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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Titus 2

In the previous chapter, the apostle had directed Titus what to do in the organization of churches in the various cities of Crete, and had put him on his guard in doing it, by showing the character of the people he had to deal with. In this chapter he gives him various instructions as to his own method of teaching, showing what kind of doctrines he should inculcate, and what kind of instructions he should give to the various classes of his hearers. He was, in general, to speak only such things as became sound doctrine; Titus 2:1. In particular he was to instruct aged men to be sober, grave, and temperate - acting in a manner that became their time of life, Titus 2:2; the aged women to be a proper example to the younger females, and to exercise a proper care over them, Titus 2:3-5; the young men to be sober-minded, Titus 2:6; Titus himself, who evidently came under the class of young men, was to be an example to them in all things, Titus 2:7-8; and servants were to be instructed to perform their duty to their masters with fidelity, Titus 2:9-10. The duty of giving these instructions is then enforced by a reference to the nature and design of the gospel; Titus 2:11-15. That grace which brings salvation has appeared to all mankind, and its design is to make all holy who embrace it, and to teach all to live for a higher and a better world.

Verse 1

But speak thou - In thine own ministry. In the previous chapter he had given him instructions as to the kind of persons who were to be put into the sacred office. Here he gives him special instructions in regard to his own preaching. “The things which become sound doctrine.” To wit, those which he proceeds immediately to specify. On the phrase sound doctrine, see the notes at 1 Timothy 1:10; compare 2 Timothy 4:3.

Verse 2

That the aged men - All aged men - for there is no reason to suppose that the apostle refers particularly to those who were in office, or who were technically elders, or Presbyters. If he had, he would have used the common word - πρεσβύτερος presbuteros - “presbyter” (see Matthew 15:2; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 21:23; Matthew 26:3, Matthew 26:47, Matthew 26:57, Matthew 26:59; 1 Timothy 5:1, 1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Timothy 5:19; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1), instead of the unusual word - πρεσβύτης presbutēs - an old or aged man - a word which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament except in Luke 1:18, “For I am an old man,” and Philemon 1:9, “being such an one as Paul the aged.” It is in no instance applied to an office. Besides, the instructions which Titus was to give to such men was not that which especially pertained to elders as officers in the church, but to all old men. The idea is, that he was to adapt his instructions to the special character of different classes of his hearers. The aged needed special instructions, and so did the young.

Be sober - Margin, “vigilant.” See the word explained in the notes at 1 Timothy 3:2, where it is rendered vigilant. In 1 Timothy 3:11, the same word is rendered sober. -

Grave - Serious; see the notes at 1 Timothy 3:8; compare the notes at Philippians 4:8, where the same word is rendered hottest.

Temperate - σώφρονας sōphronas. Rather, prudent, or sober-minded. See it explained in the notes, 1 Timothy 3:2, where it is rendered “sober.” Also Titus 1:8.

Sound in faith - 1 Timothy 1:10 note; Titus 1:13 note.

In charity - In love; Notes, 1 Corinthians 13:0. The meaning is, that an old man should evince love for all, especially for those who are good. He should have overcome, at his time of life, all the fiery, impetuous, envious, wrathful passions of his early years, and his mind should be subdued into sweet benevolence to all mankind.

In patience - In the infirmities of old age - in the trials resulting from the loss of the friends of their early years - in their loneliness in the world, they should show that the effect of all God’s dealings with them has been to produce patience. The aged should submit to the trials of their advanced years, also, with resignation - for they will soon be over. A few more sighs, and they will sigh no more; a little longer bearing up under their infirmities, and they will renew their youth before the throne of God.

Verse 3

The aged women likewise - Not only those who may have the office of deaconesses, but all aged females.

That they be in behaviour as becometh holiness - Marg, “holy women.” The Greek word is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. It means appropriate to a sacred place or person, or becoming to religion. Their conduct should be such as the gospel requires.

Not false accusers - - Margin, “make-bates.” Greek, διαβόλους diabolous - the word commonly applied to the devil - “as the accuser.” See it explained in the notes at 1 Timothy 3:11, where it is rendered slanderers.

Not given to much wine - Notes, 1 Timothy 3:0.

Teachers of good things - That is instructing the younger - whether their own children, or whether they sustain the office of deaconness, and are appointed to give instruction to younger females; compare the notes at 1 Timothy 5:2-6.

