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Bible Commentaries

Contending for the Faith

Titus 2


In chapter one, Paul makes it clear that Titus has his work cut out for him and that he is dealing with a people who have been reared in the most evil circumstances. The condition of the world around always has an effect on the church, especially when members of the church have been recently converted from the world. Crete is no exception. The Cretians as a whole are unsteady, insincere, quarrelsome, greedy, and licentious, given to falsehood and drunkenness. This condition naturally has a terrible effect on the congregations on the island of Crete. The problem is magnified when added to the virulent influence of the Judaizers with their false doctrines. Titus has to counteract the ill effects of these influences by ordaining strong elders and teaching "sound doctrine."

In chapter two, we see a sharp contrast with the latter verses of chapter one. Paul urges his "own son after the common faith" to speak only "sound" or healthy, wholesome doctrine. He specifies the various classes of people who will need to receive and apply this teaching and the characteristics that should be required of them. Even though the backgrounds of these people will be different, Titus must maintain the integrity of the gospel both by example and instruction. Paul explains to Titus that each of these classes of people has distinct responsibilities based upon differences in age, sex, position, income, or domestic relations; however, the common thread is that, whatever their responsibilities individually, they must "adorn the doctrine of God" in both attitude and lifestyle. Having instructed Titus about how to address the various classes of people in the church in Crete, Paul then turns to a beautiful discussion of the marvelous grace that "hath appeared to all men."

Verse 1

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

Paul now establishes a contrast with the things said in verses 10-16 of chapter 1. After discussing the false teaching and false standards of conduct taught by those discussed in these verses, he in effect says, "But as for you, you must conduct yourself in such a fashion as to protect the churches of Crete against all these corruptions." How, Paul? "Speak!" Titus must not be silent on these matters but stand up and speak out for truth. He cannot just be quiet and hope that the problem will go away. He must speak "the things which become sound doctrine."

"Become" means "to stand out, to be conspicuous" and "to be becoming, seemly, fit" (Thayer 535). Titus’ teaching must "stand out" as sound, and it must conspicuously portray the truth of God’s word. It must always be in keeping with and worthy of God’s will. The teacher of God’s word should never deal in wild speculation or questionable interpretations but in clear truth.

sound doctrine: Other translations render "sound" as "healthy" and "wholesome." MacKnight says, "True doctrine is called wholesome, because it invigorates all the faculties of the soul, and keeps them in a healthy state" (490). Unsound doctrine, or teaching, makes for unhealthy, sickly Christians. It eventually leads to spiritual death. The importance of soundness in doctrine is emphasized by the number of times Paul uses the word "sound" in this short epistle. "Doctrine" (didaskalia) simply means teaching. Kittel comments, "Sound doctrine is true and correct teaching in contrast to perverted doctrine" (308). God wants only true and incorrupt teaching in His church.

Verses 1-15


Alford, Henry. Alford’s Greek New Testament. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1958.

The Amplified New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958.

Arndt, William F. and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

Bagster, Samuel and Harold K. Moulton. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982.

Berry, George Ricker. The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament. Chicago, Illinois: Wilcox & Follett Co., 1897.

Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible, The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Westminister Press, 1960.

Busby, Horace W. Practical Sermons of Persuasive Power. Vol. 1. Shreveport, Louisiana: Lambert Book House, Inc., 1929.

Clarke, Adam. Clarke’s Commentary. Vol. 6. New York: Abingdon Press, n.d.

Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Vol. III. Marshallton, Delaware: The National Foundation for Christian Education, n.d.

Jamieson, Robert, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown, A Commentary. Vol. III. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdman, 1976.

Johnson, B.W. The People’s New Testament. Vol. II. Nashville, Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Co., 1975.

Kittle, G. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Ed. Gerhard Friedrich. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdman Publishing Co., n.d.

Lenski, R.C.H. The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon. Columbus, Ohio: The Wartburg Press, 1956.

Lipscomb, David. New Testament Commentaries, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon. Ed. J.W. Shepherd. Nashville, Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Co., 1942.

McClaren, Alexander. Expositions of Holy Scripture, Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1978.

MacKnight, James. The Apostolical Epistles with a Commentary and Notes. Nashville, Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Co., 1954.

Phillips, J.B. The New Testament In Modern English. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1958.

Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Vol. IV. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1931.

Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament. Edinburgh: 1890.

Thomas, J.D. The Biblical Doctrine of Grace. Abilene, Texas: Biblical Research Press, 1977.

Tolle, James M. The Christian Graces. San Fernando, California: Tolle Publications, 1965.

Vaughan, Curtis, ed. The New Testament from 26 Translations. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967.

