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Titus 2: Christian Living

By Rodney Bowen

In chapter one Paul gives Titus instructions about how to organise and deal with false teachers in the Cretan ecclesias. In chapter two Paul gives Titus instructions in what to teach some of the various groups in the ecclesia. He covers older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. These five different groups would have included every Christian believer on Crete.

In chapter 1 the importance of believing and teaching 'sound' (or correct) doctrine is emphasised in contrast to following the false teachers (1:9-13).  The false teachers false doctrine had affected their way of life. Paul says that these false teachers were living lives that were inconsistent with how true Christians should be living. In chapter 2 Paul emphasises the need to live good Christian lives (works) that stems from believing sound doctrine.

  • Believe false teaching = live in unchristian way
  • Believe sound teaching = live in Christian way

Similar instruction in other letters: (Ephesians 5:21-6:9Colossians 3:18-4:11 Corinthians 7:25-40

Issues faced in Crete
  • Men: Lack of restraint in public behaviour, drinking, and sexual liaisons (1:12
  • Women: The new Roman women with her freedoms and appetites (1 Timothy 2:9-15).  Some of the consequences of this movement (somewhat akin to 'women's liberation') for females was that they had less interest in household management, they challenged the society norm of the male being the head of the household, and they played a more prominent role in parties and meals held at their homes. These changes had a direct impact on women's role in the Christian home and community.

Teaching for Older Men (2:2
  • Sober: cephalous adj. "sober, temperate; lit. soberness in contrast to drunkenness" fig. it describes having complete clarity of mind and thus being able to make good judgments (1 Timothy 3:2,11). 
  • Grave: semnos adj. "honorable, worthy of respect, serious" (Philippians 4:81 Timothy 3:8,11 Generally denotes an observable bearing or demeanor that commands respect from other people. Older men are to act in a way that will lead to people respecting them.
  • Temperate: sophron adj. "sound-minded, self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion), sensible" (1 Timothy 3:2Titus 1:8; 2:2,5).  Older men are to have a measured restraint in all things.
  • Sound: hugiaino vb. "to be healthy, of sound health" fig. of soundness/healthiness in the faith (Luke 5:311 Timothy 1:10; 6:32 Timothy 1:13; 4:3Titus 1:9, 13; 2:1,2 etc.: adj. used Titus 2:8).  And what are they to be sound/healthy in?
  • Faith: pistis "total trust in God - faith, belief" - a healthy or faith that is alive (someone who really believes)
  • Charity: agape "self sacrificing love" - a healthy love or love that is alive (for fellow brethren)
  • Patience: hupomone "endurance, perseverance" - a healthy or living perseverance

"Together these terms form an overlapping network of virtues that describes a life of respectability free from overindulgence, dissipation [wastefulness], and foolishness."

[Towner, p.721, 2006]
"The latter years of life, especially for men, can be filled with regrets, a sense of uselessness or worthlessness, feelings of despair, self-absorption, or even a tendency to relax moral standards because of old age. However Paul desired for the older men what he desired for himself as he approached the end of life: to have fought the good fight, to have finished the race, to have kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7).  "
[Lea and Griffin, Jr., 1992, p.298]

Teaching for Older Women (2:3-4
  • As becometh holiness: hieroprepes "worthy of reverence" i.e. reverent in the way they live (only use).
  • Not false accusers: diabolos adj. "slanderers, false accusers, devils/satans!" (1 Timothy 3:112 Timothy 3:3 Older women are not to speak lies, make false accusations, or spread malicious gossip around the ecclesia. You cant serve Satan and God. (1 Timothy 5:13
  • Not given to much wine: lit. "not addicted to much wine." Presumably this was a problem in Crete. The older women were meant to have self-mastery over their appetites.
  • Teachers of good things: kalodidaskalos adj. "teaching that which is good" or "good teachers" (only use). Older women were to be good teachers, or teachers of good things. Paul doesn't mean that the older women are to teach in formal or public ecclesial situations. He taught against this in 1 Timothy 2:12 and 1 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Rather, the older women should teach by giving advice and encouragement privately, in the things they say, and in the example they show. And this teaching should be aimed at the younger women in the ecclesia. Paul says that the older women are to be 'teachers of good things in order that (Grk. hina v.4) they are able to teach the younger women...' So it is the older women's responsibility to teach the younger women in the ecclesia how to live good Christian lives.

For the older women to teach the younger women all of the things in 2:4-5 they would have to also be doing those things - practicing what they preach. So while the older women have already been given some age specific instruction, it is also their responsibility to follow as well as teach all the things Paul goes on to tell the young women.

