titus 2v1-10

Day 1

 

2 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

 

“Teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.” Notice the wording. Unlike previous exhortations to have sound doctrine taught [1:9] Paul here encourages Titus to teach what is “appropriate to” sound doctrine, and what follows are some instructions about how to live in a way that lines up with what we believe. Doctrine should always result in behaviour, but that behaviour should be governed by truth. That is why in Paul’s letters He characteristically starts out with doctrine in the first half of his letters and then moves into the application of that doctrine.  That principle is exemplified in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where he says 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” [Eph 2:8-20]

He points out that it is not our behaviour or our morality that saves us but that our being saved should result in doing good. Our behaviour is the result of being saved, not the cause. 

The instructions he is about to give Titus to pass on are the application of our doctrine to church life. They are not exhaustive and they are sent into to context of that church in that culture. 

 

The overriding principle is set out three times. In verse 5 his concern is that the word of God not be maligned. In verse 8 he says that our good behaviour should lead  our opponents to have nothing bad to say about us. Lastly he says in verse 10 that our lives should make the good news attractive to those who aren’t believers.  For better or worse we are ambassadors for the Christian faith. 

It’s not just the older men who should be temperate and self-controlled of course, but it was probably the case that it was an issue in the new church in Crete and that is why Paul focuses on those things in this case. For instance, some older men may think that their age enables them to get away with saying things that they otherwise would not get away with, meaning that they maybe lack temperance and self-control. 

A word of warning however, we should not change the doctrine to make the faith attractive.  

 

Does your behaviour “adorn the gospel” as the older versions used to put verse 10? Does it make the gospel attractive? Godliness is extremely attractive. 

 

PRAYER

Master, help me to live in a way that accords with the truth and makes the gospel attractive.  Amen.

 

 

 


Day 2

 

3 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

 

Notice that Titus is to teach the older women to minister to the younger women. I take it that means that Titus is to teach biblical principles to both men and women, but that the application to life, things like how to love their spouses and operate in their families, the older women teach to the younger women, because they have the experience of life and understand the particular issues for women in that culture. A new Testament scholar, Don Carson, says that research indicates that love in marriage was not a common thing in that culture. It was more governed by role and duty and expectations. Paul’s encouragement for wives to love their husbands is therefore a big call. Of course he says the same thing for men in the fifth chapter of the letter to the Ephesians – husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. It is interesting that love is commanded. 

 

“To be busy at home”. Most women of that day ran the home as a full-time occupation, and therefore the encouragement here is for them to be busy at that, and not to fritter time away. (The same principle applies to men elsewhere in the Bible, where we are all called to work as if serving the Lord.)  It is not a command for women in our day to stay at home and not have a career. He was speaking into the situation as it was then. We could say the same about being subject to their husbands if this was the only place where it was mentioned. However, elsewhere the teaching about family relationships and roles in marriage is clearly not cultural but has a theological roots. [Eph 5]

 

“Self-controlled.”  Self-control comes up time and time again in biblical virtue lists. Here it is mentioned in respect to both men and women. [v2, 5, 6]  and it comes up five times in this letter and eleven times in Paul’s epistles. It means that our passions do not rule us.

 

“Kindness” seems to be a dying art. Just read comments on social media where vitriol seems to be par for the course. Kindness gets sacrificed for other ideals such as ambition, standing up for ourselves, pursuing causes and telling it like it is. 

 

“Be subject to their husbands.”  Whatever your view on roles within marriage, and this is not the place to go into it,  we are all called to be “other-person -centred”. We are all called to serve the best interests of others and, in a marriage, the best interests of our spouses. The cry “I will be  nobodies servant” does not come from a heart governed by the Holy Spirit. 

 

PRAYER

Father,  Help me to live in accordance with your word. Teach me to be holy as you are holy. Amen

 


Day 3

6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

 

Apart from self-control, Titus is not told to encourage the young men to do, or not do, anything. Instead Paul encourages his protégé to model godly behaviour for them. 

Young men are particularly susceptible to being influenced by the behaviour of those they admire, and they need the influence of strong, godly men in their lives. 

