The duties which become sound doctrine. (1-8) Believing servants must be obedient. (9,10) All is enforced from the holy design of the gospel, which concerns all believers. (11-15)
Verses 1-8 Old disciples of Christ must behave in every thing agreeably to the Christian doctrine. That the aged men be sober; not thinking that the decays of nature will justify any excess; but seeking comfort from nearer communion with God, not from any undue indulgence. Faith works by, and must be seen in love, of God for himself, and of men for God's sake. Aged persons are apt to be peevish and fretful; therefore need to be on their guard. Though there is not express Scripture for every word, or look, yet there are general rules, according to which all must be ordered. Young women must be sober and discreet; for many expose themselves to fatal temptations by what at first might be only want of discretion. The reason is added, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Failures in duties greatly reproach Christianity. Young men are apt to be eager and thoughtless, therefore must be earnestly called upon to be sober-minded: there are more young people ruined by pride than by any other sin. Every godly man's endeavour must be to stop the mouths of adversaries. Let thine own conscience answer for thine uprightness. What a glory is it for a Christian, when that mouth which would fain open itself against him, cannot find any evil in him to speak of!
Verses 9-10 Servants must know and do their duty to their earthly masters, with a reference to their heavenly one. In serving an earthly master according to Christ's will, He is served; such shall be rewarded by him. Not giving disrespectful or provoking language; but to take a check or reproof with silence, not making confident or bold replies. When conscious of a fault, to excuse or justify it, doubles it. Never putting to their own use that which is their master's, nor wasting the goods they are trusted with. Showing all good fidelity to improve a master's goods, and promote his thriving. If ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? ( Luke 16:12 ) . True religion is an honour to the professors of it; and they should adorn it in all things.
Verses 11-15 The doctrine of grace and salvation by the gospel, is for all ranks and conditions of men. It teaches to forsake sin; to have no more to do with it. An earthly, sensual conversation suits not a heavenly calling. It teaches to make conscience of that which is good. We must look to God in Christ, as the object of our hope and worship. A gospel conversation must be a godly conversation. See our duty in a very few words; denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly, notwithstanding all snares, temptations, corrupt examples, ill usage, and what remains of sin in the believer's heart, with all their hinderances. It teaches to look for the glories of another world. At, and in, the glorious appearing of Christ, the blessed hope of Christians will be complete: To bring us to holiness and happiness was the end of Christ's death. Jesus Christ, that great God and our Saviour, who saves not only as God, much less as Man alone; but as God-man, two natures in one person. He loved us, and gave himself for us; and what can we do less than love and give up ourselves to him! Redemption from sin and sanctification of the nature go together, and make a peculiar people unto God, free from guilt and condemnation, and purified by the Holy Spirit. All Scripture is profitable. Here is what will furnish for all parts of duty, and the right discharge of them. Let us inquire whether our whole dependence is placed upon that grace which saves the lost, pardons the guilty, and sanctifies the unclean. And the further we are removed from boasting of fancied good works, or trusting in them, so that we glory in Christ alone, the more zealous shall we be to abound in real good works.
Titus 2:1-15 . DIRECTIONS TO TITUS: HOW TO EXHORT VARIOUS CLASSES OF BELIEVERS: THE GRACE OF GOD IN CHRIST OUR GRAND INCENTIVE TO LIVE GODLY.
1. But . . . thou--in contrast to the reprobate seducers stigmatized in Titus 1:11 Titus 1:15 Titus 1:16 . "He deals more in exhortations, because those intent on useless questions needed chiefly to be recalled to the study of a holy, moral life; for nothing so effectually allays men's wandering curiosity, as the being brought to recognize those duties in which they ought to exercise themselves" [CALVIN].
speak--without restraint: contrast Titus 1:11 , "mouths . . . stopped."
doctrine--"instruction" or "teaching."
