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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Titus 2

Verses 1-3

Older Men, Older Women

Chapter 1 deals especially with the flock of God and the dangers that threaten the flock. Therefore the Lord gave elders, pastors and leaders. They can lead the flock and keep them from dangers. The practical things are related with the doctrine and with the elect of God. That shows how precious the believers are to God’s heart. That is what should determine the behavior of the leaders and what makes their responsibility great in dealing with them.

Chapter 2 deals with, as it is said at the end of this chapter, an “own special people” for the Lord Jesus who are zealous for good works. We are His own special people. The Lord Jesus wanted to have His own people or nation in this world, a people who are a joy and pleasure to Him. That sounds in each group that is being addressed in this chapter. He wants to have the older men, the older women, the young women, the young men and the bondslaves for Himself. He wants to be able, in the midst of all nationalities, to point to a nation or at people of whom He can say: ‘Those are My people.’ Kings and rulers have their people, He has them too.

Our order is to live in such a way that He can really say with joy, without being ashamed of us: ‘Those are My people.’ Then certainly not only the gatherings are the point here, where we are visibly together from our living environment and people see a nation or a unity of people. It is about what the Lord Jesus sees when He looks at us in our houses and in our working place. He sees all of those different groups in their environment, not gathered, but often as a solitary individual in the midst of so many who do not belong to His people. He not only loves to see His people when they are together, but also in everyday life in the midst of the world.

Titus 2:1. To make sure that He can look at us with joy, Paul orders Titus in Titus 2:1 to speak things which are proper for “sound doctrine”. That verse also starts with: “But as for you.” That indicates a contrast to the previous. He should not stop to minister the saints with the sound doctrine by speaking about it again and again. This would be the best remedy against the influence of the false teachers.

Titus doesn’t receive the order to teach the sound doctrine, but to ‘speak things’ that are in accordance with that. That’s possibly because the work of Titus is not that much of a teacher, but of a pastoral worker, which implies that he often has private individual conversations. Public preaching is often not sufficient to meet all needs. A person who especially ministers as a shepherd, once said to me: ‘From what you bring in the meeting as doctrine, I take small chunks which I use for an individual believer who needs care.’ This is how to complement one another and this is also what the Lord intended.

The starting point is the sound doctrine. That’s the doctrine which is sound in itself and which also makes all people sound who take in this doctrine. It is like fruit. In healthy fruit there are no worms or rotten spots. When you eat healthy fruit, it improves your health.

Apparently Titus is still a young man. This makes it more necessary that he only speaks things which are proper for sound doctrine. Only then the different age groups will accept his exhortations. Each category has a doctrine that is fitting for that certain group. Titus has to talk about that with each separate group. The differences between the groups will then not cause the believers to live separately from each other, or worse, in opposition to each other, but on the contrary in harmony with one another. In that way the sound doctrine will have a sound effect.

I think that you may say that a sound church consists of the four categories mentioned. The phenomenon ‘youth church’ ignores this and isolates the youth of the larger whole of the church. In a church as it is presented here, you see a mixture of the maturity and experience of the older people and the energy and activity of the youth.

Paul doesn’t address the groups directly, as he does in the letter to the Ephesians and the letter to the Colossians. He gives instructions to Titus on how he should properly minister each group by age and gender so that they may walk in accordance with their confession. First it is important to consider that each position that is mentioned here, is given by God (age, gender) or is acknowledged by Him (bondslave, master). As long as you are in that position, you ought to act in a way that is proper for that position.

Titus 2:2. The first category that is being addressed is the “older men”. Not all older men are elders. Spiritually these older men are not much older than the young people, but they certainly are regarding their age and wisdom of life. Still, their old age goes together with its own dangers. When they get older a feeling of uselessness can arise or not knowing what to do anymore.

