (Eph 2:10) -- nothing can be simpler.

This is the key and central thought in this very practical letter. It is not sufficient that we just do good works. Even more important is that we be eager, or zealous, about it. (The word is from a root meaning to "boil"! Being "lukewarm" in good works is being pathetically lacking -- Rev 3:16!) We must be eager, keen, enthusiastic; this must be our pleasure and consuming desire, so much so that we never feel we have done enough for God and the Truth, but are always striving to do more. If we are not zealous for good works, then we are just ordinary, self-indulgent people, like all the rest of the perishing world.

GOOD WORKS: This means helping other people, both temporally and eternally -- especially the latter, though by no means ignoring the former -- laboring practically and constructively, comforting and encouraging. If we are sorry for ourselves, or indulgent of our own silly weaknesses, we are useless to God. We cannot even begin to fulfill this requirement of good works. For if, having the glorious gift of the Truth, we have not enough faith and sober-mindedness to be eternally, joyfully thankful to God, then we are blind indeed and cannot see afar off. We just do not know God; we have never found Him.

There is something beautiful and inspiring in seeing righteous zeal in action: in seeing cheerful, joyful, persistent unselfish labor and dedication -- a loving heart carried away by spontaneous enthusiasm.

What a contrast to natural, stodgy, selfish, animal man! Such a transformed person is truly alive, serenely mindless of time and toil and even hardship and suffering. This is life! Anything else is simply existing.

Two men may be engaged in exactly the same operation. The first is dawdling, listless, his little mind constantly wandering off into narrow, winding, "dead-end" paths. The other is fervent, intent, eager, his mind fixed upon the task at hand and the end result, doing all in his power to follow faithfully the pattern set before him. God is watching us all every moment. The God who said: "He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster" (Pro 18:9) -- also said: "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord" (Col 3:23). Which of those two "workmen" best describes us?

Of Jesus it was said that he was "clad with zeal as a cloak" (Isa 59:17). When he found merchants and money-changers in his Father's house he drove them out with indignant authority: "And his disciples remembered that it was written, 'The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up'" (John 2:16,17; Psa 69:9).

Christ is the model for all his people. Complacent orthodoxy says, "Christ did it all." The Scriptures say that Christ is the example of the perfection for which we must all strive, as the evidence of and response to our love for God.

Being zealous of good works not only manifests our zeal for God; it incites others to action also: "Your zeal hath provoked many" (2Co 9:2).

Therefore, by inaction we become responsible for others' failures. The power of example is greater and more serious than we realize -- for good and for evil!

It is essential that we be zealous for the Truth, but let us constantly examine ourselves to determine that our zeal is a sober zeal! In other words, that it is balanced and not distorted; that it is directed toward the holy and necessary and wholesome things of God. It is so easy to be zealous over crotchets, private interpretations and idiosyncrasies, and personal differences. It is so easy to be zealous in legislating standards for others where God has not been explicit. This is a counterfeit and a complacent zeal; it is the zeal of self-righteousness, not the zeal of good works. Let us strive to be zealously severe toward ourselves, but zealously kind and sympathetic and loving toward others -- and not the reverse!

TO DO WHAT IS GOOD: Love what is good (Tit 1:8); teach what is good (Tit 2:3); and do what is good (Tit 2:7,14; 3:8,14).

Tit 2:15

THESE: Referring back to all of Tit 2 at the least, and perhaps to all that has preceded this.

TEACH... ENCOURAGE... REBUKE: Here are proclamation, encouragement, and conviction -- the three objectives of Gospel preaching. The gospel must be proclaimed first, in order to have any effect. It must "exhort", or comfort and encourage, its hearers, this word, "parakaleo", means "to call to one's side". It is the common word for exhortation. A related word is used of Christ our Advocate (1Jo 2:1), and of the "Paraklete" -- the Holy Spirit "comforter" (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7). And finally, when necessary, the gospel preached by Titus must search out, rebuke, and convict the consciences of its hearers. This word, "elencho", is translated as "reproof" in 2Ti 3:16.

This great statement of Paul about the inspiration of Scripture deserves full quotation here, as practically a parallel to his words to Titus: "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2Ti 3:15-17).

This reminds us that all we speak should be based upon holy, inspired Scripture. If this was so in the days of the Apostles, when the Holy Spirit gifts existed for the benefit of believers, it must be at least as important today! Many "wise" men have many things to say; their words swirl around us like a storm. But only the words of Scripture are authoritative. "These things" are what we must listen to, believe, and speak to others.

DO NOT LET ANYONE DESPISE YOU: This is virtually identical to 1Ti 4:12: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young." Like Timothy, Titus had probably encountered men, perhaps older men, who envied his ability and position, were taken aback and rebuked by his zeal, and therefore were always ready to condemn him and undermine his efforts. Titus had to be doubly careful in whatever he did so that his enemies would have no occasion to criticize him. He would also have to develop a "thick skin" to withstand their continual badgering and heckling.

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