1 It is for you, then, to preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine. 2 Older men should be reserved, dignified, moderate, sound in faith and love and perseverance. 3 Similarly, older women should behave as befits religious people, with no scandal-mongering and no addiction to wine -- they must be the teachers of right behaviour 4 and show younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children, 5 how they must be sensible and chaste, and how to work in their homes, and be gentle, and obey their husbands, so that the message of God is not disgraced. 6 Similarly, urge younger men to be moderate in everything that they do, 7 and you yourself set an example of good works, by sincerity and earnestness, when you are teaching, and by a message sound and irreproachable 8 so that any opponent will be at a loss, with no accusation to make against us. 9 Slaves must be obedient to their masters in everything, and do what is wanted without argument; 10 and there must be no pilfering -- they must show complete honesty at all times, so that they are in every way a credit to the teaching of God our Saviour.

11 You see, God's grace has been revealed to save the whole human race; 12 it has taught us that we should give up everything contrary to true religion and all our worldly passions; we must be self-restrained and live upright and religious lives in this present world, 13 waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus. 14 He offered himself for us in order to ransom us from all our faults and to purify a people to be his very own and eager to do good. 15 This is what you must say, encouraging or arguing with full authority; no one should despise you.  Version: New Jerusalem Bible

COMMENTS

General:

  • In Titus we find a constellation of young churches under attack from false teachers. As we find so often in scripture, the lives of the false teachers lack the fruit of righteousness. See, for example, Matthew 7:15-20. We will often win over confused and straying Christians not so much by doctrinal discussion as by setting a consistent example of personal discipleship. Hence Paul's approach in this chapter.
  • What is healthy (sound) doctrine (v.1)? Nothing here about atonement, justification, or the trinity! The focus here is where the focus was in Jesus' ministry: living right.
    • Older men are to be paragons of character, faith, and Christian living (v.2).
    • Older women too are to show true Christian discipline (v.3). They are especially charged with teaching younger wives and mothers how to live (vv.4-5).
    • Young men are also to live sensible Christian lives, Titus modeling this behavior (v.6-7).
    • Slaves too are to behave properly towards their masters (vv.9-10).
    • Thus we see that the emphasis is on practical daily living.
      • The result of right living will be that detractors have no leg to stand on (vv.5,8).
      • The N.T. shows us that this emphasis will enhance the gospel and allow it to spread most efficiently. Notice how little emphasis there is on evangelism in the N.T. It seems assumed that if you are living a Christian life, and using God-given opportunities to share with others, they will be drawn to Christ in part through the light shining in your life.
  • Living a godly life is possible because God makes it possible (v.11). His grace gives us the teaching, incentive, and power to live, for Christ, a vibrant, energetic, and purpose-filled life.
    • We learn to reject sin and choose righteousness (v.12). This is a learning process, with inevitable ups and downs.
    • We also learn to yearn for the return of Christ (v.13). This expectation itself leads to a different attitude and life. See 1 John 3:3.
    • And the Lord leads us to pursue this Christ-life with zeal (v.14).
  • As Titus emphasizes these things in the Cretan churches, he must not back down, since these emphases come from the life and teaching of Jesus Christ himself. Chapter 3 will continue with even more practical counsel.

Advanced:

  • With respect to verse 4, we see that the older women teach "the ropes" of practical living (esp. marriage and parenting) to the younger women. In churches where the younger women are leading the older women, showing them "the ropes" of outreach and discipleship, the biblical program would seem to have been set aside. Relationships, including family relationships, are, after all, ever more important than outreach. See Galatians 6:10.
  • In regard to verse 11, God's grace touches our lives not only from the day we become Christians, but even before. For more, click here.
  • Notice the explicit assertion of the divinity of Christ in verse 13. Other such passages include Romans 9:5; 2 Peter 1:1
  • For a full study of the three pastoral epistles, click here.

Thought questions:

  • Do I honor older members of the church (and of society) for their life experience and collective wisdom?
  • When people look at my daily life and habits -- e.g. my behavior and diligence at work, financial integrity, personal discipline, and overall demeanor -- is the gospel enhanced, or  discredited?
  • Am I living a zealous Christian life?
  • If I am a leader, do my ministry and teaching emphasize the things the N.T. emphasizes, or is my ministry program governed by a different agenda?

 

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