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Bible Commentaries
Titus 2

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

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Verse 1

Introductory charge 2:1

This verse introduces the instructions concerning individual conduct that follow. In contrast to the false teachers, Titus was to teach the believers conduct that was in harmony with sound (i.e., healthy) doctrine (cf. 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:2). Paul wanted Christians to behave consistently with what they profess to believe. The primary motivation Paul used in the advice to follow is that these exhortations come from and agree with sound doctrine. A secondary motive that he also stressed is that the behavior he advocated would make a positive impact on unbelievers who would observe his readers.

Verses 1-11

C. The conduct of the saints 2:1-3:11

Having specified the type of men qualified to lead the church, and having pointed out the deficiencies of certain unqualified leaders, Paul turned to discuss the conduct of individual Christians in the churches. He dealt with these instructions by dividing them up among various groups in the church and then reemphasizing what proper behavior for all saints looks like.

Verses 1-15

1. The behavior of various groups in the church 2:1-15

To establish order in the church Paul gave Titus instructions concerning the behavior of various groups of Christians that was appropriate for them (cf. 1 Timothy 5:1-2). This involves pastoral oversight.

"Paul here stresses the importance of building up the inner life of believers as the best antidote against error." [Note: Hiebert, "Titus," p. 435.]

"No condition and no period of life is to remain unaffected by the sanctifying influence of the gospel." [Note: J. J. Van Oosterzee, "The Epistle of Paul to Titus," in Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, 11:15.]

Verse 2

Older men 2:2

Titus was to remind older men to be temperate (Gr. nephalious; sober, vigilant, clear-headed; 1 Timothy 3:2), dignified (Gr. semnous; worthy of respect, serious-minded rather than clowns), and sensible (Gr. sophronas; self-controlled; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; Titus 2:5). These characteristics are all marks of maturity (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3). They should also be godly. This means being sound in faith (Gr. hygiainontas te pistei; trust in God rather than correct in doctrine here), love (Gr. agape; concern for other people), and perseverance (Gr. hypomone; patiently enduring in view of their hope as believers).

"A seriousness of purpose particularly suits the dignity of seniors, yet gravity must never be confused with gloominess." [Note: Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary, p. 191.]

". . . the years ought to bring, not an increasing intolerance, but an increasing tolerance and sympathy for the views and with the mistakes of others." [Note: Barclay, p. 283.]

Verse 3

Older women 2:3

These women were also to give evidence of their reverence for God in their behavior. Negatively they should avoid malicious gossip (Gr. me diabolous; slandering others; 1 Timothy 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13-14) and dependence on enslaving substances such as wine (Gr. mede oino pollo dedoulomenas; 1 Timothy 3:8). Positively they should teach what is good (Gr. kalodidaskalous) by deed as well as word and encourage the younger women to fulfill their responsibilities (Titus 2:4 a).

"We have bought into the notion that older people have had their day of usefulness and ought to make way for the young. But the principle here is quite the opposite. With age and experience come wisdom, and many older women have discovered secrets of godly living in relation to their husbands, children and neighbors and in the workplace that could save younger women a lot of unnecessary grief. And when the unavoidable trials come to the young woman, who better to guide her through than an older sister who has been through it before? Somehow the church must see that younger women have contact with older women." [Note: Towner, 1-2 Timothy . . ., p. 237. See Vickie Kraft, Women Mentoring Women: Ways to Start, Maintain, and Expand a Biblical Women’s Ministry, for an excellent resource in this regard.]

Verses 4-5

Young women 2:4-5

Paul listed seven responsibilities of these women. They were (1) to be lovers of their husbands (to put their welfare before self-interests), (2) to be lovers of their children, and (3) to be sensible (Gr. sophronas; self-controlled). They were also (4) to be pure (Gr. hagnas) and (5) to be workers at home (Gr. oikourgous, producers of orderliness in the home, 1 Timothy 5:14; not necessarily occupied exclusively with household chores). Finally they were (6) to be kind (Gr. agthas) and (7) to be subject to their own husbands (Gr. hypotassomenas tois idiois andrasin) as to God’s ordained authority in their family (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1). Such behavior would guard the Word of God from dishonor by those who would otherwise observe inconsistency between the teaching of Scripture and the conduct of these women.

"Here we have the first of several clear articulations of the need for good works for the sake of nonbelievers . . . [cf. Titus 2:1; Titus 2:10-11; Titus 2:14; Titus 3:2; Titus 3:8; Titus 3:14])." [Note: Fee, p. 188.]

"The training of the younger women is the duty, not of Titus, but the older women, qualified to do so by position and character. ’Train’ means to school in the lessons of sobriety and self-control (cf. Titus 2:2; Titus 2:5). ’Younger’ is a positive adjective literally meaning ’new’ or ’fresh’ and probably suggests a reference to the newly married." [Note: Hiebert, "Titus," p. 436.]