Vine, W.E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Los Angeles: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1957.

Vincent, Marvin R. Word Studies in the New Testament. Vol. IV. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdman Publishing Co., 1956.

Wuest, Kenneth S. The Pastoral Epistles In the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdman Publishing Co., 1956.

Zerr, E.M. Bible Commentary. Vol Six. St. Louis, Missouri: Mission Messenger, 1954.

Verse 2

The Substance of "Sound Doctrine"
To Aged Men

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

That the aged men be: "Aged men" is from presbutes, akin to presbuteros, the word from which we get "elder," the official title used in the scriptures for a bishop or pastor. In this passage, it is not used in the official sense but in the ordinary sense of "an old man, an aged man" (Thayer 536). Sound doctrine requires certain things of the men in the church who are advanced in years, the seniors. Notice the traits of character required of them.

sober: "Sober" is from nephalios, and Thayer says it means "temperate; abstaining from wine, either entirely ... or at least from its immoderate use" (425). While it seems to deal with the use of intoxicating beverage, it also refers to excess in anything. Aged Christian men are to be examples to younger Christians. One trait that young people should never see in older Christians is intemperance in anything.

grave: "Grave" is from semnos, meaning "august, venerable, revered" (Thayer 573). Other translations have it "dignified," "serious," "high-principled." This passage does not mean that an older Christian man is to go around in a state of depression with a frown on his face, but he must always conduct himself in a manner befitting a servant of Jesus Christ who lives in the shadow of eternity. There is a certain dignity that must always characterize every Christian. Vine quotes Moule, "The word points to seriousness of purpose and to self-respect in conduct" (173). When the Christian purpose is seriously considered, men conduct themselves on a plane of high principle.

temperate: The Greek word is sophron ("curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate") (Thayer 613). Vine says it "denotes of sound mind (sozo, to save, phren, the mind); hence, self-controlled, soberminded ..." (1137). A sound, well-balanced, sensible mind leads to a sound, well-balanced, sensible life. We are what we think (Proverbs 23:7). Older men should have so disciplined their minds that their lives exemplify great self-control. There is no greater tragedy than old men who have not learned self-discipline from their many years of experience.

sound in faith: "Faith" has the definite article "the" in the Greek. Faith is a steadfast trust conjoined with obedience (Thayer 512). "The faith" is that body of truth contained in the word of God that is capable of producing faith (Romans 10:17). Titus is to instruct the aged men that they be true to the word of God from which comes faith. This dedication requires careful, prayerful study (2 Timothy 2:15). What a delight it is to see older Christians who are still diligent in studying the Bible. They are "sound" or healthy in teaching and conduct.

in charity: Again the article is used: "the charity or the love." Wuest says, "’Charity’ is agape, with the definite article, referring to that love produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit" (190) (see Romans 5:5). It is that special Christian love of which Jesus is the example: a self-denying, self-devoting love. It is a love that responds to a value rather than to a circumstance. It sets a value on an object and responds to that value. Older men should be examples of such love.

in patience: Again, the correct rendering is "the patience." There is a special patience that is peculiar to the Christian. "Patience" is from hupomeno, which literally means to "remain under" trials and afflictions in a way that honors God (Wuest 190). Trench says that patience is "that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealing with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting" (Wuest 190). It seems that God helps the Christian to endure if he asks and allows Him. An older Christian naturally develops the virtue of patience through his many tribulations (2 Corinthians 4:16). His advanced years in godly service produce an endurance that influences men and glorifies God.

Verse 3

The Aged Women

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

The aged women likewise: The "sound doctrine" also applies to the older women in the church. The fact that Paul uses the same word for "aged" in reference to women as he does to men settles the fact that "aged men" is not used in reference to the official elders in the church. Titus is to teach the older women just as he teaches the older men. Older women have an important role to play in the church. They have a certain grace about them that lends itself to real strength in the Lord’s kingdom.

that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness: "Behaviour" is katastema, "demeanor, deportment, bearing" (Thayer 337). The way older women carry or conduct themselves is significant. Their actions, speech, dress, modesty, virtue, and refinement set standards for younger women to follow. The standard for their behavior is clearly set forth in the phrase, "as becometh holiness." "Holiness" is hieroprepes, which Thayer defines as "befitting men, places, actions or things sacred to God" (299). The day to day demeanor of the Christian lady is carried on with the propriety of one in constant worship. Clement of Alexandria said, "The Christian must live as if all life was a sacred assembly." Reverence is her way of life. She practices the presence of God.

