Last time, we looked at the qualifications for leaders and the false teachers that made them necessary to write down and communicate publicly to Titus. In this chapter, we begin to examine the expected behaviour of saints within the local gathering of the church toward one another. As a reminder, I have all scripture references copied and pasted into my notes from my electronic NASB. I will just jump in at verse 1.
1: But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.
a. The first phrase, “But as for you,” is a transition phrase. The shift of focus is now becoming Titus and those listening to the letter in contrast to the immediately previous description of false teachers. These false teachers were described by their faulty lifestyle and specific character traits.
b. Titus is instructed instead to “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” Speak in Greek is the word laleo, which is “to have normal conversation.” That is we are to do this as a regular part of our daily activity. I get the sense that they were to be as active in the pursuit of this speaking as the false teachers were (and are today) in their pursuit of false teaching.
c. I’m getting this from the word “fitting” here, the Greek prepo, “to make prominent or conspicuous,” originally. Over time and usage, it became used of that which is appropriate or proper. And what is to be prominent or conspicuous in our teaching?
d. Sound doctrine. The word for sound here is the Greek verb hugiaino, meaning “to be well and healthy.” In fact, we derive our English word “hygiene” from it. Healthy doctrine. And as Dr. John MacArthur put it, “Healthy doctrine produces healthy spiritual living.” Understand that the Bible makes no separation between doctrine and duty, or truth from behaviour. We are to learn from the Bible and then do what it teaches us. Let us now examine the implications of that.
2: Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
a. The Greek for “older men” here is presbuteros in its normal usage. It is used in Koine Greek to describe older men as a group. We translate the word as “Elder” when it specifically refers to those in church leadership, but that is a special use of the phrase. It is here used as a group of older men, and it describes how they should behave as they get older. As we age, we should be progressively more like this as Christian men.
b. Temperate – nephalios, sober. Used figuratively, it means to be circumspect, or cautious and unwilling to take risk. It carries the connotation of able to maintain control and sobriety as a result.
c. Dignified – semnos, august, venerable, honest, honourable. These men have developed a certain dignity in their age, and their words have a certain gravitas about them, like someone you should hear and heed.
d. Sensible – sophron, of sound mind, self-controlled. In control of one’s own mind is the connotation.
e. Sound [hugiaino] in:
i. Faith – pistis, the God-given persuasion or opinion that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the price for OUR sins and set us free from their penalty, power, and ultimately their presence.
ii. Love – agape, the divine, self-giving, self-sacrificing commitment to another
iii. Perseverance – hupomone, patience, a remaining under or enduring difficult circumstance, longsuffering.
3: Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
a. Here we have a “likewise,” a phrase that draws a similarity between groups. The group of interest here instead of presbutes (older men) is presbutis, older women. This can be a relative term, but like the older men, it can be reasoned to be women about the age of 60 or over. It goes over some specifics.
b. Reverent in their behaviour. That phrase in English is translated by one Greek word, hieroprepes, a compound word that more or less defines a priestly character, and another word, katasetma, demeanor, condition or constitution, or deportment (Vine). The first character for older women (and men) is that they behave like priests, those who represent man before God.
c. Not malicious gossips. The Greek here is the word diabolus, or slanderous accuser in English. I’ve seen this from some of my aunties as a young man. They would all gather in one of their kitchens and talk about how awful this lady was, or how unforgivable the actions of this man were. Can’t be that way.
d. Not enslaved to wine. The word for “enslaved” is douloo, slave. Wine or any other alcoholic beverage cannot be your master. We must only have one master, Christ.
e. Teaching what is good – kalodidiskalos, literally teaching what is good, or what is right. I’ve seen this over my years as a Christian – the older ladies in the congregation teaching the younger people not only the truth of Scripture, but I was personally taught how to cook, clean, mend my own clothes, and generally make myself presentable by the older ladies. One particular comes to mind, her name is Nancy, and I learned how to clean and be organized from her, and I also learned faithfulness – especially when the going got difficult – from her and her husband Armand. A great couple that had some real influence in my life as a younger man. Moving on.
