In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. — Titus 2:7-8
In the United States presidential primary elections held in 1860, four political rivals ran for the nomination of the newly-formed Republican Party. Edward Bates, Salmon Chase, and William Seward were the main three contenders for the nomination. Each of them underestimated the fourth, a little-known country lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. By positioning himself as the second choice of the delegates at the Republican convention, Lincoln out-maneuvered his three rivals and was able to capture the party’s nomination.
After he became President, Lincoln used each of his former opponents in his cabinet. Initially, all of them treated the new President as an inferior politician and leader. However, rather than dismissing them or allowing their disrespect to cause division, Lincoln harnessed their strengths for the good of the country. His pattern of honesty and “good works” toward these former rivals eventually won their support and admiration. Each of them filled important roles during a critical period in the nation’s history. In time, all of these men recognized President Lincoln to be a great leader and not one of them had any “evil thing to say” of him.
As Christians, it is necessary for us to show “a pattern of good works.” Someone once said that we are to preach Christ, and if we must, use words. Our testimonies are lived out every day as others observe our actions and reactions. Showing kindness to a fellow student or coworker who has wronged us, being honest in our business and personal dealings, and looking for opportunities to encourage others are just a few examples of ways that we can show good works.
Our goal is not to win support and admiration for ourselves, but to provide a living example of the change that Christ makes in a person’s life. While we may never be considered a great leader like Abraham Lincoln, we can be considered great in the Kingdom of Heaven by leading others to Christ through our actions here on earth.
The second chapter of Titus is considered by some to be a beautiful summary of everything contained in the pastoral epistles. Within it are Christian-living guidelines for older men and women, younger men and women, servants, employees, and good citizens.
Both the “aged” and the young men and women are admonished to be sober. The Greek word nephalios, translated sober, means “sobriety in contrast to drunkenness from overindulgence of wine.” This word is also used in a broader sense of “clear-headedness in general.” In this context, sobriety means keeping oneself from the influence of outside forces, whether alcohol, money, anger, lust, greed, etc.
In Crete, at the time this letter was written, young women had no options in life other than marriage and motherhood. The only employment outside of the home for young women was prostitution in the streets or in the pagan temples. In that context, Paul exhorted these young women to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home.”
The Greek word for pattern is tupos, which gives us the English word type. The original meaning of the word was “an impression made by a die.” Titus was encouraged to live so that his life would be like a “spiritual die” that would be impressed on others.
Purloining, in verse 10, is from a Greek phrase meaning, “appropriating” what does not belong to one, or keeping back dishonestly or deceitfully (i.e. embezzlement). Titus was to exhort servants not to behave in such a manner.
Peculiar, in verse 14, means “beyond usual,” referring to a people especially God’s own, as Israel of old had been.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Conduct in the home (private life) (2:1-15)
A. The “how” of living this life (2:1-10)
1. Aged men (2:1-2)
2. Aged women (2:3)
3. Young women (2:4-5)
4. Young men (2:6-8)
5. Servants (2:9-10)
B. The “why” of living this life (2:11-15)
1. Manifestation of grace (past–salvation) (2:11)
2. Instruction of grace (present–sanctification) (2:12)
3. Expectation of grace (future–glorification) (2:13-15)
Does our attitude, conduct, and speech impress the right pattern on those around us? By God’s grace, it can!