Sundry directions to aged men, Titus 2:1, Titus 2:2. To aged women, Titus 2:3. To young women, Titus 2:4, Titus 2:5. To young men, Titus 2:6. Directions to Titus, relative to his own conduct, Titus 2:7, Titus 2:8. Directions to servants, Titus 2:9, Titus 2:10. What the Gospel of the grace of God teaches all men, Titus 2:11, Titus 2:12. The glorious prospect held out by it; salvation from all sin, and final glory, Titus 2:13-15.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:But speak thou the things - This is a conclusion drawn from the preceding chapter: the Judaizing teachers not only taught a false doctrine, but they led an unholy life; Titus was to act directly opposite; he must teach a sacred doctrine, and the things which become it; he must proclaim the truth, and illustrate that truth. The people must not only be well instructed, but they must be holy in their lives. Principle and practice must go hand in hand.
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.That the aged men be sober - It is very likely that the word aged is to be taken here in its literal sense; that it refers to advanced years, and not to any office in the Church: the whole context seems to require this sense.
For an old man to be a drunkard, a light and trifling person, and a glutton, and not to be sober, grave, and temperate, is not only blamable but monstrous. Seneca has well said: Luxuriosus adolescens peccat; senew insanit. "A young man addicted to a life of luxury transgresses; an old man thus addicted runs mad."
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;The aged women likewise - I believe elderly women are meant, and not deaconesses.
That they be in behavior - Εν καταστηματι ἱεροπρεπεις· That they be in their dress, gait, and general deportment, such as their holy calling requires; that they be not like the world, but like the Church, decent without, and adorned with holiness within.
Not false accusers - Μη διαβολους· Not devils; we have had the same expression applied in the same way, 1 Timothy 3:11 (note).
Not given to much wine - Μη οινῳ πολλῳ δεδουλωμενας· Not enslaved by much wine, not habitual drunkards or tipplers; habit is a species of slavery. Both among the Greeks and Romans old women were generally reputed to be fond of much wine; hence the ancient scholiast on Homer, Il. vi., speaking of old women, says: Χαιρει τῳ οινῳ ἡ ἡλικια αυτη· At this age they delight in wine; which words Ovid seems to have translated literally: Vinosior aetas haec erat. It is likely, therefore, that it was customary among the elderly women, both Greeks and Romans, to drink much wine, and because it was inconsistent with that moderation, which the Gospel requires, the apostle forbids it: doubtless it was not considered criminal among them, because it was a common practice; and we know that the Greek philosophers and physicians, who denied wine to young persons, judged it to be necessary for the aged. See the note on 1 Timothy 5:23.
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,That they may teach the young women to be sober - That it was natural for the young to imitate the old will be readily allowed; it was therefore necessary that the old should be an example of godly living to the young. St. Jerome, taking it for granted that drunkenness and impurity are closely connected, asks this serious question: Quomodo potest docere anus adolescentulas castitatem, cum, si ebrietatem vetulae mulieris adolescentula fuerit imitata, pudica esse non possit? "How can an elderly woman teach young women chastity, when, if the young woman should imitate the drunkenness of the matron, it would be impossible for her to be chaste?"
To love their husbands - The duties recommended in this and the following verses are so plain as to need no comment; and so absolutely necessary to the character of a wife, that no one deserves the name who does not live in the practice of them.
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.Keepers at home - Οικουρους. A woman who spends much time in visiting, must neglect her family. The idleness, dirtiness, impudence, and profligacy of the children, will soon show how deeply criminal the mother was in rejecting the apostle's advice. Instead of οικουρους, keepers of the house, or keepers at home, ACD*EFG, and several of the Itala, have οικουργους, workers at home; not only staying in the house and keeping the house, but working in the house. A woman may keep the house very closely, and yet do little in it for the support or comfort of the family.
That the word of God be not blasphemed - The enemies of the Gospel are quick-eyed to spy out imperfections in its professors; and, if they find women professing Christianity living an irregular life, they will not fail to decry the Christian doctrine on this account: "Behold your boasted religion! it professes to reform all things, and its very professors are no better than others! Our heathenism is as good as your Christianity." These are cutting reproaches; and much they will have to answer for who give cause for these blasphemies.
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.Young men - exhort to be sober-minded - Reformation should begin with the old; they have the authority, and they should give the example. The young of both sexes must also give an account of themselves to God; sober-mindedness in young men is a rare qualification, and they who have it not plunge into excesses and irregularities which in general sap the foundation of their constitution, bring on premature old age, and not seldom lead to a fatal end.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,In all things showing thyself a pattern - As the apostle had given directions relative to the conduct of old men, Titus 2:2, of old women, Titus 2:3, of young women, Titus 2:4, and of young men, Titus 2:6, the words περι παντα, which we translate in all things, should be rather considered in reference to the above persons, and the behavior required in them: showing thyself a pattern of good works to all these persons - being, in sobriety, gravity, temperance, what thou requirest others to be.
In doctrine showing uncorruptness - Mixing nothing with the truth; taking nothing from it; adding nothing to it; and exhibiting it in all its connection, energy, and fullness.
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.Sound speech - Λογον ὑγιη· Sound or healing doctrine. Human nature is in a state of disease; and the doctrine of the Gospel is calculated to remove the disease, and restore all to perfect health and soundness. All false doctrines leave men under the influence of this spiritual disease; the unadulterated doctrine of the Gospel alone can heal men.
He that is of the contrary part - Whether this may refer to the Judaizing teachers in general, or to some one who might, by his false doctrine, have been disturbing the peace of the Churches in Crete, we cannot tell.
Having no evil thing to say of you - Against a person who is sound in his doctrine, and holy in his life, no evil can be justly alleged. He who reports evil of such a person must be confounded when brought to the test. Instead of περι ὑμων, of You, περι ἡμων, of Us, is the reading of CDEFG, and about forty others; with both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Slavonic, Vulgate, Itala, and several of the primitive fathers. This reading makes a better sense, and is undoubtedly genuine.
Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;Exhort servants to be obedient - The apostle refers to those who were slaves, and the property of their masters; even these are exhorted to be obedient ιδιοις δεσποταις, to their own despots, though they had no right over them on the ground of natural justice.
Please them well in all things - They were to endeavor to do this in all things, though they could not hope to succeed in every thing.
Not answering again - Μη αντιλεγοντας· Not contradicting or gainsaying. This is no part of a servant's duty; a servant is hired to do his master's work, and this his master has a right to appoint.
Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.Not purloining - Μη νοσφιζομενους· Neither giving away, privately selling, nor in any way wasting, the master's goods. The word signifies, not only stealing but embezzling another's property; keeping back a part of the price of any commodity sold on the master's account. In Acts 5:2, we translate it, to keep back part of the price; the crime of which Ananias and Sapphira were guilty. It has been remarked that among the heathens this species of fraud was very frequent; and servants were so noted for purloining and embezzling their master's property that fur, which signifies a thief, was commonly used to signify a servant; hence that verse in Virgil, Eclog. iii.:16: -
Quid domini faciant, audent cum talia Fures?
"What may not masters do, when servants (thieves) are so bold?"
On which Servius remarks: Pro Servo Furem posuit, furta enim specialiter servorum sunt. Sic Plautus de servo, Homo es trium literarum, i.e. fur. "He puts fur, a thief, to signify a servant, because servants are commonly thieves. Thus Plautus, speaking of a servant, says: Thou art a man of three letters, i.e. f-u-r, a thief." And Terence denominates a number of servants, munipulus furum, "a bundle of thieves." Eun. 4, 7, 6. The place in Plautus to which Servius refers is in Aulul., act ii. scene iv. in fine: -
- Tun', trium literarum homo,
Me vituperas? F-u-r, etiam fur trifurcifer.
"Dost thou blame me, thou man of three letters?
Thou art a thief, and the most notorious of all knaves."
It was necessary, therefore, that the apostle should be so very particular in his directions to servants, as they were in general thieves almost by profession.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men - Επεφανη γαρ ἡ χαρις του Θεου ἡ σωτηριος πασιν ανθρωποις· Literally translated, the words stand thus: For the grace of God, that which saves, hath shone forth upon all men. Or, as it is expressed in the margin of our authorized version: The grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared. As God's grace signifies God's favor, any benefit received from him may be termed God's grace. In this place, and in Colossians 1:6, the Gospel, which points out God's infinite mercy to the world, is termed the grace of God; for it is not only a favor of infinite worth in itself, but it announces that greatest gift of God to man, the incarnation and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Now it cannot be said, except in a very refined and spiritual sense, that this Gospel had then appeared to all men; but it may be well said that it bringeth salvation to all men; this is its design; and it was to taste death for every man that its author came into the world. There is a beauty and energy in the word επεφανη, hath shined out, that is rarely noted; it seems to be a metaphor taken from the sun. As by his rising in the east and shining out, he enlightens, successively, the whole world; so the Lord Jesus, who is called the Sun of righteousness, Malachi 4:2, arises on the whole human race with healing in his wings. And as the light and heat of the sun are denied to no nation nor individual, so the grace of the Lord Jesus, this also shines out upon all; and God designs that all mankind shall be as equally benefited by it in reference to their souls, as they are in respect to their bodies by the sun that shines in the firmament of heaven. But as all the parts of the earth are not immediately illuminated, but come into the solar light successively, not only in consequence of the earth's diurnal revolution round its own axis, but in consequence of its annual revolution round its whole orbit; so this Sun of righteousness, who has shined out, is bringing every part of the habitable globe into his Divine light; that light is shining more and more to the perfect day; so