Instructions for Different Groups
1Titus, you must teach only what is correct. 2Tell the older men to have self-control and to be serious and sensible. Their faith, love, and patience must never fail.
3Tell the older women to behave as those who love the Lord should. They must not gossip about others or be slaves of wine. They must teach what is proper, 4so the younger women will be loving wives and mothers. 5Each of the younger women must be sensible and kind, as well as a good homemaker, who puts her own husband first. Then no one can say insulting things about God's message.
6Tell the young men to have self-control in everything.
7Always set a good example for others. Be sincere and serious when you teach. 8Use clean language that no one can criticize. Do this, and your enemies will be too ashamed to say anything against you.
9Tell slaves always to please their owners by obeying them in everything. Slaves must not talk back to their owners 10or steal from them. They must be completely honest and trustworthy. Then everyone will show great respect for what is taught about God our Savior.
God's Kindness and
11God has shown us undeserved grace by coming to save all people. 12He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world. 13We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself to rescue us from everything evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right.
15Teach these things, as you use your full authority to encourage and correct people. Make sure you earn everyone's respect.
Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) is held in high esteem in Scotland, both for his commitment to truth and his concern for the poor. It is said of him that “he warmed Glasgow,” a commendation of the gospel as much as Chalmers. He exemplifies the gospel as God at work to “rescue us from everything that is evil and to make our hearts pure” (v 14). Far from truncating the gospel into a way of getting us to heaven, the apostle Paul widens our scope to show it transforming people here and now. People who then wait for the fulfillment of all their longings in the return of Jesus (v 13).
The defeat of evil is demonstrated in their day to day activity. Older men think seriously about their example and keep persevering to the end (v 2). Older women take care how they speak and what they drink (v 4). Younger women (in the culture of ancient Greece) take pride in their roles as wives while young men keep themselves in check “in everything” (v 8) (money, sex and power?). Slaves meanwhile, without resentment, serve with honesty (vv 9,10). Throughout, the key idea is self-control, against a first century background that admired heavy drinkers with consequent loss of control. (see Gordon Fee, New International Biblical Commentary, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus p186, Hendrickson/Paternoster 2010)
Believers are called to distinctiveness.
The behaviour of believers should be such that “no one can say anything insulting about God’s message” (v 5), with enemies too ashamed to say anything (v 8) and everyone showing “great respect for what is taught about God our Saviour” (v 10). Unwarranted accusations may come, but there must be nothing to corroborate them. The gospel is a magnificent story of Jesus giving himself to rescue us. But it is only good news if people experience its warmth and are attracted by its ability to transform.
Saviour God, who rescues us from evil and for good, may your Holy Spirit grow the fruit of self-control in me so that my tongue ceases to gossip or criticize and I deny my self-absorbed cravings. Deliver us from evil, I pray, and bring in your kingdom. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.