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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Titus 2


Directions given unto Titus, both for his doctrine and life. Of the duty of servants, and in general of all Christians.

THE apostle having directed Titus to ordain elders in every city, and described the character and qualifications of the persons whom he was to invest with offices in the church; also, having laid open the bad character and evil practices of the Judaizers in Crete, and ordered him to rebuke them sharply, he in this chapter gave him a short view of the duties of his office as bishop and superintendent both of the teachers and of the people in Crete. He was, in opposition to the Judaizers, to inculcate on the people such precepts only as were suitable to the wholesome doctrine of the gospel, Titus 2:1.—And with respect to the aged men who held sacred offices, he was to enjoin them to be attentive to the behaviour of those under their care; to be grave in their own deportment; prudent in giving admonitions and rebukes; and spiritually healthy by faith, love, patience, Titus 2:2.—In like manner, those aged women who were employed to teach the young of their own sex, he was to exhort to a deportment becoming their sacred character. They were neither to be slanderers, nor intemperate in the use of liquors, but to be good teachers, Titus 2:3.—In particular, they were to persuade the young women who were married, to do their duty to their husbands, their children, and their families, that the gospel might not be evil spoken of through their bad behaviour, Titus 2:4-5.—On young men he was to inculcate the government of their passions, Titus 2:6.—But above all, both in teaching and behaviour, Titus was to make himself a pattern of the graces and virtues which he enjoined to others, Titus 2:7-8.—Titus was to inculcateon servants obedience to their masters, diligence in their work, and honesty in every thing committed in trust to them, Titus 2:9-10.—Withal to make the Cretan bishops and people sensible of the impiety of the doctrine of the Jewishteachers,concerningtheefficacyoftheLeviticalsacrificesin procuring pardon for sin, the apostle declared that the gospel was given for this very purpose, to teach men that salvation was alone from the grace of God, and that the gospel required us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, &c. in expectation of a future judgment, Titus 2:11-14.—These things the apostle ordered Titus to teach in the plainest and boldest manner, agreeably to the authority with which he was invested as an evangelist, Titus 2:15.

Verse 2

Titus 2:2. Sober, Or, Prudent.

Verse 3

Titus 2:3. In behaviour as becometh holiness, That they behave with sanctity of manners. Heylin. [Exhort] to that steadiness which becometh saints. Doddridge. See 1 Timothy 2:9. 1 Peter 3:3-5.

Verse 5

Titus 2:5. Keepers at home, The word Οικουρους, according to Elsner, signifies not only keeping at home, but an attentive looker after domestic affairs. Hesychius explains it by "one who takes care of the things belonging to the house, and keeps them." Some would join the next epithet with this, and read good housekeepers. That the word of God be not blasphemed, means, "that they may give no occasion by their behaviour for any reproach to be cast upon that Christianity which they profess." Heylin reads it, So that religion may not be reproached on their account.

Verse 7

Titus 2:7. In doctrine shewing uncorruptness, &c.— Speaking nothing but the genuine truth; and let it be attended with a gravity in declaring it, proportionable to its importance, and proceed from sincerity of heart.

Verse 10

Titus 2:10. Not purloining, Not privately defrauding or embezzling— Μη νοσφιζομενους : which properly signifies keeping back part of the worth of any thing, and is used in the case of Ananias's secreting a part, where the whole was pretended to be returned, Acts 5:2-3. Servants, at least among the Heathens, might probably do this very frequently.

Verses 11-12

Titus 2:11-12. For the grace of God—hath appeared, &c.— The word Χαρις properly signifies favour, and in the sacred writings expresses the free and unmerited goodness of God, in sending his only begotten Son to declare his will, and to redeem us from our iniquities by his death. Sometimes the effects of this wonderful kindness of God,—as the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost,—are called grace; and sometimes the gospel itself is expressedby this same word (Colossians 1:6.); in which sense it is to be understood in the passage before us: when the apostle says that the gospel, or the grace of God manifested in the gospel, hath appeared, hath risen, or shined out to allmen, he alludes to the appearance of the heavenly bodies, and the brightness and glory with which they shine upon the world. Our blessed Lord is himself compared to a light shining in darkness, Joh 1:5 and the apostles are spoken of under the same image, Matthew 5:14. The original of the 11th verse appeared ambiguous to our translators; for though they render it in the text the grace of God—hath appeared to all men, (according to which they may be understood of the gospel's being preached not only unto Jews, but to men of all nations, and of all ranks and orders in life;) yet they have given a different turn to the words in their marginal reading, which is,—the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared: and as the original will very well admit of this sense, so it is certainly agreeable to the other scriptures, and to the gracious purpose of God, which is well expressed by St. Paul, 1 Timothy 2:4. This grace of God, which offers salvation to all men, of every rank and degree, does not however disengage any from the obligations that they are under to lead a holy life; but teaches us that, denying ungodliness, &c. which words contain a brief summary of the whole Christian practice. By ungodliness, we may understand atheism and irreligion, blasphemy, perjury, profane cursing and swearing, contempt of God, a want of due reverence to him, neglect of his worship, judging hardly, or speaking disrespectfully of his providence,—disobedience to his will. By worldly lusts may be understood those other vices of mankind, which are called the works of the flesh; (Galatians 5:19; Galatians 5:26.)—every thing contrary to the sobriety and righteousness recommended in the next sentence; the former of which consists in the right government of our natural appetites and passions, while the latter comprehends all the duties which we owe to our neighbours. Godliness or piety consists in that high veneration, and those just conceptions, which we should entertain of the Supreme Being, expressed by prayer and thanksgiving, by loving and fearing him, putting our trust in him, and submitting to him in all events.