not false accusers: The Greek word is diabolos, which means "a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer" (Thayer 135). It is the same word from which we get "devil." One who slanders another is certainly engaging in the work of the devil who is "the father of lies" (John 8:44). The tongue is truly "set on fire of hell" (James 3:6) when one engages in malicious gossip. Whispering, backbiting, and talebearing are also condemned in the scriptures as sins of the tongue. Older ladies should use their time to better purposes.

not given to much wine: "Given" comes from the perfect participle douloo, meaning "to make a slave of" (Thayer 158). To be given to wine is to be under the power and mastery of wine, or to be addicted to wine. Wuest says, "The tense speaks here of a confirmed drunkard" (191). Drunkenness is a soul-damning sin, whether it be found in a deacon (1 Timothy 3:8), an older woman, or any other person (1 Corinthians 6:10). In these days, when alcohol and drugs are destroying homes and lives, it behooves Christians to practice total abstinence from any intoxicating drink or mind-altering drug. Reason demands it. Influence requires it. And I believe God expects it.

teachers of good things: Older women are to be teachers. They may not teach in a public capacity, for God forbids it. "It is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Corinthians 14:35). Paul reiterates that command in 1 Timothy 2:12. However, they may certainly teach in a private capacity (Acts 18:26). All women, old and young, should study with the same intensity as men to be "ready to give an answer" for their hope. The prohibition of public teaching does not exempt them from Bible study and sharing their knowledge of divine truth. Paul specifies that they teach "good things." The Bible, of course, is the standard for all good things (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Amplified Version has this phrase, "and be teachers of what is right and noble." Older women should know what is right and be ready to teach it.

Verse 4

The Young Women

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

That they may teach the young women: Older Christian women have a special responsibility to teach and train the younger women in their Christian duties. Who is better qualified to teach the young women? Titus would do well to delegate this delicate duty to the older ladies in the church. The Greek word for "teach" here is sophronizo, which Thayer says means to "restore one to his senses; to moderate, control, curb, discipline; to hold one to his duty." The better word probably is "train" (613). Vine says, "’train’ expresses the meaning more adequately; the training would involve the cultivation of sound judgment and prudence" (112). Older women in the church should feel a keen sense of responsibility to train the younger Christian women. And young women should welcome such training.

to be sober: "Sober" does not appear in the Nestle text and many translations, yet the young women are required to exercise the same restraint in their lives as others. Intemperance and excess in anything is a grievous fault.

to love their husbands: Included in the training of young women is love for their husbands. "Love" is not agapao here, but phileo, which speaks of tender affection. Young wives are to develop and cultivate a loving affection for their husbands. Love is the foundation of a happy home. Without it, the home ceases to be a home. A home can survive sickness, financial disaster, and even the death of one of its members; but it can never survive the absence of love. Older women are urged to impress on young women the importance of keeping the flames of love brightly burning.

to love their children: Vincent says that the literal rendering is, "to be husband-lovers, children-lovers" (341). Young Christian women are to be characterized by a tender affection for their husbands and children. How the hearts of children cry out for the love of their parents today! Parents get so caught up in a busy world that they sadly neglect showing true affection to their children. Robertson comments in his word study, "This exhortation is still needed where some married women prefer poodle-dogs to children" (602-603). Those who study human behavior tell us that children learn to be affectionate by observing affection demonstrated by their parents, for each other and for their children. A few hugs a day might keep the psychiatrist away and have far-reaching effects in developing emotionally stable children. In a day when homes are literally coming apart at the seams, we need to apply the unifying glue of tender affection.

Verse 5

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

To be discreet: The word is sophron, the same as "temperate" in verse 2. Other translations render it, "sober-minded," "serious," "sensible," and "to use good judgment." Young women are to exercise self-control and be sensible and well-balanced in thoughts, words, and actions. Self-discipline is that rare but very necessary trait that the young women must cultivate in order to overcome the many temptations that plague younger people.

chaste: The word hagnos means "pure from carnality, modest" (Thayer 8). Webster indicates that one who is chaste does not indulge in unlawful sexual activity nor act indecently or immodestly. In our world where sexual immorality is the order of the day, women and men seem to see just how indecent and immodest they can become. The chastity of Christian women is such a welcome change from the indecent, immodest, and immoral behavior of the world. They dare to be different!

keepers at home: Vincent, Expositors, and Thayer all render this phrase, "caring for the home, working at home." Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown adds "active in household duties" (518). Paul warns about the young widows who are "idle" and "busybodies" wandering "about from house to house (1 Timothy 5:13). The admonition seems to indicate diligence in taking care of home and family responsibilities. It militates against laziness, carelessness, and indifference toward home duties. Where this "sound doctrine" is practiced, one will find clean, orderly homes; well-groomed, healthy children; and a happy family life. In the account of the "virtuous woman" in Proverbs 31, Solomon portrays her as a good wife, mother, homemaker, and business lady.

