In our last lesson we saw that Titus was left by Paul on the island of Crete to set things in order among the Christians. The first instruction given to Titus is to appoint elders in every town. Because of the evil society in Crete it was imperative for these overseers to be of high moral character. They need to be above reproach and show integrity to be able to fight against those who teach error, rescue those who were being swept away by the deceivers, and be an example to the flock. Titus commanded to get things in order by getting the Christians to act like holy people and not like Cretans. Paul commands Titus to teach the people things “consistent with sound doctrine.” Rather than acting like Cretans, the following instructions revealed what the holy people of God were to look like.
Older Men (2:2)
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
First, here is what the older men are to be and what the younger men must be working toward since they are commanded to be this when they are older. Older men are to be clear-headed. They are in control of their minds. The NAS uses the word “temperate” carry the idea of being in control of one’s emotions. The word also includes that they will not be controlled by alcohol, in similar way that the elders were to exhibit sober-mindedness. They are to be worthy of respect. They are not going to do things that would cause them or the name of Christ to be disrespected. It is unfortunate how often I have seen older Christians not act in ways that are worthy of respect. He is also to be self-controlled. This refers to making prudent decisions, not being given to passions or opinions. They will be mature in judgment and proper restraint. There are three things that are listed that they are to be “sound” in. The word “sound” carries the idea of being healthy. They are to healthy in faith, in love and in steadfastness. Their lives reveal a healthy, sound faith. I think the idea is that what they believe is sound and healthy. They show a healthy, sound love for God’s people and for the lost. Finally, they show a healthy stand for the truth, the faith. They are steadfast in God’s word, immoveable in the truth.
Older Women (2:3-5)
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
The requirements of the older women are somewhat similar, hence the word “likewise.” Along the same lines, Paul is directing Titus to urge the older women to act like the holy people of God. Younger women need to understand that these are characteristics that they are working toward so that they will be these things when they are older. The women are to live in a way that is appropriate for a holy women professing godliness (reverent in behavior). She will make life decisions that reflect godliness. They are not to speak badly of others. Holy women control their tongues. Holy women of God are also not under the control of alcohol. Further, older women are to be teachers. They are teach what is good through their words and through their actions. Particularly, they are be training the younger women. Before we get into what they are training, I want to point out that this is God’s instruction. The church is not going to make you do this, but older ladies, you have the responsibility to teach the younger women. We need to see more of that happening here. You are to teach and train the younger women. If that is through having a ladies class, getting together, or whatever, it must happen. It is commanded.
The older women should be exemplifying what they are teaching the younger women and the younger women are to do these things: First, love their husbands and their children. Some things never change and it seems that this was also a problem in Crete as much as it is today. We live in a world that denigrates men and despises women who love their husbands and children. The single mother and the divorcee is the glorified woman. Paul says, “Listen, a godly woman acts with love toward her husband and her children.” She is going to yield to them and show her love by putting them first. This is commanded of women. It is not optional or conditional.
Further, women (older women teaching the younger women) are to be self-controlled. Just as the older men are commanded to act sensibly, the women are also commanded to act likewise. Their conduct is also to be pure. They are to portray the holiness of God. Further, Paul commands that they are working at home. Here is another facet that has been lost in our society. Women are commanded to be the caretakers of the home. I do not believe Paul is saying that women cannot work outside the home. But Paul is saying that the home is your charge. Regardless of if you are working out of the home or not, you are to be the one who cares for the home, cares for the husband, and cares for the children. Staying at home is not working at home. I know women who stay home but do not take care of the home. The home is a constant mess, the family is not taken care of, either for laziness or because they are doing others. Women, you are to work the home. Older women need to teach the younger women to work the home. Mothers, teach your daughters how to work the home, because this has tragically been lost. This work is not menial, but indispensable to the proper working of the home. I believe my wife makes as much or more money for us because of the way she runs the home. Her efficient use of money is running the home is so important and no man should ever look down on a woman is doing such a task. But women, it is up to you to show that value and do that work by not wasting time in frivolous things. Work the home for the sake of the family.
The older women are to teach the younger women to be kind. I am sure that this includes kindness in general. But it is interesting that the word “kind” is sandwiched between being a worker of the home and being submissive to their husbands. I believe Paul is describing kindness in the way she runs and cares for the home. Do not be angry because of your task and take it out on the family. Further, they are to yield to their own husbands. We spent time on this point a few weeks ago, but remember that this is nothing to be upset about. This is not forced subjection. She is choosing to yield to the best interests of her husband. Older women are to teach the younger women to yield to their own husbands. All these things are to be done so that the word of God is not discredited or slandered.
Younger Men (6-8)
6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Paul now turns his attention to the younger men. It is funny to read some commentators who think that the younger women were skipped. But they were addressed indirectly since we were told what the older women were to teach the younger women. Therefore, those things were the responsibilities of the younger women. The younger men are also to be self-controlled. This has been a consistent instruction to all ages and all genders. The holy people of God must exhibit self-control. In every aspect young men are to be models of good works. Notice the subtle shift to “show yourself” from “younger men.” Due to the context and Paul continuing to stay with categories (slaves, vs 9), Paul is lumping Titus in with the younger men. These responsibilities are for young men and for Titus because he is a young man. Further, Titus’ teaching must show integrity and respect. Further, he must be sound speech that cannot be condemned. Put the opponent to shame, not shaming ourselves or shaming God.
9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Finally, we are to yield to our masters in everything. Be pleasing, not argumentative and not stealing. Verse 10 is a great summary point to control our lives while we are working in this world. Everything we do should make the teaching of God attractive. What are we doing to make the word of God attractive?
- All of us are to act like the holy people of God. God has expectations from us, young or old, man or women.
- Teach through words and teach through your example.
- Make the teaching of God attractive.