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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

Titus 2

Verses 1-10

Directions which Titus is to give to different classes of Church members, and to confirm by his own example

Titus 2:1-10

1But speak thou the things which become [what becomes the] sound doctrine: 2That the aged men [aged men] be sober, grave, temperate, sound in [the] faith, in charity [love], in patience [steadfastness]. 3The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness [saints], not false accusers [slanderous], not given [addicted] to much wine [wine-drinking], teachers of good things 4[what is good]; That they may teach the young women to be sober [that they school1 the young (married) women], to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home,2 good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. [The] 6Young men likewise 7[in like manner] exhort to be sober-minded [temperate] ; In all things shewing thyself a pattern [as an example] of good works: in [the] doctrine shewing 8uncorruptness, gravity [dignity], sincerity [omitted, as not in the test],3 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; [in order] that he that is of the contrary part [the adversary] may be ashamed, having no evil thing [when he has nothing evil] to 9say of you [us].4 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things [to be well-pleasing in all things]; not answering 10again [not to be contrary]; Not purloining [Purloining nothing], but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.


Titus 2:1. But speak [i.e., preach] thou, Σὺ δέ, in contrast with the false teachers just condemned [and emphatic.—D.]. Titus is to follow the example, not of the false teachers, but of Paul: he is to follow the line of sound doctrine, which here, and generally in the Pastoral Epistles, is especially commended in its practical direction.—What becomes [is agreeable to] the sound doctrine [in opposition to the fables and commandments of men.—D.]; (comp. Titus 1:9). Precisely the opposite of those who speak what is not right (see Titus 2:11).

Titus 2:2. That aged men, &c. This whole predicate, which is continued in what follows, depends either upon λάλει (speak), or upon ἅ πρέπει, κ.τ.λ. (what becomes, &c.), which amounts to the same thing in respect to the sense. The first connection appears to be favored by the form of Titus 2:6.—Aged (πρεσβύτας), namely, in years (as Philemon 1:9; Luke 1:18), [not πρεσβυτέρους, in an official sense; Ellicott.—D.].—Sober, νηφαλίους (comp. on 1 Timothy 3:2).—Grave, temperate (comp. on 1 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:8).—Sound in faith, &c.—Steadfastness, ὑπομονή, here corresponds in a measure to “hope,” in the ordinary Pauline trilogy. If this virtue becomes every disciple of the Lord (Matthew 24:23), it is peculiarly an ornament to the aged. On the dative here employed, for which, in Titus 1:13, the preposition ἐν is found, see Winer, Gramm., § 194. Calvin: “With good reason does he include in these three parts (faith, love, patience) the sum of Christian perfection. For by faith we worship God; because neither invocation, nor any exercises of piety, can be separated from it. Love extends to all the commandments of the second table. Patience follows as the seasoning of faith and love. For, without it, faith would not long endure, and many things occur every day, so insulting, or exhibiting so much ill temper, that in our irritation we should not only be languid, but almost dead to the duties of love, if the same patience did not support us.”

Titus 2:3. Aged women likewise, πρεσβύτιδας: the Apostle refers here not to the wives of the elders, nor to the deaconesses, but to the aged female members of the church generally (comp. 1 Timothy 5:2).—In behavior, ἐν καταστήματι, not only in their apparel, but also in their whole deportment. Jerome: “That their very walk and motions, countenance, language, and silence, shall present a certain decorous and sacred dignity.”—As becometh saints (comp. Ephesians 5:3; 1 Timothy 2:10). The sanctification of the inner life must shine forth in the whole arrangement of our daily walk and conduct.—Not slanderers, literally, not devils, μὴδιαβόλους (see on 1 Timothy 3:11).—Not addicted to much wine-drinking (comp. on 1 Timothy 3:8). Of ardent spirits, which in our days are drunk along with, and now and then more than wine, the Apostle does not speak, because in his time they were not in use. Against brandy, for instance, he could not lift up a warning voice, because it has been known but four hundred years, and was first sold by the apothecaries, in the fifteenth century, as a medicine. But surely the sin of being addicted to such liquors is no less inconsistent with “the sound doctrine,” than the being “given to much wine” (1 Timothy 3:8).—Teachers of what is good, not publicly (1 Timothy 2:12), but [as the specifications in the context imply.—D.] privately, although by the word of exhortation, as appears from what immediately follows.

