Titus 2. . Doctrine Is Healthy. Make It Look Good.
Key Notes: Healthy doctrine. The sensible mind. The Great God and our Savior.
Titus 2 seems to restate parts of I Timothy on the description of how Christians should behave. However, Paul is speaking of Cretans, not Ephesians, and of followers rather than leaders. He spends the first ten verses on older and younger people, and closes with a view of the future. The Greek words are loaded with enriching information.
2:1 Teach sound doctrine.
"Sound" comes from the Gr root "hygia" referring to health.
"Doctrine" means teaching. We tend to equate doctrine with theology, but doctrine is authoritative teaching on how to behave (2:1–10), as well as how to think (2:11–15). But what is healthy doctrine?
2:2 Older men are to be temperate (not alcoholic), serious, sensible.
The Greek word "sophron", translated "sensible", is rich and complex: it conveys a sense of rational living, being purposeful, prudent, disciplined, modest, wise, and sober. The older men are also to be sound (healthy) in faith, love and steadfastness.
2:3 Older women are to be reverent (Gr. behaving like a priestess in a temple), not false accusers or alcoholic.
They are to teach what is good, and so train (Gr. "sophron" root indicates wise disciplining) the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible (Gr. "sophron" again), chaste, domestic, kind, submissive. The Word of God must not be discredited.
The idea that older people should be training the younger is practiced today by parents teaching their grade-school aged children in youth groups, but the idea of older people training young parents has been neglected. Most older Christians believe in retirement from church, from Christ's school of learning and service, but Paul has not heard of that.
2:6 Younger men are to control themselves (Gr." sophron").
2:7 Lastly, Titus himself must model good deeds, showing in his teaching or doctrine, integrity, gravity, and sound speech. Opponents must have nothing to accuse him of.
The best teaching of doctrine is the demonstration of thoughtful, godly living.
Comment: The Gr. word "sophron" or its derivatives appears in Titus 2 five times: 2:2 old men "sensible"; 2:4 old women "train", 2:5 young women "sensible", 2:6 young men "control themselves" and 2:12 all of us "live soberly". For the Greeks, sophron summarized all of the virtues except perhaps courage. It was for them health of soul. It was also everything that the Cretans were not.
2:9 Slaves must be radically different from their pagan brothers--submissive, giving 110%, not talking back, not stealing, but truly faithful. They should decorate (Gr."kosmosin" is the word from which we get cosmetics) the doctrine of God. Theirs is the most demanding of all the jobs Paul talks about. Slaves are instructed to adorn / dress up / make beautiful the teachings of Christ.
Listen to a master talking to a friend in the marketplace in Crete:
"I don't know what has gotten into Lucius. You know he has always been troublesome. Beatings don't work. All of a sudden he is doing everything I ask without complaint. Nothing has been missing from the house for a month. I sent him out to buy meat and he came back with excellent beef and all the left-over money. He says he is following a Jesus Christus. I am delighted and mystified."
Paul speaks of healthy doctrine. Is teaching on godly living healthy?
"If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in His eyes...I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord your healer."(Ex.15:26).
A casual glance at the Ten Commandments shows the obvious, that breaking them-- by murder (VI), adultery (VII), stealing (VIII), lying (IX) and coveting (X)--is not healthy.
"Dad, I believe the Ten Commandments were meant to keep us healthy". TGM.
"Healthy doctrine is staying home and resting on Sunday". --A seven-year old.
Paul speaks of healthy doctrine. Unfortunately, the Greeks did not know how to acquire it --"sophron"--and all it implies. Paul says we Christians are the possessors. How? That is the subject of the second part of the chapter.
2:11 The grace of God has appeared. The Greek word translated "appeared" is from the root word "epiphany". It expresses the idea of a dramatic appearance, like the sunrise, or a rescuing army. This dramatic appearance, Christ's First Epiphany, was "for the salvation of all men". The second Epiphaany of Christ will be even more dramatic.
2:12 Grace has appeared to train us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live soberly (in ourselves), righteously (toward others) and godly (toward God) in this world.
How does grace train us? The Greek word is used for teaching children. There is another place in NT which speaks of leading a child. "The Law was our baby-sitter (Gr. "pedagogue", one who walks the child to school) until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith". (Gal.3:24). The Law of God was our first teacher, bringing us to the point of recognizing failure and throwing ourselves on God's mercy.
Law came before the Cross, Grace after the Cross. After we have come to the Cross, Grace trains us, leads us on toward Christ's appearance. Grace trains us to say no to the world and yes to God.
Grace also has our heads lifted up "awaiting our Blessed Hope, the appearance (Gr. epiphany)-- Christ's Second Advent--of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself to redeem us and purify for Himself a people of His own, zealous for good deeds."
Is "...the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" two members of the Trinity or one? Jesus is directly called God in five other places: Jn.1:1; Jn.20:28; Rom.9:5; Heb.1:8; IIPet.1:1. There are three arguments in favor of making this reference the sixth reference to Christ's deity.
a.) The grammar favors it.
b.) It was common for the Romans to refer to the Caesar as "The Great God and Savior."
c.) Nowhere is the Epiphany, the Second Coming of Christ, referred to other than Christ Himself.
He will come "in the glory of the Father". (Matt.16:27)
He will come " with the holy angels". (Mk.8:38)
He will come and "sit on His glorious throne". (Matt.25:31)
There is no suggestion that the Father Himself comes to reign on earth.
In short, God's plan is to
Penetrate our world for salvation through Christ. 2:11
Train us by grace. 2:12
Prepare us for our Blessed Hope. 2:13
Redeem us from all iniquity. 2:14
Purify us as a people for Himself. 2:14
2:15 Declare these things. Exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.