Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Titus 2:1-14

1 But you are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching. 2 Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. 3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.

6 In the same way, encourage the young men to be self-controlled 7 in everything. Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. 8 Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that any opponent will be ashamed, because he doesn’t have anything bad to say about us.

9 Slaves are to submit to their masters in everything, and to be well-pleasing, not talking back 10 or stealing, but demonstrating utter faithfulness, so that they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in everything.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession, eager to do good works.

The Original Intent

1) What is the overarching theme of Titus? (verse 14)

As we study any passage in the Bible, theme and context is always important to understand. Titus, a letter written by Paul* to both Titus and probably the local churches (note the phrase “all of you” in Titus 3:15) on the island of Crete, gives instruction, exhortation, and encouragement.

Paul had left Titus on Crete to set up the churches by appointing elders and instructing various groups on how to walk out their faith. He tells them they are redeemed and forgiven by the perfect and complete act of Jesus’ death on the cross but growing from this new life is an eagerness to do good works fueled by the Spirit now residing in the believers. (verse 14)

If you read the three chapters of Titus (which I encourage! #HisWordsBeforeOurs), “good works” are mentioned seven times, so clearly this is a major theme in the letter. (Titus 1:16, Titus 2:7, Titus 2:14, Titus 3:1, Titus 3:8, and Titus 3:14) Paul begins by reminding them that “knowledge of the truth … leads to godliness.” (Titus 1:1) He also speaks of believers living in a “sensible, righteous, and godly way.”(Titus 2:12)

Thus, as churches are being set up, those in leadership roles, whether official or unofficial, should continually learn about God, which would then lead them to do good works. It was not good works leading to faithfulness, but a Spirit-filled heart leading to good works. (Titus 3:4-7)

*Some scholars believe Paul was not the writer of Titus. However, it is difficult to embrace this when God’s Word explicitly states Paul as the author. The topic might be an interesting rabbit trail to follow, but it is beyond the scope of today’s Digging Deeper Study.

The Everyday Application

1) What is the overarching theme of Titus? (verse 14)

When you read through Paul’s writings, there is one thing you can be sure about. Paul did not waver on grace. He believed salvation comes only through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:11, 1 Timothy 2:5)

What God did through Jesus at the cross is sufficient to bring us into right standing with God “while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (verse 13) However, Paul’s writings also emphasize the importance of holy living. He never taught the heresy that grace + godly living equals salvation. Rather, he taught that out of a grace-filled heart flows a desire to live a godly life. (Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 10:9-10)

Jesus redeemed all believers from lawlessness and cleansed us to make for Himself His own people who are “eager to do good works.” (verse 14) Living in godliness is a supernatural outgrowth and result of the believer growing in knowledge and understanding of God through studying God’s word and praying to the Author of the Word. (Titus 1:1) This is not a call to perfection, otherwise we would not need grace. It is a call to reveal to the world around us the heart change inside of us. As Jen Wilkin repeated in her study of 1 Peter, “Let your actions shout the gospel!” 

The Original Intent

2) How is an “older woman” defined in this passage? Who does she teach and how does she teach? (verses 3-5)

In context of the letter, older women were those who had a mature and active relationship with God and had experienced life events that younger women either were in the midst of experiencing or had not yet experienced, such as marriage and raising children. It is interesting that Paul addressed the character and behavior of older women first, telling Titus that their actions were to be an example to the younger women. Implied in this is that the behavior of the older women was directly linked to their relationship with God.

In fact, just a few verses later, Paul tells Titus to be “an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching” to the younger men. (verse 7) While not a direct instruction for the older women, this was a good word for all the leaders of the social groups within the churches on Crete. Again, their good behavior was not for the sake of keeping the law; this divinely led behavior was borne out of their relationship with Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:8)

Paul instructs them to “teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women….” (verses 3-4) This teaching was to be both verbal and by example. Their actions, and the examples they set for the younger women, were crucial to back up what they taught.