Titus 2:4. That they school the young women,ἵνα σωφρονίζωσι τὰς νέας. Without prohibiting the exhortation of the young women directly by Titus himself, Paul would have these exhortations, in matters of daily life, proceed from the aged women in their several circles of influence. The substance of these exhortations is, to love their husbands, to love their children. It is worthy of note how the Apostle here, and in other passages, directs the attention of every one to the immediate sphere in which Providence has placed him. The key to this is given in the remark of Calvin: “Moreover, he exhorts more at length, because they were to be particularly recalled to the endeavor after a holy and becoming life, who had been busy only in idle inquisitiveness: for there is nothing which better checks the aimless curiosity of men, than to know in what duties they ought to be engaged.”

Titus 2:5. Discreet [or, perhaps better, staid.—D.], chaste, domestic, οἰκουρούς, (according to another reading possessing much authority, οἰκουργούς [see critical remarks.—D.], a word which does not elsewhere occur, but meaning, according to its composition, working at home, housewifely).—Obedient to their own husbands (τοῖς ἰδίοις�, own with emphasis), a genuine Pauline expression (Ephesians 5:22), and a deep Christian thought (1 Peter 3:1-6).—That the word of God be not blasphemed (comp. on 1 Timothy 4:1). [Also Tit 2:8; 1 Timothy 5:14. The general idea of this passage is, that the good name of the gospel depends upon the proper conduct of its professors in the stations they occupy.—D.] On comparing this with 1 Timothy 5:1 it is manifest that the Apostle would have the young women in Crete exhorted in a somewhat sharper tone than those in Ephesus. There, however, the exhortation was to be given by the youthful Timothy himself; here, on the contrary, by the aged women, who in many respects would have more freedom and right to address their younger sisters.

Titus 2:6. The young men [τοὺς νεωτέρους, the younger men.—D,]. to be temperate. Having spoken of the elders and the younger women, the Apostle now adds to the directions for aged men (Titus 2:2) a hint for Christian youth. All that Titus was to hold up before this class, is summed up once more in a Christian σωφρονεῖν [to be sober-minded, in opposition to being under the influence of immoderate affections; Beza, Huther.—D.]. It will be remembered in what a comprehensive sense this word is elsewhere employed, and how much value Plato, for example, attaches to temperantia.

Titus 2:7. In all things, &c. This exhortation springs quite naturally from the preceding, since Titus himself was also a young man. But not only with a view to this class, but also to all the members of the church, Paul would have Titus unite with the preaching of the word the preaching of his own example, without which all teaching and exhortations are vain. [Notice, in the original, the emphasis, next only to περὶ πάντα, on σεαυτόν, thyself.—D.] In all points,περὶ πάντα, i.e., in respect to all things which belong to the faith and the life of the true Christian, showing thyself,σεαυτὸν παρεχόμενος (on the reflexive pronoun with the Middle, see Winer,Gramm., § 39, 6), as an example of good works,τύπον, a pattern which others might safely follow, such as Paul himself had given (1 Corinthians 11:1). Calvin: “He wishes the teachers to be a copy, which the scholars may imitate.”—In doctrine uncorruptness. “This and the following accusative are dependent upon ‘showing;’ see Colossians 4:1;” Huther.—Instead of ἀδιαφθορίαν in the Recepta, is to be read, with A. C. D.1 E. [Cod. Sin.], and others (see Lachmann and Tischendorf) ἀφθορίαν [which has much the same meaning. To make, with De Wette, this incorruptness, or purity, refer to the quality of the doctrine, viz., as unadulterated or pure, would be to anticipate what is said in the next verse, “sound doctrine,” and to necessitate a too abrupt connection with the next word, “dignity,” Which must certainly be referred to the teacher. It is best, therefore, with Macknight, Flatt, Heyden-reich, Wiesinger, Ellicott, and others, to understand it, as Dr. Van Oosterzee does, of the form of Titus’s teaching. His discourses, in respect to their preparation and delivery, must be characterized by sincerity and dignity; or, as Ellicott well expresses it—in his delivery, “a chaste sincerity of mind was to be combined with a dignified σεμνότης of manner.”—D.] The form of the doctrine, then, should be pure, chaste, free from everything at variance with the character of the gospel; the spirit, and the true way and manner of discourse, is indicated by the next word, σεμνότητα, dignity.

