1But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.
Titus, in contrast to these defiled persons, is to speak forth that which is fitting for sound doctrine. Anything that is not clearly grounded and founded in the Bible is to be discarded and challenged. The Bible is the authority, not some open-ended storybook to which we make up the ending.
2Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
Paul then begins a series of specific directives as to how certain age groups and persons are to live. This is what a pastor would want to know so he can make sure things are going as they ought to go. Contemporary church philosophy demeans and discounts the elderly, divides people into groups by age and gender, and allows very little opportunity for the young to be taught by the old. What Paul is about to describe will be much different. The ideal church does not cater to the young, but it is a family of God, young and old, male and female, single and married.
The older men are to be temperate, sensible, dignified, sound in faith, love, and perseverance. They are not to become doubtful, unrighteous, lazy, retired from spiritual work, sarcastic, negatively critical, unhelpful, noncontributing, or doctrinally immature. They are to be well-balanced, beacons of spiritual strength and discernment. Unlike the elders, they may not be able to teach, but they ought to provide an example of love, faithfulness, and humility. They ought to be able to know which elder is speaking truth and which one has been led astray. We need more older men who know the Bible and have discernment. Very little saddens me more than seeing an aged man get deceived and encourage others to be deceived because he is one who should be wise and have the respect of others.
3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
The older women are to be mature, steadfast, and stable in their faith, reverent of the Lord and respectful of their husbands and those in authority. They are not to let their mouths get them into trouble by gossiping about others for the sake of making them look bad. They are not to be addicted to alcohol in any way, but they are to be led by the Spirit of God. They are to be teachers of what is good in terms of how a woman of God is to behave and speak. Their speech should be edifying, leading the younger women to become godly as they are, loving their husbands and children. Too often it seems that older men or women seem to paint a disgruntled picture of what marriage and family life is all about. Sure, it can be tough, but marriage ought to be a great joy as should be watching children grow and training them to walk in the Lord. Older women need to show by example and through verbal teaching what marriage ought to be like. They are to be sensible, not being controlled by their emotions but devoted to the Word and to prayer. They are to be pure, not even jesting about interests in other men. They are to be workers at home, which means that they are the ones who are responsible for caring for the things related to domestic life. They are those who watch over and keep the household. If a couple can live off of the husband’s income, why should the wife compromise her chief calling of caring for the home and the children by working? In some cases it makes sense for the wife to work and earn an income. As long as she is able to care for the home, a little extra income is a wise use of time. Proverbs 31:16 says of the excellent wife, “She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.” This woman of God made money by doing work that was compatible with life at home. She bought some land and farmed it to make some extra money. So, a godly woman can work, but her chief calling is to the home. By kind, Scripture means that she is pleasant, happy, good-natured, and agreeable. She is easy and fun to be around rather than one who draws others down. Finally, she, for the sake of honoring the Scripture and God’s design for marriage, subjects herself to her husband. She doesn’t do this to men in general, but only to her husband. She is enabling the husband to initiate and lead, having the final control and decision-making power. This does not mean that her opinions matter less or that she must let herself get run over by a taskmaster husband. She will have her greatest influence and joy by enabling her husband to lead, by advising him, and by resting in his courage, strength, and ability to care for her and love her with all of His being as Christ loves the church. Submitting to Christ is the safest and greatest thing in the world if we know that He loves us and will only do good for us. When a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church, submission in marriage won’t be a frustration but a place of rest and peace.
6Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;
7in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,
8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
The young men have their own issues and struggles that they must deal with. Gossip isn’t the tendency for the young man, but being sensible and an example of good deeds may come as a struggle. The young man is to respect his elders, know the Word of God so that his doctrine is right and pure, and be mature and dignified, not a rebel or wild and uncontrollable. The young men should control their words and speech so that it is wholesome and edifying to the point that no one can question their character based upon a slippage of speech here or there. Wisdom should come out of their mouths to such a degree that those outside of the church marvel and have no accusation of hypocrisy to bring against the church. Men understand the temptations of being young, and to see a young man know what it took them years to learn causes them to marvel at God’s grace and the wisdom in His Word.
9Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
10not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
Those who have chosen to stay on serving their masters need to honor them by submitting to their instruction in all things. Employees must honor the wishes of their employers, as long as their commands don’t require one to violate the Word of God. Rather than complain and talk behind their backs, their wishes need to be honored for the sake of honoring God’s Word. Many become argumentative, complaining and procrastinating. Wasting time while on the clock is a major sin that many do today to disrespect the authority of the boss. Rather, they should be a person that the boss takes pride in and can trust and rejoice in. They ought not to pilfer by keeping back their best effort or by stealing from the business in anyway to promote their own selfish agenda. They are to demonstrate good faith by being joyful in their work and being those who are committed to the task. Masters who have slaves who do these kinds of things will take note because it is rare. What such God-honoring behavior does is give credibility to sound doctrine, preparing the way for the truth of God to be received by the hearts of men. Sound behavior makes sound doctrine much more believable.
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
The grace of God has appeared visibly in human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ Who made it possible for all men to have salvation. The ransom for all was paid. The issue is whether or not a person will repent and allow the righteousness of Christ to be credited to their account by faith. The gracious gift of God must be applied and received. The message of Christ is not a simple “believe to be happy message” but to deny the flesh and anything that honors the devil rather than God. Sensible living is living free from ungodliness and worldly desires. A man of God, woman of God, or leader in the church of God must be sensible, having a life that is purified of sinful attitudes and behaviors. Though the fullness of this is a process, we are called to live righteously in the here and now. Thus, it is a cop-out to say that Christians should continue to be hypocrites because we are imperfect. We are commanded by God to live godly in this present age by His sufficient grace.
13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
The believer is constantly looking forward in hope to the day that Christ will return and take us to be with Him. The believer understands that life with Christ as Ruler will be better than anything this world can offer. We want to see the glory of God when Christ appears because it is He who has set us free from the ways of this world and the bondage to sin and death. He has redeemed us from having to be held captive by the devil to live out every lawless deed. As believers who are His own possession, we are to be living in a way that fulfills the law of Christ, eager and passionate to do what is good.
15These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority Let no one disregard you.
Paul commands Titus to strengthen, encourage, instruct, call to action, correct, challenge, and boldly declare the truth to all in the church. He is not to sugar-coat things or avoid offending people by confronting sin issues. He is to say it like it is, being sure that the church is honoring and conforming to the Word of God and to the desires of Christ. This he is to do with a godly authority as if he is issuing a command or mandate. It might be gentle and gracious, but it must be absolutely in defense of the truth, honoring sound doctrine.