Online Bible Commentary
In Accord with Sound Doctrine
Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-- 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul is writing this letter to Titus, who was helping to organize the new churches on the island of Crete, in the Mediterranean. After Paul’s two-year house arrest in Rome, he and Titus traveled to Crete and evangelized several towns.
Paul then left Titus there to complete the organization of churches. This letter was written about mid-62 to mid-64 A.D. from the city of Nicopolis, Greece, or, perhaps, Philippi, Macedonia.
The letter was written at about the same time as Paul wrote 1Timothy. This book is one of the three pastoral epistles of Paul. 1 and 2 Timothy are the other two.
Titus was a Gentile from Macedonia. He was led to Christ by Paul. He was a travelling companion of Paul’s at times, as they went about their missionary work.
Paul wrote this letter to Titus to help him with the organization of churches in Crete. Titus was being confronted by Judaizers, Jewish Christians who wanted to enforce some of the Jewish religious traditions, such as circumcision.
Paul is writing this letter through his amanuensis, believed to be Luke. In the Pastoral Epistles, or pastoral letters, Paul is giving instructions and qualifications for pastors and church leaders to heed.
Previously Paul wrote to Timothy who was helping the established churches in Ephesus. Both Titus and Timothy are having to deal with false teachers in the churches.
In Timothy’s case the false teaching is primarily Gnostic in nature. In Titus’ case the false teaching is primarily Judaism in nature. The island of Crete has a large Jewish population, and their teaching is creeping into the churches as Jews convert to Christianity.
Paul begins by writing “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:” (v. 1). Here Paul is instructing Titus on how to teach each gender and age group in the church.
Above all, what he teaches must be “sound doctrine”. This is the overriding statement of the whole passage.
The teaching specifics that follow must always be subject to this statement. Whatever he teaches, and trains other to teach, must be of sound doctrine. It can not be false doctrine, which was a huge problem that Timothy was facing in Ephesus, and that Titus was facing, to a lesser degree.
Paul continues “that the older men” (v. 2a). First, Paul addresses the proper teaching for “older men”. The term “older men” is not defined.
Since the attributes that follow align with those of overseers (1Timothy 3), likely this designation would refer to those who were eligible to teach.
The term “older men” could have meant to be men over 50. Hippocrates wrote that, of the seven periods of a man’s life, the last two periods began at age fifty.
However, in Judaism, eligibility for the priesthood began at age thirty. Jesus began His ministry at age thirty. Whichever the case, the only other age group mentioned in this passage for men is “young men”, mentioned in verse 6.
The “older men” are to be taught six virtues. Paul writes “be sober, reverent, temperate,” (v. 2b). So, the first three virtues they are to be taught are to be self- controlled, godly, and even tempered.
In other words, they are to be well respected by those in whom they come in contact. This was a common theme throughout this chapter. It was important to the spread of Christianity that Christians behaved in a manner that endeared respect in the community.
Paul continues by writing “sound in faith, in love, in patience;” (v. 2c). So, the next three virtues to be taught these older men were taken from the three cardinal virtues of Christianity: faith, love, and hope.
Paul then turns his attention to how to teach the older women. He writes “the older women” (v. 3a). Again, like men, the only other age group for women listed is “younger women”, in verse 4.
Paul lists four virtues to be taught to these “older women”. He writes “that they be reverent in behavior” (v. 3b).
They should be taught to be reverent in the way they live. In other words, they should be taught godly living.
Paul writes “not slanderers” (v. 3c). The older women should be taught not to slander, which typically happens through gossip.
Paul continues with the third virtue to be taught to the older women when he writes “not given to much wine” (v. 3d). They should not be drunk.
The fourth teaching was to be “teachers of good things—” (v. 3e). The older women should teach godly ways, and not evil ways.
Paul expands on this teaching by the “older women” in verse four. He writes “that they admonish the young women” (v. 4a). This godly teaching was to include admonishing the younger women.
The word admonish carries a greater weight than just teaching. It also means to advise, urge, or even to warn, reprimand or rebuke. This teaching was to be taken very seriously.
Paul continues with seven admonishments to younger women for godly living. He writes “to love their husbands” (v. 4b).
It is interesting that he lists this first, and it is not by chance. If a wife shows love for her husband everything else in the home usually falls in place.
The second admonishment is “to love their children” (v. 4c). Wives should put their husbands first, and then the children. When this order gets reversed, marriages usually end.
Next, Paul writes “to be discreet” (v. 5a). To be discreet means to be careful to not offend others, especially your husband.
The fourth admonishment is to be “chaste” (v. 5b). The Biblical meaning for chaste means to be pure, spotless, and reverential towards your husband.
The fifth admonishment is to be “homemakers” (v. 5c). Wives are to manage the home.
Next, wives are to be “good” (v. 5d). This is a reference to being godly.
The seventh, and final, admonishment is that wives are to be “obedient to their own husbands” (v. 5e). This is a teaching referenced elsewhere in the Bible that states that God is the head of the husband and the husband is the head of the wife.
Paul continues with “that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (v. 5f). The purpose of these seven admonishments is not to make women second class citizens, but to honor God (v. 5g).
In conclusion, our purpose as Christians is to honor God. We do that by obeying God’s teachings, the doctrine of the Bible. We are to be in accord with sound doctrine.