Titus 2:8. Sound speech, that cannot be condemned, a description of the import of the doctrine which Titus was to preach, in distinction from that of the false teachers. The connection shows clearly enough that “sound speech,” λόγον ὑγιῆ, must be understood not of private conversation (Calvin), but of public preaching.—That the adversary may be ashamed. Since the connection gives no decisive indication of the particular kind of hostility here specially referred to, we may suppose it to be that of Satan, and also the false teachers who were his instruments. [Chrysostom also understands “the adversary” to be the devil; but the distinct reference to speaking against believers, seems much more probably to point to heathen or Jewish opposers, or both. This is now the opinion of the best expositors.—D.]—When he has nothing evil to say of us; either of us the Apostles—Titus, and Paul’s other fellow-laborers—or also of us Christians in general.

Titus 2:9. Servants, &c. (comp. 1 Timothy 6:1). In consequence of the peculiar national character of the Cretians, the spurious love of liberty must have here developed itself in its full strength. “Exhort,” παρακάλει, is to be supplied from Titus 2:6. The Christian slaves must be subject to their own masters—the masters to whom they legally belong.—In all things well-pleasing; so that not only their actions shall be blameless, but the way and manner also in which they perform them be agreeable in the eyes of their masters. The phrase, “in all things,” finds the needed limitation, of course, in Acts 5:29.—Not to be contrary,μὴ�, not referring to isolated cases, but to the habit which many servants contract, of incessantly making some objection against what is said to them, and setting up their own will in opposition to that of their masters.

Titus 2:10. Purloining nothing,μὴ νοσφιζομένους, literally, taking away nothing for themselves (comp. Acts 5:2-3).—Showing all good fidelity, describing the general disposition which should lie at the foundation of the particulars just mentioned. [It is called good, with reference to its results, as the connection shows.—D.]—That they may adorn in all things the doctrine, the word of the gospel, of our Saviour God (comp. chaps. 1, 2), not Christ distinctively, but God in His whole indivisible essence. A life, then, in which the power of the gospel is displayed, may be called an adornment of the doctrine (διδασκαλία). “The humbler the condition of servants, the more beautifully is their piety described;” Bengel.


1. The exhortations of the Apostle intended for various classes, afford new evidence that Christianity does not reverse the natural order of things, but confirms and sanctifies it, and is thus a priceless boon to human society.

2. The care of the Apostle not to give the least offence to those who are unfriendly to the gospel, is entirely in the spirit of his Master (Matthew 17:24-27), and hence must be imitated by every Christian in every sphere.

3. As our Lord exhorts all His disciples to edify others by the example of their life, the minister of the gospel is especially called to do this, if his preaching is not to be entirely fruitless. “Take heed to yourself, for the eyes of many are turned towards you, and many can see your fall. You can commit no fault, but that the world will trumpet it. Eclipses of the sun, when the sky is clear, seldom occur unobserved. Since you give yourselves out to be lights of the church, many eyes will inevitably be turned towards you. If others, therefore, can sin unobserved, you cannot. The light of your own teaching will reveal your bad life. Do your work therefore, as those who know that the world is looking on, and that, too, with the keen eye of enmity, which always infers the worst, and knows how to find out, spread abroad, and use the smallest weaknesses, and even discovers evil where none exists;” Baxter.
4. That Christianity is the most practical thing in the world, becomes manifest when it sanctifies the family and the community, and renders them a dwelling of God through the Spirit. As a fuller commentary upon these exhortations of the Apostle, deserves to be consulted the Descriptio reipubl. Christianopolitaisœ, Strasb., 1619, by John Val. Andreä, in which the entire internal organization, and all the conditions of a true Christian church, are described. A counterpart to this is “Bishop Erich Pontopidan Menoza, or History of an Asiatic Prince, who journeyed about in the world in search of Christians, but had little success in his search;” Copenhagen and Leipzig, 1750, 6 vols.


Not our own will, but the pattern of sound doctrine, should be the rule of our preaching.—No condition and Ho period of life is to remain unaffected by the sanctifying influence of the gospel.—Although the calling of a disciple of the Lord is the same essentially in all cases, yet in every case it has special modifications.—The blessedness and the work of a Christian old age.—The disciples’ leaders should be furtherers in the way of life.—To the true preacher everything must preach.—How faith rejuvenates age, and imparts to youth somewhat of the wisdom of advanced years.—Deo servire, regnare est.—Christianity and slavery in their relation to each other: (1.) What slavery is without Christianity; (2.) what Christianity has done for slavery [the enslaved.—D.], and what it is yet to do.—It is a great benefit, when every occasion is taken away from the enemies of the Lord to work injury to the cause of His kingdom.—How Christianity adorns man, and how man in return adorns the gospel.

