Pray Psalm 4.3.
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
Read Titus 2.2-5.
1. What was to be the primary focus of Titus’ teaching to the men and women of the churches?
2. What should be the outcome of such teaching?
The members of the congregation have important roles to play in helping to ensure that the church grows, matures, and remains “in order” (1:5). Paul begins with the older men, showing that he expected men to take a prominent role in building the church. He sets forth six goals for which to strive in equipping older men – typically, heads of households – to fulfill their callings in the local church. They must be “sober”. That is, their outlook or mindset must be temperate, serious, and not given to frivolity or flippancy. Seeking the Kingdom of God is serious business, and pastors and elders must work with the men of their churches to help make sure they understand and embrace this.
Serious-minded men will demonstrate a seriousness of character – they will be “reverent”. Such men are not easily led astray by passions and temptations (“temperate”). Because they are fed sound doctrine and not permitted to regard it lightly (1, 15), they are “sound in the faith” – they know what they believe and hold to it firmly. Soundness in faith issues in sincere love and patience. Pastors who take such goals for their men, and pursue them through sound teaching, are more likely to have such men available to help in the work of building the church.
Paul indicates goals for older women to strive for in taking their proper place in the church. These largely mirror the goals held out for the older men, although they are stated somewhat differently and more pointedly (perhaps taking into consideration local conditions).
Older women are to be deeply spiritual, circumspect in behavior, and active in teaching younger woman – daughters and single women – how they must fulfill their callings. The teaching older women are to give to younger women must focus on goals that will prepare them for responsible womanhood: self-control, purity, how to take proper care of a home, to be kind, and to be submissive to their husbands. We must not read in this any requirement that women only work at home (cf. Prov. 31). The idea of submitting to husbands such as are described in verse 2, and as Paul taught in Ephesians 5.25-33, would neither be problematic nor a heinous obligation. Women can grow to realize their full inherent beauty when they submit to men who are sound in the Word and who love them as Christ loves the Church.
In a time when churches seem frenzied to attract young people, we need to remember that older men and women are the backbone of the local church. The more diligent and faithful pastors are in equipping and discipling older men and women, the more people there will be to help younger folks find their way in the Kingdom.
1. The focus of Titus’ instruction is to be on the development of spiritual and moral character, first of all. Why?
2. What outcomes did Paul envision from this teaching?
3. The word “reverent” is a goal for both men and women. What does it mean to be “reverent”?
The women are, like the older men, to be honest, sober, chaste, strong in faith and charity and patience. They are also to bear themselves in a way proper for their sex, to maintain a holy manner in bodily movements, facial expressions, words, silence, and whatever tends to the dignity of a holy decorum. Jerome (347-420), Commentary on Titus
Thank You, Lord, for the older men and women in our church. Today I pray that I may encourage some of them by…
Pray Psalm 4.1-3.
Give thanks to the Lord for the many ways He has relieved you. Seek mercy and grace to help you throughout this day for all the work He has given you to do.
Sing Psalm 4.1-3.
Psalm 4.1-3 (Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent)
Answer when I call, Lord Jesus, God of all my righteousness!
Bend Your holy ear, relieve us from all terror, all distress!
Lord, receive our prayer, release us; send Your grace to save and bless!
Wicked men reproach and scorn us, loving what is vile and vain.
God with grace will shield and adorn us through the Savior’s blood and pain.
Jesus, You have bought and borne us; hear our cries for help again.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).