1. The danger arises that they open themselves for influences that cause them not to be “temperate” anymore. In that case they are no example anymore for the young people who look upon them. A sober person is free from exaggeration and excitement in words and deeds.
2. Their behavior should not be like that of a puppy, necessarily wanting to act like a young person, but “dignified”. An older man ought to have an attitude with a certain dignity. He is “sensible” and adopts a sensitive reservation. He must not want to be necessarily in charge anymore.
3. Another danger of getting older is that conversation become limited and one-sided. Therefore he must be instructed to be “sound in faith”, which means: sound in what he believes. Then he will be balanced in his speech about the truth, whereby he doesn’t overemphasize certain truths and neglects other truths.
4. Also “in love” he ought to be sound, that it reaches out to all God’s children and doesn’t stop with a selected group.
5. The last thing that Titus must tell the older men is that they must be sound “in perseverance”. The older you get, the more the danger increases to become despondent. The feeling can arise that nothing makes any sense at all. Weariness of life may occur.

The older men may bear in mind that the Lord has a purpose with their sojourn on earth up until the last minute of their life. Professor Gunning said it this way when he grew old: ‘I will not give death that honor to wait for it.’ He looked forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus. The expectation of Him with perseverance also renews the strength of older men (Isaiah 40:31).

Titus 2:3. After the exhortations to older men now those to the “older women” follow. Their behavior, which means their whole visible performance in daily life in words, gestures, clothing, decoration, ought to be “reverent”. They are expected to have an outward behavior that is fitting for the sanctuary. That means that they are continually aware to be living in God’s presence. Anna is a wonderful example of such a woman. You read of her that she “never left the temple” (Luke 2:37).

The abuse of the tongue by “malicious gossips” is a great danger for older women. Anna did not commit that sin. On the contrary, she spoke about God. She also served God night and day. She was full of God and praised Him (Luke 2:37). Therefore she was “not enslaved to much wine”. She did not have to turn to the bottle out of boredom to get a kind of happy feeling by drinking wine (cf. Ephesians 5:18).

Titus must instruct older women that they should spend their time in a good way by “teaching what is good”. Older women do not have to maintain a family anymore and therefore they have less domestic occupations than when they had to take care of children.

You may be thinking: ‘But isn’t it written that the woman is not supposed to be teaching’ (1 Timothy 2:12)? You are right about that. However, it is not about the explanation of certain truths of God’s Word, but how something is to be done. They do not perform like teachers before the whole church, but their teaching is only focused on just one certain category: the young women. The teaching here regards the efforts to make clear to young women how they can be good witnesses in daily life.

Now read Titus 2:1-3 again.

Reflection: Do you know older men and older women in your environment with whom you see something of the characteristics mentioned?

Verses 4-10

Young Women, Young Men, Bondslaves

Titus 2:4. Titus is not ordered to teach “young women”. That would not be appropriate for him as a brother. Brothers cannot teach a young sister much regarding their relationship with her husband and her children. He must instruct the older women that that’s their responsibility. It gives older women the opportunity to bring the warmth of motherly relations in the church. Titus passes on seven admonishments to the older women on behalf of the young women. Apparently these admonishments are very necessary because of the false teachers who are “upsetting whole families” (Titus 1:11).

What counts most is that there is an atmosphere of love in the family. The young woman ought to have that love to her husband and her children. The housekeeping and maintaining the family can take up so much of her attention that she may have no time and attention for her husband anymore. She cannot get around to address him about what he is occupied with. There is also often no time to really show attention to the children.

In our days there is the danger that the career becomes more and more important. Then husband and wife have their own agenda. The relation with one another and also with the children (if at least they are there) happens by leaving notes to one another or through social media. Love stealthily grows cold. However, the environ notices that and the results become visible in the long term. The beautiful and attractive character of the Christian family is shown by the faithfulness and love of the woman for her husband and her children (Proverbs 31:10-Obadiah :).

Titus 2:5. “[To be] sensible” implies that she acts calmly and with deliberation. She must learn to think carefully before she does something. She will not fall into extremes by on the one hand acting impulsively and on the other hand by underestimating what is necessary.

The fourth thing that has to be made clear to young women is that they should keep themselves “pure”. They should not defile themselves with other men, even not in their thoughts. They should neither cause men to have impure thoughts by wearing defiant clothing or seductive make-up nor by looking seductively or using tantalizing language.

She has an extensive task at home. That is her working area. “Workers at home” does not only mean to look after the external things, like clothing and food and drink, but also the spiritual nourishment of the children.

It is important that she is behaving “kind” in doing so. Due to the manifold of work, she can come under such a stress that she may be tempted to do the evil thing.

