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Titus 2:1-5

1. But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

1. Tu autem loquere quae decet sanam doctrinam

2. That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

2. senes ut sobrii sint pudici prudentes sani fide dilectione patientia

3. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

3. anus similiter in habitu sancto non criminatrices non vino multo servientes bene docentes

4. That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

4. ut prudentiam doceant adulescentulas ut viros suos ament filios diligant

5. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

5. prudentes castas domus curam habentes benignas subditas suis viris ut non blasphemetur verbum Dei

1. But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine He points out the remedy for driving away fables, namely, that Titus should devote himself to edification. He gives the appellation of sound doctrine to that which may instruct men to godliness; for all trifles vanish away, when that which is solid is taught. When he enjoins him to speak those things which agree with “sound doctrine,” it is as if he had said, that Titus must be continually employed in this preaching; for to mention these things once or twice would not be enough. And Paul does not speak of the discourse of a single day; but so long as Titus shall hold the office of pastor, he wishes him to be employed in teaching this doctrine.

“Sound doctrine” is so called from the effect produced by it; as, on the contrary, he says, that unskillful men dote about questions which do no good. Sound, therefore, means wholesome, that which actually feeds souls. Thus, by a single word, as by a solemn proclamation, he banishes from the Church all speculations which serve rather to promote ostentation than to aid godliness, 238238     “Let the doctrine which proceeds from thy mouth be sound. For he expressly uses this word, because it is the means of upholding us in true integrity, that the word of God, which is preached to us, be our spiritual pasture. This will not be perceived at first sight, but such is the fact. And why do we not perceive it? Because we are too sensual and earthly. For when we are in want of food for our body, we are immediately terrified, we become alarmed, we have not a moment of repose, for it touches us nearly. We are sensitive as to this fading life, but we are insensible to all that affects our souls; there is such brutal stupidity that we do not know our wants, though they press heavily upon us. Yet let it be observed that there is nothing but weakness in us, if we are not fed with the doctrine of God. And that is the reason why it is called ‘sound,’ for in this consists the health of our souls. As our bodies are kept in their proper condition by well-regulated nourishment, so our souls are supported by that doctrine which serves not only for nourishment but for medicine. For we are full of vices which are worse than diseases; and therefore our soul must be purged, and we must be healed of them. The method of doing this is, that we profit by the word of God. And so it is not without good reason that Paul gives to it this designation, that it is ‘sound,’ or that it is ‘wholesome.’” — Fr. Ser. as he did in both of the Epistles to Timothy.

He makes “sound doctrine” to consist of two parts. The first is that which magnifies the grace of God in Christ, from which we may learn where we ought to seek our salvation; and the second is that by which the life is framed to the fear of God, and inoffensive conduct. Although the former, which includes faith, is far more excellent, and therefore ought to be more zealously inculcated; yet Paul, in writing to Timothy, was not careful about attending to order; for he had to deal with an intelligent man, to whom he would offer an insult, if he dictated to him word by word, as is usually done to apprentices or beginners. Under the person of Titus, indeed, he instructs the whole church of Crete; yet he attends to the rules of propriety, that he may not appear to distrust his prudence. Besides, the reason why he is longer in his exhortations is, that they who gave their whole attention to idle questions — needed especially to be exhorted to the practice of a good and holy life; for nothing is better fitted to restrain the wandering curiosity of men than to know in what duties 239239     “En quels devotes et bones oeuvres.” — “In what duties and good works.” they ought to be employed.

2. That aged men be sober He begins with particular duties, that the discourse may be better adapted to the instruction of the people. And he does so, not only that he may accommodate himself to their capacity, but that he may press every one more closely; for a general doctrine produces a less powerful impression; but when by holding out a few cases, he has instructed every person about his duty, there is no one who may not easily conclude, that the Lord has sufficiently instructed him as to the work in which he ought to be employed. We must not therefore, look for a regular method here; for Paul’s design was only to state briefly what were the subjects concerning which godly teachers ought to speak, and not to undertake to treat largely of those subjects.