Verse 4

That they may teach the young women to be sober - Margin, “wise” - a word similar to that which in Titus 2:2 is rendered “temperate,” and in 1 Timothy 3:2, “sober.” The meaning is, that they should instruct them to have their desires and passions well regulated, or under proper control.

To love their husbands - φιλάνδρους philandrous. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. In Ephesians 5:25, Paul directs husbands to love their wives, and in Ephesians 5:33, the wife to reverence her husband, and here he says that it should be one of the first duties enjoined Son the wife that she should love her husband. All happiness in the marriage relation is based on mutual love. When that departs, happiness departs. No wealth or splendor in a dwelling - no gorgeousness of equipage or apparel - no magnificence of entertainment or sweetness of music - and no forms of courtesy and politeness, can be a compensation for the want of affection. Mutual love between a husband and wife will diffuse comfort through the obscurest cottage of poverty; the want of it cannot be supplied by all that can be furnished in the palaces of the great.

To love their children - Nature prompts to this, and yet there are those so depraved that they have no maternal affection; Notes, Romans 1:31. Religion reproduces natural affection when sin has weakened or destroyed it, and it is the design of Christianity to recover and invigorate all the lost or weakened sensibilities of our nature.

Verse 5

To be discreet - The same word rendered, in Titus 2:2, “temperate,” and explained in Titus 2:4.

Chaste - Pure - in heart, and in life.

Keepers at home - That is, characteristically attentive to their domestic concerns, or to their duties in their families. A similar injunction is found in the precepts of the Pythagoreans - τὰν γὰρ γύναικα δεῖ οἰκουρεῖν καὶ ἔνδον μένειν tan gar gunaika dei oikourein kai endon menein. See Creuzer’s Symbolik, iii. 120. This does not mean, of course, that they are never to go abroad, but they are not to neglect their domestic affairs; they are not to be better known abroad than at home; they are not to omit their own duties and become “busy-bodies” in the concerns of others. Religion is the patron of the domestic virtues, and regards the appropriate duties in a family as those most intimately connected with its own progress in the world. It looks benignly on all which makes home a place of contentment, intelligence, and peace. It does not flourish when domestic duties are neglected; - and whatever may be done abroad, or whatever self-denial and zeal in the cause of religion may be evinced there, or whatever call there may be for the labors of Christians there, or however much good may be actually done abroad, religion has gained nothing, on the whole, if, in order to secure these things, the duties of a wife and mother at home have been disregarded. Our first duty is at home, and all other duties will be well performed just in proportion as that is.

Good - In all respects, and in all relations. To a wife, a mother, a sister, there can be no higher characteristic ascribed, than to say that she is good. What other trait of mind will enable her better to perform her appropriate duties of life? What other will make her more like her Saviour?

Obedient to their own husbands - Ephesians 5:22-24 note; Colossians 3:18 note.

That the word of God be not blasphemed - That the gospel may not be injuriously spoken of (Notes, Matthew 9:3), on account of the inconsistent lives of those who profess to be influenced by it. The idea is, that religion ought to produce the virtues here spoken of, and that when it does not, it will be reproached as being of no value.

Verse 6

Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded - Margin, “discreet.” On the meaning of the Greek word used here (σωφρονεῖν sōphronein), see the notes at Titus 2:2, Titus 2:4. The idea is, that they should be entreated to be prudent, discreet, serious in their deportment; to get the mastery over their passions and appetites; to control the propensities to which youth are subject; and that there should be such self-government, under the influence of, religion, as to avoid excess in everything. A well-governed mind, superior to the indulgence of those passions to which the young are prone, will express the meaning of the word here. They should be “steady in their behaviour, superior to sensual temptations, and constant in the exercise of every part of self-government.” Doddridge. The reasons for this are obvious:

(1) The hopes of the church depend much on them.

(2) A young man who cannot govern himself, gives little promise of being useful or happy.

(3) Indulgence in the propensities to which young men are prone, will, sooner or later, bring ruin to the body and the soul.

(4) They are just at the period of life when they are exposed to special temptations, and when they need to exercise a special guardianship over their own conduct.

(5) Like others, they may soon die; and they should be habitually in such a frame of mind, as to be prepared to stand before God. A young man who feels that he may be soon in the eternal world, cannot but be sensible of the propriety of having a serious mind, and of living and acting as in the immediate presence of his Maker and Judge.