Teaching for Younger Women (2:4-5
So what are the older women meant to teach the younger women, and how are the younger women meant to act?
  • Sober: sophronas vb. "to advise, instruct, calling to responsibility, or bring to their senses" (only use). "...That they may advise, bring to their senses, or instruct the young women to love their husbands, to love their children..." (v.4 The young women on Crete may have been influenced by the Roman women's liberation movement which had a detrimental influence on family life (1 Timothy 2:8-15 Towner (2006) says that this new Roman women's movement emphasised the freedom to pursue extramarital sexual liaisons and other liberties such as university education at the expense of the family. So marital fidelity as well as household management were threatened. It was tearing the family apart! And it's for this reason that Paul advises that the older women to 'bring the younger women to their senses' and goes on to emphasis the role of the younger women in the household.
  • Love their husbands: philandros adj. "loving her husband" (only use). From root philos adj. "to be friendly." So the sense is 'to be friendly [in a loving way] to her husband'.
  • Love their children: philoteknos adj. "loving her children" (only use). From root philos adj. "to be friendly." So the sense is 'to be friendly [in a loving way] to her children'. The fact that Paul had to mention these basic female responsibilities shows the extent of the problem on Crete. So the older women were to teach the younger to develop a loving affection for their family.
  • Discreet: sophron adj. "sound-minded, self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion), sensible" (1 Timothy 3:2Titus 1:8; 2:2,5 n.f. sophronsune used of women 1 Timothy 2:9,15 'sobriety'). Young women are to be self-controlled or exercise restraint and not go sleeping around with random men.
  • Chaste: hagnos adj. "holy, pure, undefiled" (2 Corinthians 11:2Philippians 4:81 Timothy 5:221 Peter 3:2 etc.). Younger women are to remain pure or untouched sexually and morally. I guess it means that if they are married, younger women should be totally focused on their husband. See Peters instruction to wives of unbelieving husbands, and the link between 'hagnos' and not going to the extremes of current fashion (1 Peter 3:2). 
  • Keepers at home: oikouros adj. "keeping the home, caring for the household affairs" (only use). The younger women are responsible for the household management. Now this is obviously the divine ideal, but its not the reality for the majority of the females in the ecclesia. For some people its impossible to get by without both the male and female bringing in money. So what do we do? Can we reinterpret Paul's instruction in a 21st century context and remain true to the principle he is teaching? Well I will leave this open for discussion, but perhaps I will just say that the principle Paul seems to be teaching is that women have the overall responsibility for holding the household together. And perhaps after in your groups you can think about how this principle can be upheld in our 21st century context.
  • Good: agathos adj. "good, kind." Even though managing the house might be boring and mundane, young women still have to try to be kind to their husband and children.
  • Obedient: hupotasso vb. mid. "to subject one's self, to obey, to yield to one's admonition or advice" (used similarly: Ephesians 5:21,22,24Colossians 3:18Titus 2:9; 3:11 Peter 3:1,5,22; 5:5).  Being in the middle voice (something you do to yourself), it implies that the wife is to show submission of their own free will. It's not something that a husband can extract in any way but by loving her.

    This is about accepting the role that a woman has within the marriage relationship and making an honest attempt to fulfil the duties that come as a result. It doesn't mean that women are in any way inferior to males (Galations 3:28). 

    This is proved here when Paul says that younger women are to be subject to their own husbands (v.5).  Not to all husbands or all men, but to their own husband. This shows that the subjection is within the marriage relationship.

    If it's not about women being inferior to men, they why do young women have to be subject to their husbands? Because the marriage relationship actually represents the marriage between Christ and the ecclesia (Ephesians 5:21-24 Christ is our head or leader, and everyone in the ecclesia is subject to him. So by the young women being subject to their husbands, they represent the fact that both males and females are subject to Christ.

    'That the word of God be not blasphemed/defamed'. The implication is that the breakdown of male and female roles, and the breakdown of the family reflected badly on the truth, and led to unbelievers blaspheming or defaming it.

So these are all the things the older women are meant to be teaching the younger women. As an older woman in the ecclesia this is your responsibility. And as a younger woman, it is your responsibility to listen to the older women, and try to follow the things Paul describes.

Teaching for Younger Men (2:6-8
  • Sober minded: sophroneo vb. "to be of sound mind, i.e. self-controlled, sensible" (used: Mark 5:15Romans 12:32 Corinthians 5:131 Peter 4:7).  '...to be self-controlled in everything. Young men are to be self-controlled. It might be normal in our society for young men to indulge in many forms of unrestrained behavior, for example, in sleeping with many different girls, but that's not how young Christian men are to act. Young men are to show self-control. Verses 7-8 Titus, an example for young men
  • Pattern: tupos "an example or pattern" (1 Corinthians 10:6,11Philippians 3:171 Thessalonians 1:72 Thessalonians 3:91 Timothy 4:121 Peter 5:3). 
  • Good works: ergon "the act of work, deeds." Titus was to act in such a way that the young men could look at him and see how they should act. He's meant to be our role model.
  • In doctrine: didaskalia "instruction, teaching" (used in Titus: 1:9;2:1,7,10).
  • Uncorruptness: adiaphthoria lit. "not corrupt, i.e. pure." (only use). Show yourself to be above corruption in your teaching', in contrast to the false teachers in 1:11 whotaught things that were opposed to true Christian teaching, and who did it for the money. It is the responsibility of young men to teach true uncorrupted Christian teaching
  • Gravity: semnotes "seriousness, dignity, decency" (1 Timothy 2:2; 3:4).  Young men are to teach the gospel with dignity, decency, and in a serious manner. The gospel message isn't something to flippant about. And so young men are to teach it in such a way that they don't bring discredit to it (v.8). 
  • Sincerity: Is not in the original text
  • Sound speech: 'sound' hugies adj. "healthy, sound in body" (e.g. used: Matthew 12:13 vb. use in Titus 1:9,13; 2:1,2).  Healthy, true, or living teaching. Our living hope. - 'speech' logos "word". Healthy or living words. Young men are to speak sound, healthy, or true teaching, so that those who oppose them may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about them.

As a young man it your responsibility to follow the example of Titus and try to live up to the teaching above, and in a similar way you will become an example to those around you.

So that is Paul's teaching for males and females in the ecclesia.