For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2004 James Melough

2:1.  “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:”


Here Titus is being exhorted to teach the necessity of living a life that confirms the profession of faith in Christ.  The need of such teaching is evidenced by the fact that all too often the opposite is true: the life, as here that of the Cretans, contradicts the profession, with the result that the individual is regarded as a hypocrite, the witness of the local church is discredited, Christ is dishonored, and the name of God blasphemed.


2:2.  “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity (love), in patience.”


“...sober” is also translated temperate, moderate, abstemious, not characterized by excess in anything, including the use of wine.  Grave means to be dignified, serious, high-principled; while temperate means to be sensible, sober-minded, discreet, self-controlled, wise, orderly.  To be sound in faith is to be strong, healthy, well established in all that pertains to the Christian life.


Charity is an archaic form of “love,” the meaning of which is so obvious as to make attempted explanation redundant, but the reader, before going any further, is urged to pause here and read again 1 Corinthians 13, the great love chapter of the Bible.  Patience is also translated endurance, perseverance, steadfastness, virtues indispensable to successful running of the heavenly race.


2:3.  “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”


This sets forth the Divine standard for older Christian women who would live lives honoring to God, His holiness being reflected in their daily conduct.  “not false accusers,” i.e., they are not to be slanderers, malicious gossips, spreaders of scandal.  In connection with slanderers it is instructive to note that in the original the word is diabolos i.e., devil.  Satan is thus particularly identified as the originator of slander.


And in a society where wine was used in virtually the same way as we use water, there was always the danger of drifting into using it in excess to the point of drunkenness.  Such was not to be true of older Christian women.


The positive is emphasized in God’s requiring them to be teachers of what is good, i.e., by their example they are to set a good example, and to encourage younger women to live virtuous lives.


2:4.  “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,”


We must note that women are not permitted to teach in the sense of expounding the Scriptures, it being plainly stated, “I suffer not a woman to teach ...” 1 Timothy 2:12.


The JFB Commentary makes the following pertinent comment that, “It was judicious that Titus, a young man, should admonish the young women, not directly, but through the elder women.”


“Sober” as used here means to use discretion so that their lives will be above reproach; and the exhortation to love their husbands is balanced by the reciprocal command to husbands to love their wives, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies,” Ephesians 5:28.


Since maternal love is virtually innate, the command “... to love their children” might seem to be redundant, but the fact is that some mothers, albeit a very rare few, do not love their children.  It is much more likely, however, that in the present context the love enjoined is love for their souls which will impel mothers to instruct their children in the need to be born again spiritually.  Failure to give such instruction would, in fact, call in question the reality of such a mother’s profession of faith.


2:5.  “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”


“Discreet” here means to be sober-minded, serious, sensible, to use good judgment; and chaste means to be morally pure; while the equivalent of “keepers at home” would be “workers at home, home-keepers, good house-keepers, domesticated, home lovers.


“... obedient to their own husbands,” doesn’t imply that the woman has been assigned a place of slavish subjection, but rather that she is to exemplify in her life as a wife that she willingly accepts the headship of her husband as being by God’s appointment

as declared in Ephesians 5:23-24, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”


The good conduct commanded here is not merely for the promotion of tranquility in the home, but to preserve the word of God from being blasphemed, i.e., mocked or evilly spoken of.


2:6.  “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.”


It is universally recognized that young men for the most part tend to be given to giddy, frivolous, thoughtless  behavior, but such conduct is not to have any part in the life of the young man who professes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


“... sober minded” is also translated self-restrained, sensible, live orderly lives, be masters of themselves at all points, behave prudently, be temperate, use good judgment.


2:7.  “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,”


In spite of his youth Titus was to live so that his godly life would be a pattern, not just for other young people, but for all believers - a high standard indeed, and a great responsibility for a young man.  The fact that he was to be such a pattern reminds us that the same responsibility devolves upon us, young and old alike: our lives are to demonstrate that we have given Christ complete control of them.


“... doctrine” is better translated teaching; while uncorruptness means purity.  Titus was to teach with dignity and sincerity, and so must all, young and old alike, who preach the Gospel or teach believers.  Levity has no place in the ministry of the Word, either in the Gospel, or to the saints.  The preacher who seeks to evoke the laughter of his audience travels a very slippery path, for the practice becomes addictive, and has spoiled the ministry of more than one evangelist or teacher.