Verse 7

In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works - Not merely teaching others, but showing them by example how they ought to live. On the word rendered “pattern” (τύπον tupon, type), see the Hebrews 9:5 note; 1 Corinthians 10:6 note; Philippians 3:17 note.

In doctrine - In your manner of teaching; notes, 1 Timothy 4:16.

Showing uncorruptness - The word here used does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means, here, the same as purity - that which is not erroneous, and which does not tend to corrupt or vitiate the morals of others, or to endanger their salvation. Everything in his teaching was to be such as to make men purer and better.

Gravity - See this word explained in the notes at 1 Timothy 2:2, where it is rendered “honesty;” compare the notes at 1 Timothy 3:4, where it is rendered “gravity.” It does not elsewhere occur; see the use of the adjective, however, in Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:9. The word properly means “venerableness;” then, whatever will insure respect, in character, opinions, deportment. The sense here is, that the manner in which a preacher delivers his message, should be such as to command respect. He should evince good sense, undoubted piety, an acquaintance with his subject, simplicity, seriousness, and earnestness, in his manner.

Sincerity - See this word (ἀφθαρσία aphtharsia) explained in the notes at Ephesians 6:24. It is rendered immortality in Romans 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:10; incorruption, in 1 Corinthians 15:42, 1 Corinthians 15:50, 1 Corinthians 15:53-54; and sincerity, Ephesians 6:24, and in the place before us. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means incorruption, incapacity of decay; and, therefore, would be here synonymous with purity. It should be said, however, that it is wanting in many msS, and is rejected in the later editions of the New Testament by Wetstein, Tittman, and Hahn.

Verse 8

Sound speech - Notes, 1 Timothy 1:10. He was to use language that would be spiritually “healthful” (ὑγιῆ hugiē); that is, true, pure, uncorrupted. - This word, and its correlatives, is used in this sense, in the New Testament, only by the apostle Paul. It is commonly applied to the body, meaning that which is healthful, or whole; see Luke 5:31; Luke 6:10; Luke 7:10; Luke 15:27; Matthew 12:13; Matthew 15:31; Mark 3:5; Mark 5:34; John 5:4, John 5:6,John 5:9, John 5:11, John 5:14-15; John 7:23; Acts 4:10; 3 John 1:2. For Paul’s use of the word see 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13;2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13; Titus 2:1-2, Titus 2:8. It does not elsewhere occur.

That cannot be condemned - Such as cannot be shown to be weak, or unsound; such that no one could find fault with it, or such as an adversary could not take hold of and blame. This direction would imply purity and seriousness of language, solidity of argument, and truth in the doctrines which he maintained.

That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed ... - Ashamed that he has opposed such views.

Verse 9

Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters - See this explained in the notes at Ephesians 6:5, following, and 1 Timothy 6:1-4.

And to please them well in all things - That is, so far as they lawfully may, or in those things which are not contrary to the will of God; compare Ephesians 6:6. It should be an object with one who is a servant, to meet the approbation of his master, as long as this relation continues. This rule would not, however, go to the extent to require him to please his master in doing anything that is contrary to the law of God, or that is morally wrong.

Not answering again - Margin, “gainsaying.” Not contradicting, or not disobeying. They were to do what the master required, if it did not interfere with the rights of conscience, without attempting to argue the matter - without disputing with the master - and without advancing their own opinions. Where this relation exists, no one can doubt that this is a proper frame of mind for a servant. It may be observed, however, that all that is here said would be equally appropriate, whether the servitude was voluntary or involuntary. A man who becomes voluntarily a servant, binds himself to obey his master cheerfully and quietly, without gainsaying, and without attempting to reason the matter with him, or propounding his own opinions, even though they may be much wiser than those of his employer. He makes a contract to obey his master, not to reason with him, or to instruct him.

Verse 10

Not purloining - Not to appropriate to themselves what belongs to their masters. The word “purloin” means, literally, to take or carry away for oneself; and would be applied to an approbation to oneself of what pertained to a common stock, or what belonged to one in whose employ we are - as the embezzlement of public funds. Here it means that the servant was not to apply to his own use what belonged to his master; that is, was not to pilfer - a vice to which, as all know, servants, and especially slaves, are particularly exposed; see the word explained in the notes at Acts 5:2.