4: so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
a. Now I would be lying if I said what Paul is saying here is not politically charged in today’s world of feminism and anti-family politics. The attack of the enemy is directly on that of family, and so we should not be surprised when things intended to build up families are spoken ill of and ridiculed.
b. The first of these things is that younger women are to love their husbands. We live in a day where people no longer look on marriage the way we once did, to our own sorrow I think. Many men and women decided to enter into a commitment to each other without the bonds of marriage, preferring more of a permanent temporary arrangement. Why? I think among other things, people are afraid of making a commitment for the rest of their lives. I was once on a course with a fellow a few years older than myself, and he and his girlfriend had been together for 10 years and had 2 or 3 children together. Because I was young and brash, I expressed my confusion. Why are you not married, I asked him politely. He said, “I think we’re afraid of the commitment.” Okay, 10 years, 2 or 3 kids, and they’re afraid of the COMMITMENT? Oooookaaay….
c. Moreover, those of you that know me know I am a bit of an addict when it comes to television, and I have to struggle against that. But occasionally, it gives useful information in the advertising trends. I want you to think about the last time you saw an ad that portrayed an intelligent man that was not a celebrity. I can think of a couple, but I have to think hard about it. Most ads today portray the woman as the one who is always together and the guy as a total goof. I think this isn’t correct. Although I agree most women over the age of 22 I have met are together and intelligent, so are most men over the age of 25. So that’s a myth pushed by the media. Sure, it can be funny, but speaking as a guy, even if I laughed, there is a part of me that is just a little uncomfortable when I see anyone treated as a goof.
d. Also, the word for love in Greek here is philandros, referring to the emotional connection to her man. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t some mystical and automatic thing that happens between men and women. There are aspects you can’t learn until it happens for you, and there are aspects that you need to be taught and receive coaching on, in today’s terms. And today’s feminism would never allow the humility to learn this from someone else.
e. The next phrase is “to love their children.” The Greek word philoteknos here is translated into that phrase. It is the emotional connection that a woman should have to her children. My mom had that with me and my sisters. I trust yours did too. But today, if you can believe the acts of various legislatures around the continent, it seems that mothers have no natural affection for their children, looking to be able to abort the unborn ones at any point in their pregnancy, and as in New York State, even after a live birth! That does not describe any aspect of the word philoteknos. Moving on…
5: to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
a. To be sensible – sophron – there’s that word again, sound mind, self-controlled thoughts. This is becoming a regular feature of the theme I think. The Christian should always be in control of him or herself.
b. Pure – hagnos – pure from every fault, chaste. This has more to do with a freedom from carnality in thought than anything else.
c. Workers at home – oikourgos – one who is working at home. This does not necessarily mean that this is stressing that the woman be a homemaker as is the position of some commentators. That simply would not fly with modern feminists, would it! Oh, the tragedy in that! There is nothing wrong with a woman that wishes to stay home and pay more attention to her home than her work life. Such a person should be applauded. However, as long as the work of building the home is being done, in my mind there is no concern. There were female slaves in the ancient world as well, and they had to do both. It was not always an option. But I’ve perhaps said too much.
d. Kind – agathos – good, or beneficial. From a Christian perspective, this makes sense. We are supposed to be putting the good of others before our own good, are we not? This is one of the reasons we preach the gospel to people! We are putting their good and benefit about our own health and welfare sometimes. Not all have faith, as Paul says.
e. Being subject to their own husbands – hupotasso – this is primarily a military term that means “to rank under” and the use in this verse is a deliberate act of the will. This verse is probably one of the reasons that rabid feminists hate Paul and his followers. It is also misapplied by misogynists to subjugate women to men. No woman has the right to rebel and not do this. No man has the right to force this issue. This must be an act of the will by the woman that wishes to follow Christ in her marriage. And don’t worry, ladies. The man has a similar command – he is to love his wife as Christ loves the church, in that he died for her. Tell that to the brute the next time he tells you that you have to submit to him. “Hey, bro – you have to DIE for me…”
f. So that the word of God will not be dishonoured – The word for dishonour here is blasphemo. So that the word of God be not blasphemed in the KJV. To blaspheme is to speak evil of, to bring disgrace or scandal upon, or to same or defame the Scriptures. I probably at this point should remind everyone that this applies to men and women alike. The more you grow in Christ, the more you seem to realize this truth – you want to be a good testimony to your Lord and do not want to bring shame to Him by your actions or lack of them. The reason we do these things is to be a good testimony of Christ!
