Titus 2: “Teach, Teach, Teach”

In this section, 2:1-10, Paul turns his attention from the issues of church leadership and false teachers to the various groups within the church. His goal is for them to be aware of the moral obligation they have to the people in their particular age group and community.

Here’s the breakdown of each group:

  • (v. 2) Older Men
  • (v. 3) Older Women
  • (v. 6) Young Men
  • (v. 9) Slaves

The theme in Paul’s instructions is not only what each group is to do, but the responsibility for Titus to “promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching.” Yes we can learn from Paul depending on the category we fall into, but the important contextual takeaway is that Paul is writing regarding what he wants a young pastor to learn.

Here’s the takeaways of each group:

  • (v. 2) Older Men
    • exercise self-control
    • to be worthy of respect
    • to live wisely
    • Must have sound faith
    • Be filled with love and patience
  • (v. 3) Older Women
    • live in a way that honors God
    • Must not slander others
    • Be heavy drinkers
    • Teach others what is good
    • Must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children
    • Live wisely
    • Be pure
    • Work in their homes
    • Do good
    • Be submissive to their husbands
  • (v. 6) Young Men
    • Live wisely

What’s interesting in the category of “Young Men” is Paul’s instructions not to young men, but to Titus himself.

  • And you yourself (Titus) must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized.
  • (v. 9) Slaves 
    • Must always obey their masters
    • Do their best to please them (their masters)
    • They must not talk back
    • Must not steal
    • Must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good

I know this may seem redundant to read, but we can learn a lot about the culture and community when we read this with a first century perspective.

Closing Statement

Titus 2:11-14 (NLT) 11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was quoted as saying, “I fear that Christians who stand with only one leg upon earth, also stand with only one leg in heaven.” Bonhoeffer is concerned for Christians who disengaged from the world and don’t take responsibility to bear witness for Christ in the world they actually live in.

The InterVarsity Press Commentary pointed out an interesting suggestion regarding the passage above: The language of this text, especially verses 11-14, is majestic and somewhat allusive. Content, tone and form suggest the passage was probably originally constructed for a baptismal service. Its use of terms that were widely popular made it applicable in this context in which Paul seeks contact with the outsider. But despite these points of contact, the theological basis for the new life that Paul establishes places this life into an entirely different category.

In a few short weeks we will be celebrating our Church Picnic and Baptismal Service. When I think about texts to use, this one will for sure be up there on my list.

Re-read (v. 11-14) from the perspective of baptism and allow that to challenge the way you choose to live today.