But showing all good fidelity - In laboring, and in taking care of the property intrusted to them.

That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things - That they may show the fair influence of religion on them, in all respects, making them industrious, honest, kind, and obedient. They were to show that the effect of the religion which they professed was to make them better fitted to discharge the duties of their station in life, however humble; or that its influence on them was desirable in every respect. In this way, they might hope also that the minds of their masters might be reached, and that they might be brought to respect and love the gospel. Hence, learn:

(1) That one in the most humble walk of life may so live as to be an ornament to religion, as well as one favored with more advantages.

(2) That servants may do much good, by so living as to show to all around them that there is a reality in the gospel, and to lead others to love it.

(3) If in this situation of life, it is a duty so to live as to adorn religion, it cannot be less so in more elevated situations. A master should feel the obligation not to be surpassed in religious character by his servant.

Verse 11

For the grace of God - The favor of God, shown to the undeserving; see the notes at Romans 1:7.

That bringeth salvation - Margin, to all men, hath appeared. That is, in the margin, “the grace which brings salvation to all men has been revealed.” The marginal reading is most in accordance with the Greek, though it will bear either construction. If that which is in the text be adopted, it means that the plan of salvation has been revealed to all classes of men; that is, that it is announced or revealed to all the race that they may be saved; compare the notes at Colossians 1:23. If the other rendering be adopted, it means that that plan was fitted to secure the salvation of all men; that none were excluded from the offer; that provision had been made for all, and all might come and be saved. Whichever interpretation be adopted, the sense here will not be essentially varied. It is, that the gospel was adapted to man as man, and therefore might include servants as well as masters; subjects, as well as kings; the por, as well as the rich; the ignorant, as well as the learned; see 1 Timothy 2:1-2 notes; Acts 17:26 note.

Verse 12

Teaching us - That is, the “grace of God” so teaches us; or that system of religion which is a manifestation of the grace of God, inculcates the great and important duties which Paul proceeds to state.

That denying ungodliness and worldly lusts - “That by denying ourselves of these, or refusing to practice them, we should lead a holy life.” The word ungodliness here means all that would be included under the word impiety; that is, all failure in the performance of our proper duties towards God; see the notes at Romans 1:18. The phrase “worldly lusts” refers to all improper desires pertaining to this life - the desire of wealth, pleasure, honor, sensual indulgence. It refers to such passions as the people of this world are prone to, and would include all those things which cannot be indulged in with a proper reference to the world to come. The gross passions would be of course included, and all those more refined pleasures also which constitute the characteristic and special enjoyments of those who do not live unto God.

We should live soberly - See the word “soberly” (σωφρόνως sōphronōs) explained in the notes at Titus 2:2, Titus 2:4. It means that we should exercise a due restraint on our passions and propensities.

Righteously - Justly - δικαίως dikaiōs. This refers to the proper performance of our duties to our fellow-men; and it means that religion teaches us to perform those duties with fidelity, according to all our relations in life; to all our promises and contracts; to our fellow-citizens and neighbors; to the poor, and needy, and ignorant, and oppressed; and to all those who are providentially placed in our way who need our kind offices. Justice to them would lead us to act as we would wish that they would towards us.

And godly - Piously; that is, in the faithful performance of our duties to God. We have here, then, an epitome of all that religion requires:

(1)Our duty to ourselves - included in the word “soberly” and requiring a suitable control over our evil propensities and passions;

(2)Our duty to our fellow-men in all the relations we sustain in life; and,

(3)Our duty to God - evinced in what will be properly regarded as a pious life.

He that does these things, meets all the responsibilites of his condition and relations; and the Christian system, requiring the faithful performance of these duties, shows how admirably it is adapted to man.

In this present world - That is, as long as we shall continue in it. These are the duties which we owe in the present life.

Verse 13

Looking for - Expecting; waiting for. That is, in the faithful performance of our duties to ourselves, to our fellow-creatures, and to God, we are patiently to wait for the coming of our Lord.

  1. We are to believe that he will return;
  2. We are to be in a posture of expectation, not knowing when he will come; and,
  3. We are to be ready for him whenever he shall come; see the Matthew 24:42-44 notes; 1 Thessalonians 5:4 note; Philippians 3:20 note.

That blessed hope - The fulfillment of that hope so full of blessedness to us.

The glorious appearing - Notes, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; compare 1Ti 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:8.

Of the great God - There can be little doubt, if any, that by “the great God” here, the apostle referred to the Lord Jesus, for it is not a doctrine of the New Testament that God himself as such, or in contradistinction from his incarnate Son, will appear at the last day. It is said, indeed, that the Saviour will come “in the glory of his Father, with his angels” Matthew 16:27, but that God as such will appear is not taught in the Bible. The doctrine there is, that God will be manifest in his Son; that the divine approach to our world be through him to judge the race; and that though he will be accompanied with the appropriate symbols of the divinity, yet it will be the Son of God who will be visible. No one, accustomed to Paul’s views, can well doubt that when he used this language he had his eye throughout on the Son of God, and that he expected no other manifestation than what would be made through him.

In no place in the New Testament is the phrase ἐπιφάνειαν τοῦ Θεοῦ epiphaneian tou Theou - “the manifestation or appearing of God” - applied to any other one than Christ It is true that this is spoken of here as the “appearing of the glory - τῆς δόξης tēs doxēs - of the great God,” but the idea is that of such a manifestation as became God, or would appropriately display his glory. It is known to most persons who have attended to religious controversies, that this passage has given rise to much discussion. The ancients, in general, interpreted it as meaning” The glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” This sense has been vindicated by the labors of Beza, Whitby, Bull, Matthaei, and Middleton (on the Greek article), and is the common interpretation of those who claim to be orthodox; see Bloomfield, Rec. Syn., and Notes, in loc. He contends that the meaning is, “the glorious appearance of that great being who is our God and Saviour.” The arguments for this opinion are well summed up by Bloomfield. Without going into a critical examination of this passage, which would not be in accordance with the design of these Notes, it may be remarked in general:

(1) That no plain reader of the New Testament, accustomed to the common language there, would have any doubt that the apostle referred here to the coming of the Lord Jesus.

(2) That the “coming” of God, as such, is not spoken of in this manner in the New Testament.

(3) That the expectation of Christians was directed to the advent of the ascended Saviour, not to the appearing of God as such.

(4) That this is just such language as one would use who believed that the Lord Jesus is divine, or that the name God might properly be applied to him.

(5) That it would naturally and obviously convey the idea that he was divine, to one who had no theory to defend.

(6) That if the apostle did not mean this, he used such language as was fitted to lead people into error.

(7) And that the fair construction of the Greek here, according to the application of the most rigid rules, abundantly sustains the interpretation which the plain reader of the New Testament would affix to it. The names above referred to are abundant proof that no violation is done to the rules of the Greek language by this interpretation, but rather that the fair construction of the original demands it. If this be so, then this furnishes an important proof of the divinity of Christ.

Verse 14

(2) “Unto himself;” that is, they are no longer to be regarded as their own, but as redeemed for his own service, and for the promotion of his glory; - Notes, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

A peculiar people - 1 Peter 2:9. The word here used (περιούσιος periousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, having abundance; and then one’s own, what is special, or peculiar (Robinson, Lexicon), and here means that they were to be regarded as belonging to the Lord Jesus. It does not mean, as the word would seem to imply - and as is undoubtedly true - that they are to be a unique people in the sense that they are to be unlike others, or to have views and principles unique to themselves; but that they belong to the Saviour in contradistinction from belonging to themselves - “peculiar” or his own in the sense that a man’s property is his own, and does not belong to others. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove that Christians should be unlike others in their manner of living, but that they belong to Christ as his redeemed people. From that it may indeed be inferred that they should be unlike others, but that is not the direct teaching of the passage.

Zealous of good works - As the result of their redemption; that is, this is one object of their having been redeemed; Notes, Ephesians 2:10.

Verse 15

These things speak and exhort - Notes, 1 Timothy 6:2.

And rebuke with all authority - 1 Timothy 5:1, note, 20, note; 2 Timothy 4:2 note. The word “authority” here means command - ἐπιταγὴ epitagē; 1Co 7:6, 1 Corinthians 7:25; 2Co 8:8; 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:3. The sense here is, he was to do it decidedly, without ambiguity, without compromise, and without keeping anything back. He was to state these things not as being advice or counsel, but as the requirement of God.

Let no man despise thee - That is, conduct yourself, as you may easily do, so as to command universal respect as a minister of God; see the notes at 1 Timothy 4:12.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Titus 2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.