2. sober--Translated "vigilant," as sober men alone can be ( 1 Timothy 3:2 ). But "sober" here answers to "not given to wine," Titus 2:3 , Titus 1:7 .
grave--"dignified"; behaving with reverent propriety.
temperate--"self-restrained"; "discreet" [ALFORD], ( Titus 1:8 , 1 Timothy 2:9 ).
faith . . . charity [love] . . . patience--combined in 1 Timothy 6:11 . "Faith, hope, charity" ( 1 Corinthians 13:13 ). "Patience," Greek, "enduring perseverance," is the attendant on, and is supported by, "hope" ( 1 Corinthians 13:7 , 1 Thessalonians 1:3 ). It is the grace which especially becomes old men, being the fruit of ripened experience derived from trials overcome ( Romans 5:3 ).
as becometh holiness--"as becometh women consecrated to God" [WAHL]: being by our Christian calling priestesses unto God ( Ephesians 5:3 , 1 Timothy 2:10 ). "Observant of sacred decorum" [BENGEL].
not false accusers--not slanderers: a besetting sin of some elderly women.
given to much wine--the besetting sin of the Cretans ( Titus 1:12 ). Literally, "enslaved to much wine." Addiction to wine is slavery ( Romans 6:16 , 2 Peter 2:19 ).
teachers--in private: not in public ( 1 Corinthians 14:34 , 1 Timothy 2:11 1 Timothy 2:12 ); influencing for good the younger women by precept and example.
4. to be sober--Greek, "self-restrained," "discreet"; the same Greek as in Titus 2:2 , "temperate." (But ALFORD therefore translates, "That they school (admonish in their duty) the young women to be lovers of their husbands," &c. (the foundation of all domestic happiness). It was judicious that Titus, a young man, should admonish the young women, not directly, but through the older women.
5. keepers at home--as "guardians of the house," as the Greek expresses. The oldest manuscripts read, "Workers at home": active in household duties ( Proverbs 7:11 , 1 Timothy 5:13 ).
good--kind, beneficent ( Matthew 20:15 , Romans 5:7 , 1 Peter 2:18 ). Not churlish and niggardly, but thrifty as housewives.
obedient--rather "submissive," as the Greek is translated;
their own--marking the duty of subjection which they owe them, as being their own husbands ( Ephesians 5:22 , Colossians 3:18 ).
blasphemed--"evil spoken of." That no reproach may be cast on the Gospel, through the inconsistencies of its professors ( Titus 2:8 Titus 2:10 , Romans 2:24 , 1 Timothy 5:14 , 6:1 ). "Unless we are virtuous, blasphemy will come through us to the faith" [THEOPHYLACT].
6. Young--Greek, "The younger men."
sober-minded--self-restrained [ALFORD]. "Nothing is so hard at this age as to overcome pleasures and follies" [CHRYSOSTOM].
7. In--with respect to all things.
thyself a pattern--though but a young man thyself. All teaching is useless unless the teacher's example confirm his word.
in doctrine--in thy ministerial teaching (showing) uncorruptness, that is, untainted purity of motive on thy part (compare 2 Corinthians 11:3 ), so as to be "a pattern" to all. As "gravity," &c., refers to Titus himself, so "uncorruptness"; though, doubtless, uncorruptness of the doctrine will be sure to follow as a consequence of the Christian minister being of simple, uncorrupt integrity himself.
gravity--dignified seriousness in setting forth the truth.
sincerity--omitted in the oldest manuscripts.
8. speech--discourse in public and private ministrations.
he that is of the contrary part--the adversary ( Titus 1:9 , 2 Timothy 2:25 ), whether he be heathen or Jew.
may be ashamed--put to confusion by the power of truth and innocence (compare Titus 2:5 Titus 2:10 , 1 Timothy 5:14 , 6:1 ).
no evil thing--in our acts, or demeanor.
of you--So one of the oldest manuscripts. Other very old manuscripts read, "of US," Christians.
to please them well--"to give satisfaction" [ALFORD]. To be complaisant in everything; to have that zealous desire to gain the master's goodwill which will anticipate the master's wish and do even more than is required. The reason for the frequent recurrence of injunctions to slaves to subjection ( Ephesians 6:5 , &c.; Colossians 3:22 , 1 Timothy 6:1 , &c.; 1 Peter 2:18 ) was, that in no rank was there more danger of the doctrine of the spiritual equality and freedom of Christians being misunderstood than in that of slaves. It was natural for the slave who had become a Christian, to forget his place and put himself on a social level with his master. Hence the charge for each to abide in the sphere in which he was when converted ( 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 ).
not answering again--in contradiction to the master: so the Greek, "not contradicting" [WAHL].
