Declare These Things
Titus 2:11-15
My take on this passage seems a bit different than others I have looked at. I'd be really interested to receive some feedback/criticism.
Published August 7th, 2019; Updated August 7th, 2019
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Teach your people to live godly lives right now, in this present age, because Jesus has already accomplished everything necessary to give us the grace both for salvation and for holy living.
Titus 2:11-15
Teach people to live in a way that is in accord with sound doctrine, living godly lives, so that in every way they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior
For h the grace of God i has appeared,
The reason it is right for you to teach each other how to live godly lives is because God's grace has appeared to you.
bringing salvation j for all people,
And when we receive God's grace, it necessarily produces two results . First , it brings salvation to all who receive it.
training us to renounce ungodliness and k worldly passions,
Second , it trains us, and we can think of this training as two sides of the same coin. It trains us to renounce things like ungodliness and worldly passions.
and l to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives
At the same time, it trains us to embrace things like self-control, upright living, and godliness.
in m the present age,
And, it is training us to do these things right now, in this present age .
n waiting for our blessed o hope,
Of course, we are still waiting for our blessed hope.
the p appearing of the glory of our great q God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Our future blessed hope is the full glory that comes with the return of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we see Him in all His glory, we too will be glorified and our battle with sin will be over.
r who gave himself for us
But, at the same time, remember , our returning Savior, in whom we hope, has already done His work for us. He has already given His life for us!
to s redeem us from all lawlessness
And He gave His life to accomplish two purposes (which, I've already mentioned) . First, to buy us out of the infinite debt we occurred by breaking God's law.
and t to purify for himself t a people for his own possession
Second , He gave his life to remake us, or purify us, as His special, holy, set-apart people.
who are u zealous for good works.
( And, by the way, the mark of being purified for His possession is that we become eager to begin doing the law that we were once breaking.)
And the implication of the fact that Christ has already died for us, and already redeemed us, is that He obviously has already begun the process of purifying us. Because He has already done the work, we must live godly lives in this present age, and not merely in the age to come.
Declare these things;
Therefore , teach people to live in accord with sound doctrine.
exhort and v rebuke with all authority.
The way to teach these things is to encourage godliness and rebuke ungodliness with a confident authority.
w Let no one disregard you.
And remember , speaking with authority means showing yourself to be a model of good works and working diligently to use sound speech so that your words can not easily be disregarded.
11a: "For" which indicates grounds, points all the way back to the central command of the previous section, which we find in 2:1, "teach what accords with sound doctrine." 11b–12B: Three options seem possible: (1) Means, God's grace appears by bringing and training; (2) purpose, God's grace appears in order to bring and train; (3) result, God's grace produces salvation and godliness. While all three are possible, the broader context of the false teachers suggests that the third option is likely. That is, unlike the false teachers who simply talk about being judicially right with God based on outward duty, Paul says the grace of God actually does bring both salvation and godliness. This is not merely intended (purpose), it is the actual result of grace, so that, salvation without sanctification is a sign that a person hasn't actually experienced God's grace. 12a: Notice the use of "trains" implies a gradual process of sanctification as opposed to an immediate experience of it. 12a–b: This -/+ reflects the single concept of sanctification. It describes the process of mortification and vivification, the killing of the old self and the putting on of the new self. Either, without the other, is an insufficient approach to sanctification. 12c: Though this isn't a full proposition, because it lacks a verb, it is nevertheless important to break this clause out because of it's significance in the argument. Paul is emphasizing that the claim that God's grace brings godliness is true now, not just in the future. In other words, while we will be fully sanctified and glorified in the future, God's grace is sanctifying us, if we are believers, even now. 13a–14d : In the most obvious sense, this entire section is an explanation, or development, of the temporal clause of 12c. Paul is explaining that we are to be sanctified in this present age, even as we are waiting for the blessed hope (which is the appearing of Christ). However, my current understanding of the overall argument (which is admittedly different from the commentaries I have consulted) is that Paul is primarily trying to emphasize the appropriateness of preaching for moral behavior in this present age. Unlike, some commentators, I am not convinced that Paul is holding out the return of Christ as motivation for current obedience (though it certainly should be), but is instead admitting to it in a concessive fashion in order to demonstrate that our hope in the future return of Christ does not contradict our obligation to live in a godly way in this present age. Paul's argument is that even though we are waiting for the full glory of the return of Christ, we experience and live in the work of that Christ has already done, which is already effective both to redeem us and to purify us. Thus, I believe that while id/exp is an appropriate label for 13–14, it is important, and more helpful, to highlight the deeper function of grounding that these two-verse perform. 13a-b: based on the argument described in the previous note, it seems likely that Paul is conceding that our hope of glory won't be fully realized until the return of Christ. Nevertheless, starting in 14, because Christ has already died for us, we can begin living now, in this present age, in the reality of our redemption and purification. 14e: I believe that Paul merely implies, rather than stating explicitly, that Jesus' past work is the grounds that proves that our sanctification should be happening now, and not merely at a future time. For clarity's sake, I am attempting to make explicit what Paul left explicit. 15 : 11–14 is the grounds of a bilateral. Thus, the commands of verse 15 are connected to, and in this case parallel with the commands of 2:1–10. 15: It is possible to view these three propositions as a series, each command having equal force or weight as the one before. However, I think it is preferable to understand 15b as an expansion of 15a. Exhorting and rebuking are the manner in which "declaring these things" takes place. 15b–c: The phrase, "with all authority" requires some explanation. In one sense, Paul has spent all of 11–14 explaining why Titus has the doctrinal authority to call His people to live godly lives in this present age. However, given the next line, "let no one disregard you," it is possible that Paul is talking about a different kind of authority. It seems likely that speaking with authority is connected to the idea of speaking with the intent to persuade (let no one disregard you). This is likely a reference to the more developed instructions of 2:7–8 in which Paul tells Titus to live in rightly and choose sounds words so that Titus' opponents will have nothing evil to say against him.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.