As the seventh aspect older women should instruct their younger sisters to be “subjected to their own husband”. Indeed the woman is equivalent to the man, but she is not equal to him. That doesn’t mean that the husband is the master or commander of his wife. He is certainly the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:7-2 Samuel :), he has the leading role and makes decisions, of course after deliberation. This is how God has ordained it in creation and it is not wise to deviate from that. He who does, will reap the bitter fruit of that.

There is another aspect connected to deviating from God’s order of rank in creation: when what God had ordained is being put aside His Word is being blasphemed.

Titus 2:6. Then it is the turn of “the young men”. Titus must ‘urge’ them. The only exhortation that Titus is to speak out to them, is that they must be “sensible”. They ought to control themselves in each territory and aspect of their life.

To be sensible is related to almost each category mentioned here (Titus 1:8; Titus 2:2Titus 2:6). Therefore it should be a ‘core activity’ of the Christian. Young people especially run the risk to act uncontrollably and hastily, due to their inexperience.

Titus 2:7. The rest of Titus’ exhortation to the young men must consist of his own “example of good deeds” and indeed “in all things”, which means that he should be an ‘all embracing’ pattern (cf. 1 Timothy 4:12). He is not supposed to expect things of his contemporaries that are not to be seen in his own life.

First of all he will be known because of his “purity” in doctrine. Compromising with the Word of God is unfamiliar to him. You cannot catch him on explaining God’s Word in a way that suits him best.

Furthermore the reverential character of God’s Word will be made clear from his whole performance. Due to his great respect for God’s Word he will guard himself for trying to make the Word attractive by using popular words.

Titus 2:8. Each word that Titus speaks must be “sound” and “beyond reproach”. Ambiguous words or untrue or far-fetched explanations will give opponents the opportunity to deliver just criticism. If you do not behave yourself like a Christian, it gives the opponent the opportunity to speak evil about you. If you make sure that he cannot speak any evil of you, the reverse will happen: instead of being ashamed yourself, “the opponent will be put to shame”.

Titus 2:9. As the fifth and last group Titus must exhort “the bondslaves”. This group includes people of all previous groups by age and gender. Still they form a clear distinction from the previous groups. Men and women are created as such by God. It also goes together with creation that there is a difference in age. Regarding the bondslaves it is different. Slavery is not a part of creation, but it is a consequence of the fall. Does it mean that slavery has been abolished by the introduction of Christendom? No. That’s also not the intention of Christendom. Christendom doesn’t change social evils, but changes hearts of people, including that of bondslaves.

It is certainly a blessing that slavery has been abolished for the greater part, due to Christendom. But that doesn’t mean that what is being said here to bondslaves doesn’t count for today. You can apply all instructions for the bondslaves in our time, in any case to all people who are an employee in the service of an employer.

The word for “master” is ‘despot’, that is a person who has absolute authority and unlimited power over other people, in this case over a bondslave. The bondslave in that time was totally delivered to his master. The bondslave is here being told not to be grumpy and feel compelled, but to be active and willingly “obedient” to his master. He ought to do the best he can to be “well-pleasing” in everything, even to the capricious master who is hard to be pleased. If that applies to that relation, then how much more should Christian employees be obedient to their superiors.

That will not be easy in all cases, but the believing employee is certainly able to satisfy his superior in the strength that the Lord gives. A beautiful example of someone, who as a faithful bondslave was well-pleasing in all things in miserable circumstances, is Joseph (Genesis 39:1-Joshua :). Also the little maid of Naaman’s wife did not only do her duty, but sought the well-being of her master (2 Kings 5:2-Leviticus :). The Lord Jesus, Who as the perfect Slave always did what was well-pleasing to the Father (John 8:29), exceeds above these examples.

Now you have seen the general behavior, still some details of their performance follow. A bondslave is for instance to be expected to obey without answering back. This goes further than not giving back-answers. It is much more about not obstructing the master, not hindering his master to be met in his desires. Today that may mean that you should not argue with your supervisor and that you do not undermine his authority. Of course that doesn’t have to stop a sound deliberation, but it is about your motives.

