"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:"
"But" : This word is a conjunction which introduces a sharp contrast
with what was written in the previous chapter.
The conclusion of chapter 1 was a description of false teachers and heretics
and the troubles they cause in a local church. By contrast, chapters 2 and
3 contain some very direct applications regarding good works. Sound teaching
and a holy lifestyle are the antidotes for the problems in these local churches.
Some people claim that Paul's doctrine, which emphasizes the inner man and
the work of the Holy Sprit, differs considerably from James' writing because
of James' emphasis on good works. The Epistle to Titus lays these arguments
to rest because it has very strong teaching regarding Christian living.
"you speak": (lalew), "to communicate by speaking".
[Please note again that the Greek omega is represented by the letter "w"
and is pronounced "oh". wd ]
This word refers to Titus's function as a teacher of the Word. Titus is
commanded to speak as becomes the true minister of God, in contrast to the
false teachers described in the previous chapter.
Compare this verse with the last verse in the chapter.
"the things which become":
The verb "become" is (prepei), meaning "it is fitting, it
is proper, it is suitable". The doctrine which Titus is to teach is
to be suitable, proper for sound, uncorrupted messages.
"sound": (hugiainw) "uncorrupted, healthy, correct, accurate".
[See discussion on Titus 1:9 for a discussion of the use of this word.]
"doctrine": (didaskalia) "teaching from an authoritative
2 Tim. 4:2-4 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove (elegkw), rebuke (epitimaw), exhort (parakalew) with all longsuffering
and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having
itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall
be turned unto fables."
Again, compare with Titus 2:15.
The content of the Word of God reveals the lies and unspiritual conduct
of the false teachers. By contrast, the conduct of true believers gives
evidence of the reality in the claim to be a "new creation", to
have been "born again", and to have "Christ living in me."
And it is the Word of God, "sound doctrine", which produces a
life that is pleasing to the Lord.
A great orator can captivate people without much content; so can a consistently
entertaining person or someone with great charisma.
In a Bible class, however, the only way to keep an audience of thinking
people is to teach from the text of the Word of God.
One easy way out of all the work of scholarship is to play to the audience
- to "tickle their ears". To tell them what they already agree
with and are enthusiastic about. That produces more pats on the back, more
The false teacher on Crete would be tempted to pander to his audience, for
the sake of money. He might find out what political or religious party the
congregation liked, and find he could please the people by bashing their
opponents. Or he might discover what crusade the people were on, and become
a "caped crusader" himself, striking out against one issue or
The Bible teacher must be the edified, mature, grace-oriented person the
Bible demands, before any teaching is done! You teach from the text; and
your life backs it up!
To apply sound doctrine, you must understand what the Bible says! You grow
in grace only from the doctrine that you understand and place your faith
The teaching of (didaskalia) is teaching from an authoritative source. And
this command, to teach doctrine, is for the protection of both the teacher
and the congregation. It has the following benefits:
* Staying with the text lifts a great burden from the teacher; God's Word
is the source of all comments and applications, not the teacher's personal
* Staying with the text reduces the temptation to "play to the crowd",
to engage in personality dynamics.
* It eliminates the "Pied Piper" effect in which the teacher becomes
the charismatic leader of the flock on some great quest.
* If the teacher can stay with the text, he can resist the temptation to
preach, to scold, to bully, to pontificate, to sermonize.
* He is much more likely to succeed in presenting God's point of view rather
than his own.
* Sound doctrinal teaching can eliminate emotional responses to the speaker
or to his words. Sometimes what is called "motivating" is just
such an emotional response; and as such it is not lasting.
* That which endures in any believer's life is that portion of the Word
of God which actually gets applied. Edification will still be there when
all emotional responses are gone.
Topic: IMPORTANCE OF DOCTRINE
"That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity,
"That the aged men": This is (presbuteis), a man mature in years,
as opposed to (presbuteros), meaning mature, or senior, in rank.
Philemon v. 9 "For love's sake I rather beseech you, being such a one
as Paul the aged (presbuteis), and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Paul clearly does not think of himself as decrepit or elderly. He considers
himself a senior believer who can make a claim for some respect from Philemon.
This word is a reference to older men - older not only in age but also in
Christian experience. These qualities of maturity are desirable in older
Note here the great practicality of Bible doctrine. Bible study is not some
arcane practice which gives its practitioners a mystic inner quality. Rather,
the Word of God transforms the inner life and outer life, for the practical
benefit of the believer and of all those who know him.
The Word of God makes old age the crowning glory of a person's lifetime.
Old age can have promise, productivity, vitality, confidence, and a great
deal of happiness, providing that spiritual preparation has taken place
during the younger years.
The older one becomes as a believer, the more his life should improve! God's
Plan has answers to any problem that life can produce; but God's Plan is
one of preventive maintenance. A young person must prepare now for a happy,
productive old age .
Coming into old age, the mature believer has great assurance:
* He is assured of his redemption
* He understands salvation and spirituality by grace.
* He knows how to claim promises and avoid depression and anxiety.
* He understands suffering, testing, and has lived victoriously through
a lot of it.
* He is ready for both suffering and happiness in his old age.
* He has applied the Word of God to his experience.
Topic: OLD AGE
"be sober": from (neifalios), "temperate in all areas of
This is from the verb (neifw), meaning to be well-balanced, self-controlled,
It is not the same word which is translated "sober" in 1:8 or
2:12. That word is (swphrwn), meaning of sound mind, mentally stable, thoughtful,
although translated sober in the KJV.