10. Not purloining--Greek, "Not appropriating" what does not belong to one. It means "keeping back" dishonestly or deceitfully ( Acts 5:2 Acts 5:3 ).
showing--manifesting in acts.
good--really good; not so in mere appearance ( Ephesians 6:5 Ephesians 6:6 , Colossians 3:22-24 ). "The heathen do not judge of the Christian's doctrines from the doctrine, but from his actions and life" [CHRYSOSTOM]. Men will write, fight, and even die for their religion; but how few live for it! Translate, "That they may adorn the doctrine of our Saviour God," that is, God the Father, the originating author of salvation (compare Note, deigns to have His Gospel-doctrine adorned even by slaves, who are regarded by the world as no better than beasts of burden. "Though the service be rendered to an earthly master, the honor redounds to God, as the servant's goodwill flows from the fear of God" [THEOPHYLACT]. Even slaves, low as is their status, should not think the influence of their example a matter of no consequence to religion: how much more those in a high position. His love in being "our Saviour" is the strongest ground for our adorning His doctrine by our lives. This is the force of "For" in Titus 2:11 .
11. the grace of God--God's gratuitous favor in the scheme of redemption.
hath appeared--Greek, "hath been made to appear," or "shine forth" ( Isaiah 9:2 , Luke 1:79 ). "hath been manifested" ( Titus 3:4 ), after having been long hidden in the loving counsels of God ( Colossians 1:26 , 2 Timothy 1:9 2 Timothy 1:10 ). The image is illustrated in Acts 27:20 . The grace of God hath now been embodied in Jesus, the brightness of the Father's glory," manifested as the "Sun of righteousness," "the Word made flesh." The Gospel dispensation is hence termed "the day" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:5 1 Thessalonians 5:8 ; there is a double "appearing," that of "grace" here, that of "glory," Titus 2:13 ; compare Romans 13:12 ). Connect it not as English Version, but, "The grace . . . that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared," or "been manifested" ( 1 Timothy 2:4 , 4:10 ). Hence God is called "our Saviour" ( Titus 2:10 ). The very name Jesus means the same.
to all--of whom he enumerated the different classes ( Titus 2:2-9 ): even to servants; to us Gentiles, once aliens from God. Hence arises our obligation to all men ( Titus 3:2 ).
12. Teaching--Greek, "disciplining us." Grace exercises discipline, and is imparted in connection with disciplining chastisements ( 1 Corinthians 11:32 , Hebrews 12:6 Hebrews 12:7 ). The education which the Christian receives from "the grace" of God is a discipline often trying to flesh and blood: just as children need disciplining. The discipline which it exercises teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Greek, "age," or course of things) where such self-discipline is needed, seeing that its spirit is opposed to God ( Titus 1:12 Titus 1:16 , 1 Corinthians 1:20 , 1 Corinthians 3:18 1 Corinthians 3:19 ): in the coming world we may gratify every desire without need of self-discipline, because all desires there will be conformable to the will of God.
that--Greek, "in order that"; the end of the "disciplining" is "in order that . . . we may live soberly," &c. This point is lost by the translation, "teaching us."
denying . . . lusts--( Luke 9:23 ). The Greek aorist expresses "denying once for all." We deny "worldly lusts" when we withhold our consent from them, when we refuse the delight which they suggest, and the act to which they solicit us, nay, tear them up by the roots out of our soul and mind [ST. BERNARD, Sermon 11].
worldly lusts--The Greek article expresses, "the lusts of the world," "all worldly lusts" [ALFORD], ( Galatians 5:16 , Ephesians 2:3 , 1 John 2:15-17 , 5:19 ). The world (cosmos) will not come to an end when this present age (aeon) or course of things shall end.
live soberly, righteously, and godly--the positive side of the Christian character; as "denying . . . lusts" was the negative. "Soberly," that is, with self-restraint, in relation to one's self: "righteously" or justly, in relation to our neighbor; "godly" or piously, in relation to God (not merely amiably and justly, but something higher, godly, with love and reverence toward God). These three comprise our "disciplining" in faith and love, from which he passes to hope ( Titus 2:13 ).