Titus 2:10. A bondslave is also told not to be pilfering. He will quite surely have that tendency. The bondslave could have the thought of being entitled to, after all he has been stolen from his family. Thereby he could have the feeling of being underpaid far too little or think that what he pilfers is only the collection of back payment. But the wrong that is done to us, does not justify us to do the same injustice. This prescription of not pilfering can for instance be applied today by using internet with the apparatus and in the time of the superior or by subscribing unjustified or too high declarations.

The bondslave must show the opposite by “showing all good faith” to his master. It is about ‘good’ faith. When the master demands him to lie or to pilfer somewhere else, he is not to obey that (Acts 5:29). When the bondslave shows all good fidelity, then he is ‘an adorning’ for “the doctrine of God our Savior”. That brings the position of being a bondslave to an awesomely high level!

The knowledge of Him Who has redeemed him from his sins, brings him to a life in which the most beautiful features of the Lord Jesus become visible in an impressive way. How pleasant must such a life be to God in which He is being reminded of the life of His Son on earth, mustn’t it? Don’t you long to be such a bondslave?

Now read Titus 2:4-10 again.

Reflection: In which category do you belong? What applies to you most?

Verses 11-15

A People for His Own Possession

Titus 2:11. This is the beginning of a new section. Still there is a clear connection with the previous verses. You can derive that from the word “for” which indicates that everything that is said previously has its meaning through what follows. And what is it that follows? That is the teaching of “the grace of God”. You could say that all previous exhortations can only be realized by the teaching of the grace of God. In that teaching the doctrine of our Savior-God is being enunciated. However, not as a theory, as a theological dogma, but as something that is to be seen in our life on earth, which was seen in the life of the Lord Jesus.

The grace that appeared was revealed when the Lord Jesus came to earth in humiliation. Especially the gospel according to Luke exposes Him as the One Who revealed the grace of God to the whole of humanity. Already in the very beginning of that gospel you read how people wondered “at the gracious words which were falling from His lips” (Luke 4:22; cf. Psalms 45:2).

When Christ came to earth by being born as Man, the grace of God appeared in His Person. In the Child in the manger you see how God opens His heart for all people. With that Child salvation comes to all people without exception. God’s salvation is not limited to a certain people. God had elected a certain nation to be His people. He had provided that nation with all possible means in order to serve Him and testify of Him towards all other nations. He gave them His law. But that nation was worse and more corrupted than all other nations.

When God sent His Son, it became evident how corrupted that nation was. All of their murderousness came to light. They killed Him because they couldn’t bear Him. Man is so depraved that he cannot stand God revealed in goodness. That was the end of all God’s efforts to make man serve Him.

Then an awesome change came into God’s way of acting. When man had delivered the proof of his absolute incorrigibility, the road was now opened for God to reveal His grace. That grace is present in the same Christ Who was killed by His people. Only, the offer of that salvation is not made to only one nation, but that offer is for all people. This offer is fitting to the value that God has for what His Son has done. Salvation is being offered to all people.

Titus 2:12. Everyone who has been saved, old and young, man and woman, learn to know grace in still another way, namely as a teacher, for grace is “instructing us”. Grace gives us the necessary teaching on how to live as a believer. Therefore grace is for ‘all’ people, is being offered to all people, but is teaching ‘us’, which implies the believers.

This teaching of grace is a continuous process. Through this teaching new people are being made able to honor God in their new walk of life. The most important thing that is shown in this teaching is that the past has been condemned. In order to live to God’s honor, it is important to have a good view of your past. Before your conversion you lived without God. Your life was ungodly, which means that you did not ask for God. You pursued worldly lusts by focusing yourself on all things that the world can offer. That is what you lived for.

Through the teaching of grace you understand that “ungodliness and worldly lusts” can in no way have any room in your life anymore. You “deny” them. It is not an order to do that, but it is a matter of course. You have renounced these things as a conscious decision with a continuous effect. It is something you are to live up to on a daily basis.

If you have turned your back on ungodliness and lusts in this way, there comes room for the new life. You live your new life in the present, “in the present age”. Indeed that is an age, a territory of power which is so terribly evil that it rejected the Lord Jesus, but from which you have been delivered by the work of Christ and the will of God (Galatians 1:4). But you still live in it, but as a new man with totally other features than formerly.