Verse 13

Titus 2:13. And the glorious appearing Even the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour. We may observe, in support of this version, which is perfectly agreeable to the original, that we never read in scripture of the appearance of God the Father; and consequently we have in this text as strong a proof as possible of the true divinity of Jesus Christ. See 2 Peter 1:1.

Verse 14

Titus 2:14. A peculiar people, The word περιουσιον, rendered peculiar, does not appear to have been used by any of the ancient prophane writers. The LXX seem first to have framed it, in order to express the Hebrew סגלה Segleh, a peculium, a peculiar treasure or property. The phrase Λαος περιουσιος signifies "a supernumerary people, a people wherein God had a superlative property and interest, above and besides his common interest in all the nations of the world," says the learned Jos. Mede, p. 125. The pious Jews were formerly God's peculiar people; his peculiar people under the gospel are genuine Christians: they are distinguished or separated from the world by their being devoted to Christ. All real Christians are the peculiar people of God under the gospel; but perhaps the apostle of the Gentiles, in writing to a Gentile evangelist, among Gentile churches, might have here a more particular reference to the Gentile Christians, who had not formerly been the peculiar people of God, and whom the Judaizers would still have excluded from that number, unless they would submit to their impositions. It should be observed particularly with what strength and emphasis the apostle speaks throughout these verses of the absolute necessity of a life of holiness and purity, and of good works: and when our Lord and his apostles have laid such a stress upon good works, none who profess Christianity can neglect the practice of them without the extreme peril of their souls; and none who profess to be teachers of that Christianity can speak of them with contempt or indifference, without bringing a grievous offence upon the faith of Christ: and woe be to them by whom such offence cometh! See 1 Peter 2:9.

Inferences.—Scarcely does the word of God afford a more instructive and comprehensive summary of the gospel, than that which is given in this chapter. It gives us a view of the nature of the dispensation, as a doctrine of grace; and, at the same time, a doctrine according to godliness. It hath appeared to all men, and it bringeth the faithful to salvation, by inculcating the most salutary lessons that man can receive. It teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, how pressing soever their solicitations may be. It instructs us in all the branches of our duty, to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow Christians. It guides us to uniform and complete goodness; not extolling any one part, to the neglect or injury of the rest, but tending to produce this beautiful birth, entire in all its members, and then to nourish it to its full maturity. As we are slow of heart to attend to such instructions, it enforces them with motives the most generous and the most animating. It represents to us, as it were in prophetic vision, that blessed hope, even the glorious appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; when he shall come with everlasting blessings in his hands, to reward all his faithful people; and with the terrors of divine vengeance, to be poured forth upon all that have rejected the authority of his gospel. And, that the most powerful considerations of gratitude may join with those of the highest interest, it directs our eyes to this divine triumphant Saviour, as having once given himself to torture and death for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us to himself, a peculiar people, devoted to God, and zealous of good works. And surely, if this view cannot prevail upon us to consecrate ourselves to God, and to engage with vigour in his service, we must be utterly insensible, and worthy of the severest punishment.

Let these lessons, therefore, every where be taught with all authority. Let them be addressed at once to the meanest and the greatest of mankind; that they may join in a pious care, to adorn the doctrine of such a Saviour, and to secure their share in such a salvation.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The apostle proceeds to direct Titus in the faithful discharge of his office. But, in contradiction to these deceivers, speak thou the things which become sound doctrine, the wholesome truths of God's life-giving word, dividing it aright to every man, according to their age, station, and circumstances.

1. That the aged men, as their years as well as profession especially demand, be sober, or vigilant, circumspect in their conduct; grave, in habit, manners, conversation, that they may engage the reverence of their younger brethren; temperate and prudent, having their passions and appetites in subjection; sound in faith, in doctrine and practice; in charity enlarged; in patience exemplary, bearing the provocations of others with meekness, and not fretful under their own infirmities. Such old disciples are noble ornaments to their Christian profession.

2. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, in dress, conversation, and deportment; not false accusers, not slandering and defaming any, nor sowing discord among brethren; not given to much wine, drunkenness, or the love of liquor, being in women doubly odious and hateful; teachers of good things, by their example and discourse inculcating on their children every thing which may adorn the Christian name.