good: Vincent comments, "The mistress of the house is to add to her thrift, energy, and strict discipline, benign, gracious, heartily kind demeanor" (342). Vine says that "good" includes that which is beneficial in its effect. The Christian wife and mother does that which is best for her household. She is one we can truly call "a good woman." We may bestow no higher honor upon her.

obedient to their own husbands: This principle is taught throughout the word of God and emphasized by the Apostle Paul several times (Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:18). The older women were to remind the younger women of this age-old principle that the husband is the head of his wife and that she is to recognize his leadership in the home by living in subjection to him. This topic is not very popular in today’s society, but it is still God’s will. Modern man may decry it, fight it, and demonstrate against it; but when he realizes the wisdom of this arrangement and applies it properly, we will see more stable homes.

that the word of God be not blasphemed: The lives of Christian men and women affect the reception or rejection of God’s word by those outside the faith. If young Christian women keep the admonitions above, they can uplift the word of God by giving observers little room for criticism. Other translations render it in this fashion: that the word of God be not "maligned," "discredited," or "dishonored." Phillips says that such action on the part of young women is "a good advertisement for the Christian faith" (463). The best advertisements for the church and the truth of God’s word are good Christian homes that follow God’s arrangements. We must never allow our conduct to be inconsistent with "sound doctrine."

Verse 6

The Young Men

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

The original language renders "young men" as younger, those who are younger than the aged men above, covering a rather wide range of age. Young men usually have more problems living the Christian life than those who are older. Temptations are greater, and there seem to be more opportunities for doing wrong. Their strong, handsome bodies are attractive to the young ladies of the world who would lead them astray. And then there is the recklessness of their young years. They have a tendency to take chances and run risks from which those of greater experience would shy away. This confidence can be good in achieving ambitions but bad for the moral and spiritual life. It often leads to spiritual disaster.

exhort: The word is parakaleo, meaning, "I beg of you, please, I urge" (Wuest 192). This word suggests the attitude with which the preacher or teacher should approach any class of people. It should never be with an arrogant, high-handed, authoritarian spirit but with a spirit of humility and gentle persuasion. Paul urges that we always "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).

to be sober minded: Paul uses only one sentence to speak to the younger men, but it is one full of meaning and is inclusive of the instructions given to the other age groups. Paul uses the word sophron again, the same word used for "temperate" in verse 2 and "discreet" in verse 5. Wuest defines it, "to exercise self-control, think of one’s self soberly, to put a moderate estimate upon one’s self, to curb one’s passions" (192). In summary, Titus is to urge young men to exercise self-discipline, self-control, self-mastery. In today’s free-wheeling society, the one thing lacking in most lives is discipline. Perhaps this point explains the repetition of the admonition in this brief passage. Discipline is the ability to regulate conduct by principle and judgment rather than by impulse, desire, high pressure, or customs of men. If young men are well-disciplined in mind, body, and character, they will be strong successful Christians in every respect (see 1 Corinthians 9:25-27; Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 5:12-14).

Verse 7

The Preacher

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: Paul now turns his attention to the young preacher, Titus, and impresses on him his responsibilities as a leader of others. "In all things," or in all the details of his life, he has a duty to make his life conform to his teaching, "shewing thyself a pattern" or model of right conduct. He sets a high standard for this young preacher and all preachers to come. The adage, "Practice what you preach," is Paul’s admonition. His life must back up his message. Nothing destroys the effect of a preacher’s message like an inconsistent lifestyle. The "sound doctrine" must be demonstrated by "sound" living. Barclay so aptly writes, "The greatest compliment that can be paid a teacher is to say to him: ’First he wrought, and then he taught.’" Jesus is the best example of this order in life. Luke writes "of all that Jesus began both to do and teach" (Acts 1:1). First comes the doing, then the teaching. The life must exemplify the words before the words are spoken to others.

in doctrine shewing uncorruptness: His teaching is to be pure and unadulterated truth. "Uncorruptness" comes from aphthoria, "integrity, genuineness, purity" (Bagster 61). "Sound doctrine" must be delivered in its purest form, without any admixture of error. The Judaizers of Paul’s day taught many valuable truths, but they added certain doctrines from the old, abolished Mosaical Law. They added error to truth, making a perverted gospel (Galatians 1:6-7). This same practice is extant in our modern religious world. Many great truths are preached and admirably defended, such as the existence of God, the deity of Jesus, and the inerrancy of the Bible; however, certain errors are added to these grand truths, such as the doctrines of salvation by faith only, the impossibility of apostasy, and the sufficiency of sincerity alone to save. Such teaching is "another gospel," perverted and condemned. Purity of doctrine is the hallmark of gospel preaching.

