Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects
E W Rogers, Oxford
The key to this chapter is the English word 'that' (Greek: hind) found in verses 4, 5, 8,10,12,14.
Titus is to teach the aged men that they are to be sober (R.V., temperate), grave (or serious), sober minded (sensible), healthy in their personal faith, and in their love to others, and in their patient endurance of testing circumstances. He is to teach the aged women that their behaviour should be reverent, their tongue and their cravings should be controlled; they would thereby be able to teach good things, and to train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be workers at home, to be subject to their husbands, in order that the word of God be not blasphemed. In our present day these exhortations are urgently needed, for modern looseness has brought the word of God into discredit. "If that's what your Bible teaches you I don't think much of your Bible" is the retort of the ungodly when they witness disordered domestic life on the part of professing Christians. The Bible gets the blame.
We cannot here expand at undue length the scope and nature of women's ministry. We have already made comments on 1 Timothy 2 (which see). Also in commenting on 1 Timothy 5, we referred to Phoebe, Lois, Eunice, Lydia, Mary, Dorcas and Persis. A study of these cases will show that the sphere of their work was in the home. It is significant that no woman is ever recorded as a preacher in the New Testament, nor did God use any woman to write any part of the Holy Scriptures. The present day clamour for the equality of the sexes overlooks the governmental arrangements of God. The head of the woman is the man, but this does not imply inequality, else what shall we say about the phrase "the head of Christ is God'*. He was equal with God, but voluntarily accepted the subordinate place. The climate of the world is so apt to affect the climate of the churches, and outside clamours are apt to intrude inside. Let us beware.
The importance of sober-mindedness is manifested in that Paul reverts to it constantly (see 1 Tim. 2. 9,15; 3. 2; 2 Tim. 1. 7; Titus 2. 2, 4, 5, 6,12). We cannot do better than quote Trench on this word: "It is that habitual inner self-government, with its constant rein on all the passions and desires, which would hinder the temptation to these from arising, or at all events from arising in such strength as would overbear the checks and barriers which aidos (shamefastness) opposed to it" (Trench, New Testament Synonyms, Sec. xx end).
The younger men next come under review: Titus is to exhort them to be soberminded concerning all things - or maybe concerning all things should be attached to verse 7, "showing thyself an ensample of good works; in thy doctrine showing uncorruptness (a word that is the counterpart of "virgin"), gravity (self-respect, dignity), sound (or healthy) speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us (the apostle and Titus)", R.v.
Bond slaves are next dealt with. They must be subject to their masters (despots), in everything well-pleasing, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing utter fidelity so that they may adorn the teaching of our Saviour God in all things, v. 10 R.v. Instead, therefore, of giving men occasion to blaspheme it, they rather make it attractive to them, for their actions will speak much louder than any words that they may utter.
In verses 11 to 13 Paul speaks of two appearings: the appearing of the grace of God which brought salvation within the scope of all men, and the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, at His second advent. First "grace", then "glory", in accordance with Psalm 84. 11, "The Lord will give grace and glory".
This "salvation" is not merely a deliverance from a future penalty but from the danger of the present life. God's grace not only shows us unmerited favour but it teaches us by discipline how to live. It was given in order that having once and for all repudiated ungodliness and worldly lusts (or passions, not necessarily gross, but all such desires as are essentially earthbound), we shall live soberly (selfward), righteously (relative to others) and godly (Godward) in this present age.
This salvation further gives the believer a hope. Like Simeon, Anna, and Joseph of Arimathea, Luke 2. 25, 38; 23. 51, he is "looking for ... the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ". This phrase does not speak of two persons being governed by one definite article; it refers to our Lord Jesus Christ under the comprehensive phrase. Similarly there are not, it would appear, two items of the "hope", but we feel the phrase should read "the blessed hope, even the appearing of the glory". The word "and" (Greek: kai) is better rendered "even" here, as the phrase "the appearing of the glory" more fully explains the earlier phrase "the blessed hope", and as with the other phrase the two words "hope" and "appearing" are governed by only one article.
Of the Lord Jesus it is said that He gave himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from all lawlessness, and purify unto Himself a people for His own special possession zealous of good works.
The death of the Lord Jesus was voluntary; He "gave himself". It was vicarious; "for us". It was purposive, in order to redeem us from all lawlessness negatively, and positively that He might cleanse or purify to Himself a peculiar people (who are) zealous of good works. The reader should consult Ephesians 5. 25-27 and Hebrews 10. 10-14 in connection with the sanctification of the believer.
All the foregoing directions Titus is to speak, not dictatorially but hortatively, and where necessary he is to reprove since he has apostolic authority so to do, should any challenge him. He must see that he gives no occasion for anyone to despise him.