3. What the aged must teach. The younger women should learn of them to be sober, avoiding every appearance of wantonness, excess, or levity; to love their husbands, cleaving to them in warm affection; to love their children, training them up from infancy in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to be discreet in the management of their families; chaste, shewing the most unfeigned modesty and purity of manners; keepers at home, not gadding about to the neglect of their domestic affairs, but ever best pleased to be in their own house; good, kind and gentle to their servants, and, like Dorcas, full of alms-deeds and good works; obedient to their own husbands, delighting to serve and please them; that the word of God be not blasphemed by a contrary behaviour, which would give the adversaries of Christianity occasion to speak reproachfully. Note; Nothing makes Christianity appear so amiable as the conscientious discharge of the relative duties which it enjoins.

4. Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded, serious, solid, tractable, having a due sense of their own inexperience, and willing to be ruled and advised by their elder and wiser friends.

2nd, We have a particular direction for Titus himself, who should be the example of what he taught to his brethren. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works; practising what he preached: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, declaring the pure unadulterated truth, and maintaining a single eye to God's glory and the benefit of immortal souls; gravity, with all seriousness delivering his message, and with all sincerity; using sound speech that cannot be condemned, inculcating scripture truths in scripture language, and with such plainness and simplicity as that he that is of the contrary part, and would be glad to carp at and censure any ambiguous expression, may be ashamed of his malicious design, having no evil thing to say of you, finding no just charge of error in doctrine, or immorality in practice, to allege against you. Note; (1.) They who preach to others, must by their practice prove that they themselves believe; else how can it be thought that others should credit them. (2.) Many watch for the halting of Christ's ministers; and the knowledge of this should make them more watchful over all that they speak or do, that confusion may cover their malignant enemies.

3rdly, The duty of servants is prescribed. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, with inward respect, as well as all outward dutiful submission; and to please them well in all things lawful to be done; not answering again, disputing their orders, murmuring at their commands, or daring to make an impertinent or saucy reply; not purloining the least thing from them, but, to a crumb of bread, strictly honest; nor conniving at the least waste or robbery committed by others; shewing all good fidelity, true to every trust reposed in them, speaking with the greatest veracity, and punctual in the observance of their masters' orders; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, and even in the eyes of their unbelieving masters, if under such, recommend the religion which they profess. Note; Such a servant as is here described, is a great acquisition. Would to God that those who make profession of godliness, might oftener read this apostolic directory.

4thly, The strongest motives are suggested to enforce the practice before recommended.
1. This is one great end of our redemption. For the grace of God, displayed in the gospel word, that bringeth salvation, declaring the free mercy of God in Christ to miserable sinners, hath appeared in the most illustrious manner, to all men, of all ranks, degrees, and nations; teaching us, that denying ungodliness of every kind, and worldly lusts, whether of the flesh or of the eye, or the pride of life, we should live soberly, in the government and subdual of every inordinate appetite and passion; righteously, with unimpeached integrity and uprightness in our dealings towards men; and godly, in all acts of public and private devotion, in the use of every holy ordinance, and with a constant regard to the divine glory in this present world, full as it is of evil and temptation. Note; (1.) The gospel is a revelation of mercy to all ranks and degrees; and God appears eminently glorious therein, in justifying the chief of sinners who believe in Jesus. (2.) Whenever we are truly partakers of grace, the blessed influence thereof will appear on our hearts and lives, effectually engaging us to renounce every known sin, and powerfully quickening us for the discharge of every duty towards God, our neighbour, and ourselves. The doctrines of grace are the only principles which can produce righteousness and true holiness.

2. We expect the appearing of the great Judge, and therefore are peculiarly called upon to prepare to meet him: Looking for that blessed hope, the great object of it, the Lord from heaven; and the glorious appearing of the great God and, or even, our Saviour Jesus Christ, who shall shortly sit upon the throne of his glory, when all nations shall be gathered before him, to receive from his lips their irreversible sentence, and in whose favour we have a gracious interest; who gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, both from the guilt and power and nature of it; and might purify unto himself a peculiar people, yielding to be saved by grace, and thereby taken from the corrupted mass of mankind to be to the praise of his glory; and zealous of good works, influenced by the divine principle of faith which worketh by love, aiming at the advancement of their Redeemer's honour, and giving themselves up to be guided by his word and will. Note; (1.) Every believer has a blessed hope before him, under the influence of which he lives comfortably, and supported by which, if faithful, he dies happily. (2.) They who would meet the great God their Saviour in peace, must be found among his redeemed from iniquity, and experience a present deliverance from the power and nature of sin. (3.) Christ's people are indeed peculiar in their manners, temper, and conduct, distinguished from the world in which they dwell, by the purity of their lives, and their zeal for good works.

3. The apostle enjoins Titus to urge these things upon the consciences of his hearers. These things speak with all freedom, and exhort them diligently to observe; and rebuke with all authority those who dare oppose the truth, and would maintain their erroneous principles and practices. Let no man despise thee: behave in such a manner as may command respect; and if any notwithstanding presume to treat thee or thy ministry with contempt, it shall be at their peril.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Titus 2". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.