Titus 2:1-2 Commentary



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Titus 2:1-2 Commentary

Titus 2:1  But as for you, speak (2PPAM) the things which are fitting  (3SPAI)  for sound  (PAPFSD)  doctrine.  (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Su de lalei (2PPAM) a prepei (3SPAI) te hugiainouse (PAPFSD) didaskalia
Amplified: BUT [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians].
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
: But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
NLT: But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching. (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Now you must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching.  (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But as for you, be constantly speaking the things which are fitting to sound teaching:  (
Young's Literal: And thou -- be speaking what doth become the sound teaching


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BUT AS FOR YOU SPEAK THE THINGS WHICH ARE FITTING FOR SOUND DOCTRINE: su lalei (2PPAM) de a prepei (3SPAI) te hugiainouse (PAPFSD) didaskalia: (Titus 2:11, Titus 2:12, Titus 2:14; Titus 1:9; Titus 3:8; 1Ti 1:10; 6:3; 2Ti 1:13)

Now you must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching" (Phillips)


BUT [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians].", (Wuest)


But you must teach what agrees with sound doctrine" (TEV)


It is for you, then, to preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine" (NJB)


But let your words be in agreement with true and right teaching" (BBE),


But as for you, you must speak in a manner that befits wholesome teaching" (Weymouth)


You must speak things that make the true teaching attractive" (ICB)

You (su) is a pronoun used intensively in this verse. But YOU in contradistinction to those just mentioned. Titus, and the elders he appointed (1:5), were commanded to speak about right living as well as right doctrine. They were not to deviate, capitulate, or be intimidated. Speak with your life as as the following verses explain.

Speak (2980) (laleo) is the Greek verb meaning to make a sound and then to utter words.

Vincent says that laleo is

"used of speaking, in contrast with or as a breaking of silence, voluntary or imposed. Thus the dumb man, after he was healed, spake (Mt 9:33 "And after the demon was cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the multitudes marveled, saying (lego), "Nothing like this was ever seen in Israel.") and Zacharias, when his tongue was loosed, began to speak (Lk 1:64 "And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God")  The use of the word laleo ...contemplates the fact rather than the substance of speech. Hence it is used of God (Heb 1:1), the point being, not what God said, but the fact that he spake to men. On the contrary, lego refers to the matter of speech. The verb originally means to pick out, and hence to use words selected as appropriate expressions of thought, and to put such words together in orderly discourse." (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New Testament).

Kenneth Wuest adds that

"Laleo (was) used originally just of sounds like the chatter of birds, the prattling of children, (but was also used) of the most serious kind of speech. It takes note of the sound and the manner of speaking. One thinks of the words in the song In the Garden; “He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet, the birds hush their singing.” (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

As an example Wuest notes that when Jesus healed a deaf man who had difficultly speaking the multitude

"were utterly astonished, saying (lego), “He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak (laleo).” (Mk 7:37).

Wuest explains that in this verse laleo is used to emphasize

"not the matter, but the fact of speech. The crowd was not interested in what the man was saying, but in the fact that he was able to express himself articulately." (Ibid)

Robertson says that laleo contrasts with the other NT word for speak (lego) in that laleo is

"rather an onomatopoetic word (laleo > la-la) with some emphasis on the sound and manner of speaking. The word is common in the vernacular papyri examples of social intercourse." (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

In a similarly instructive use of laleo Luke records that after the Holy Spirit had come upon the believers at Pentecost

"they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak (laleo) with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." (Acts 2:4)

Trench commenting on the use of laleo in this verse writes that

"it is not what those in an ecstatic condition utter, but the fact of this new utterance itself, and quite irrespective of the matter of it, to which the sacred narrators would call our attention." 

Trench goes on to explain that if laleo refers to

"the fact of uttering articulated speech (as) the prominent notion, in lego it is the words uttered, and that these correspond to reasonable thoughts within the breast of the utterer. Thus while the parrot or talking automaton (referring to the image of the antichrist "And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak (laleo) and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed." Rev 13:15) may be said, though even they not without a certain impropriety, laleo, seeing they produce sounds imitative of human speech and in poetry, though by a still stronger figure, laleo may be ascribed to grasshoppers (Theocritus, Idyl. v. 34) and to pipes and flutes (Idyl. xx. 28, 29); yet inasmuch as there is nothing behind these sounds, they could never be (described as lego) for in lego lies the (idea of) ennoia, (relates to thought, especially to development of a perspective that provides insight and shapes attitude and actions) or thought of the mind (ennoia is used in Heb. 4:12), as the correlative to the words on the lips, and as the necessary condition of them." (Trench, R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2000)

Paul uses laleo in the present imperative charging Timothy to continually speak truth that is fitting and becoming to sound doctrine.

Sound doctrine or Truth requires certain behaviors that reflect and are appropriate to it.1Ti 2:10; Eph 5:3 It is important to note that the apostle is not here focusing on the teaching and preaching of sound doctrine itself, as he does in Titus 1:9 (
note). He is rather focusing on practical instruction about the things which are fitting for, that is, based on and appropriate to, the sound doctrine that already has been taught.