gravity: "Uncorruptness" describes the substance required in the preacher’s message; "gravity" depicts the manner in which the teaching is done. The best definition of this word is probably "dignity." The teacher of God’s word should always exhibit dignity in his life and teaching. He must realize that he is speaking for the One Who created the universe and before Whom he shall one day give an account. It is serious business to speak "sound doctrine." It requires dignity. This dignity is not aloofness, but simply taking one’s duty seriously. Dignity is never arrogant or proud, petty or touchy, bitter or irritable, but high-principled, well-mannered, and even-tempered. The true teacher never forgets that he is delivering a message that deals with eternal life, the most profound subject for human consideration. It deserves the greatest dignity in presentation.

sincerity: Although this word does not appear in the Nestle text and many translations, it surely is applicable to the attitude of the teacher. God’s word should always be taught by sincere men with no "axe to grind," no glory to seek, and no selfish motive to promote. Webster states that the word "’sincere’ implies an absence of deceit, pretense, or hypocrisy and an adherence to the simple, unembellished truth." Is this not an excellent picture of the true teacher of the word?

Verse 8

Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Sound speech, that cannot be condemned: Paul reemphasizes the importance of "sound doctrine" by mentioning this matter of soundness for the fifth time in this epistle. "Speech" comes from logos which speaks of the expression of thought, a concept, or an idea. (Jesus is called the Logos, the total revelation of God--John 1:1-2; John 1:14). When the teacher speaks, he must express sound or wholesome concepts and ideas "that cannot be condemned" or censured. Lenski says, "so healthy that no judge shall be able to find a single indictment against it" (915). The teaching must be pure and presented in such a way that it accomplishes only the good for which it is designed and leaves no impression that could do harm or be misconstrued.

that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed: The use "of the contrary part" is "the one on the opposite side" (Robertson 603). In Titus’ case, it would be his Judaistic or heathen opponents. Today, it would be anyone opposed to the truth we preach. Consider Robertson’s comment, "’May be ashamed’ (hina entrapei). Final clause with hina and second aorist passive subjunctive of entrepo, to turn, in middle and passive to turn one on himself and so be ashamed (to blush) as in 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 4:14" (603). The teacher of "sound doctrine" should be so careful in his presentation that when the enemy of truth tries to censure his teaching, his arguments are turned on himself, forcing him to retreat blushing. Truth has this power and force in the hands of a worthy servant.

having no evil thing to say of you: Other translations say "of us," including Paul and the whole church. Vine defines "evil" as "mean, common, bad, in the sense of being worthless, paltry, or contemptible, belonging to a low order of things" (50). Evil men are going to say bad things against the church, but we should never conduct ourselves in such a way as to provoke or justify them. By "speaking the truth" in hate rather than love, we cause people to hold the church in contempt, and we lower our standing in the eyes of the world. God forbid!

Verse 9

The Servants

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;

servants: "Servants" comes from doulos, meaning slaves. Slavery was a prevalent practice in New Testament times. Millions of people in the Roman Empire were slaves. As B.W. Johnson says, "Christianity did not violently destroy this relation, but regulated, mitigated and undermined it by introducing a new element into human life which would destroy it" (288-289). For the Lord’s own reason, He did not immediately legislate against slavery but allowed the principles of righteousness to contribute to its demise. There were Christians who were slaves of heathen masters and some who were slaves of Christian masters (Ephesians 6:5-8; 1 Timothy 6:1-2). "Sound doctrine" was applied in its own special way to these special Christians.

to be obedient unto their own masters: Christian slaves must not think that their freedom in Christ would necessitate their freedom from slavery and give them license to rebel against their masters. If their masters are Christians, they must not reason that they should be freed or offered special privileges. This idea would foment a real conflict between slaves and masters. Paul says to exhort them to put themselves in subjection to their owners. "Masters" suggests those who have absolute ownership of and uncontrolled power over others (Wuest 192). Slaves give their wills totally to the will of the master. Titus must reinforce that subjection in the lives of slaves who are Christians.

and to please them well in all things: Williams’ translation renders it "to give them perfect satisfaction." Alford agrees with this rendering, saying that it is the servant’s phrase. A servant gives willing service, not reluctant obedience; he is eager to please. Lenski supplies "in all respects" for the phrase, "in all things." He says that Christian slaves "were not exempted from any part of their obligation as slaves" (916).

not answering again: "Answering" is from antilego, "to speak against, contradict" (Wuest 192). Other translations render it, "not contradicting," "not argumentative," and "don’t talk back." Such an attitude calls for total submission to the will of the master, doing just what they are told without questioning.