2:8.  “Sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”


“Sound speech that cannot be condemned” is teaching that promotes spiritual health.  It is also translated as wholesome, logical, unaffected, and characterized by dignified language: it should be of such a character as to afford no grounds for criticism even on the part of those who are “of the contrary part,” i.e., those who are the enemies of the Lord and His people.  Such people are to be given no cause to speak of us disparagingly, not as much for our own sakes, as for the sake of the Gospel.


2:9.  “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;”


While this instruction applies to all servants, it was particularly applicable in the present context to slaves who may have become believers, and who might think therefore that they stood on the same level as the master, and had no need to continue showing him respect.


“...not answering again” means simply not to “talk back” to them.


Attention to this command is much needed today when the general tendency is for “Jack to consider himself as good as his master.”


We are also to obey the civil law, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God,” 1 Peter 2:13-15.


We should note also that the command relates to our attitude towards the elders of the assembly, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you,” Hebrews 13:17.


2:10.  “Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.”


To purloin is to steal, usually things of relatively little value, e.g., stationery, pens, pencils, stamps, and such like, from one’s place of employment; to use an employer’s time to do secretely what he would not permit were he present.  Believers are not to be guilty of such dishonesty, but are, on the contrary, to be scrupulously honest.  Many who would never dream of stealing even a dime, are thoughtlessly guilty of such theft as has been described here, and it behooves us as believers to avoid such sin, for that is exactly what petty theft is.


To “adorn the doctrine of God,” is to live so as to lend luster, worth, beauty to the teaching of Scripture.


2:11.  “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”


Punctilious obedience to God’s Word is the best way to say “thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift,” 2 Corinthians 9:15, as it is also written, “Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams,” 1 Samuel 15:22.


Grace transcends mercy, for whereas mercy withholds deserved punishment, grace bestows undeserved blessing, the grace of God making available to believing men and women a pardon for all their sin, together with His priceless gift of eternal life, secured for them by the Lord’s death and resurrection.  Its having appeared or having been made available to all men in the person of Jesus Christ become Man, assures us that this so great salvation is available to all men, but tragically only a relatively few accept it by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior.  The others, the vast majority, perish in their sins by refusing to trust in Him as their Savior.


2:12.  “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”


Teaching is also translated instructing, disciplining, schooling, training.  We are to give up godless ways, the coveting of the evil things we desired in our unsaved days, such as sinful pleasures, worldly wealth and worldly ambitions.  But the Christian life is not just a matter of giving up.  That is the negative side; the positive being the pursuit of what is good.  We are to live soberly: achieved by acting responsibly, with good judgment, discreetly, and righteously, i.e., being upright, honest, self-controlled, God-fearing.  And it is to be done “in this present world” which is evil, and doomed to destruction, see 2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up,” John adding his confirmation, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them,” Revelation 20:11.


“... in this present world” is also translated, present age, present life, now, daily.


2:13.  “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;”


We are to live in the daily expectation of the fulfilment of our blessed, happy hope: the sudden return of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, to catch us up to meet Him in the air, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words,” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.


Some see “that blessed hope” and “the glorious appearing” as two separate events: the “blessed hope” being His coming as described above; “the glorious appearing” being His descent with the armies of heaven to end the Great Tribulation as described in Rev 19:11-21, but in the present context, His coming to rapture us to heaven seems to be the more likely.


“... the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” is not speaking of the Father and the Son, but rather is describing the Lord Jesus Christ as being also the great God, coequal, coexistent, and coeternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.


2:14.  “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”


The Lord gave himself for us, i.e., he sacrificed himself by taking our guilty place, and dying in our stead for our sins, thereby redeeming us from the consequences of our wickedness.  But He has done more.  He has purified us, for by the new birth we have inherited His life and nature, so that we are in God’s sight as spotless as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  “Peculiar” in this context means “a people selected by God from the other nations for his own possession.”


To have been redeemed is to have been made free by the payment of a ransom.  We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.


“... zealous of good works” is also translated: eager to do right; having a zeal for good works; hearts set upon living a good life; eager to do kindnesses to others.


2:15.  “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let no man despise thee.”


All of these things Titus was to speak, i.e., teach; “and exhort” meaning to urge these truths upon his hearers; and he was to rebuke where necessary, i.e., reprove, admonish with authority as God’s spokesman.  Nor was he to allow them to belittle him or treat him with contempt, something they would have been tempted to do especially on account of his youth.  As God’s spokesman he was to be treated with respect.

Those who have been gifted as teachers are also to speak with authority: they are God’s agents, and as such are also to be treated with respect.

[Titus 3]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough