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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Titus 2

 

 


Verses 1-15

In contrast to the vanity of others, as in the previous verses, Titus has pressed upon him his personal responsibility: "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine." "Sound" has the force of being completely healthy, therefore well balanced according to the truth of God. And he is to speak for the sake of others. The aged men are first singled out as to be influenced by the truth. An aged man may not be qualified as an elder, but yet he should be sober also, not light or frivolous; grave, which indicates calm deliberation; temperate, not dogmatic or intolerant; sound in faith, in love, in patience, for full health in these things is evidence of proper maturity. As we have seen, the elder must have such moral character; but it is the same that is to be urged upon all those who are aged. Indeed, it is true Christian character, of which the aged should be special examples.

The aged women were to show a conduct suitable to sacred things. If there is a difference here in the admonition to them in comparison to men, it is because of special tendencies and dangers in each case. Strong feelings could incite an older woman to accuse another unjustly. And she should not indulge her natural tastes too freely. On the positive side is the precious character of being "teachers of good things." It is not here so much the teaching of Scripture as the teaching of moral con­duct and character, for which of course Scripture is the only proper basis, and therefore to be rightly used in such teaching.

Without Scripture, they could not rightly teach the young women; though this is not to be mere academic teaching, but to have effect in sober wisdom in their lives, to encourage them to love their husbands and their children. This is wholesome work; for there are more than enough divisive evils at work, seeking to drive wedges into family life, without an aged woman adding to the friction. The young need her solid, faithful teaching.

Her teaching is not only to be by precept from the Word, but by example also; for we must learn well for ourselves what we desire to teach others. Notice how often in Titus we have urged the virtue of discretion, or sober-mindedness, which involves acting with due self-restraint, and in a manner becoming to whatever circumstances it may be in which one is placed. Purity too (no mixture of questionable things with what is good) is specially emphasized for the young women. "Keepers at home" does not mean confined to the home, but keeping home-life orderly, for this is a wife's special sphere. And as this epistle dwells upon the preciousness of subjection to due order, so the young women are to be obedient to their own husbands. Observe how the word "own" is here intended to encourage their hearts in this. It is important too, in order that the Word of God (which she professes to believe) should not be blamed by others for her insubjection.

As to young men, Titus is told to exhort them to be sober­minded or discreet, as we have seen before. This of course is a covering virtue, which concerns the whole life. But Titus is also to show himself an example of good works, which is important for the sake of the young men.

Uncorruptness in doctrine is the honesty that keeps the Word of God inviolate, not mixing it with any rationalizing of men's minds. For this, exercise of soul is constantly needed, to strain out any impurity that threatens to corrupt sound doctrine. Gravity was to be there in common with the aged men; and sincerity is added, a pertinent reminder for young men, who may tend to become a little lax and light as to the truth, rather than holding it as a seriously precious reality.

Sound, (that is, healthy, profitable) speech alone is becoming to the Lord's servant, and to young men. Let us cultivate speaking in a way that cannot be condemned, for there is too much around that is unprofitable, and worse. Notice here how sound speech will put to silence the criticism of those who desire to oppose the truth, and will give them no occasion to speak evil of, not "you," but "us," as is the true translation. Leaders, and even saints as a whole, may be spoken against because of the indiscretion of some who profess Christ.

Servants (bond slaves) are told to be obedient to their masters, and more than this, to please them well in all their conduct and service. If this is to be true of slaves, who received no just recompense, how much more so in the case of employees for hire! Also, even if one were to feel resentful as to the way he was treated, yet he was not to answer back. How wise in these things to keep a guard over our lips.

"Not purloining:" an exhortation as needful today as then; for too many employees do not scruple to steal small things that belong to the employer. The Christian is to avoid this absolutely; and rather show true fidelity, a dependability that the employer can fully trust. This is not only for the employer's sake, but in order to adorn the doctrine of God. We must remember at all times who it is

that we are here to represent. Notice the expression, "God our Savior," which clearly implies the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our conduct should be an ornament to the doctrine concerning Himself.

Now verses 11 to 14 show us beautifully that which is basic to all proper character and conduct. The grace of God has appeared, bearing with it salvation for all men. How great a contrast is this to the law of God, which was addressed, not to all men, but to Israel alone, a law too which demanded obedience, but brought no salvation: indeed rather brought condemnation. But grace brings salvation unlimited, though certainly only appropriated by those who receive the Lord Jesus as Savior. For grace would not be grace if it were to force itself on anyone. What is freely given must be freely received if it is to be beneficial at all. Grace is the pure, unadulterated favor of God, favor to those proven to be both guilty and enemies of God. Of course, to receive it, one must realize his need of it. It has come in the person of Christ, and by virtue of the great sacrifice of Himself.

When once received, it has wonderful teaching power, such as law can never have. Law could command us to do good, but could not teach us to do so. But grace received produces such a response as to cause one to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. The first is the decision of heart to no longer leave God out of our lives; the second the self judgment that refuses what is merely attractive to a deluded world and therefore appeals to fleshly desires.

On the positive side, however, grace teaches us to live soberly as to one's personal attitude and character; righteously, as regards his relationship to others; and godly as to his relationship with God. And this is not an ideal to be hoped for in the future, but for "this present world." No matter how contrary the world is, it is here and now that grace enables a fruitful life of faith.

But also, it presents a future prospect of immeasurable blessing, to which the believer looks forward with absolutely assured anticipation. "That blessed hope" is the coming of the Lord Jesus for His saints, that which therefore is unmixed blessing. "The appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" is His later manifestation to all the world in power and great glory. To many this will be blessing; but to many others solemn judgment.

The future coming of the Lord Jesus (v. 13) will remind us vividly of His having once given Himself for us in precious sacrifice, a matter to be freshly remembered for eternity. Elsewhere we read of various other objects of His great sacrifice, but here it is "that he might redeem us from all lawlessness," that is, from the attitude of self-will; "and purify unto himself," that is, remove all impurities, in order to make us a people fitted for His own company, His own possession, a people peculiarly His own, special to Himself, and zealous of good works. it is of course here the moral change accomplished by the grace of God through virtue of Christ's giving Himself for us. This we have seen to be predominant in this book.

Titus is not only to speak these things, but to exhort, that is, to stir up souls as to them; and further, to rebuke that which is contrary, and to do so with all authority: for it is the authority of God behind this. When the servant has the truth of God to speak, he should speak with firm decision, so that he will leave no impression of speaking that which he does not fully believe, and thus give occasion to others to despise him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Titus 2:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/titus-2.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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