Verse 10

Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

Not purloining: Expositors says, "the particular form of theft implied is the abstraction or retention for one’s self, of a part of something entrusted to one’s care" (Wuest 192). Today, we call it embezzlement or employee theft. Stealing is a sin whether you steal your neighbor’s car or a small insignificant article from your place of employment. The word for "purloin" is used in Acts 5:2 where Ananias and Sapphira are charged with keeping back part of the price of their property and lying to the Holy Spirit.

but shewing all good fidelity: "Fidelity" speaks of trustworthiness. Alford renders it "good faith." In New Testament times, slaves had many opportunities to steal from their masters. Sometimes they were placed in positions of real trust in which it was easy to set aside somewhat for themselves. Such a practice is contrary to Christian principles, so Paul urged that slaves always act in the best interest of their masters.

that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things: Paul now gives the motivating reason for the conduct recommended above. A slave must comport himself in such a manner that the teaching of our Lord will be glorified. In verse 5, he approaches it negatively, "that the word of God be not blasphemed." In this verse, he very positively states that right living adorns the doctrine of the word. "Adorn" comes from kosmeo and means "to put in order, arrange, to ornament, decorate, garnish" (Wuest 193). Wuest concludes that it means to "embellish with honor." To a heathen master, Christian teaching consists only of high-sounding words until his Christian servant adorns and embellishes the doctrine with honor through righteous living. Teaching is always judged by the fruit it bears in daily living. We either honor or dishonor the doctrine by our lives. A large number of people will never darken the doors of our church buildings. How do we reach them? We reach them through a demonstration of Christian principles in holy living. God, the Father, is called "our Saviour" in this passage. It was He Who sent Jesus to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:18). This teaching also shows the unity of the Godhead. What is affirmed of Jesus is affirmed of God the Father.

In verses 9 and 10, Paul gives admonition to slaves concerning their attitudes and actions in the service of their masters. Would not these principles apply in employee-employer relationships today? It would seem so. The Christian employee exemplifies the following qualities: (1) He is submissive to his employer--willing to take orders and abide by them. (2) He is efficient. He is constantly improving in his service and giving satisfaction by doing his best. (3) He is respectful. He does what he is told without arguing and questioning unreasonably. He recognizes the authority of his superiors. (4) He is honest. He does not feel that taking small articles from his employer is part of his pay. (5) He is trustworthy. He gives a day’s work for a day’s pay. He is reliable and dependable. Such men will do well in any employ. All respectable businessmen covet the services of loyal Christian workers. Ultimately, success comes to those who follow Christian principles in any endeavor of life.

Verse 11

The Grace That Saves and Teaches

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

For the grace of God: The little word "for" reaches back to everything said in the first ten verses. What follows forms the grounds for all that has been said. Alford says that "for" expresses "reasons for the above exhortations.... The latter clause of verse 10, it is true, gives occasion to this declaration; but the reference of these verses is far wider than merely to slaves" (418).

After instructing the servants to adorn the doctrine or to embellish the teaching of God’s word by their lives, the apostle says, "For the grace of God." All of this instruction is based on God’s grace. So much is involved in the word "grace." It means simply "unmerited favor." The Greeks used grace to imply a favor freely done, without claim or expectation of return. Among the pagans, it was favor conferred only on a friend; but in New Testament terminology, it acquires a deeper meaning. Grace reaches out even to the enemies of God (Romans 5:6-8). J.D. Thomas says, "Basically, it is an attitude which God holds, in which He looks upon sinful man with mercy, love and kindness, and bestows undeserved and unmerited favor upon him" (1).

that bringeth salvation: In the Greek, "to all men" goes with "bringeth salvation." God’s unmerited favor has made salvation from sin possible for all mankind. Sin really merits hell, "for the wages of sin is death" (or eternal separation from God, Romans 6:23). And since "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), "all men" deserve to spend eternity in hell. How is this dilemma overcome? The answer is through God’s grace. "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). Justice calls for man’s destruction, but grace answers with the means of salvation.

hath appeared: "Appeared" comes from epiphaino, which means "to be manifested, revealed" (Bagster 162). The unmerited favor of God that brings salvation to all men has been manifested. Weymouth renders it, "For the grace of God has displayed itself with saving power to all mankind."