6: Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;
a. Okay, so we have covered Older men, Older women, and younger women groups by name. Now we come to the last person group here – younger men. And the first command Paul gives to them? “Be sensible.” There is a form of that Greek word soprhon, sophroneo. It is the verb form of the word, and it literally means “to be self-controlled in your thoughts.” See the theme? This is because this self-control, a synonym of sensible, is a fruit of the Spirit! Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” With that in mind, verse 7 –
7: in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,
a. In all things [pas, everthing] show yourself, that is visibly demonstrate the things on the list that follows.
b. Example – tupos – the mark left by an engraver’s stamp. The KJV translates this word most often as “ensample,” which is the engraver’s stamp. I once hear a brother say that it is the very thing that left a striking impression. We are to be striking impressions because of our lifestyles.
c. Good deeds – kalos ergos – good works. Do stuff that is good, particularly stuff that is good for others!
d. Purity in doctrine – the Greek carries the meaning of uncorrupted teachings (didaskalia).
e. Dignified – semnotes – this carries a connotation of seriousness about what we are doing. It doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy things, or can laugh or have fun, but we have a deliberate gravitas about everything we say and do, because we are doing it for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, not mere men.
8: sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
a. Sound in speech which is beyond reproach – That word sound is hugiaino, or healthy. The healthiness of the speech comes from the striking impression we leave in the examples of our lifestyles, by the way. Healthy teaching leads to healthy behaviour, which gives power to our healthy speech. And that will allow people to hear us in a non-judgmental way as we deal with difficult issues that face our society today, like homosexuality, so-called social justice, or anything else that disturbs the world.
b. So that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. I think my dad once provided me with an example of this unknowingly. He was angry at someone, and he said this: “I don’t like what he said, but I can’t argue with the guy because he’s right.” I don’t recall the particular issue, but I remember the words. Our testimony can have that effect on people at times.
9: Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
a. Having dealt with interpersonal relationships, Paul breaches the category of master-slave relations. We don’t really have a concept today that fits this better than employer-employee relations.
b. To understand this, you really have to understand what slavery was in those days, because it was not like black slavery in the western world in the 1600s-1800s. That was mostly an abomination. Slavery in the ancient world could be voluntary (it was not always). In those cases of a person selling themselves into slavery, the one becoming the owner of the slave was paying a contracted price up front to the one becoming the slave, and there was often a limit to the period of time they would be a slave. Slaves could be educated, and were often more intelligent than their owners. They could be married, have families, and the owner would take on the financial responsibility for their well-being. Some of them even earned wages. And even if it wasn’t a willing arrangement, as long as the slave behaved well under the master’s orders, they were well treated, and often educated by or on behalf of their masters. And even these could be granted freedom by their masters. It was not what we know of as slavery at all.
c. Because of this, Paul had no problem saying to them to be subject to their own masters in everything. Subject is that Greek word hupotasso again, to place or rank under. And not even “until your master does something mean to you,” I might add. Paul says “in everything,” and that is just what he means.
d. He further encourages them to be “well-behaved,” or to behave in a manner that pleases your master. He adds, “not argumentative,” which means I would have issues as a slave right away, and my master is Lord Jesus Christ [grimace]. Someday, all of my arguing may be rehearsed in front of everyone, so I’m working on that.
10: not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
a. Not pilfering – nosphizo – to set apart for oneself, i.e., to embezzle. This is a real challenge to the sinner, especially in our culture of entitlement. We get it through our head that for some reason, we are OWED this money, goods, service, whatever. But taking it is nothing other than stealing. And what does the Bible say about that in Exodus 20:15? ““You shall not steal.” Ah…so…no embezzling money, time, goods, or services from your employers, saints…
b. Showing all good faith – to show forth or prove all good fidelity (faithfulness, reliability). Why? So that they (the masters) will adorn [kosmeo, to order or arrange, in this usage the doctrine metaphorically] of God our saviour in every respect. Why? So that they will order things for us! I’ve had this – I’ve had a bosses that know I’m a Christian, and when they see the quality of my work (because I’m not really working for them, but my Lord Jesus Christ) 5 days a week, they have always tried to work it out that one of those 5 was not a Sunday so that I would miss worship. And that isn’t the only thing, but it is a relevant example in our world today.
