Teaching the Older Men (Titus 2:1-2)
As part of Paul’s strategic mission, he had left Titus in Crete to put what remained in order. One of the major tasks that he had was to appoint elders in every town. Titus had a list of qualifications that he was to use to find men that could fulfill the role of overseer. An elder needed to meet certain family, character, and knowledge criteria. These qualifications were important because the men that Titus helped to appoint would be leading the fledgling church on the island. How the church would proceed in the future depended largely on how the overseers did their job. Paul warns that there were many who were insubordinate, empty talkers, and deceivers. These false teachers and false Christians were upsetting whole families. They were causing destruction. And so, if an overseer allowed these people to continue the church would limp along under the defilement of these unbelievers. These people deny God with their works. They might profess to know Him, but what they do betrays them. Paul says they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. Now, is this the end for these people? Is Paul just wishing that they would die and go to Hell? No, absolutely not. The sharp rebuke from Titus is so that those who are in error may be sound in faith. The hope is that they will awaken to the truth and be saved. Paul never tells Titus just to write these people off. On the contrary, Titus has some work ahead of him. Along with rebuking he must instruct, as we saw was one of the jobs of an overseer. Over the next several weeks, we are going to see that Titus is to teach sound doctrine. And this sound doctrine is to not be merely a philosophical or theoretical instruction. In other words, this teaching of the truths of the faith is to change and mold the way people live. As James said, “Faith without works is dead.” And that people are to be doers of the word and not hearers only, which is a self-deception. Today, we begin this section in Titus where Paul has some specific teaching instructions for different sub-groups within the church. We begin with the older men of the church, followed by the women, young men, church leaders, like Titus, and finally bondservants.