[ It's hard to "pronounce" (swphrwn) in your mind. Change the
"w" to long "o" and say "sophron". I hope
that helps, since we can't do Greek or diacritical marks by e-mail. I hope
the techies are working on that! :-) ]
There seems to be some confusion in the translation of the KJV (at least
*I* am confused!). The English language is not so poor that a proper translation
could not have been made of both words, (neifw) and (swphrwn), so as to
show off the differences between them. We should not have been allowed to
believe that they mean the same thing.
The verb (neifw) had an extensive connotation in the ancient world. In the
listing of Greek inscriptions there is an indication that (neifalios) was
used to describe the proper state of mind for temple worship.
1 Thess. 5:1-8 - for an example of the extended use of (neifw)
2 Tim. 4:1-5. - for the connotation in (neifw) of watchfulness.
1 Pet. 1:13 "Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober (neifw),
and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the
revelation of Jesus Christ;"
1 Pet. 5:8,9 "Be sober (neifw), be vigilant; because your adversary
the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
whom resist steadfast in the faith..."
"grave : From (semnos), meaning "honorable", "noble",
Little meaning is carried into modern American English from the word "grave",
but we still speak of the "gravity" of a situation, meaning the
seriousness of it.
The mature man is to be established in the Lord to the extent that the Lord
has given him victory over the obvious defects in his soul. He is to have
the characteristics of good character and personal integrity - in short,
nobility and dignity.
In his youth, the man's vitality, good looks, his strength, and his youthful
energy often covered up defects such as bitterness, envy, hatred, immorality,
etc. However, if these characteristics are present in old age, they become
highly visible. An elderly "babe in Christ" is a sorry sight,
and is not regarded as honorable, noble, or dignified.
Old age strips the body of its glamour in order to emphasize the beauty of
the soul. The greatest beauty can been seen in old age, it is the beauty
which is more than skin deep.
The mature believer can be a library of divine viewpoint, of stable thinking.
And a mature man's wisdom, discernment, prudence are great assets to his
community and to the local church.
"temperate": From (swfrwn), "prudent, thoughtful, discreet."
When used of women in Tit. 2:5, "discreet, modest."
You begin to see what I mean about the translation. Here is (swphrwn), translated
"sober" elsewhere in Titus, but "temperate" here and
"discrete" later on. Yet <neifalios) is translated "sober"
earlier in this verse! I grant that words in translation can take on different
meanings depending on context and colloquial usage, but this is confusing.
The word (swphrwn) does not mean temperate in the sense of self-restraint.
That word is (egkrateis), which we saw in Tit. 1:8. To be temperate means
to have mastery over the details of life and self-control in all areas of
To be (swphrwn) means to have a mental attitude of care for one's reputation,
one's character, a consideration for appearances, along with a connotation
of mental stability. To be sure, the ideas are related, but in application,
"thoughtfulness" or "prudence" are the mental attitudes,
therefore precede self-restraint, the practical outworking of prudence.
Here again, the meaning would have been clearer in the KJV with a more consistent
I leave it to you to examine these verses in the NASB, the NIV, and other
versions, to decide whether the translations are more consistent and clear,
in light of this brief explanation of the definitions.
"sound in faith": (hugiainw), "uncorrupted" + (pistis),
(hugiainw) is in the present participle of the Greek verb, and used as an
adjective, "uncorrupted", "healthy", "whole".
(pistis) is a Greek noun in the instrumental case, indicating that "faith"
is the cause (instrument) of the "soundness".
Therefore, a more accurate reading would be, "uncorrupted because of
faith". The older man has spiritual maturity and integrity because
of his life of faith in God and His Word.
The mature man is to be experienced in the use of faith. He has years of
experience in using faith daily, adding to his life every day layer upon
layer of applied truth.
But it is not the intensity of the faith which he holds, but the *object*
of his faith which is valid. Even mustard seed faith is enough when God
and His Word are the objects of the belief.
The question here is, "Can I believe the Word of God?" "Can
God's promises be trusted?" "Are Christian life principles correct;
do they work?"
"Can I really build a marriage on the Bible?" "Can I really
raise my children properly using Bible principles?" "Can I function
in society, be productive, be successful, achieve great things, by placing
my confidence in the Word of God?"
The answer here is, "Look at the mature Christians, men and women.
They are the examples of what successful Christian living can be. They look
to Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith; you can do the same!"
The mature believer's faith is uncorrupted with worldly opinions, human
viewpoint, religious semantics, or empty false doctrines. He stands like
a rock by means of his faith in Christ and His Word.
"in charity": (agapei) - impersonal love, the fruit of the Holy
The characteristics of Christian love, which is the fruit of spiritual growth,
are amply detailed in 1 Cor. 13.
"in patience": (hupomonei), "endurance, tolerance, fortitude,
Patience (fortitude) is the ability to endure toil, suffering, severe disappointment,
without falling apart, without getting depressed, without striking out against
enemies, real or imagined.
Patience is also the ability to delay gratification, to wait for God's timing
for everything - promotion, recognition, prosperity, rights. Children want
immediate gratification of every desire, every whim. Mature people can wait
as long as necessary to receive what they need or want, knowing that the
Lord will prosper in His own time.
This is Faith-Rest in action. And this is the answer to many sin problems
in life, such as those brought on by self-indulgence.
Topic: FAITH REST
Testing is designed to build patience; character is built up in this manner.
In these verses of Romans, a Christian is put to the test and found to be
of solid character. These things are a product of patience and lead to great
Read 2 Cor. 6:4-10.
2 Cor. 12:12 "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you
in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."
Read Col. 1:9-11 - concerning the source of patience.
Summarizing the passage:
Titus 2:1, But you speak the things which are suitable for uncorrupted
Titus 2:2, That the senior men be well-balanced (or self-possessed), (noble,
honorable, dignified), thoughtful for their reputation, and uncorrupted
in their faith, love, and fortitude.