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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Titus 2

 

 

Verse 1

Portraiture of the True Christian Laity under True Teaching, Titus 2:1-15.

1. But—Marking the contrast between the Christian laity and the gainsayers and their followers in Titus 1:10-16; and a proper continuance of the portraiture of Titus 1:5-9; that portraying the ministry, this the membership in their various classifications. Aged men and aged women, (Titus 2:2-3,) young women and young men, with Titus for their type, (Titus 2:4-8,) are pictured as they should be, not forgetting the servants, (Titus 2:9-10,) all in view of the divine future opened upon us through the dying Christ, Titus 2:11-15.

Speak thou—The portraiture is to be drawn by Titus’ teachings. And really Titus is directed to form the entire Cretan Church in its various cities (Titus 1:5) by his teachings; assuming that it will be done through the eldership whom he ordains. Thou in the Greek is doubly emphatic, by position and express insertion; marking a very striking contrast between Titus and the doctrinaries of the last paragraph.

Sound doctrine—Healthful teaching.


Verse 2

2. Sober—The opposite of all extravagance of conduct or character.

Grave—The opposite of all levity.

Temperate—Implying self-mastery; the well-balanced control of all our appetites and passions. After these three adjectives of moral excellence, now follow three clauses of more strictly religious quality.

Sound—Spiritually healthful. The three following nouns have each the Greek article: in the faith, the love, the patience, inspired, that is, by, and belonging to, the blessed Gospel.


Verse 3

3. Likewise—Teach implied, or, rather, supplied, from speak, Titus 2:1.


Verse 4

4. They may teach—As Titus was to teach the elder, so the elder must teach the younger. Thus, healthful instruction may be transmitted through many successors.

Love… husbands… children—Unlike the gainsayers and their licentious adherents, let Christian women maintain the pure domestic affections.


Verse 5

5. Keepers at home—Instead of οικουρους, (home-keepers,) another reading, preferred by Alford, is οικουργους, (home-workers.)

Good—In temper.

Obedient—Note, Ephesians 5:22.

Own—Emphatic, in contrast with Gnostic marital looseness.

That… blasphemed—This clause, as well as the clause no evil… you, in Titus 2:8, and the clause adorn… things, Titus 2:10, all show the anxiety of St. Paul for the honour of Christianity, in contrast with the errorists of Titus 1:10-15.


Verse 6

6. Soberminded—Self-regulated, as against the wild impulses of youth and vigour.


Verse 7

7. Pattern—Greek, a type, a model, a living exemplification of his own sober teaching.


Verse 8

8. Sound speech—Both in the pulpit and in daily converse with men.

Cannot be condemned—That defies the censure of the most adverse listener.

Contrary part—The gainsayers of Titus 1:9, who are Titus’ immediate rivals and opposers.

No evil thing—There is an immense conquering power in this negative innocence, that allows no hold to the slanderer.


Verse 9

9. Servants—As the subjection of the slave was not like that of the wife, based in nature and right, it was pre-eminently in his power not only to defend Christianity by innocence, but even to adorn it by a serene and hearty service to his master. As the Christian master could by a Christian spirit extract all the real slavery from the formal slavery, so the slave could give to his bonds a Christian freedom by serving in cheerful purpose of heart. See notes, Luke 7:2, and 1 Corinthians 7:21-22.


Verse 11

11. For—Over these precepts of severe Christian morality for the various classes mentioned, St. Paul now (Titus 2:11-14) throws a sudden warming and glowing flash of illumination drawn from the glorious motives with which the advent of the Gospel inspires the Christian soul. A literal and truer rendering is, For hath appeared the grace of God, saving (or salvatory) for all men, teaching us; for the purpose that, denying, etc., we should live, etc.

Hath appeared—Same Greek root, επιφανεια, epiphany, as is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 to describe the resplendence of Christ’s own person at the second advent; here it is the resplendent coming of his grace at the first advent. To all men depends not upon appeared, but salvation.

All men—Whether servants (Titus 2:9-10) or lords. The grace is in its nature saving to all men.


Verse 12

12. Teaching us—That is, educating us to the holy model which Paul has been describing, (1-10,) and which he sums up in the closing part of this verse.

That—In order that. The next words do not contain the matter that is taught, but the purpose or end for which the teaching is given, namely, our holy living. Soberly, in duty to ourselves; righteously, or justly, toward others; godly, or devoutly, toward God.

This present world— Time-period. The terms worldly and world here are radically different words, the former of the two implying κοσμος, (cosmos,) which designates the physical world or world-frame, and the latter, αιων, (aeon,) which designates the moral system, or time-world. See notes on Matthew 25:46; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Galatians 1:4-5; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 3:21. We must deny worldly lusts, which belong to and spring from the frame of this world, during the present time-world, in view of the future time-world, and of the endless range of future aeons or time-worlds. And the looking of the next verse points to that glorious advent which closes the present, and opens the next time-world.