Starke: Cramer: A theologian must possess a theological prudence, wisdom, and discretion, in order to speak with every one according to his condition, character, and difficulties. For as a shepherd treats the young lambs in one way, the sheep in another, the wethers and rams in another, and makes a difference between the sound and the sick (Ezekiel 34:15), so, because all Christians have not the same gifts, the preacher must know how to adapt himself to every case.—Hearers and readers of the Holy Scriptures should carefully note and practise the duties especially incumbent upon them by reason of their age, standing, and sex (Revelation 2:7; Matthew 24:15).—The fear of God adorns old age: an aged godly matron is worthy of double honor.—Biblia Würt.: Slander, detraction, backbiting, evil-speaking, is a common vice, especially among females.—Osiander: Hearty love between husbands and wives, parents and children, is well-pleasing to God.—Be assured, if Christian women lead scandalous and unseemly lives, great occasion is given to Jews and heathen to revile the gospel.—Shepherds of souls must not only let their voice be heard, but also go before the flock (John 10:3-4).—Fidelity is a golden virtue, and so an ornament to a servant.—Langii Opp.: if even servants and domestics should adorn the Christian religion, by their lives, how much more should ministers of the gospel, since not only their person, but their office, is concerned in the case (Titus 2:7-8).

Lisco: On the pastoral care in Christian churches,—(Synodical Sermon): The model of a good pastor.—Sound exhortation to all to an upright Christian life.—What influence sound doctrine should exert upon the different periods and relations of life.—Von Gerlach: All aged women in the Christian church have a kind of priestly office, viz., to pray for the young women, and to lead them to holiness (comp. 1 Timothy 2:9).


Titus 2:4; Titus 2:4.—[The present indicative σωφρονίζουσιν occurring after ινα, makes a construction so much opposed to usage, that, on the authority of C. D. E. K. L., it has been rejected for the subj. σωφρονίζωσι, by Griesbach, De Wette, Huther, Ellicott, and others. But on the evidence of A. F. G. H., et al., it has been accepted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, and is now confirmed by Cod. Sin.—D.]

Titus 2:5; Titus 2:5.—[This is the rendering of the Rec., οἰκοῦρους, adopted by Ellicott on the comparatively weak authority of D.3 H. I. K., et al.; but the rare (“vox rara sed non inaudita,” Tischendorf) word οἰκοῦργους, “workers at home,” found in A. C. D.1 E. F. G., Cod, Sin., is now adopted by the best critics; Lachmann, Tischendorf, also Alford.—D.]

Titus 2:7; Titus 2:7.—Ἀφθαρσίαν, which has only in its favor, among the uncial MSS., D.3 E.2 I. K., &c., is generally rejected on the authority of A. C. D.1 E.,1 Cod. Sin.—D.]

Titus 2:8; Titus 2:8.—Instead of the reading, περὶ ὑμῶν, of the Recepta, περὶ ἡμῶν, with C. D. E. F. G., Cod. Sin., and many [most.—D.] versions and fathers, is to be preferred.

Verses 11-15

An urgent enforcement of all the preceding exhortations, by an exhibition of the high end of God in the revelation of His grace.

Titus 2:11-15

11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men 12[bringing salvation 5 to all men, hath appeared], Teaching [and traineth] us that, denying [we deny] ungodliness and worldly lust [lusts], we should live [and should live] soberly, [temperately and] righteously, and godly in this 13present world [in this world] ; Looking [waiting] for that [the] blessed hope, and the glorious appearing [the appearing of the glory] of the [our] great God and our [omit “our”] Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity [unrighteousness], and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of [in] good works. 15These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority [energy]. Let no man [one] despise thee.


Titus 2:11. For. After mentioning the duties of these different classes, the Apostle enforces his exhortation by referring to that revelation of salvation, which alone gives strength for a godly life, and also, on account of its aim and tendency, lays believers under the most endearing obligations to follow it.—The grace of God, the absolute foundation of the whole work of redemption, which is now brought to light not only through the doctrine of Christ, but in His person and entire manifestation. So far as the incarnation of the Son constitutes the beginning of the revelation of salvation, this passage was rightly selected by the ancient church as the fixed pericope for the festival of Christmas; although, on the other hand, it is also true that the appearance of the grace of God here mentioned does not refer exclusively to the history of the nativity.—Bringing salvation to all men,σωτήριος. [This construction, adopted also by De Wette, Huther, Wiesinger, Afford, and Ellicott, instead of that of the A. V., “hath appeared to all men,” is recommended by the consideration that the latter construction seems to be forbidden by the phrase, “teaching us,” which immediately follows. “Saviour of all men” is a genuine Pauline expression; and the universality of the provision and offer of the gospel was a dear thought to the Apostle. See 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 2:4. Ἐπεφάνη is here used absolutely, as in Titus 3:4.—D.] Since ἡ very probably should be omitted, we must regard the adjective as a more particular description of χάρις (as bringing salvation; De Wette). The Apostle refers here, as in other passages in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 4:10), to the universal extent of the Divine provision of salvation revealed in the gospel. (To prevent misconception, compare the notes on these two passages.)—Appeared,ἐπεφάνη, an expression which, in other passages, is used concerning the sun (Acts 27:20; comp. Luke 1:79); so that it is not improbable that the Apostle, who elsewhere compares the revelation of the New Covenant to a clear day (Romans 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:8), selected precisely this expression to make prominent the revelation of salvation on its bright and glorious side.

Titus 2:12. And traineth us,παιδεύουσα ἡμᾶς, κ.τ.λ. With the higher sweep which the language of the Apostle has sensibly taken, and with his heart captivated and inflamed by the revelation of the grace of God in Christ, it is not to be wondered at that one figure follows another. Grace, which just before rose like the sun, he now displays as a tutor who trains boys, by nature stubborn and unruly, to live a life acceptable to God. He speaks of a training in which, according to the true force and full import of the word, the idea of correction and punishment is by no means excluded, and, along with the distinction between the law and the gospel, brings to view their higher unity. In what this Divine training consists, and to what it should lead (ἵνα), he states in what immediately follows.—That we deny, &c. The true learning for heaven must begin with the un learning and laying off (A b lernen und A b legen) of all which stands in the way of the development of the new man. The building cannot be carried up until the old rubbish is removed. By “ungodliness” we are to understand not only idolatry in the literal sense of the word, but the whole inner and outer life of those who live without God, and in opposition to His law.—Worldly lusts are those which are cherished by the children of the world, who are in hostility to God, and which (in consequence of this) are exclusively directed to this present, transitory world, with what it has and what it gives (1 John 2:16). In distinction from all this, grace teaches us that we should live temperately and righteously and godly. Wolf: “The opinion of those is to be preferred, who think that by τὸ εὐσεβῶς (godly) are meant duties towards God; by τὸ δικαίως, duties towards our neighbor; and by τὸ σωφρόνως, to ourselves.” It may indeed be questioned, whether the Apostle has quite so strictly connected the ideas with these several words; but, on the other hand, it is highly natural that, in speaking of the universality of the grace of God, and of its moral tendency, he should expressly mention how it guides and sanctifies tie life of man in all directions. By subjoining in hills world, he makes prominent the necessity and difficulty of such a life as he has just described, and at the same time paves the way for speaking antithetically (Titus 2:13) of the future and eternal life, towards which, as being the final and complete perfection of their sanctification, the hope of believers is ever directed. Calvin: “In this world, because the Lord has appointed the present life for the trial of our faith.”

Titus 2:13. Waiting for,προσδεχόμενοι, expecting (“with joy,” Bengel); a more particular form of the preceding verse, with a statement also of what it is that gives to believers strength and cour age to lead a life of such self-denial and conscientious godliness as is there described.—The blessed hope. The strangeness which, at the first glance, the phrase “to wait for hope” may seem to have, disappears, when we remember that hope does not so much designate subjectively the form or the act of hope, as rather objectively, its contents and object, the thing hoped for, as the aim of believing expectation (comp. Acts 24:15; Galatians 5:5; Romans 8:24-25). Epexegetically, this hope is more particularly described by the clause, and the appearing of the glory. The living as Christians, soberly, righteously, and godly, is thus grounded in faith in the appearing of grace (Titus 2:11, and is strengthened by the hope of another appearing, viz., of glory. The Apostle means simply what he elsewhere calls the “revelation” or “appearance” of Jesus Christ, the final appearing of the Lord at the day of judgment, toward which, also, in 2 Timothy 4:8, his eye was directed. The only question is, whether, in the next clause, τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , one independent subject is to be understood [so that it shall read, of our great Gad and Saviour Jesus Christ.—D.], or whether, with most [or rather several—they hardly appear to be the majority.—D.] recent interpreters, it should be rendered, “the appearing of the glory of the great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.” For our part, we decide in favor of the first, and believe he words may, should, and must be understood as giving the name “great God” not to the Father, but to the Saviour Jesus Christ. On purely philological grounds, the position of Bengel will hardly be questioned: “It may be referred to Christ.” Even Winer, § 11, does not deny that σωτῆρος ἡμῶν may be regarded, consistently with grammar, as a second predicate depending upon the article τοῦ. The only ground on which he feels obliged to prefer the other view, adopted by De Wette, Huther, and others, is the doctrinal opinion, derived from the writings of Paul, that this Apostle could not have styled Christ the great God. But in view of 1 Timothy 3:15-16; Romans 9:5; Colossians 1:15-20, and other passages, we cannot regard this objection as valid. Equally arbitrary with the position that Paul regarded Christ as a mere man, and nothing more, is the Arian view, that Paul did not recognize Christ as God, yea, as μέγας θεός. Whoever will simply read and translate the words without doctrinal prejudice, will have as little hesitation in referring them to one and the same subject, as in understanding, e.g., in 2 Peter 1:11, the words βασιλείαν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, as relating to the same subject. He, who is there called κύριος (Lord), is here called μέγας θεός (the great God); as is clear also from the fact that Paul ascribes an “appearing” to the Son (comp. 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:8), but not to the Father, who is “invisible.” Taking all things into the account, we believe that the sense of the words, and the connection, speak decidedly in favor of one and the same subject (Christ). We cannot, therefore, but regard the use which the Church fathers very early made of this passage as a weapon against the Arians as entirely legitimate. [Ellicott has come to the same result with Dr. Van Oosterzee, which is that also of Calvin, Matthies, Usteri, Wiesinger, Tholuck, and Ebrard. He says: “It must be candidly avowed that it is very doubtful whether, on the grammatical principle last alluded to (in respect to two substantives closely united, and under the vinculum of a common article), the interpretation of this passage can be fully settled; see Winer, § 18, 5 Obs., p. 148. There is a presumption in favor of the adopted interpretation, but, on account of the (defining) genitive ἡμῶν (Winer, p. 142), nothing more. When, however, we turn to exegetical considerations, and remember (1.) that ἐπιφανεία is a term specially and peculiarly applied to the Son, and never to the Father; (2.) that the immediate context so specially relates to our Lord; (3.) that the following mention of Christ’s giving Himself up for us—of His abasement—does fairly account for St. Paul’s ascription of a title, otherwise unusual, that specifically and antithetically marks His glory; (4.) that μεγάλου would be uncalled for, if applied to the Father; and (5.) lastly, observe that apparently two of the ante-Nicene (Clem. Alex. and Hippolytus), and the great bulk of the post-Nicene writers, concurred in this interpretation—when we candidly weigh all this evidence, it does seem difficult to resist the conviction that this text is a direct, definite, and even studied declaration of the divinity of the Eternal Son. It ought not to be suppressed that some of the best versions (Vulg., Syr., et al., not, however, apparently Æth.), and some fathers of undoubted orthodoxy, adopted the other interpretation.” So also Erasmus, Grotius, De Wette, and Huther.—D.] Even if, however, a difference of subjects should be assumed, this passage bears testimony, not directly, indeed, but indirectly, as Huther, among others, admits. [This view is strongly expressed by Alford, who, without considering the question closed, prefers to regard “the great God” as describing the Father; but adds: “Whichsoever way taken, the passage is just as important a testimony to the divinity of our Saviour: according to one way, by asserting His possession of Deity; according to the other, even more strikingly, asserting His equality in glory with the Father, in a way which would be blasphemy if predicated of any of the sons of men.”—D.] So Calvin: “But we may refute the Arians briefly and solidly: for Paul, having spoken of the revelation of the glory of ‘the great God,’ immediately added ‘Christ,’ that we might know that the revelation of glory will be in His person; as if he had said that, when Christ shall appear, the greatness of the Divine glory shall then be revealed to us.”

