New American Standard Version
2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.
The phrase “but as for you” set Titus apart from the false teachers whose rhetoric was empty, deceptive, and erroneous. Titus was to “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” as opposed to the false teachers who taught things they should not teach. The best way to silence the false teachers was through the teaching of sound doctrine that resulted in right conduct. Paul instructed Titus to address the older men (2:2), older women (2:3), younger women (2:4-5), younger men (2:6-8), and slaves (2:9-10) regarding their conduct as believers.
2:2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
Although no age is specified, the older men were probably men who had raised a family and whose own children were now raising their own families. Older men were to be “temperate” or sober and clear-thinking individuals capable of making sound judgments. They were to be “dignified” or live lives worthy of respect. Like the elders (1:8), they were to be “sensible” or self-controlled individuals. They were also expected to be “sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.”
2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
Older women were to be “reverent in their behavior” and so give outward evidence of their inner devotion to Christ. They were to be distinctive in the community because of their determination to live holy lives. They were to give evidence of self-control in the area of their speech and physical appetites. Only a woman with such a credible life would be qualified to teach what is good.
2:4 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
2:5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
The older women played a key mentorship role in the life of the church. They were charged with the responsibility of encouraging the young women to love their families and thus contribute to the stability of the Christian home. They were also to teach the young women to be “sensible,” a quality listed for each group addressed in this section of the letter. The young women were to be encouraged to be faithful to their marriage vows, effective managers of their domestic responsibilities, and kind. In addition, they were to be “subject to their own husbands” or relate properly to their husbands. Young women committed to these things would contribute to the strength and stability of the Christian home. A happy and harmonious Christian home would also serve as a witness in the community to the cause of Christ and not give unbelievers reason to scoff at the gospel.
2:6 Likewise urge the younger men to be sensible;
2:7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,
2:8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
Titus was to “urge” the younger men to be “sensible” or to exercise self-control. The word “urge” means, “persuade with authority.” Titus was to persuade the younger men not only through his teaching, but also through his personal example “in all things.” He was to embody his exhortation. Titus was to set a “dignified” example in both his deeds and his doctrine. Both were to be good, pure, sound, and free of unmixed motives. This would clearly set him apart from the false teachers and not give them cause to speak bad about Titus, Paul, or any faithful minister of the gospel.
2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
2:10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
The conduct of every Christian is important, regardless of age or station in life. The conduct of slaves was important because many Christian slaves worked for pagan masters. Titus was to urge slaves to serve their masters willingly and not oppose them in word or deed. Slaves were to demonstrate the highest level of honesty and integrity by not stealing from their masters and proving themselves to be genuinely trustworthy. The aim of such distinctive conduct was that the Christian message might be strongly commended and perhaps, result in the salvation of their masters. The world will judge the gospel message by the negative (see verse 5) or positive (verse 10) behavior of those who embrace it.
2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
The word “for” introduces the theological basis or motivation for following the practical and ethical instruction outlined in the preceding verses (2:1-10). The “grace of God” is His unmerited favor toward men. “Has appeared” looks back to the historical revelation of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. God’s grace, revealed through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is able to bring salvation to all who believe.
2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
The grace of God not only makes it possible for lost men to come to Christ, it also makes it possible for those who come to Christ to live distinctively new lives. God’s grace makes it possible for Christians to say “No” to ungodliness and all that is displeasing and in opposition to God. God’s grace also makes it possible for men to say “Yes” to sensible, righteous, and godly living in the midst of an age that pressures them to live otherwise. “Sensibly” emphasizes a believer’s relationship to himself, “righteously” emphasizes his relationship to others, and “godly” emphasizes his relationship to God.
2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;
The expectation of the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ is a further incentive to living “sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” The words “hope” and “appearing” refer to the same event, the appearing of Christ Himself. “God” and “Savior” refer to the same person.
2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
The voluntary (“who gave Himself”) and substitutionary (“for us”) death of Jesus Christ should also inspire believers to godly living. Christ died to rescue us from the penalty and power of sin and to purify us. We are His people and should give evidence of our special relationship to Him by serving Him and obeying the ethical demands of the gospel.
2:15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Titus was to continue to earnestly and authoritatively proclaim (see 2:1) the preceding things set forth by Paul to the people of Crete and hold them accountable for their response. He was to allow no one to despise his authority by trying to evade his or her responsibility to obey Paul’s instruction.
New International Version
2:1 You [in contrast to the false teachers] must teach what is in accord [consistent with] with sound [sound doctrine is best antidote to false doctrine] doctrine [the content of the faith].
2:2 Teach the older men [senior members of the community; the “pool” from which elders were appointed] to be temperate [to have a clear mind for sound decision making], worthy of respect [serious-minded; they needed to “live down” the stereotype of what it meant to be Cretan (1:12)], self-controlled [sensible, disciplined behavior], and sound in faith [healthy and personal faith], in love [cf. Jn. 13:34] and in endurance [patience].
2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent [appropriate; that which is suitable to holiness; Christlike] in the way they live, not to be slanderers [gossipers] or addicted to [slaves to] much wine, but to teach [through word and example within their circles of friends and family] what is good.
2:4 Then [so that; shows purpose behind Paul’s instructions about how Titus should teach] they can train [mentor] the younger women to love their husbands and children [perhaps false teachers had influenced the younger women to disregard the things mentioned by Paul],
2:5 to be self-controlled and pure [chaste], to be busy at home, to be kind [in relationships with husband and children], and to be subject to [does not suggest inferiority] their husbands, so that no one will malign [to speak lightly; to slander; indicates that the believers were being watched by others] the word of God.
2:6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled [of a sound mind].
2:7 In everything set them an example [type; role model] by doing what is good [words must be backed up by blameless life]. In your teaching [doctrine] show integrity [in contrast to false teachers; not corrupt], seriousness [teaching with reverence]
2:8 and soundness of speech [refers to Titus’ presentation of the gospel] that cannot be condemned [unable to be accused], so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad [no ammunition] to say about us.
2:9 Teach slaves [the conduct of every Christian is important regardless of station in life] to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,
2:10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that [aim of distinctive conduct] in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared [to be made clear or manifest; appeared bodily in Jesus] to all [salvation has been made available through Christ to everyone; does not imply that everyone will be saved] men.
2:12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness [lack of love/disregard for God] and worldly passions [refers to a belief/value system opposed to God], and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age [cf. Phil. 2:15],
2:13 while we wait for [to expect] the blessed hope—the glorious appearing [second coming] of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
2:14 who gave [voluntarily; an act of love] himself for us to redeem [obtain release by the payment of a price] us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own [special], eager to do what is good [as opposed to Prov. 6:18].
2:15 These [cf. 2:1-10], then, are the things you should teach [to speak out]. Encourage [advise, commend] and rebuke [express disapproval] with all authority. Do not let anyone despise [to overlook, to disregard] you [cf. 1 Tim. 4:12].