1. The first feature is “sensible”. That indicates how you yourself are. You do not let yourself be dragged by the issues of the day; you can control yourself.
2. The second feature, “righteously”, touches your attitude towards others, like your brothers and sisters, your family members and colleagues, the world.
3. The third feature regards your attitude towards God. You live “godly”, which is in fear or reverence to God and you serve and honor Him.

In Job and Simeon you have examples of such a life (Job 1:1; Job 1:8; Luke 2:25).

Titus 2:13. After you have seen the teaching of grace in Titus 2:12 for the past and the present, this teaching continues in Titus 2:13 with the future. While living in the present, you may look forward to a great future. The focal point in that future is “the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”. With a view to that Paul speaks about a “blessed hope and the appearing of the glory”.

Our ‘blessed hope’ is that we shall see that glory when He will come to collect us, the church (1 Thessalonians 4:15-Esther :). Regarding the world we may look forward to ‘the appearing of the glory’. All sin and the misery it had caused will come to an end when the Lord Jesus shall return to earth. He is ‘our great God and Savior’. The Man Who once was on earth in humiliation, in order to be the Savior of the world (John 4:42) is also the eternal God. He, Christ, can justly be called ‘great’ (Luke 1:32; Matthew 5:35; Luke 7:16; Hebrews 10:21; Hebrews 13:20).

Titus 2:14. When Paul speaks about the glory of Christ he cannot help but speak about the great love of the Lord Jesus and about the great work He has accomplished. Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us”. He loved us that much that He not only gave everything He had (Matthew 13:44-1 Corinthians :) and was willing to become poor for our sakes (2 Corinthians 8:9), but beyond all that He gave Himself. You read somewhere else that God gave His own Son (John 3:16; Romans 8:32), but here you read that the Lord Jesus gave Himself. And how did He do that? By giving His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; John 10:11, 15). He did that voluntarily. He died for you and me while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

What did He have in mind when He gave Himself? He wanted to make us “a people for His own possession”. To achieve that it was necessary that He redeemed “us from every lawless deed”. To redeem here means as much as ‘to ransom’, ‘to release’. With this meaning this word appears another time only in 1 Peter 1 (1 Peter 1:18). There Peter writes that we are not ‘redeemed’ with corruptible things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. That means that a price has been paid for our redemption, which is nothing less than the precious blood of Christ. We have indeed been bought with a price that is not to be paid in terms of money (1 Corinthians 7:23).

But, as it is said, that price is paid for our redemption, our liberation from a power by which we were completely captivated. That power was lawlessness. Lawlessness is the essence of sin (1 John 3:4). Lawlessness means that you rejected any form of authority that comes from God. The Lord Jesus has redeemed you from all lawlessness (cf. Psalms 130:8) so that you may acknowledge Him as the only Commander. You belong now to a nation that He calls His ‘own possession’ (cf. Exodus 19:5) and to whom nothing of the uncleanness of the nations of the world is attached.

The only way that this nation could come into relation with Him was that He cleansed it. That also happened through His blood (1 John 1:7). Through His redemption you are His possession. Through His purification you meet with His holiness and you are able to serve Him by being “zealous” in doing “good deeds”. ‘Good deeds’ is everything you do in obedience to the Lord, for that is the way God is being glorified and others are blessed.

Titus 2:15. Paul urgently asks Titus once more to definitely inform others everything that he said to him. If people do not want to heed this call because of their negligence, he should exhort them. And when he notices that his words are being resisted, then he ought to openly rebuke them. He should not hesitate, but he must speak with all authority. After all, he is a representative of the apostle.

But he must behave himself in accordance to his position. If he does not live up to what he says, others will despise him and his words will be in vain (cf. 1 Timothy 4:12).

Let us also speak on a regular basis with one another about the issues that this chapter has dealt with. We can tell these things to one another. When it appears that there are hindrances to practice the sound doctrine, let us then put them away or apply changes that are needed. The Lord is worthy of that. He has redeemed us and cleansed us for Himself.

Now read Titus 2:11-15 again.

Reflection: What do you learn in these verses about the practice of your Christian life? How does that become visible in your life?

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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Titus 2". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.