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Bible Commentaries
Titus 2

Lipscomb's Commentary on Selected New Testament BooksLipscomb's Commentary on Selected NT Books

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Verse 1

Titus 2:1

But speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine:—[The false teachers were promulgating doctrines at variance with the teaching of the inspired Paul and his fellow apostles, and were also by their example and lives fatally lowering the standard of the Christian life. It was to the evil moral influ­ence of these teachers that the attention of Titus was espe­cially directed. These false doctrines were bringing forth already their sure fruit in the form of a life utterly unlike the pattern set by the Master. In contrast to this misleading doctrine, Titus is directed to exhort the various ages and different sexes, the bond and the free to live such lives as will bring no dishonor upon the name and cause of Christ. The strictly practical nature of these charges is remarkable. He presses home to the various ages and ranks the necessity of a quiet and useful life. The sound doctrine by which Titus was directed to regulate his teaching stands in clear contrast to the sickly, unhealthy teaching—fanciful and false—of the misleading teachers of Crete.]

Verse 2

Titus 2:2

that aged men be temperate,—Not given to excess in anything. It is usually applied to drinking intoxicating spirits, and it is right to apply it there as well as to other things, but it means that we ought not to go to excess in anything. Why was this applicable to old men more than to others? Sometimes people give way to excesses in youth when the flesh is strong and its lusts almost uncontrollable, but after they grow older and the will power is stronger they learn self­control. Later they pass into a second childhood, the will power fails, and they often fall into the same excesses they did in youth. The people of whom Paul was writing had in youth given way to excesses of all kinds. They were babes in Christ and needed admonishing on many points.

grave,—Reputable and serious demeanor, not given to levity or gay manners, but sober in speech, gesture, and dress.

sober-minded,—Refraining from everything that is harmful and injurious, and using that which will develop the faculties and members to the highest degree of activity and efficiency.

sound in faith,—Cheerful, contented trust in God should be cultivated—a confidence that God overrules all, and that “all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28.) A confidence that God still overrules all things to the good of those who love him should aid all God’s children to look with a cheerful, contented spirit upon the affairs of this world, and thus drive out all bitterness and anxiety about the misanthropic condi­tion that often beclouds and embitters life.

in love,—Not bitter or vindictive. Christian love keeps the heart young and tender and sincere, and the aged illustrate its power through advancing in wisdom and kindness.

in patience:—They have to bear with many infirmities of the body with declining faculties; but cheerful patience must be more than a dull acquiescence with the inevitable; it must be cheerful acceptance of suffering that patience may have her perfect work in the closing days of life.

Verse 3

Titus 2:3

that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor,—Elderly women by their very deportment, regulated by the will of God, were to teach the young women lessons of truth, faith, and love. [Paul, faithful to the instructions of the Holy Spirit, sets forth their position as fellow heirs in the church of Christ, and reminds them of their duties in the company of believers. They must remember that the position to which Christ had called them in his kingdom was not without grave responsibilities. There was a great and im­portant work for them to do.]

not slanderers—There was danger that with the growing influence of years they would become bitter in their feelings and on light grounds bring accusations that were not true.

nor enslaved to much wine,—The women of Crete were given to wine drinking. Observe the fitness of the phrase “enslaved.” The drunkard is thoroughly the slave of his appetite. (2 Peter 2:18-19.) The religion of Jesus Christ has created a moral state lifting women out of their evil practices.

teachers of that which is good;—They are to be teachers by their example. The aged naturally are teachers to the young. They should be careful to teach only what is good by either precept or example. [This does not mean that they should be public instructors. (1 Timothy 2:11-12.)]

Verse 4

Titus 2:4

that they may train the young women to love their hus­bands,—Not only must they love their husbands, but they must do to them what love requires at their hands. She loves her husband who is his truest helper in attaining a true and holy life. [This would be a matter requiring long time and patience, and would follow as the result of the steady, faithful performance of those quiet, everyday duties to which God had in his providence called them.]

to love their children,—To love their children is to “nur­ture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4.) Love is the fulfilling of the law. Love to the child is to do what the law requires the mother to do for the child. Often mothers from a selfish feeling spoil their children. They deceive themselves, thinking it is from love. The Scriptures deal in practical questions, not mere senti­ments. Solomon said: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24.) That is, he that fails to restrain his son and train him in the right way hates him. Many parents will be made to realize at the last day that they were the worst enemies of their children and had led them to ruin; that their mis­taken and selfish feeling for them was hatred and not love.

Verse 5

Titus 2:5

to be sober minded, chaste,—Well-balanced state of mind resulting from habitual self-restraint, which gives no grounds for evil reports.

workers at home,—That they be keepers or managers at home; keep a neat, attractive house that will make her hus­band and children love home. Christian women should be the best of housekeepers and should be models to all who know them.

kind, being in subjection to their own husbands,—She must be good and true in her character and recognize that God has made her husband head, and she should take care that, as far as in her lies, the law of subordination should be strictly obeyed.

that the word of God be not blasphemed:—These words refer to the clauses enforcing home duties. To fail to do them would cause the word of the Lord which commands them to be blasphemed—spoken against. Life is made up of small and simple deeds. Character is composed of many simple qualities, and the honor of the name of the Lord is bound up with the faithful discharge by Christians of the simple duties of life. The family is the chief seat, and often the main test of Christian character, and it is the distinctive feature of humility as ordained of God.

Christians are all built together as one body, sealed and cemented together by the blood and Spirit of Christ, each to help all others to grow into the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, a dwelling place of God, through the Spirit on earth. Now, brethren and sisters, between ourselves and God, how much of this helping the weaker and tempted brethren and sisters have we done? Whenever we have left others, especially the weakest and humblest ones, to strive alone, we have injured them, but we have more seriously injured ourselves. When one member sins all suffer. The spiritual ties are stronger than the fleshly ones.

Verse 6

Titus 2:6

the younger men likewise exhort to be sober-minded:—The tendency of youth is to lightheartedness and frolic that lead to sin. While the Christian religion does not deny the enjoyment of life to youth, it would hold in proper restraint that they be sober-minded, and act as becomes Christians. Because the true happiness here and hereafter is promoted by restraining the tendencies to excess in lightness and frivolity.

Verse 7

Titus 2:7

in all things showing thyself an ensample of good works;—While warning others he was to show himself a pattern in all he taught by example as well as precept. A teacher ought to practice what he teaches—to preserve his own char­acter for sincerity and honesty, and that his example may be added to the precepts in his teaching.

in thy doctrine showing uncorruptness,—His preaching was to be in maintaining the teaching of Christ as God gave it, unmixed with the teachings and philosophies of men. He must in all those points of life which are connected with his teaching show a purity and freedom from all interested motives; he must be above seeking for popular applause, thus avoiding the things the serious hearer could condemn.

gravity,—In his public teaching and private intercourse with the people he must never forget he was the teacher of the message of eternal life, and that he must have a dignified man­ner that vindicates his profound seriousness of purpose and devotion.

Verses 8-9

Titus 2:8-9

sound speech, that cannot be condemned;—In his teach­ing he was to use sound speech such as produced a good in­fluence, conformable to the word of God.

that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed,—That it may be so good in its influence that those who oppose may be ashamed of the opposition [when he finds neither in the life nor in the teaching that he can fairly criticize as hurtful to anyone].

having no evil thing to say of us.—[The “of us” associates Paul and others with Titus. The evil thing which might have been said against Titus in reality would be spoken against Paul and the other apostles, for they all taught the same thing. The teaching and life of Jesus are so pure and holy, so unselfish, and so full of goodness that no one can oppose or deny it. The pure life of the child of God will put to shame opposition to Christ.]

Exhort servants to be in subjection to their own masters,—Slavery of a bitter form existed at the time of Jesus and the apostles. While the fundamental principles of the teaching of Jesus Christ are contrary to the principles and practice of slavery, Jesus and the Holy Spirit did not propose to violently break existing relations or disrupt the institutions of earth. It sanctified and softened all relations of life and gradually corrected the evil through the Spirit of Christ. Slaves were held by virtue of the political governments. The Christian religion recognized both parties to the relation as Christians and brethren. It did not break the relationship, but put into action a spirit of love, gentleness, and fidelity that melted and brought about the destruction of the relation.

and to be well-pleasing to them in all things;—The servants were to be faithful and obedient, to seek fidelity of service to please them well [especially they should study to make their service acceptable to the master, avoiding a contrary spirit, or the disposition to set up their own will against the will of the master. It is obvious that “all things” is here limited to things not contrary to God's law. According to the principle, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29.)]

not gainsaying;—They should obey cheerfully, willingly, without sullenness; not thwarting or setting themselves against their master’s plans, or desires, or orders.

Verse 10

Titus 2:10

not purloining,—Taking little things which they think are so small as to be unnoticed. Stealing is a sin to which slaves are especially liable. They reason that they have labored for it without pay and there is no harm in their taking a portion of their own labor. While this seems plausi­ble, the Holy Spirit forbids it.

but showing all good fidelity;—[Many slaves in the days of Paul were entrusted with the property of their masters as merchants, physicians, and artists. Thus they had many ways of showing their honesty. It was in their power to defraud them by embezzlement, or to waste the property, or to allow it to be wasted without check or rebuke. Servants were to have family interests at heart, and they were thus to com­mend themselves to the love and confidence of their masters.]

that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.—They are to show all fidelity in their position that they may adorn the teaching that God has given to the world and commend it by their conduct to their masters. [A slave cheerfully accepting his hard lot, and striving to please and advance the interest of his earthly master only for the love of Christ, must have been in those days a silent, yet a most powerful influence which could so mold a character so de­graded that scarcely were they considered to rank among men at all. “They were ranked as possessions just like sheep and cattle.”]

Verse 11

Titus 2:11

For the grace of God hath appeared,—God’s favor of love to man appeared in the person of Jesus Christ. The power of God was manifested and so was the law, but not fully and clearly his love till Jesus came.

bringing salvation to all men,—Salvation is open to all men, but man accepts or rejects as he sees fit. The choice is with him. Jesus opened the door, pointed out the way, and invited man to return to the Father’s home and to the bless­ings he enjoyed in heaven. This is what Jesus did for us.

Verse 12

Titus 2:12

instructing us,—[Educating us by a life of sad experi­ences. God’s grace is in truth a stern discipline of self-denial and training for higher and better things.]

to the intent that, denying ungodliness—There is a feeling in the flesh of rebellion against God. To restrain this feeling and bring it under subjection to God is to deny ungodliness.

and worldly lusts,—The lusts for the fleshly, worldly things—lust of the flesh, lust of the pride of life, lust for power, for riches and honor. To deny ourselves these—to turn from them—is what the Lord teaches us.

we should live soberly—To live soberly is to discharge the duty one owes to himself. He is not to give way to appetites, passions, and lusts, but to so live that by a moderate use of his faculties he will develop them to the highest point of strength and activity. He must do his duty to himself before he can do his duty to others. He who does not live soberly cannot live righteously. He cannot do his duty to his fellow man until he discharges those he owes to himself. A drunken man cannot do his duty to his wife, to his children, to his neighbors, to his God; but the man who properly controls himself can discharge his duty to all others.

and righteously—To live righteously is faithfully to dis­charge our duty to our fellow men in all the relations of life.

and godly—To live godly is to discharge our duties to God. The obligation and duties we owe in these several relations interweave into and overlap each other. They depend upon each other, yet they are distinct and cover man’s whole duty.

in this present world;—In the physical world God has or­dained that men shall live by food and exercise. The soul takes food in approaching God in worship, which consists in the earnest and devout study of God’s word, in prayer, songs of praise to God, and in continuing “stedfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42.) This food gives no strength without it is assimilated to the wants of the spiritual works which consists in restraining our appetites and passions within proper bounds, in acting kindly toward all men, in showing kindness to those in need, and in actively carrying the word of life to all in darkness. The doing of this spiritual labor in turn gives appetite for earnest and true worship and enables the soul to appreciate its benefits. The best preparation the child ever receives for profitable attendance on the Lord’s day service is attained through fidelity in discharging the duties they owe to their fellow men and to God through the week. It enables them to live soberly, righteously, and godly. As in this world, so in the spiritual world, food gives strength to labor, labor gives appetite for food, and assimilates the food received to the nourishment and growth of the spiritual body.

Verse 13

Titus 2:13

looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;—As an in­centive to and reward for this faithful discharge of his duties, the faithful Christian is to look forward to that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. He told them he would come again in the clouds of heaven, and that his appearing would be a glorious one. (Mark 13:26-27.) He will come to redeem from the grave and crown with everlasting glory and righteousness those that were faithful to him.

Verse 14

Titus 2:14

who gave himself for us,—The fundamental idea of the bloody sacrifice is that he for whom the sacrifice is made deserved death for his sins and the death of the victim is accepted in lieu of that of the sinner. The animals were accepted as temporary and typical sacrifices for sin. They were temporary, as they took away finally no sin, but only freed them from it for a season. The sin was rolled forward and the sinner was held guiltless until the day of atonement, when there was a remembrance of the sins again, and a sin offering was made for it anew. It was typical in as much as it pointed forward to the sacrifice of the Son of God, the shed­ding of his blood for the sins of the world. The blood of Jesus alone can take away sins. So all sins previous to the shedding of his blood were rolled forward until he came and took away sins once for all. Then there was no more re­membrance of sins that had been forgiven. To shed his blood for sin was to give his life for the life of the sinner. Jesus did this for man. Man had sinned, sold himself to the devil, brought himself under bondage to him as his servant, became subject to death, received the wages of sin so that he died.

that he might redeem us from all iniquity,—To redeem from iniquity is to lead from all wrongdoing to our fellow men, and just to the extent that he delivers us from wrongdoing he delivers us from sin and suffering.

and purify unto himself a people for his own possession,—[As Israel was represented as God’s chosen people, his pecu­liar treasure (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2), so Christians are Christ’s own possession, given him by the Father (John 6:37; John 17:6-8), forming the body of which he is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18), and made to him "an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).]

zealous of good works.—Doing the works of God. They are good because they conform to the likeness of God and make us good to man. Nothing brings good to man except the things commanded by God. To do them honors God and benefits man. God’s honor and man’s good are joined to­gether in the work he does. The humble can do good works as well as the mighty. Indeed, exalted positions carry with them strong temptations, of which we in the humbler spheres of life know nothing. God requires us to strive day by day to do something that will help others. If we do so from the right motives, do it in the name of the Lord, whether it bene­fits others or not, we shall save our own souls because in so doing we fit ourselves for a home with God.

Verse 15

Titus 2:15

These things speak and exhort and reprove—The truths were to be made to bear upon the conscience and to result in right conduct. He enjoins to dwell on the doctrine of edifi­cation and never to grow weary because it cannot be too much inculcated. He likewise bids him to add the spurs of ex­hortation and reproof for men are not sufficiently admonished as to their duty if they be not solemnly urged to the perform­ance of their responsibility.

with all authority. Let no man despise thee.—[The exhor­tations and reproofs must be characterized by authority so that none might regard lightly the apostolic instruction. He must speak with the authority which comes from a knowledge of the divine will and of the saving purpose of God.]

Bibliographical Information
Lipscomb, David. "Commentary on Titus 2". "Lipscomb's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dlc/titus-2.html.
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