Things Fitting for Sound Doctrine, Part 1 (Titus 2:1-5)
Titus is to teach, “Sound doctrine,” which refers here to the foundational, objective truths of the gospel (c.f. Titus 1:9). But in addition to the objective truths of the apostolic teaching, he is also to teach what is “fitting” for sound doctrine—i.e. what accords with or is suitable for it. In other words, Titus is to teach both the doctrinal truths of the gospel, and the application of that doctrine in practical obedience.
I. Older Men (verse 2)
As some of the most influential examples in the congregation, the older men are to be temperate, dignified, and sensible. In other words they are to be in possession of their own appetites, maintain a seriousness of purpose that calls forth respect, and not be carried away into thoughts or pursuits of worthless things. They should also be vibrant believers, strong and healthy in faith, love, and perseverance. Even as men become older and their bodies become weaker, their love, faith and perseverance are to continue to increase in strength. The church needs examples of men who not only start well, but finish well, and set the mark after which we all strive.
II. Older Women (verse 3)
The older women are to be “reverent in their behavior.” They are to treat all of life as sacred, as a means of devotion and service to the Lord. There shouldn’t be blatant inconsistency in their lives—i.e. talking about holy and sacred things in one context, and then moving into another and maliciously gossipinging about other people or getting drunk.
Paul not only says what older women are to be, but also tells us what they are to do. As women of exemplary character and godliness, one of their primary tasks in the church is to teach and encourage the younger women to pursue the same. This teaching and encouraging will take place not first of all in a classroom, but in the context of day-to-day time spent with the younger women. Therefore, the older women of the congregation must be cultivating relationships with the younger women in which this kind of interaction can take place. At the same time, the younger women must be willing to humbly receive the help of the older women.
III. Younger Women (verses 4-5)
The primary responsibility of a wife and mother is to love her husband and to love her children. The younger women also are to be sensible—they aren’t to be carried off into trivial obsessions or consumed with thoughts about things that are of no value. They are also to be “pure,” undivided in their devotion and commitment to loving their husbands alone. They are to be “workers at home,” diligent in fulfilling their responsibilities in their primary calling as wives and mothers. They are to be “kind,” promoting an atmosphere of mutual respect among the members of the family. Finally, younger women are to be “subject to their own husbands,” not contentious or argumentative, but respecting the God-given role of leadership given to their husband, and encouraging and helping him to fulfill his responsibility as spiritual leader.
They are to live in this way “so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Their life must not be a stumbling block to anyone else believing God’s word. In the way we live, if we are giving people a wrong idea about who God is or about the goodness of His word, we are laying a stumbling block before them and leading His Name to be mocked and blasphemed as a result.
- What is the difference between a biblical emphasis on practical obedience and mere moralism? How does the gospel affect the way we view obedience? Why is practical instruction on obedience important for those who have believed the gospel?
- If you are an older woman, in what ways are you seeking to be “reverent in your behavior”? Are you given to gossip or selfish indulgence in any way? In what areas might you seek to become more consistently devoted to Christ?
- Wives and mothers, are you still treating love for your husband and love to your children as your primary responsibility? In which of the areas mentioned in these verses can you pray for the Lord’s continued grace as you seek to become more Christlike in your behavior?