Friday 28 September 2018

Bible Book:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. (v. 11-13)

Titus 2:1-14 Friday 28 September 2018

Psalm: Psalm 147


Paul had left Titus, one of his partners in mission, in Crete to establish a church with a properly appointed eldership in each town (Titus 1:5). As in his letters to Timothy, Paul has expressed concern to have a robust framework for resisting false teaching, and that is the background against which this chapter begins. “But as for you” has an emphasis on “sound doctrine”, meaning in this context both “authentic” and wholesome in promoting clean and honest living. Whilst this is stated in general terms in the concluding verses of today’s passage, quoted above these notes, Paul first expounds the outcomes of the sound doctrine Timothy is to teach in terms of instructions for different groups within the Church. A similar approach is found in Colossians 3:18-4:1 and Ephesians 5:22-6:9, but whereas in those passages different members of family groups are addressed (husbands/wives, children/parents, slaves/masters), here it is the adult church membership categorised by age, sex and social status.

Paul is adapting typical lists of admirable qualities of character that were common in Greek writings. As always in translating one language to another it is no surprise that different English versions choose different words as best equivalents to the Greek sense, but whichever version you read the general sense is clear. Whilst “temperate, serious, prudent” as appropriate behaviours for older men can be found in pagan codes, “sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (v. 2) represents Paul’s Christian adaptation. The particular temptations noted in relation to older women – gossiping and drinking too much alcohol – are typical of every generation, and of men as well as women. Titus is not instructed to address younger women himself but to charge the older women to teach them to love their husbands and children, the twin virtues that were universally expected from young married women, along with further virtues in line with the culture at that time. Young men are merely taught to exercise self-control, but Titus himself will model other qualities they should emulate, and which will ensure opponents have no grounds to speak evil of the church (v. 8). Finally, slaves are expected to submit to their masters in all things (compare 1 Timothy 6:1), and in good grace, for the gospel’s sake.


To Ponder

  • To what extent do you endorse the claim in v. 11-12 that the purpose of salvation is educative in training us to renounce worldliness and live lives of self-control?
  • Are v. 13-14 expressive of your own hope for the future, or how would you differently express the Christian hope as you understand it?
  • How should we interpret the moral instructions in this passage now that slavery is outlawed and marriages are viewed as equal partnerships rather than the role of women being household management and submission to husbands?
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