Fitting (4241) (prepo) has the basic meaning of being prominent or conspicuous and came to be used of a distinguishing characteristic. Thus the "distinguishing characteristic" of Titus (and all believers) should be a lifestyle that is consistent with sound doctrine. The
present tense = their speech was to continually be fitting. This association between truth and behavior was emphasized by Paul in the opening verse where he wrote that it is

"the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness" (NIV, see note  Titus 1:1)

In the last section of the first chapter Paul had just described those whose lives were not in keeping with their "profession".

Sound (
5198) (hugiaino [word study] from  hugiés = sound, healthy and root of English hygiene = making sick folk whole) means that which is wholesome and so that which gives health. In context refers "sound doctrine" refers to that teaching which gives spiritual health to the inner man and it implies that false doctrine produces spiritual disease and debilitation and ultimately death eternally!

The contrast is "persuasive arguments" and ''empty deception'' in (see notes on Colossians 2:4, Colossians 2:8) -- the result is that Colossian believers were "deluded" & ''taken captive'' and ceased as a functioning body in Colossae! 

Sound translates the (present tense) participle form of verb hugiaino = “continually being well and healthy”. 

Paul uses a form of this word 9 times in the pastoral epistles, 5 times in Titus, and always in relation to personal righteousness and spiritual well-being, repeatedly emphasizing that sound doctrine (1Ti 1:10; 2Ti 4:3-note, Titus 1:9-note) is the foundation for and gives rise to sound faith and sound speaking (1Ti 6:3; 2Ti 1:13-note;Titus 2:2-note;  Titus 2:8- note). The only weapon against Satan’s lies is God’s truth. “Thus saith the Lord!” is the end of every argument.

What "things" are "fitting for sound doctrine" in context? Right living! "Sound doctrine" is teaching that promotes spiritual health, and requires conduct consistent with the teaching professed. 

A morally disordered life is diseased and stands in need of treatment by "sound doctrine". A life based on the teaching of "sound doctrine" is wholesome, clean and healthy. Correct doctrine should produce correct behavior. This verse could be translated literally:

"The things which belong to healthy doctrine".  "Sound doctrine" has no "additives", like "the pure (unadulterated, without deceit) milk of the word" that produces growth "in respect to salvation". (1Pe 2:2-note)

We are dealing with a "body" (the body of Christ) and just as viruses and bacteria when allowed to incubate and germinate can produce devastating results on the physical body, seeds of false doctrine that germinate can wreak havoc on the spiritual health of the body of Christ, individually and corporately.

Calvin comments that Paul

deals more in exhortations, because those intent on useless questions needed chiefly to be recalled to the study of a holy, moral life; for nothing so effectually allays men's wandering curiosity, as the being brought to recognize those duties in which they ought to exercise themselves

Doctrine (1319) (didaskalia from  didasko from dáo = to know or teach) is either the act of teaching or the thing taught and in this use denotes doctrine or what is taught.

Doctrine is from Latin doctrina in turn from doceo = to teach.

Didaskalia - 21x in 21v - Matt 15:9; Mark 7:7; Rom 12:7; 15:4; Eph 4:14; Col 2:22; 1 Tim 1:10; 4:1, 6, 13, 16; 5:17; 6:1, 3; 2 Tim 3:10, 16; 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7, 10

The term doctrine in Scripture

is broader than a simple reference to information passed on from one person to another or from one generation to the next. Christianity is a religion founded on a message of good news rooted in the significance of the life of Jesus Christ. In Scripture, then, doctrine refers to the entire body of essential theological truths that define and describe that message (1Ti 1:10; 4:16; 6:3; Titus 1:9). The message includes historical facts, such as those regarding the events of the life of Jesus Christ (1Cor 11:23). But it is deeper than biographical facts alone. As J. Gresham Machen pointed out years ago, Jesus’ death is an integral historical fact but it is not doctrine. Jesus’ death for sins (1Cor 15:3) is doctrine. (Sound) Doctrine, then, is scriptural teaching on theological truths." (parenthesis added) (Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - online - an excellent resource)

Not all doctrine is good for Jesus addressing the hypocritical Pharisees and teachers quoted Isaiah's prophecy (Isa 29:13) in which God said to Israel that

"IN VAIN (uselessly) DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING (didache) AS DOCTRINES (didaskalia) THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'" (Mt 15:19)

Paul gave a similar warning to the church at Colossae noting that commands like "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!"

(which all refer to things destined to perish with the using)-- in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? (Col 2:22-note)

The hypocrisy of ancient and contemporary Israel consisted of making a show of commitment to God while at the same time giving human tradition precedence over God’s Word.

Doctrine is critically important for here we see that Jesus condemned their entire worship of God which was founded on unsound, unhealthy doctrine. Jesus' message gives a powerful warning to every church in every generation.