that gradually and successively he is enlightening every nation, and every man; and, when his great year is filled up, every nation of the earth shall be brought into the light and heat of this unspotted, uneclipsed, and eternal Sun of righteousness and truth. Wherever the Gospel comes, it brings salvation - it offers deliverance from all sin to every soul that hears or reads it. As freely as the sun dispenses his genial influences to every inhabitant of the earth, so freely does Jesus Christ dispense the merits and blessings of his passion and death to every soul of man. From the influences of this spiritual Sun no soul is reprobated any more than from the influences of the natural sun. In both cases, only those who wilfully shut their eyes, and hide themselves in darkness, are deprived of the gracious benefit. It is no objection to this view of the subject, that whole nations have not yet received the Divine light. When the earth and the sun were created, every part of the globe did not come immediately into the light; to effect this purpose fully there must be a complete revolution, as has been marked above, and this could not be effected till the earth had not only revolved on its own axis, but passed successively through all the signs of the zodiac. When its year was completed, and not till then, every part had its due proportion of light and heat. God may, in his infinite wisdom, have determined the times and the seasons for the full manifestation of the Gospel to the nations of the world, as he has done in reference to the solar light; and when the Jews are brought in with the fullness of the Gentiles, then, and not till then, can we say that the grand revolution of the important Year of the Sun of righteousness is completed. But, in the meantime, the unenlightened parts of the earth are not left in total darkness; as there was light
" - ere the infant sun
Was rolled together, or had tried his beams
Athwart the gloom profound;"
light being created, and in a certain measure dispersed, at least three whole days before the sun was formed; (for his creation was a part of the fourth day's work); so, previously to the incarnation of Christ, there was spiritual light in the world; for he diffused his beams while his orb was yet unseen. And even now, where by the preaching of his Gospel he is not yet manifested, he is that true light which enlightens every man coming into the world; so that the moral world is no more left to absolute darkness, where the Gospel is not yet preached, than the earth was the four days which preceded the creation of the sun, or those parts of the world are where the Gospel has not yet been preached. The great year is rolling on, and all the parts of the earth are coming successively, and now rapidly, into the light. The vast revolution seems to be nearly completed, and the whole world is about to be filled with the light and glory of God. A heathen poet, apparently under the inspiration of God (for God has his witnesses every where) speaks of those glorious times in words and numbers which nothing but the Spirit of God can equal. It gratifies myself to refer to them, and it will gratify my reader to find them entered here: -
Ultima Cumaei venit jam carminis aetas:
Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo. -
Talia saecla suis dixerunt, currite, fusis
Concordes stabili fatorum numine Parcae. -
Aspice convexo nutantem pondere mundum,
Terrasque, tractusque maris, coelumque profundum:
Aspice, venturo laetentur ut omnia saeclo!
The last great age, foretold by sacred rhymes,
Renews its finish'd course; Saturnian times
Roll round again; and mighty years, begun
From their first orb, in radiant circles run.
Majestic months, with swift but steady pace,
Set out with him on their appointed race. -
The Fates, when they their happy web have spun,
Shall bless the clew, and bid it smoothly run. -
See labouring nature calls thee to sustain
The nodding frame of heaven and earth and main;
See, to their base restored, earth, seas, and air,
And joyful ages from behind appear In crowding ranks.
Hasten the time, thou God of ages! Even so. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;Teaching us, that, denying, etc. - Παιδευουσα· Instructing us as children are instructed. Christ is the great teacher; and men, in order to learn, must become his disciples - must put themselves under his tuition, and learn of him.
Denying ungodliness - Ασεβειαν· All things contrary to God; whatever would lead us to doubt his being, deny any of his essential attributes; his providence or government of the world, and his influence on the souls of men. Every thing, also, which is opposed to his true worship; theoretical and practical atheism, deism, and irreligion in general.
Worldly lusts - Such desires, affections, and appetites, as men are governed by who have their portion in this life, and live without God in the world. Gluttony, drunkenness, lasciviousness, anger, malice, and revenge; together with the immoderate love of riches, power, and fame.
We should live soberly - Having every temper, appetite, and desire, under the government of reason, and reason itself under the government of the Spirit of God.
Righteously - Rendering to every man his due, injuring no person in his body, mind, reputation, or property; doing unto all as we would they should do to us; and filling up the duties of the particular stations in which it has pleased God to fix us, committing no sin, omitting no duty.
And godly - Ευσεβως. Just the reverse of what is implied in ungodliness. See above.
In this present world - Not supposing that any thing will be purified in the world to come that is not cleansed in this. The three words above evidently include our duty to God, to our neighbor, and to ourselves.