Verse 12

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Teaching us: Grace not only saves, it teaches. The word for "teaching" is not the usual didasko, which means to instruct, but paideuo, which means to instruct and train. Arndt and Gingrich render it, "to bring up, instruct, train, educate" (608). Thayer states that it means properly "to train children" (473). The kind of teaching involved here is the type one would give to children, which means more than just verbal instruction. Paideuo is used of chastisement or discipline in Hebrews 12:6-7 where the Lord is said to chastise us because he loves us. McClaren says, "what the apostle says here is that the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, schooling, or training, or disciplining" (141). J.W. Shepherd comments, "God’s grace is in truth a stern discipline of self-denial and training for higher and better things" (277).

How does God’s grace train us? Surely it is through the teaching of the "sound doctrine" in the scriptures. But God’s grace goes beyond that. God providentially works in the lives of Christian people (Romans 8:28) "both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Peter further explains God’s working upon a man who has accepted the gospel. "But the God of all grace," he says, "who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (1 Peter 5:10). Paul, in his writing to Ephesus, prays that God would strengthen those brethren "with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16). It is not for us to speculate about all the ways God works in our lives, but He does. He by no means makes robots out of us, but rather we must choose to serve Him. He then promises to aid us in being successful (Philippians 2:12-13; Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:13).

that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts: This training involves first some negatives. "Denying" is in the aorist tense, meaning "denying once for all." Before one can enjoy the salvation offered to all men, he must once and for all denounce the former life, or as Isaiah says, "Cease to do evil; learn to do well" (Isaiah 1:16-17). Christians must "deny" or denounce ungodliness, a "lack of piety or reverence toward God" (Wuest 194). One must denounce anything that is anti-God or opposed to a Godward attitude, including atheism, deism, and irreverence in general. This training also includes denouncing once and for all "worldly lusts" or passionate desires that characterize a world of men at enmity with God. The attitudes and actions of the world are usually at variance with God’s will. Our passionate desires must be set "on things above" (Colossians 3:2).

we should live soberly: Paul now turns to the positive principles in the discipline of grace. "Soberly" comes from sophronos, which means "with sound mind, temperately, discreetly" (Wuest 194). Moffatt renders it "to live a life of self-mastery." This word is used in verses 2, 4, 5, and 6. Self-discipline is absolutely essential in Christian living. Adam Clarke comments that to live soberly is "having every temper, appetite, and desire, under the government of reason, and reason itself under the government of the Spirit of God" (654).

righteously: "To live righteously is faithfully to discharge our duty to our fellow men in all the relations of life" (Lipscomb-Shepherd 277). Barclay says it means "to give both to God and to men that which is their due" (294). When one lives righteously, he deals justly and fairly with everyone. Maclaren remarks that it means "Do as you know you ought to do" (152).

and godly: This conduct is the opposite of "ungodliness." To live godly is to have a Godward attitude that does that which is well-pleasing to Him (Wuest 194). Godliness is one of the Christian graces (2 Peter 1:6). James M. Tolle, in his book The Christian Graces, remarks about the word in this way:

Eusebeia does not mean godlikeness, a moral resemblance of God.... Perhaps a better word for godliness would be god-ward-ness, a state of mind which accepts God as the sole object of its adoration and reverential respect, the central object of its trust, and the infallible source of all religious responsibility (51).

The godly person always takes God into consideration in every relationship of life.

In these three virtues, we fulfill our obligations in three important areas of life. First, we do our duty toward self by practicing self-discipline. Secondly, we do our duty toward others by dealing justly with them. Thirdly, we do our duty toward God by maintaining a reverential attitude toward Him at all times.

in this present world: "World" comes from aion which Trench defines as "that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale" (Wuest 194). We live all our lives in this atmosphere that can either make or break us. To be winners in this present age, we must practice self-discipline, be just in our dealings with our fellow man, and keep our minds directed Godward.

Verse 13

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

One motivation for grace-trained conduct is an eager expectation of the second coming of Christ. This expectation is our "blessed hope." Wuest says that "looking" means "’to expect, look for, wait for.’ The verb has an atmosphere of expectancy about it, and a readiness to welcome the person looked for and expected" (194). Greek authorities say that "blessed hope" and "glorious appearing" refer to the same thing because only one article is used in the Greek. The "blessed hope" is the "glorious appearing" of Jesus. "Great God" and "our Saviour" also refer to the same person, "Jesus Christ," for the same reason. Also, the context demands it. In this way, the deity of Jesus is dramatically declared. It is the second coming of God, the Son, that dominates our thinking and motivates our living. One of these days He is going to cleave the clouds in great glory as He comes to fulfill all our hopes and dreams concerning eternal life in heaven with Him and the redeemed of all the ages.