Titus 2:14. Who gave himself, &c. With these words the Apostle returns to what he would specially point out, viz., the sanctifying aim of the redemption bestowed in Christ.—Gave = ἔδωκεν Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:25); here, as well as in those passages, expressing the genuine Pauline thought of a voluntary sacrifice, the issue of obedience and love.—For us. We cannot agree with those interpreters who think that ὑπέρ does not signify in our stead, but merely for our good. There is certainly a distinction between the original significations of ὑπέρ and ἀντί; but that here, at least, the idea of substitution cannot be set aside, is evident from what immediately follows: that he might redeem us, &c. For when Christ gives Himself as a ransom (λύτρον), He gives His soul as a ransom in the stead of those who otherwise would not be redeemed from the enemy’s power.—From all unrighteousness. The ἀνομία is here regarded as the power, from whose control believers are bought and freed through Christ. Since, therefore, they are released from the service of this hard master, he can require nothing more of them; and it is therefore but just that they refuse to obey him, in order henceforth to live soberly, righteously, and godly.—And purify unto himself a peculiar people,λαὸν περιούσιον (occurring only here in the N. T., the same with λαός εις τεριποίησιν in 1 Peter 2:9). Beza: Populum peculiarem. Luther: A people for possession [“a people peculiarly His;” Alford.—D.]. In the spirit of Paul, the means of purification can be no other than the price with which the people was bought, namely, the blood of Christ. “How can ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν be understood otherwise than of the atoning death?” Wiesinger. Here also, as in Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul brings forward the thought, that atonement for sin in itself, although the first, is by no means the last and highest end of the sacrifice of Christ, but becomes the means, further, for the attainment of a higher, yea, the highest end, the sanctification of the pardoned sinner, and his renewal after the glorious image of God.—Zealous in good works. Calvin: “His grace necessarily brings along with it newness of life, because they who are still the servants of sin make void the blessing of redemption. But now we are released from the bondage of sin, that we may serve the righteousness of God.”

Titus 2:15. These things speak, and exhort; making emphatic the whole of the preceding section—not only Titus 2:11-14, but also Titus 2:1-10—by the decisive command to lay all this, not exclusively, indeed, but yet predominantly, upon the hearts of the hearers, and thus to hold up grace and duty before them as inseparably united.—Let no one despise thee (comp. on 1 Timothy 4:12).


1. This section is one of the loca classica for Biblical Theology, and one of the comparatively few places in the Pastoral Epistles which furnish important contributions to our knowledge of the doctrinal system of Paul. We here find most perfectly fused together, and penetrating each, faith and life, doctrine and duty, theory and practice.

2. On the unlimited extent of the Divine plan of salvation, see on 1 Timothy 2:4-6.

3. Whoever denies the doctrine of an objective atonement for sin, made through the offering of Jesus Christ, contradicts Paul to the face. It is downright rationalistic arbitrariness to maintain (De Wette), that, in passages like these, what is spoken of is not atonement, but exclusively moral purification. Paul knows of no other purification than that which comes from faith in the atonement, and through the actual appropriation of it. On the other hand, it must by no means be overlooked, that this atonement paves the way to holiness, and that Christ, because He is our “righteousness,” is also now our “sanctification,” and only in consequence of this can He become our full “redemption.” The same thought, that forgiveness does not follow upon holiness, but leads to it, is also expressed in 1 John 2:1; Revelation 5:9.

4. “The blessed hope, for which we wait, is the appearing of Jesus Christ in glory. The saving grace of God has already appeared to us; the work of salvation, which it has begun, is perfected by the appearing of the Saviour in glory, who, in His state of humiliation here, wrought out our redemption. The appearing of the kingdom of God in Christ gives us the earnest of its appearance hereafter in glory, quickens our desires after it, and draws us away from worldly lusts;” Von Gerlach.
5. The preacher who exclusively preaches duties, and holds back the announcement of the grace of God, which is alone able to make us, through faith, new men, consecrated to God and truly moral, discharges his trust no better than he who is zealous only for doctrine merely, without insisting upon the renewing and sanctifying power of the truth. The exhortation of Paul to do the one, and not to leave the other undone, is strongly enforced by his own example.


The gospel revealed in Christ: (1.) Its origin—the grace of God; (2.) its character—saving grace, in contrast with the law; (3.) its extent—hath appeared to all men; (4.) the way and manner of its efficacy—training us, &c, Titus 2:12; (5.) its triumph, Titus 2:13; (6.) its final end, Titus 2:14.—The Christian life a blessed position intermediate between two revelations of salvation, the one behind, the other still before us.—The sun of the Divine revelation of salvation, a source: (1.) Of light; (2.) of warmth; (3.) of fruitfulness.—The connection of forgiveness and sanctification: (1.) No strength for seeking after holiness without faith in forgiveness; (2.) no enjoyment of forgiveness without striving after holiness.—Christ the true Redeemer, because He redeems us not only from the guilt, but also from the dominion of sin.—How the Christian, because he is redeemed from the curse of the law, fulfils the precepts of the law under the promptings of gratitude and love.—“These things speak” (for ordination or installation): (1.) What the servant of the gospel, according to the teaching and example of Paul, is to preach, and what not to preach; (2.) why just this and how herein he is to discharge his duty.

Starke: Mülleri Opp.: We cannot make a long search for God’s grace, for it has appeared to all men; we cannot buy it, for it is presented to us as a free gift; we cannot run after it, for it runs after us with all its saving power.—Augustine: “It is a great and general fast, to abstain from iniquities and the unlawful pleasures, of this world; this is a perfect fast, that, denying impiety and worldly desires, we live temperately, justly, and piously.—Starke: For this reason does the grace of God appear to the sinner, that he may forsake darkness, and walk in the light; Titus 2:11; Romans 13:12-13.—Three words express the whole of Christianity: to be strict towards one’s self, just to one’s neighbor, and pious towards God, If thou livest thus, dear Christian, thou livest right.—Mülleri Opp.: When the world, with its glory, shall pass away, the glory of Jesus Christ will be revealed; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24.—Christ Himself shall be condemned, before sin shall condemn him for whom He hath given Himself, and who believes in Him; Romans 8:1.—Boast not of thy merit: it is of mere grace.—Thou art in error, if thou supposest that thy Saviour giveth thee freedom to sin.—Hedinger: Mere doctrine is not enough. Thou must exhort and rebuke with all earnestness, and not suffer thyself to be despised. Away with timidity and temporizing! Gentleness, mildness, and quietness of spirit are beautiful; but a holy zeal, also, is not to be proscribed. Moderate one by the other; this is thy special adornment, O minister of Christ! Tit 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:2.

Lisco: In the mission of Jesus, the grace of God is revealed: (1.) In its essential character; (2.) in its aim; (3.) in its means.—On the appearing of the great God at the festival of Christmas.—God’s grace urges us to holiness, and leads us to blessedness.—The joyousness and solemnity of Christmas.—Fuchs: Christmas joy: (1.) Its object; (2.) requirement; (3.) its effect.—Couard: The communion of man with God destroyed by sin, and restored by Jesus Christ.—Kapff: The birth of Christ our new birth.—Staudt: The grace of God has appeared: (1.) To whom; (2.) for what; (3.) how it is to secure its end.—Gerok: The heavenly Christmas festival which the children of God enjoy: (1.) The noble Christmas gift; (2.) the great Christmas table; (3.) the right Christmas thanks.—Palmer: The education of grace.—The preaching of the appearing of the great God.—Harless: The training of the saving grace of God in Christ.—Florey: The voice of Divine grace in the hearts of believers at the present day: (1.) An earnest; (2.) a holy; (3.) a loud; (4.) a comforting voice.—W. Löhe: “The manger and the cross, the manger and the import of the incarnation and the cross, the manger and the final salvation of all believers, the manger and the grace which trains men for final blessedness, we behold here combined. The manger not alone, but in connection with all God’s works. The manger a centre, and around it, like circle around circle ever widening, is grace ever becoming more full and complete. Especially worthy of consultation, and deserving, with its entire context, to be read again and again, is the beautiful sermon of Luther on this passage, in the Erlangen edition of his Works, 1827, Th. 7, S. 127–154.


Titus 2:11; Titus 2:11.—With Lachmann, we drop the ἡ of the Recepta, on the testimony of A. C. D. [both] Syr., &c. [Tischendorf and Ellicott retain it, apparently on mere grammatical grounds, since the authority of C.3 D.2 E. K. L. is quite inferior, and the suggestion of Alford, that the article was a correction designed to fill out the text, has all probability in its favor. Another form, apparently, of correction, is τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, found in several versions and fathers, and also in Cod. Sin.—D.]

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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Titus 2". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.