What better way to teach love for a husband and children than to see it lived out by a trusted mentor? 

The Everyday Application

2) How is an “older woman” defined in this passage? Who does she teach and how does she teach? (verses 3-5)

The older woman in Titus 2 is usually thought to be one who is older in age, but that may not always be the case. I didn’t marry until I was 34 and I had my first child at 37. There were plenty of younger women in my life who were mature in their faith and had already walked the road of those early childhood years. They encouraged me as they taught and showed me how to love God through wisely loving my children and husband. (verses 3-5) When I messed up (which I felt like I did a lot), they loved me through the feelings of failure and insecurity, pointing me to God.

Now I am living through the joyful and painful season of my children preparing to leave home. God, in his goodness, has given me several faithful women who are filled with wisdom and encouragement, and who strengthen me as I walk (and stumble) through this season. It is important to verbally teach in these relationships, but it is vital to live out what you believe in these relationships.

As I write this, I am convicted because I need to be in a relationship with a younger woman. Are you in a season where you find yourself longing for a woman who will “teach what is good” and encourage you to love your husband and your children? (verses 3-4) Pray and ask God to show you a woman who could mentor you.

Are you able to offer a woman a mentoring relationship? Do you have an active and faithful relationship with God that leads you to reflect the qualifications given in verse 3? Pray and ask God to show you a woman to mentor. 

The Original Intent

3) What does the passage tell us about God and how should we respond? (verse 11-14)

Biblical scholars have traditionally placed God’s known attributes into two categories: incommunicable attributes and communicable attributes. God’s incommunicable attributes are only God’s and cannot be reflected by people. These include the attributes of being all-knowing, all-powerful, and sovereign. Conversely, God’s communicable attributes, such as love, mercy, and goodness, are attributes humans can live out, however imperfectly, allowing us to reflect a crack of God’s glory through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Returning to Titus, Paul writes that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us and cleanse us as His own and to make us a people eager for good works. (verse 14) His goodness and lovingkindness took Him to the cross to make us a people for His own possession. (Titus 3:4-5, John 10:11, John 10:14) When we understand what God has done for us, and that He Himself has made us eager for good works, then we begin to comprehend the deep goodness of our Creator and Savior.

Throughout Titus, Paul emphasized that true believers will do good works to reflect the goodness of God. A Christian may not have the gift of teaching, but through her desire to do good works, she is providing a living example of the goodness of God Himself to all those around her. In turn, they themselves can “see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

The Everyday Application

3) What does the passage tell us about God and how should we respond? (verse 11-14)

Through Jesus’ act of goodness, humility, and love, the grace of God appeared and brought us salvation. (verse 11) His grace, lavished upon us, instructs us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way. (verse 12, Ephesians 1:6) God is good and we do good works to reflect His goodness back to Him and to the world around us.

Do we always do the good thing? No, because sometimes we choose our flesh over obedience. However, we should be more eager for good works now than we were five years ago because our growing knowledge of the truth supernaturally leads us to godliness, and because God’s Spirit is moving in us and growing us to be more and more like His Son. (Titus 1:1, John 14:26, 2 Thessalonians 2:13)

He has changed our hearts from stone to flesh and written His commandments on our hearts. (Jeremiah 31:33) God has put His Spirit within us to cause us to walk in His statutes. (Ezekiel 36:27) This opens an amazing avenue for us to demonstrate God’s good character and tell about Him to a tired, broken, and unbelieving world, whether it is to a neighbor, a grocery store clerk, a co-worker, or a friend.

In this way we are all teachers, regardless of our gifting. You may not have the spiritual gift of standing before a group of women and teaching a Bible study, but because you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you have much to offer anyone who is traveling a path you have already walked and needs to know the love of God.

Teach, dear sisters, in whatever circumstances to which the Spirit brings you. As Paul wrote, “Adorn your teaching of God our Savior in everything.” (verse 10b)

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