“Aged men” are mentioned by him in the first place. He wishes them to be “sober,” because excessive drinking is a vice too common among the old. Gravity, which he next mentions, is procured by well-regulated morals. Nothing is more shameful than for an old man to indulge in youthful wantonness, and, by his countenance, to strengthen the impudence of the young. In the life of old men, therefore, let there be displayed σεμνότης “a becoming gravity,” which shall constrain the young to modesty. This will be followed chiefly by temperance, which he immediately adds.

Sound in faith I do not know whether the word “sound” or “healthy” contains an indirect allusion to the various diseases of old men, with which he contrasts this health of the soul; at least, I think so, though I do not affirm it. With good reason does he include in these three parts — faith, love, patience — the sum of Christian perfection. By faith we worship God; for neither calling upon him, nor any exercises of godliness, can be separated from it. Love extends to all the commandments of the second table. Next follows patience as the seasoning of “faith” and “love;” for without “patience” faith would not long endure, and many occurrences are taking place every day — instances of unhandsome conduct or evil temper, which irritate us so much that we should not only be languid, but almost dead, to the duties of love towards our neighbor, if the same “patience” did not support us.

3. That aged women in like manner We very frequently see, that females advanced in age either continue to dress with the lightness of youthful years, or have something superstitious in their apparel, and seldom hit the golden mean. Paul wished to guard against both extremes, by enjoining them to follow a course that is agreeable both to outward propriety and to religion; or, if you choose to express it in simpler language, to give evidence, by their very dress, that they are holy and godly women.

He next corrects another two vices, to which they are often addicted, when he forbids them to be slanderers and slaves to much wine Talkativeness is a disease of women, and it is increased by old age. To this is added, that women never think that they are eloquent enough, if they are not given to prattling and to slander — if they do not attack the characters of all. The consequence is, that old women, by their slanderous talkativeness, as by a lighted torch, frequently set on fire may houses. Many are also given to drinking, so that, forgetting modesty and gravity, they indulge in an unbecoming wantonness.

4. That they may teach young women temperance That they may be more attentive to duty, he shows that it is not enough if their own life be decent, if they do not also train young women, by their instructions, to a decent and chaste life. He therefore adds, that by their example they should train to temperance and gravity those younger women whom the warmth of youth might otherwise lead into imprudence.

To love their husbands and their children I do not agree with those who think that this is a recapitulation of the advices which elderly women should give to those who are younger for a careful perusal of the context will enable any one easily to perceive that Paul goes on in explaining the duties of women, which apply equally to those who are older. Besides, the construction would be inappropriate, σωφρονίζωσι, σώφρονας εἶναι 240240     Ινα σωφρονίζωσι τὰς νέαςThese words point at the chief purpose of the instructions — namely, that they should teach them to be σώφρονες acting as monitresses and regulators of their morals. Those instructions (as appears from what follows) were to turn on the domestic duties suitable to young married women, and each in the order of importance. The first is, as it were, their cardinal virtue; for it was well said by Socrates, (Ap. Stob. p. 488,) εὐσέβεια γυναικεία, ὁ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα ἔρως (‘female piety is love to her husband.’) In like manner, modesty is, by Pericles, in his Funeral Oration (Thucyd. 2:45) called ‘the virtue of the female sex.’” — Bloomfield. Yet while he instructs elderly females what they ought to be, he at the same time holds out to the younger the example which they ought to follow. Thus he indiscriminately teaches both. In short, he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious attachments, he wishes them to rule their own house in a sober and orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids them be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be disobedient to their husbands.

When he adds, that the word of God may not be evil spoken of, it is supposed that this relates strictly to women who were married to unbelieving husbands, who might judge of the gospel from the wicked conduct of their wives; and this appears to be confirmed by 1 Peter iii. 1. But what if he does not speak of husbands alone? And, indeed, it is probable that he demands such strictness of life as not to bring the gospel into the contempt of the public by their vices. As to the other parts of the verse, the reader will find them explained in the Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy. 241241     See p. 135.


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