13. ( Philippians 3:20 Philippians 3:21 ).
Looking for--with constant expectation (so the Greek) and with joy ( Romans 8:19 ). This will prove the antidote to worldly lusts, and the stimulus to "live in this present world" conformably to this expectation. The Greek is translated, "waiting for," in Luke 2:25 .
blessed--bringing blessedness ( Romans 4:7 Romans 4:8 ).
hope--that is, object of hope ( Romans 8:24 , Galatians 5:5 , Colossians 1:5 ).
the glorious appearing--There is but one Greek article to both "hope" and "appearing," which marks their close connection (the hope being about to be realized only at the appearing of Christ). Translate, "The blessed hope and manifestation (compare Note, "manifestation" is translated "brightness" in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 . As His "coming" (Greek, "parousia") expresses the fact; so "brightness, appearing," or "manifestation" (epiphaneia) expresses His personal visibility when He shall come.
the great God and our Saviour Jesus--There is but one Greek article to "God" and "Saviour," which shows that both are predicated of one and the same Being. "Of Him who is at once the great God and our Saviour." Also (2) "appearing" (epiphaneia) is never by Paul predicated of God the Father ( John 1:18 , 1 Timothy 6:16 ), or even of "His glory" (as ALFORD explains it): it is invariably applied to CHRIST'S coming, to which (at His first advent, compare 2 Timothy 1:10 ) the kindred verb "appeared" (epephanee), Titus 2:11 , refers ( 1 Timothy 6:14 , 2 Timothy 4:1 2 Timothy 4:8 ). Also (3) in the context ( Titus 2:14 ) there is no reference to the Father, but to Christ alone; and here there is no occasion for reference to the Father in the exigencies of the context. Also (4) the expression "great God," as applied to Christ, is in accordance with the context, which refers to the glory of His appearing; just as "the true God" is predicated of Christ, 1 John 5:20 . The phrase occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but often in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 7:21 , 10:17 , predicated of Jehovah, who, as their manifested Lord, led the Israelites through the wilderness, doubtless the Second Person in the Trinity. Believers now look for the manifestation of His glory, inasmuch as they shall share in it. Even the Socinian explanation, making "the great God" to be the Father, "our Saviour," the Son, places God and Christ on an equal relation to "the glory" of the future appearing: a fact incompatible with the notion that Christ is not divine; indeed it would be blasphemy so to couple any mere created being with God.
14. gave himself--"The forcible 'Himself, His whole self, the greatest gift ever given,' must not be overlooked."
for us--Greek, "in our behalf."
redeem us--deliver us from bondage by paying the price of His precious blood. An appropriate image in addressing bond-servants ( Titus 2:9 Titus 2:10 ):
from all iniquity--the essence of sin, namely, "transgression of the law": in bondage to which we were till then. The aim of His redemption was to redeem us, not merely from the penalty, but from the being of all iniquity. Thus he reverts to the "teaching" in righteousness, or disciplining effect of the grace of God that bringeth salvation ( Titus 2:11 Titus 2:12 ).
peculiar--peculiarly His own, as Israel was of old.
zealous--in doing and promoting "good works."
15. with all authority--Translate, "authoritativeness" (compare "sharply," Titus 1:13 ).
Let no man despise thee--Speak with such vigor as to command respect ( 1 Timothy 4:12 ). Warn them with such authority that no one may think himself above (so the Greek literally) the need of admonition [TITTMANN, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament].