Living by the principles of sound doctrine – Tuesday, 32nd week in ordinary time – Titus 2:1-8, 11-14

Living by the principles of sound doctrine – Tuesday, 32nd week in ordinary time – Titus 2:1-8, 11-14

Titus 2:1-8 is better read till verse 10. In this list of Christian household codes or household duties (in German nicknamed Haustafeln), the virtues and the vices are stereotypical with respect to the five groups addressed in Titus. The five groups are older men, older women, young women, young men, and slaves. All but one group is called to the cardinal virtue of moderation (temperance). The four cardinal virtues being prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. The word cardinal derives from the Latin cardo, meaning “hinge.”

Just before this text, in 1:13. Paul asks Titus to “rebuke the false teachers sharply; so that they may become sound in the faith.” Paul says “their very minds and consciences are corrupted. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their action. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work,” These are very sharp words by Paul and he does not mince his intention. As an aside, I wish those in the Episcopacy were as clear as Paul in calling out false doctrine rather than the happy-clappy messages we hear.

In contrast to the false teachers, Paul tells Titus that he must teach what is “consistent with sound doctrine.” He is then instructed to address five groups of people. Our text of today focuses on four groups of the five groups of people mentioned in Titus; slaves being the only one left out.

It begins with the senior men who must be sober, in contradiction to overindulgence of wine. They must be serious, which is not serious in behaviour, as in gloomy. They must be prudent and sound in the faith, in love and steadfastness. Older men in the community, by virtue of their seniority and experience of life, were expected to be examples of reserve, dignity and balanced moderation in their consistent living out of the Gospel. This was to be in contrast to many Cretans, earlier described as “liars, vicious beasts and lazy gluttons”.(2:12)

The older women were to be reverent in behaviour, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to teach what is good so they must encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children and to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, to be kind, being submissive to their husband.” In verses 4 and 5, the stress on domestic virtues is not unrelated to the fact that some of the younger women apparently had become involved in spreading heretical thought. The call to be submissive is characteristic of the socio cultural ideology at that time and should not be understood with alarm or misread by some as a means of domination or discrimination.

Paul finally turns his attention to the young men with the word “likewise.” It shows that what the young men need to learn isn’t all that different from what the younger women, the older women, and the older men need to learn. We may need a slightly different emphasis depending on our station in life, but the essential message of godly living is the same.

Finally, once again Paul addresses Titus knowing that the message is often identified with the messenger. Titus had to be more than a teacher, he also had to be an example. His guidance to others could not be taken seriously if he himself was not walking after the Lord. His motives are to be pure, he must have dignity, have a sound message. Titus is presented as a model to the next generation of Church leaders.

The passage concludes with some general remarks about the Christian faith. We Christians, say the author of the pastorals, are enabled to live virtuously in the present and with hope for the future, by the saving power of God in Christ.

Spread the love ♥

You might also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *