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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Titus 2

A.M. 4069. A.D. 65.

Here the apostle directs Titus,

(1,) To inculcate upon professing Christians, whether elder or younger, such duties as became sound doctrine, and to exemplify them in his own practice, Titus 2:1-8 .

(2,) To exhort servants to conduct themselves in a manner suitable to their station, and so as to adorn their Christian profession, Titus 2:9 , Titus 2:10 .

(3,) To enforce these duties from the holy nature, design, and tendency of the gospel, the joyful prospect which it opens before believers of eternal happiness, the love of our Redeemer, and the design of his death endured for us, Titus 2:11-14 , with all becoming authority, Titus 2:15 .

Verses 1-2

Titus 2:1-2. The apostle, having directed Titus to ordain elders in every city, and described the character and qualifications of the persons he was to invest with that office in the church; also having laid open the bad character and evil practices of the Judaizing teachers and their disciples in Crete, and ordered him to rebuke them sharply, he now proceeds to give him a short view of the duties of his office as superintendent both of the teachers and of the people in that island. But speak thou, &c. As if he had said, Though false teachers dwell upon fables, traditions, and the commandments of men, which disorder and poison the souls of the hearers, do thou inculcate the things which become Or agree with; sound, wholesome, salutary doctrine Calculated to restore and preserve spiritual health; to invigorate all the faculties of the soul, and keep them in a healthy state. That the aged men be sober Νηφαλιους , vigilant, as veteran soldiers, not to be easily surprised; grave Or serious, as σεμνους may be rendered; temperate Or prudent, as σωφρονας signifies; see on Titus 1:8; sound in the faith Sincere and steadfast in their belief of, and adherence to, all the great doctrines of the gospel; in charity Αγαπη , love, to God and man; patience A virtue particularly needful for, and becoming them.

Verses 3-6

Titus 2:3-6. The aged women likewise All of them in general, and not merely such as were employed by the church in teaching the young of their own sex the doctrines and precepts of Christianity; that they be in behaviour Εν καταστηματι , in their deportment, including their dress, as the word implies; as becometh holiness Or holy persons, as ιεροπρεπεις may be rendered, that is, such as is agreeable to their holy profession, and will manifest the holiness of their hearts; not false accusers Slanderers, or evil speakers; not given to much wine If they use a little for their many infirmities; teachers For their age and experience call them to be so; of good things Only, and not of any thing of a contrary nature. That they may teach the young women These Timothy was to instruct himself; Titus, by the elder women; to be sober Or wise. The original expression, ινα σωφρονιζωσι τας νεας , is, literally, That they may render the young women wise, or prudent, namely, in the performance of the duties of their station; to love their husbands, their children In a due manner, with a tender, temperate, holy, wise affection. O how hard a lesson! To be discreet Particularly in the love of their children; chaste Particularly in the love of their husbands; keepers at home Whenever they are not called out by works of necessity, piety, and mercy; good Well-tempered, sweet, soft, obliging; obedient to their husbands Whose will, in all things lawful, is a rule to the wife; that the word of God The doctrine of the gospel, and the Christian religion; be not blasphemed Or evil spoken of, particularly by unbelieving husbands, who usually lay all the blame of what they think wrong in their wives, on their religion. Young men exhort to be sober-minded Or, rather, prudent and discreet, as σωφρονειν signifies.

Verses 7-8

Titus 2:7-8. In all things In all these and other respects not here mentioned; showing thyself a pattern of good works Of every thing amiable and excellent; of every disposition and practice which thou enjoinest to others. Titus himself was then young. In doctrine Or in thy teaching, namely, in public; uncorruptness As to the matter of it; or without any mixture of error; gravity Or seriousness, as to the manner of delivering it; weightiness, solemnity; sound Or wholesome; speech Even in private conversation; that cannot be condemned Or found fault with on any principles of reason or religion: or, as some render it, that cannot be confuted; that he who is of the contrary part An unbeliever, or an opposer of the truth; may be ashamed Of his unbelief of, and opposition to it; having no evil thing to say of you Of thee, of the elders thy assistants, or of any, whether old or young, who are under thy care, but may be obliged, with all his prejudices, to acknowledge that thou art a worthy president of a worthy and useful society of people.

Verses 9-10

Titus 2:9-10 . Exhort servants See the notes on the passages referred to in the margin. To please them Their masters; well in all things Lawful, or wherein it can be done without sin; not answering again Though blamed unjustly. This honest servants are most apt to do. Not purloining Secretly stealing any part of their masters’ goods, not taking or giving any thing without their masters’ leave: this, fair-spoken servants are most apt to do. But showing all good fidelity And honesty in every thing, great and small; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour May render it amiable and honourable, even in the eyes of their heathen masters, and of others, when they shall observe its influence on all its possessors, even on those in the lowest stations in life. This is more than St. Paul says of kings. How he raises the lowness of his subject! So may they the lowness of their condition!

Verses 11-12

Titus 2:11-12. For the grace of God The free, unmerited favour of God, which is the primary meaning of the word grace, see on Romans 11:6, and the influence of the divine Spirit, which the word grace also signifies; see 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 13:9; which bringeth salvation The original expression, η χαρις του Θεου , η σωτηριος , is literally, the grace of God, the saving grace; that is, which is saving in its design and tendency, and which actually saves all who truly receive it, even in the present world, from the ignorance and error, guilt and depravity, weakness and wretchedness, in which they formerly lay involved, into the favour and image of God, and a state of fellowship with him, hereby giving them a title to, a meetness for, and an anticipation of, eternal salvation; hath appeared Επεφανη , hath been manifested, or hath shone forth, even like the luminaries of heaven, as the word signifies; namely, in and by the gospel, which has not been kept concealed in a corner, as the Jewish law was, being confined to one particular people of little note in the world, but was commanded by its author to be preached to every creature, Mark 16:15; and even in the apostle’s days, had been made known in a great measure to all nations, for the obedience of faith, Romans 16:26; or to men of all nations and conditions, to barbarians as well as to Jews, Greeks, and Romans, to servants as well as masters, to bond as well as free. As if the apostle had said, (connecting this verse with the preceding,) It concerns all persons, in whatever situation or condition, and especially all members of the visible church, to perform their several duties faithfully and diligently, because the doctrine of the gospel, (which is the effect of God’s grace, and in a peculiar manner displays, offers, and invites men to receive it, and is the means whereby that grace is communicated, and whereby it saves men,) is published indifferently to all nations, as well as Jews, and therein to persons of all ranks and conditions. Or, if this interpretation be not thought to answer fully to the universality of the apostle’s declaration, the grace of God hath appeared to all men, there is no sufficient reason why we may not understand him as speaking of that unmerited love and favour he hath manifested by the works of creation, (which display his goodness, as well as his wisdom and power, to the whole universe,) and by the dispensations of his providence, and of those enlightening, awakening, convincing, quickening, and drawing influences of the Spirit of grace, which certainly are not entirely withheld from any child of man. See on John 1:4-9. Teaching As a master his pupils, as they are able to receive his instructions, (so the word παιδευουσα signifies,) even all who are unbelieving and disobedient; that denying Αρνησαμενοι , having renounced; ungodliness Whatever is contrary to the knowledge, fear, and love of God; and worldly lusts Επιθυμιας , desires, such as are founded in worldly men, and have the things of the present world for their object, as riches, honours, pleasures, including not only desires of unlawful things, but those which, though fixed on lawful objects, are inordinate and excessive. These must be resisted and renounced, as contrary to the sobriety and righteousness enjoined in the next clause, and utterly inconsistent with that spiritual and heavenly mind which Christianity is intended and calculated to produce. This is the negative part of religion. It has also a positive part, which Isaiah , 1 st, To live soberly Greek, σωφρονως , temperately, prudently, and in all purity and holiness. “Sobriety, in the Scripture sense, is rather the whole temper of a man, than a single virtue in him. It comprehends all that is opposite to the drowsiness of sin, the folly of ignorance, and the unholiness of disorderly passions. Sobriety is no less than all the powers of the soul being consistently and constantly awake, duly governed by heavenly prudence, and entirely conformable to holy affections.” Wesley. Righteously Righteousness, distinguished here from godliness, consists in abstaining from injuring any one in his person, reputation, or fortune; in discharging all the duties belonging to the relations in which a man stands to others, and to the station in which he is placed; in being true and just in all his dealings; in performing his covenants and promises faithfully; and, in short, in rendering to every man his due, and doing to all as he would they should do to him; and godly Or piously, as persons devoted to God in heart and life, fearing him with a reverential, awful, filial, and watchful fear; loving him with a love of esteem, desire, gratitude, and complacency, because of his loveliness and loving-kindness; being zealous for his glory, and doing every thing in order to it; obedient to his will in all things, great and small, and that from a sense of duty to him; resigned and patient under the dispensations of his providence; aspiring after, and earnestly pursuing, a conformity to him, and the everlasting enjoyment of him; and, in order to all this, using every means of grace he hath appointed, and waiting upon him in all his ordinances; in this present world Notwithstanding the many snares, difficulties, and dangers, the temptations, trials, troubles, pains, and pleasures of it. Or, in this present age, as εν τω νυν αιωνι properly signifies; that is, we must be thus godly and righteous in this ungodly and unrighteous age, and sober, as above explained, in this age, in which examples of intemperance, imprudence, and the disregard of such sobriety everywhere abound. No wonder that the apostle attributes this religion, in these various branches of it, to the free grace of God!

