By: Daniel Goepfrich
A Lifestyle Based on Sound Doctrine
Titus 2 picks up the theme of good works from chapter one. Rather than false doctrine, Titus was to “COMMUNICATE THE BEHAVIOR THAT GOES WITH SOUND TEACHING” (Titus 2:1). The word translated “sound” means “healthy.” Paul used it eight times, all in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus and all related to correct doctrine, except Titus 1:13 and 2:2, where it refers to a healthy Christian faith. However, even those are in the context of sound doctrine and reliant on it.
Paul elaborated on what the results of healthy doctrine should look like by giving specific behavioral instructions to various groups within the local churches. He commanded that “OLDER MEN” and “OLDER WOMEN” (probably both physically and spiritually) were to have godly lives worth imitating and be integrally involved in the training of those younger men and women, respectively, who are coming behind them (Titus 2:2-5). Notice that the characteristics Paul laid on these older saints are similar to those for elders, even for those who may never be elders.
Modern believers and unbelievers alike often take issue with Paul’s instructions for the older women (Titus 2:4-5). The notion that “YOUNGER WOMEN” are responsible to “[FULFILL] THEIR DUTIES AT HOME” and be “SUBJECT TO THEIR OWN HUSBANDS” seems out-dated and even oppressive. They argue that women today are more empowered and have responsibilities outside the home. Husbands are to share equally in the household responsibilities instead of leaving them for the woman. Unfortunately, this is based on a twisted and unbiblical view of equality and has led to the weakening of the household structure, even in Christian families, which has, in turn, affected the Church at large. Paul said that when our homes are not working properly, “THE MESSAGE OF GOD MAY…BE DISCREDITED.”
As Paul’s apostolic representative to Crete, it was Titus’ responsibility both to model and teach these behaviors to the believers (Titus 2:6-8). Additionally, Christian slaves were to act faithfully in full subjection to their masters (Titus 2:9-10). When the church members lived out these commands, antagonists to true Christian doctrine and the Christian faith would not have any ammunition to discredit Christianity.
Standing Firm until the End
The last few verses of chapter two again emphasize the importance of godly living, this time in the context of Jesus’ return to rapture his Church (Titus 2:11-14). The story of God’s grace is more than just salvation from the eternal penalty of sin. It also serves to instruct us in the way of living properly during this life. Most of what Christians call “struggles” are simply “GODLESS WAYS AND WORLDLY DESIRES” (Titus 2:12) that the Christian has refused “TO REJECT.” The outworking of God’s grace and the anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return should not only be sufficient for God’s people to live God’s way (2 Corinthians 12:9), it should drive us in that lifestyle, causing us to be “EAGER TO DO GOOD” for the Savior.
Much like he did with Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12), Paul had to encourage Titus to not give up in the face of others rejecting him (Titus 2:15). Titus may have been a younger man who was sometimes intimidated by those older than he was or maybe he shied away from confrontation, to the detriment of his ministry. Church leadership and disciple-making both sometimes require hard conversations with those we are trying to lead. In this case, Titus had “FULL AUTHORITY,” and Paul urged him to confidently and wisely use the appropriate methods to get his message across.
Each Thursday DPH runs a Chapter-by-Chapter blog by Daniel Goepfrich, progressing readers chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament. This series is taken from New Testament Chapter-by-Chapter, published by Trust House Publishers, a division of DPH. Daniel serves as Pastor of Oak Tree Community Church in South Bend, Indiana, and blogs at www.TheologyIsForEveryone.com
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