1. We are to live soberly in respect to ourselves.
2. Righteously in respect to our neighbor. And
3. Godly, or piously, in respect to our Maker.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;Looking for that blessed hope - Expecting the grand object of our hope, eternal life. See Titus 1:2. This is what the Gospel teaches us to expect, and what the grace of God prepares the human heart for. This is called a blessed hope; those who have it are happy in the sure prospect of that glory which shall be revealed.
The glorious appearing - Και επιφανειαν της δοξης του μεγαλου Θεου και σωτηρος ἡμων Ιησου Χριστου. This clause, literally translated, is as follows: And the appearing of the glory of the great God, even our Savior Jesus Christ. On this passage I must refer the reader to the Essay on the Greek Article, by H. S. Boyd, Esq., appended to the notes on the Epistle to the Ephesians, where both the structure and doctrine of this passage are explained at large.
Some think that the blessed hope and glorious appearing mean the same thing; but I do not think so. The blessed hope refers simply to eternal glorification in general; the glorious appearing, to the resurrection of the body; for when Christ appears he will change this vile body, and make it like unto his Glorious Body, according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. See Philippians 3:20, Philippians 3:21.
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.Who gave himself for us - Who gave his own life as a ransom price to redeem ours. This is evidently what is meant, as the words λυτρωσηται and λαον περιουσιον imply. The verb λυτροω signifies to redeem or ransom by paying a price, as I have often had occasion to observe; and περιουσιος signifies such a peculiar property as a man has in what he has purchased with his own money. Jesus gave his life for the world, and thus has purchased men unto himself; and, having purchased the slaves from their thraldom, he is represented as stripping them of their sordid vestments, cleansing and purifying them unto himself that they may become his own servants, and bringing them out of their dishonorable and oppressive servitude, in which they had no proper motive to diligence and could have no affection for the despot under whose authority they were employed. Thus redeemed, they now become his willing servants, and are zealous of good works - affectionately attached to that noble employment which is assigned to them by that Master whom it is an inexpressible honor to serve. This seems to be the allusion in the above verse.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.These things speak - That is, teach; for λαλει, speak, has the same meaning here as διδασκε, teach, which, as being synonymous, is actually the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus.
And exhort - Παρακαλει· Repeat them again and again, and urge them on their attention and consciences.
And rebuke - Ελεγχε· Demonstrate the importance, utility, and necessity of them; and show them that God requires their obedience.
With all authority - Μετα πασης επιταγης· With all that authority with which thy office invests thee, and which thou hast received from God.
Let no man despise thee - That is: Act so that no person shall have any cause to despise thee, either for thy work, or the manner and spirit is which thou dost perform it.
1. Few portions of the New Testament excel this chapter. It may well form the creed, system of ethics, and text book of every Christian preacher. Does any man inquire what is the duty of a Gospel minister! Send him to the second chapter of the Epistle to Titus for a complete answer. There he will find what he is to believe, what he is to practice, and what he is to preach. Even his congregation is parcelled out to him. The old and the young of both sexes, and those who are in their employment, are considered to be the objects of his ministry; and a plan of teaching, in reference to those different descriptions of society, is laid down before him. He finds here the doctrine which he is to preach to them, the duties which he is required to inculcate, the motives by which his exhortations are to be strengthened, and the end which both he and his people should have invariably in view.
2. The Godhead of Jesus Christ is here laid down in a most solemn and explicit manner: He is the great God our Savior, ὁ μεγας Θεος και Σωτηρ· human language can go no higher, and the expressions are such, and are so placed, that it is impossible either to misunderstand or to misapply them. He who is the great God, higher than the highest, is our Savior; he who is our Savior is the great God; but Jesus Christ is our Savior, and Jesus Christ is here stated to be the great God.
3. The extent of human redemption is here also pointed out. The saving grace of this great God hath shone out upon every man; none has been passed by, none left uninfluenced, none without the first offer of life eternal, and a sufficiency of grace to qualify him for the state.
4. The operation of Divine grace in preparing the soul for glory is next referred to. It cleanses us from all unrighteousness, it purifies us unto God, and makes us fervent and abundant in good works. This system is worthy of God, and is properly suited to the state and necessities of man. These are truths which must be preached, which are not preached enough, and which cannot be preached too often. Awake, pastors! and do not the work of the Lord carelessly. Awake, people! and believe to the saving of your souls. How shall he who is styled a minister of the Gospel, and who neither knows, feels, nor heartily inculcates these things, give an account in the great day, of himself, his calling, and his flock, to God? And when this Gospel is preached faithfully and zealously, how shall the people escape who neglect so great a salvation? Neglect, in such a case, is the highest contempt which man can offer to his Maker. Surely such conduct must expect judgment without mixture of mercy. Reader, lay this to heart.