The word "subject" (Gr. hypotasso, Titus 2:5) in the phrase "subject to their husbands" is not the exact equivalent of "obedient."

"The hypotassisthai which Paul here [in Romans 13:1] and elsewhere [e.g., Titus 2:5] enjoins is to be understood in terms of God’s taxis or ’order.’ It is the responsible acceptance of a relationship in which God has placed one and the resulting honest attempt to fulfill the duties which it imposes on one [cf. Ephesians 5:24]." [Note: C. E. B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans , 2:662.]

Paul was addressing himself to the typical young married woman who has children. Other young women would need to make adjustments to their situations in harmony with the principles underlying these directions.

Loving in this way involves unconditional acceptance. Wives need to accept their husbands as they are, namely, as imperfect sinners like themselves. This acceptance should not depend on the husband’s performance but on his worth as a good gift God has given to the wife. The wife needs to accept her husband’s thoughts, feelings, decisions, and failures. Love is active, not passive. It is something we do. Love involves listening because listening says, "I love you and I care about you." Loving a husband involves a wife accepting her lifestyle that results from her husband’s schedule. It involves protecting him from criticism in public as his ally rather than criticizing him before others. Love involves committing to a mutually fulfilling sexual relationship and sometimes taking the initiative for his pleasure. The best thing a couple can do for their children is to love each other unconditionally.

"The values of the ’new woman’ [style of conduct in Crete] had little to do with traditional commitments to the household; the new morality they emphasized endorsed the freedom to pursue extramarital sexual liaisons and liberties normally open only to men, which would place marital fidelity and household management at risk. Thus the household was the chief theater of Paul’s campaign." [Note: Towner, The Letters . . ., p. 726.]

God wants wives to make homemaking a priority. A woman’s home is the primary arena of her ministry. It also makes a statement about her values. Normally homemaking includes nurturing children (cf. Proverbs 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:7). Supplementing the family income may be a possible option (cf. Proverbs 31:16; Proverbs 31:24). However a mother should take a job only if both her husband and she agree that this would be best for the family.

"A wife’s first responsibility is in her home." [Note: McGee, 5:489. See also Barclay, pp. 286-87; and Guthrie, p. 194.]

"The wise husband allows his wife to manage the affairs of the household, for this is her ministry." [Note: Wiersbe, 2:265.]

I assume he meant that the home is her primary ministry, not necessarily her sole ministry.

The World’s ViewGod’s View
1. Home is a boring drudgey.1. Home is a haven to come to from the world.
2. Homemaking and children are a burden.2. They are God’s good gifts.
3. Value material success and self-gratification NOW.3. Value character and godliness, and invest in the future.
4. Place children in childcare rather than caring for them yourself.4. Parents should teach and fulfill their responsibilities to train their children.
5. Children, homemaking, and often marriage get in the way of self-achievement.5. Raising godly children is one of the ways to fulfill God’s purposes and one of the highest callings in life.
6. Demand your rights to fulfillment.6. Give up your rights and become a servant. [Note: Adapted from Family Life Conference, p. 108.]

"Any marriage relationship that is conceived and maintained only on the basis of each member adhering to certain prescribed legal requirements is probably doomed from the beginning. In considering the New Testament teaching on marriage, especially in Paul’s letters, the emphasis appears to be on the maintenance of a mutual or reciprocal commitment of the husband and the wife to an exclusive, intimate, loving, and caring partnership. When these prescribed biblical attitudes between husband and wife prevail, there will be little (if any) need for resorting to God’s intended order for establishing authority within the home." [Note: Griffin, p. 302.]

Verses 6-8

Young men 2:6-8

The same principles apply to the behavior of young men. The age range for the older men and women would have been about 40 and up in that culture, and that of the younger would have been between about 20 and 40. [Note: Towner, The Letters . . ., p. 730.] Since Titus was one of the younger, Paul addressed him personally. They should also be sensible (Gr. sophronein; self-controlled, Titus 2:2; Titus 2:5-6) and a good example (pattern) of good deeds (1 Timothy 4:15-16).

"Since young men are inclined to be somewhat impetuous and unrestrained in conduct, their basic need is to be ’self-controlled,’ cultivating balance and self-restraint in daily practice." [Note: Hiebert, "Titus," p. 437.]

They do this by maintaining purity in the teaching of God’s truth as teachers or simply practitioners, by being dignified (serious, Titus 2:2), and by speech that others cannot legitimately criticize. Obedience to these particulars would rob the enemies of the church of any reasonable grounds for criticism (cf. Titus 1:16). They would be "put to shame" because they would have no factual basis for their opposition.

Verses 9-10

Bond-slaves 2:9-10

Slaves were known for their readiness to embrace new religions. [Note: Towner, The Letters . . ., p. 735.] For this reason Paul may have given instructions to those of them that had become Christians. Paul’s words to slaves begin with a general request followed by four principles arranged chiastically (positive, negative, negative, positive) the first two of which address attitude and the last two fidelity. [Note: Knight, p. 315.]

Believing slaves were (1) to be submissive to their own masters in everything and (2) to try to please their masters. They were (3) to refrain from talking back when given instructions, (4) not to steal from them, and (5) to prove completely trustworthy. Again the reason for this kind of behavior follows. It is that such behavior is in harmony with and therefore adorns (contributes to the enhancement of by providing a complimentary setting for) the teaching concerning God our Savior.

"Since slaves were part of the Hellenistic household, it is quite possible that the false teachers’ disruption of Cretan households (Titus 1:11) accounts for the kind of disrespectful behavior among slaves implied by this set of instructions. Something similar had occurred in Ephesus (see 1 Timothy 6:1-2)." [Note: Towner, 1-2 Timothy . . ., p. 241.]

"Where all around there is disrespect or indifference to those in authority, a Christian’s respectful attitude and speech, backed up by good performance, will demonstrate that God’s message of salvation produces positive, visible results. This is an opportunity for witness that we must not miss." [Note: Ibid., p. 243.]

"There are no slaves in our [United States] society today, but there are employees. Christian workers must obey orders and not talk back. They must not steal from their employers. Millions of dollars are lost each year by employers whose workers steal from them, everything from paper clips and pencils to office machines and vehicles. ’They owe it to me!’ is no excuse. Neither is, ’Well, I’ve earned it!’’" [Note: Wiersbe, 2:266.]

Verse 11

"For" introduces Paul’s full theological reason for requiring the conduct above, why such conduct harmonizes with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). In short, it is the proper response to God’s grace. God has manifested His grace (unmerited favor) in Christ and the gospel. This has resulted in two things: the possibility of salvation for all and the actual salvation of all who believe in Christ (1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Timothy 4:10).

"In the Greek, ’has appeared’ stand emphatically at the beginning, stressing the manifestation of grace as a historical reality. The reference is to Christ’s entire earthly life-his birth, life, death, and resurrection. The verb epephane, from which we derive our word ’epiphany,’ means ’to become visible, make an appearance,’ and conveys the image of grace suddenly breaking in on our moral darkness, like the rising sun. (It is used of the sun in Acts 27:20.) Men could never have formed an adequate conception of that grace apart from its personal manifestation in Christ, in his incarnation and atonement." [Note: Hiebert, "Titus," p. 439. For helpful discussion of how Paul’s theology in this section contradicted prevalent Cretan pagan mythical theology, see Towner, The Letters . . ., pp. 740-66.]

Verses 11-14

Rationale for such behavior 2:11-14

"The previous paragraph [Titus 2:1-10] has been a challenge to the several groups in the Cretan churches to accept the specifically Christian pattern of behavior. Its presuppositions may at first sight seem prosaically humdrum and conventional, but Paul now eloquently reminds Titus that they have their basis in the gospel itself. It was precisely in order to raise men to a higher quality of life that God intervened in history in the incarnation." [Note: Kelly, p. 244.]

"There are few passages in the New Testament which so vividly set out the moral power of the Incarnation as this passage does." [Note: Barclay, p. 293.]

This is another of the "liturgical passages" in the Pastorals that summarize essential features of salvation (cf. 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Titus 3:3-7). [Note: For a brief discussion of these passages, see Mark L. Bailey, "A Biblical Theology of Paul’s Pastoral Epistles," in A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, pp. 349-54; or for a more detailed explanation, see Philip H. Towner, The Goal of Our Instruction, pp. 75-119.]

Verse 12

When the Christian appreciates this grace it teaches him or her. It instructs us negatively to deny ungodliness, the root problem, and worldly passions, the manifestation of the root problem. These passions are the desires that unbelievers find so appealing but which are not in harmony with God’s character and will, though they are typical of the world system. It instructs us positively to live sensibly (Gr. sophronos; self-controlled inwardly, cf. Titus 2:2; Titus 2:5-6), righteously (Gr. dikaios; morally upright outwardly), and godly (Gr. eusebos; reverently upwardly) in this age. These qualities are the opposites of those that marked Cretan culture generally.

Verse 13

The blessed hope of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ’s appearing in glory at the Rapture also motivates the sensitive Christian to honor God by his or her behavior now. [Note: See Gary L. Nebeker, "The Theme of Hope in Dispensationalism," Bibliotheca Sacra 158:629 (January-March 2001):30-20.] The Greek verb prosdechomenoi ("looking for") is in the present tense indicating that this waiting should be our characteristic attitude, always ready to welcome the returning Lord. We do not want to feel ashamed when we meet Him face to face (1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:3). In the Greek text one article, "the," introduces both "blessed hope" and "glorious appearing," suggesting that Paul was viewing one event as having two aspects. The blessed hope is the glorious appearing of our Savior.

"In the New Testament hope does not indicate merely what is wished for but what is assured." [Note: Guthrie, p. 199.]

"In light of the concept of the imminent coming of Christ and the fact that the New Testament does teach His imminent coming, we can conclude that the Pretribulation Rapture view is the only view of the Rapture of the church that comfortably fits the New Testament teaching of the imminent coming of Christ. It is the only view that can honestly say that Christ could return at any moment, because it alone teaches that Christ will come to rapture the church before the 70th week of Daniel 9 or the Tribulation period begins and that nothing else must happen before His return." [Note: Renald E. Showers, Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! A Definitive Study of the Rapture of the Church, p. 149. See also Gerald B. Stanton, Kept from the Hour, ch. 6: "The Imminency of the Coming of Christ for the Church," pp. 108-37; and Wayne A. Brindle, "Biblical Evidence for the Imminence of the Rapture," Bibliotheca Sacra 158:630 (April-June 2001):148-49.]

"Paul . . . does not ask us to look for the Tribulation, or the Antichrist, or for persecution and martyrdom, or for death, but for the return of Christ. If any of these events must precede the Rapture, then how can we help looking for them rather than the Lord’s coming? Such a view of the coming of the Lord can at best only induce a very general interest in the ’blessed hope.’" [Note: Henry C. Thiessen, "Will the Church Pass through the Tribulation?" Bibliotheca Sacra 92 (July-September 1935):307.]

"The unusual phrase ’the great God,’ found only here in the New Testament, is best accounted for as a Christological application of an Old Testament description of God." [Note: Griffin, p. 313.]

In other words, Paul described the appearing and glory of one Person, our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. This is another of the passages that clearly states that Jesus Christ is God (cf. John 1:1; John 1:18 [according to some manuscripts]; John 20:28; Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8-13; 2 Peter 1:1; and possibly 1 John 5:20). [Note: See Robert M. Bowman Jr., "Jesus Christ, God Manifest: Titus 2:13 Revisited," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 51:4 (December 2008):733-52.]

Verse 14

Christ’s intent in providing salvation for us was to buy our freedom from slavery to sin and wickedness.

"First, the verb gave (and indeed the entire saying-who gave himself for us) portrays Christ’s death as a ritual offering made specifically to atone for sins (Romans 4:25; Romans 8:32; compare Galatians 1:4). . . .

"Second, the note of willingness is emphasized, for it is said that he gave himself. . . .

"Third, the phrase for us reveals that this offering was both representative and substitutionary." [Note: Towner, 1-2 Timothy . . ., p. 248.]

Christ’s purpose was also to purify a people for Himself who are eager to do what is right and good.

"When a royal visit is expected, everything is cleansed and decorated, and made fit for the royal eye to see." [Note: Barclay, p. 294.]

"The highest and purest motivation for Christian behavior is not based on what we can do for God but rather upon what God has done for us and yet will do." [Note: Griffin, p. 316.]

To summarize this section (Titus 2:11-14), the grace of God should result in the Christian’s present commitment to deny what He detests and to pursue what He values. We see God’s grace in His past provision of salvation in Christ and the prospect of Christ’s future return to take us to be with Himself forever. The fact that so few Christians make this commitment is disappointing, but it is true to life, and Jesus Christ anticipated it (Luke 17:11-19).

"Verses 11-14 are notable for their perfect balance of doctrine with living. Beginning with the incarnation (’the grace of God hath appeared,’ Titus 2:11), they relate this doctrine to a life that denies evil and practices good here and now (Titus 2:12); that sees in the return of Christ the incentive for godly conduct (’looking for that blessed hope . . .’ Titus 2:13); and that realizes, in personal holiness and good works, the purpose of the atonement (Titus 2:14). The passage is one of the most concise summations in the entire N.T. of the relation of Gospel truth to life." [Note: The New Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1307.]

Verse 15

Concluding charge 2:15

This last verse concludes the section of instructions to various groups in the church (ch. 2). Paul urged Titus to teach, exhort, and reprove, in accord with what the apostle had just revealed, with full authority since it was divine revelation. He should let no one intimidate him because the truth was at stake.

"The minister’s authority rests in the nature of his message; he is not raised above the truth but the truth above him." [Note: Hiebert, "Titus," p. 442.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Titus 2". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/titus-2.html. 2012.
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