Verse 13

13. Looking—See last note. We are to maintain the holy model of 1-10 during the present, by a fixed and hopeful looking to the glorious future.

Hope—A cheery name for the object of hope, the glorious epiphany of the coming Christ.

Appearing—The same Greek word as appeared in Titus 2:11.

And our Saviour—By our present translation, approved by many eminent scholars, the words great God designate the Father, and Saviour the Son. But the large majority of scholars, ancient and modern, understand both the two appellatives, great God and Saviour, to be applied to Jesus Christ.

The literal rendering of the Greek words would be: The appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour of us, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us. Now, as the words stand, if the two appellatives are to designate two different persons, some mark of separation should have been interposed between them. The author ought certainly to have taken that precaution. Our translators have so done by interposing our before Saviour; a scarcely justifiable method, for of us may just as properly take in both appellatives as one. Another method for the author would have been to interpose an article: the great God and the Saviour of us. Greek scholars claim, that by the laws of the Greek the two appellatives without the interposed article designate one subject. But such a rule belongs not to any one language; it belongs to every language; especially to every language having a definite article. Indeed, the principle requiring some separation of the two appellatives is based in common sense and natural perspicuity.

It need not be denied that there is force in the opposite argument of Huther and Alford. It is certainly true that the appellative great God is no where else applied to Christ. The instance stands alone. But there is “over all, God,” (Romans 9:5;) “true God,” (John 5:20;) “mighty God,” (Isaiah 9:6;) and, as we think, “Almighty,” in Revelation 1:8. Each one of these appellatives of supreme divinity also stands alone.

Alford argues that in Matthew 16:27, the Son comes “in the glory of his Father.” But in Matthew 26:31, the Son comes in his own glory. So that the glory of the present passage may still be the glory of one personality. There was a unanimity among the early Greek writers of the Church in applying both appellatives to Christ, and the verse was so used against the Arians. Alford seems to think that this polemic use of the passage weakens the value of their opinions. Perhaps it does. But is it not probable that this text had its share of influence in fixing the views of the Church before Arius appeared, so as to render the Church so nearly unanimous against his views? A proper delicacy in declining to use polemic authorities is commendable; but there is some danger of sacrificing truth even to over magnanimity. We are obliged to say that the natural reading of the words favours decidedly the reference of both appellatives to one subject. The words Jesus Christ tell us who is our great God and Saviour. And this exposition is confirmed by the following words—who gave himself, etc.—indicating that the writer had but a single personality in his thought. We would, then, read: The epiphany of the great God and Saviour of us, Jesus Christ.


Verse 14

14. The judge is a saviour, for he who sits upon the throne once hung upon the cross.

Gave himself—Note, John 10:17-18.

For us—In behalf of us.

That he might—The moralizing and sanctifying effect of Christ’s death is here alone specified, because it is the moral model of 1-10 that St. Paul is here illustrating. This is the manward effect of the atonement, but not its whole effect.

Redeem us—Ransom. The Greek verb is the same root as lutron, used by Christ himself in Matthew 20:28, and antilutron, used by St. Paul in 1 Timothy 2:6, on which passages see our notes.

A peculiar people—Wholly unlike the people of Titus 1:10-16; especially unlike the great mass of the Cretans characterized in Titus 1:12; and inferentially unlike the mass of an unregenerate world, and peculiar in being exceptionally, not unto every good work reprobate, (Titus 1:16) but zealous of good works. These contrasted words conclude the contrasted picture of each people. The word peculiar is derived from the Latin peculium, signifying a property or possession reserved as specially one’s own; sometimes the reserve property a slave was allowed to have as his. Similar is the meaning of the Greek word here, and it emphatically designates this people as peculiarly his own.


Verse 15

15. These things speak—Solemn repetition from the speak thou of Titus 2:1.

These things—The precepts of Titus 2:1-10, and the doctrines of Titus 2:11-15.

Exhort—That is, incite, encourage, the docile to good conduct based on right doctrine.

Rebuke—Refute, expose, detect, all wickedness of life and error in principle.

With all authority—Derived from thy high office, from the great truths to be maintained, and from the purity, firmness, and dignity of thy own character and manner.

Let… despise—Be such as no man can despise. Both in Timothy and Titus, St. Paul found qualities and powers capable of compelling men to respect their teachings and themselves, and would call those powers into action. The minister who cannot command for his cause and his character the respect of the community in which he lives, has probably mistaken his calling. Here closes, we think, the contrast in portraiture between the errorists of Titus 1:10-16; Titus 1:5-9, and Titus 2:1-15.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Titus 2:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/titus-2.html. 1874-1909.

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