Verse 14

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Who gave himself for us: This phrase refers to the substitutionary death of Jesus on Calvary’s cross. He gave himself. (What an example for us to follow! To follow Jesus, we must give up self.) Wuest says, "for" is huper, the preposition of substitutionary atonement. It means, ’for the sake of, in behalf of, instead of’" (195). This word is used in John 11:50, "It is expedient for us, that one man should die for (for the sake of, in behalf of) the people, and that the whole nation perish not." In Galatians 3:13, Paul says that Jesus was "made a curse for us." Jesus took our place when He ascended Golgotha’s brow. He died in our stead.

that he might redeem us from all iniquity: "Redeem" comes from lutroo and means "to set free by the payment of ransom" (Wuest 196). Before Jesus "gave Himself for us" on Calvary, all mankind was in slavery to iniquity. At the cross, Jesus paid the ransom and offered freedom to all. Peter reveals the purchase price in 1 Peter 1:18-19 : "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold ... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." It took the blood of Jesus to buy man out of the slave market of sin. "Iniquity" comes from anomia which Thayer defines, "1. properly the condition of one without law: either because ignorant of it, or because violating it. 2. contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness" (48). It refers to acting without law or in a lawless manner. John says that "sin is lawlessness (anomia)" (1 John 3:4). They who continue to rebel against the authority of God’s law are still in the bondage of sin, refusing the freedom offered by the blood of Christ.

and purify unto himself a peculiar people: "Purify" is "to cleanse, make free from admixture" (Wuest 196). In redeeming man from sin, Jesus made it possible for men and women to be cleansed from the corruption of sin so that they could be a people peculiar only to Him. "Peculiar" means "one’s own possession, one’s own" (Vine 194). Christians belong to God by right of purchase. "Ye are not your own ... ye are bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The word "peculiar" does not speak of oddity or strangeness but possession. Like the Israelites of old, we are God’s special people (Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

zealous of good works: Alford says, "an ardent worker and promoter of good works" (422). Vine writes, "The word is literally, ’a zealot,’ i.e., an uncompromising partisan" (249). God’s "peculiar people" are zealots in His cause, so caught up in His program that all else is peripheral. They are "burning with zeal" (Thayer 271) in "good works." Who says that Christians do not have to work? Christians are God’s "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10). We are saved by grace, but grace disciplines us in good works. We are saved by faith, but not a dead, lifeless, lazy faith (James 2:26).

Verse 15

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority: "These things" refer to all that is said in this chapter. "Speak," "exhort," and "rebuke" are all present imperatives in the Greek and command continuous action. In effect, Paul is saying, "Keep on speaking, exhorting, and rebuking with all the authority of God’s Word."

Barclay suggests the threefold duty of the preacher, namely: (1) Proclamation: "Speak" or proclaim "sound doctrine." (2) Encouragement: "Exhort" or encourage the people to live right by saying it again and again. (3) Conviction: A "rebuke" might be in order to convict those who rebel against God and His word. Certain ones must be rebuked "sharply" (Titus 1:13) (295). Titus is to "speak with the authority which comes from a knowledge of the divine will and of the saving purpose of God" (Shepherd 280).

Let no man despise thee: "Despise" comes from periphroneo and "Literally denotes to think round a thing, to turn over in the mind; hence, to have thoughts beyond" (Wuest 196). Titus must proclaim the word with such authority that no one can "think circles around" him and thus show contempt for his teaching. Today’s preacher is no less responsible. He must so prepare himself through careful study of God’s word that no one will be able to avoid the able teaching of "sound doctrine."

Present-Day Application

What a great section of scripture we are privileged to study! It could very well be a manual for gospel preachers. Someone might ask, "What does it mean to be a preacher of the gospel?" We simply point the inquirer to the second chapter of Titus. This great chapter reveals the source and character of the preacher’s message: sound doctrine. It addresses all the classes of individuals who will attend his assembly and shows how to apply the principles of truth to their special needs. The motives and attitudes of the man of God are clearly defined. The deity of Jesus is declared in the simplest and yet most exquisite language. The saving grace of God and the discipline it offers to children of God are described in words easy to understand. From the pen of "Paul, a servant of God," the preacher can find a dozen sermons in this single passage of scripture. Oh, the wonder of His word!

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Contending for the Faith reproduced by permission of Contending for the Faith Publications, 4216 Abigale Drive, Yukon, OK 73099. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on Titus 2". "Contending for the Faith". 1993-2022.