11: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
a. Paul here is now beginning to give the reason we should behave these ways towards each other within the church. He begins with this phrase. The grace of God has appeared! That grace literally presents salvation to all men. It is this grace by which people are brought into the kingdom of God. This theme is a reinforcement of the reason Jesus came in the first place, and of His great commissioning to us to go and make disciples of everyone. Because of this, we should always be aware that when we are in front of people, our behaviour will impact them for the gospel either positively or negatively. And the life we lead when no one else can see us is what gives the power to influence, again either positively or negatively. Paul adds to this point –
12: instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
a. This is why we must “deny ungodliness and worldly desires.” The Puritan John Owen called this concept, “The Mortification of Sin.” The act of denying ungodliness in our body and in our minds is of such necessity because of the testimony we give to Jesus’ saving power as we live our lives in front of people. It must be show in ouor lives that Jesus not only set us free from the penalty of sin in our lives, but that He is also setting us free from its power over us, as gradual as that may be at times. This is the battle we Christians must fight. It is the good warfare that Paul speaks of, it is the good fight that he fought. It is the reason that the Lord equips us with spiritual and powerful armour to stand against the enemy and his schemes.
b. Instead, we are to live sensibly [sophronos, with sound mind, our thoughts under control], righteously [dikaios, justly, in accordance with what is right], and godly [eusebos, piously, speaking of our manner of life] in the present age. We’ve talked about this before – how Christ came and inaugurated His kingdom with His first visit, but how there are still things that must happen prophetically and then He will return to complete the setup of His kingdom. It is that concept of already/not yet. Even though that kingdom has not come to earth yet, as citizens of that kingdom (Phil. 3:20, “our citizenship is in heaven”), we are to be living by its laws and principles now in this present age.
13: looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
a. That is the very blessed hope of which Paul speaks here. It is nothing less than the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus. Notice here that Christ is named as both God and Saviour. Jesus is God, beloved. And notice Paul’s use of Christ Jesus as opposed to Jesus Christ. Paul’s emphasis here is on the resurrected Messiah, not the man Jesus.
14: who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
a. Paul reinforces this whole chapter at the end with a statement of the gospel. We’ve looked at how we should be behaving, certainly within the congregation, but always with an eye toward the testimony of Christ Jesus toward unbelievers, demonstrating that redemption and deliverance to them to gain their attention for a hearing.
b. “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed…” God did the thing that no one else could do. He lived a perfect life and then surrendered it to pay the price of redemption for any who will turn to him in repentance and faith. But He had an additional objective.
c. “…and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” He created a group consisting of a subset of the human race that He would personally purify that HE would own Himself. That group is called the church, and in combination with believing Israel, constitutes the Israel of God, the children of Abraham by faith. And the characteristic of these people? They are zealous for good works, anything at all that will bring glory and honour to His matchless name.
15: These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
And so Paul gives Titus this task.
Speak – laleo – to speak or say. TALK about these things with the congregation or a subset thereof. Define them certainly, but plan them, implement them, do them.
Exhort – parakaleo – strongly encourage them, come alongside them, help them do these things. Make is easy for them by creating an environment where it can be practiced!
Reprove – elencho – to convict, confute, or refute, usually with the suggestion of putting the convicted one to shame, in this case by word of mouth, or use words.
We are to do these things with all epitage, that is command. It is the job of your pastor to do these things with you, and when necessary to do them TO you. And that last phrase, “Let no one disregard you,” can be understood and “don’t take no for an answer.”
That’s the chapter, but I need to say this. Christian, your conduct matters. The things you do, the way you behave, the words you say, ALL have a reflection of what Christ Jesus means to you, and it is the testimony of Him you give to the world. We must give careful thought to this. I admit that I am not perfect, and that I have failed in these things many times over the years. However, I have never stopped working on it, and over time (34 years on June 18 this year) I have gotten stronger. Some of the changes in my life were absolutely immediate. Some took longer to deal with. Some things I’m still dealing with from my old sinful nature. But I have had faithful people in my life over the years that have stood for Jesus in MY life. Now God is calling me to do that for others, and I need to stand for them…and you. Brothers and sisters, if you need help – with anything at all – please get in touch with me. I’m not rich, I can’t bail you out of financial ruin, but I can help by showing you what Jesus did and helping you make a plan to obey Him. That is the purpose of a shepherd in the flock of people called Christian, and that is what God has called me to do. Drop me an email if nothing else, or contact me however you need to do it, but I want to help.
That’s the chapter. Next week, we’ll look at how we should behave with respect to the rest of the world, not just toward our immediate sphere of influence as it were.