Verses 13-14

Titus 2:13-14. Looking With eager desire and lively expectation; for the blessed hope That is, for the blessedness for which we hope; the grace of hope being here put for the object of it, future and eternal felicity. And the glorious appearing Very different from his former appearance in a state of poverty, reproach, and suffering; of the great God and our Saviour The original expression, επιφανειαν της δοξης του μεγαλου Θεου και Σωτηρος ημων , are literally, the appearing, or manifestation, of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: or, of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ. If the words be taken in the former sense, the apostle may be considered as alluding to our Lord’s words, Luke 9:26, where the Lord Jesus is spoken of as coming in his own glory and in his Father’s, and of his holy angels; and, (Matthew 16:27,) the Son of man shall come in the glory of the Father with his angels. Beza, however, is of opinion, that one person only is spoken of, namely, Jesus Christ, to whom he thinks the title of the great God is given in this verse; and with him Whitby agrees, both because the article is wanting before Σωτηρος , Saviour, and because, as God the Father is not said properly to appear, so the word επιφανεια , appearing, never occurs in the New Testament but when it is applied to Jesus Christ. But to this Macknight answers, “1st, That the article wanting before Saviour may be supplied, as our translators have done here before επιφανεια , appearing, and elsewhere, particularly Ephesians 5:5, In the kingdom, του Χριστου και Θεου , of Christ and of God. and, 2d, That the apostle does not speak of the appearing of the Father, but of the appearing of the glory of the Father; agreeably to what Christ himself declared, that at his return to judgment he will appear surrounded with the glory of his Father.” Whitby, however, as an additional reason for thinking that Christ is only spoken of, observes, that “not only all the ancient commentators on the place do so interpret this text, but the Ante-Nicene Fathers also; Hippolytus speaking of the appearance of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and Clemens of Alexandria proving Christ to be both God and man, our Creator, and the Author of all our good things, from these very words of St. Paul.” Who gave himself for us Namely, to die in our stead; that he might redeem us Miserable bond-slaves; from all iniquity As well from the power and the very being, as from the guilt of our sins; and purify to himself From all pollution of flesh and spirit, (see on 2 Corinthians 7:1,) a peculiar people Who should thankfully own themselves his property, and express their gratitude for such inestimable favours, by being not only careful to avoid the practice of evil, but zealous of good works Active in all the duties of life, and in every office of righteousness and goodness to each other. “This is said in allusion to Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6, where God calls the Jews a peculiar and a special people to himself, because he had made them his property by redeeming them from the bondage of Egypt, and had distinguished them from the rest of mankind as his, by rites and ordinances of his own appointment. Christ hath made believers his peculiar people by giving himself for them, to redeem them from all iniquity, and to purify them to himself, a people zealous, not of rites and ceremonies, but of good works. This being the great end of Christ’s death, how dare any person, pretending to be one of Christ’s people, either speak or think lightly of good works, as not necessary to salvation? Macknight.

Verse 15

Titus 2:15. These things Namely, concerning the universality of divine grace, and the excellent purposes for which it is given, the coming of Christ to judgment, the end for which he died during his first appearing on earth, and concerning the character of his people as zealous of good works; speak and exhort Show them their duty, and exhort them to comply with it. And rebuke All opposers, or confute (as ελεγχε also means) such as teach otherwise; with all the authority due to truth, and as one that knows he has a divine commission to support him. Let no man despise thee That is, let none have just cause to despise thee: yet they surely will. Men who know not God, will despise a true minister of his word.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Titus 2". Benson's Commentary. 1857.