 

Titus life is to be characterised by “doing what is good”. Is that how your life will one day be summed up?

As Titus teaches Paul encourages him to show integrity. Part of that will be living up to his own teaching; not saying one thing and doing another. Research over the years has shown that one of the great turn-offs from the faith for young people who have grown up in a Christian home what they see as the hypocrisy of their parents. On the other hand,  anecdotally, I have heard so many talk of their faith being confirmed because of the living faith of their parents.

“Seriousness” does not mean that there is to be no fun in the teaching. What it does mean is that Titus is to take the role of teaching the faith seriously. The young men need to see that Titus is committed to the truths he is teaching. It is, as Paul has already pointed out, a serious matter to teach the doctrines of the faith. 

“Soundness of speech” goes both to the content and the way words are used. His teaching needs to be sound, but so does his use of words. It is often only the wisdom gained by age and experience that tempers our language. As Paul says elsewhere, Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” [Col 4:6]

It is a shame when it is our words that offend rather than the content. 

 “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” [Eph 4:29]

 

“4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” [Eph 5:3-4]

 

Could you be a mentor for someone? Why not pray about the opportunity. 

Do you need a mentor? Pray about it and then ask someone who fits the bill.

 

PRAYER

Holy God, help me to be a blessing to others by my example and by speaking words of life. Amen

 

 

 


Day 4

 

9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.

 

How things have changed! Today if we come across slavery of any kind, we are duty bound as Christians to do all we can to see them freed. We should be in the forefront of those seeking to abolish slavery wherever it lifts its ugly head. 

However, in a world where it was not only legal but encouraged, what should the message be to the slave? Break the law, risk imprisonment or worse and escape? The letter to Philemon deals with the issue of a runaway slave. It’s helpful reading.

 

What should the message have been to those legally caught up in slavery and who couldn’t win their freedom?  The answer was serve as though Jesus were your master. [Eph 5:6] It’s the message we would have for the Christian in prison as well, which in some ways is a state not too far removed from slavery. In fact, apart from what he says about being subject to those over us “in everything”, it’s the same message we have anyone who is in a situation where they are under the authority of another. As far as that authority legally extends, try to please those in authority over you. Serve them as though they were Christ. I that how you treat those over you?

 

Don’t talk back to them. Today in our realm of labour relations we are at liberty to speak our minds to our employers, but it should be in the way that we’ve looked at earlier this week – with kindness and with sound speech and in such a way that it does not bring legitimate criticism of the gospel we represent. It should not be rude or abusive or arrogant. 

 

Don’t steal from them. Theft is rife in many employment circles. From stealing tools and equipment to taking time that we’re not entitled to or charging for things we have not supplied or done. That must not be the case with God’s people.

 

“Trustworthiness” is such a valuable characteristic and an admirable one. We mut be known for our integrity. 

 

 

PRAYER

Holy God, help me to be holy. Amen

 

 

  


Day 5

 

2 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.

 

 

Live in such a way that we will bring the sweet fragrance of the Gospel to others. [2 Cor 2:16] That is the essence of this section. [v5, 8, 10]

 

There are many who are opposed to the gospel, the Christian church and the disciples of Jesus, and that opposition is becoming more and more strident, fashionable and institutionalised. In this climate we are encouraged by the Word of God to live in such a way that we cannot even be accused of wrongdoing or hypocrisy. [Eph 5:3-4]

WE are to live in such a way that the gospel is praised. 

When I was teenager it was often asked “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” 

Spend a bit of time meditating on the following questions.

  • Is your love any different from those around you who don’t follow Jesus? 
  • Is your integrity well-known? 
  • Is your kindness talked about in your neighbourhood? 
  • Is your readiness to think the best of others legendary where you work?
  • Are you known for speaking only words to build others up - for speaking words of life. [Prov 18:21]
  • Are your acts of service a byword in you extended family or your workplace or your church?
  • Are you known for your self-control? 

 

PRAYER

Almighty and most merciful Father, forgive my foolish ways so that I may live a godly life

to the glory of your holy name.  Amen

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