Doctrine is important! When the precepts of men are taught as if they were the doctrines of God, man’s wisdom is elevated above God’s-which is the very root of all sin. It was Satan’s inducing Eve to trust her own wisdom above God’s that led to the Fall and to every subsequent sin and evil in the world. It follows that every believer must "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good (and) abstain from every form of evil" (1Th 5 :21, 22-note), paying careful heed to all that is taught in their local church. Are the praise choruses doctrinally sound or do they simply sound good and make us "feel good"?

Warren Wiersbe observes that

Far too many songs not only teach no doctrine, but many even teach false doctrines. A singer has no more right to sing a lie than a teacher has to teach a lie. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)

Are the pulpit messages from the heart of God or are they geared to tickle the ears? Do the video series the church uses in Sunday School actually use Scripture as the foundational doctrine or do they only give token acquiescence to the Word of Truth? Is their emphasis on God's psychology and His Words of Life or is the emphasis on humanistic psychology?

Don't be judgmental but at least be willing to examine what is being sung, preached and taught in your church against the plumbline of Biblically sound doctrine. The vitally and integrity of the church of Jesus Christ depends on a continual "intravenous infusion" of sound doctrine.

Paul emphasizes the danger of false doctrine to the Ephesian church writing that as the result of sound teaching and equipping of the saints they would be built up, attaining unity, knowledge of Christ and spiritual maturity  and would

"no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine (didaskalia), by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming." (Eph 4:12-note)

You can mark it down -- If you are not anchored in sound doctrine based solely on the Word of Truth, you will be vulnerable to counterfeit truth. Spiritual leaders of the church must uncompromisingly minister the Word of Truth, sound doctrine, to the saints in the church so the saints can minister this life giving Word in a world dead it trespasses and sins. Does this description accurately describe your church?

Vance Havner had a timely word for the modern church when he remarked that "Every Christian is commissioned, for every Christian is a missionary. It has been said that the Gospel is not merely something to come to church to hear but something to go from the church to tell—and we are all appointed to tell it. It has also been said, ‘Christianity began as a company of lay witnesses; it has become a professional pulpitism, financed by lay spectators!’ Nowadays we hire a church staff to do ‘full-time Christian work,’ and we sit in church on Sunday to watch them do it. Every Christian is meant to be in full-time Christian service ... There is indeed a special ministry of pastors, teachers and evangelists—but for what? ... For the perfecting of the saints for their ministry."

This is sound doctrine!

Paul warns that "the Spirit explicitly (distinctly and expressly) says that in later times (began at the Christ first coming and continues to His glorious return, cf He 1:2-note; 1Peter 1:20-note) some will fall away from (aphistemi stand away from source of the Greek noun apostasia - defection) the faith, paying attention (not just listening but continually paying close attention to, assenting to and finally clinging) to deceitful (deluding, seducing) spirits and doctrines  (didaskalia) of demons (not doctrines about demons but inspired by them)." (1Ti 4:1)

False doctrine is not simply aberrant human teaching. Deceiving spirits, serving Satan, the deceiver and father of lies, are the invisible forces behind the latter-day departure from the faith. To sit under the teaching of doctrine that is not sound but which contradicts the truth of Scripture is to be taught by demons, and to put one’s very mind and soul in both temporal and eternal jeopardy. The ultimate aim of the demonic doctrine is to bring men and women to follow Satan, by devious, rather than open, means, using false teaching promulgated by means of the hypocrisy of liars.

Paul explains to Timothy that in warning the saints about errors that were to come (context = 1Ti 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5) he would "be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished (continually being reared on, trained) on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine (didaskalia) which (he had) been following. (1Ti 4:6)

Paul like a good coach in sports continually emphasized the "basics", here reminding us that continual feeding on the doctrine of Scripture is essential to the spiritual health of all Christians but especially of spiritual leaders. Only by reading the Word, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it, and mastering its contents in real life can a pastor fulfill his mandate.

John MacArthur comments on the "nourishing" effect of sound doctrine writing that ""This quality is basic to excellence in ministry, but is sadly lacking in the church today. Much contemporary preaching is weak and produces weak churches because it reflects a lack of biblical knowledge, and a minimal commitment to the study of Scripture. For many pastors, study is an unwelcome intrusion into their schedule. It interrupts the routine of administrative tasks and meetings with which they occupy themselves. They study only enough to make a sermon, not to feed their own hearts and think deeply and carefully on divine truth. The result is impotent sermons that fall on hard hearts and have little impact." (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press)

In the same chapter of first Timothy, Paul again exhorted his young disciple Timothy writing that 

"Until I come, (continually, as your habitual practice) give (careful, close) attention (constantly absorbed in, continually devoted) to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching (didaskalia)" (1Ti 4:13)

Ministering the Word was not something Timothy was to do after he had done other things but was to be the most important thing he did. Timothy was to make sure the churches church leaders read the Scriptures in the meetings of the church, that exhortation including explanation and application (cf, expositional preaching), should continue to accompany the reading of the Word and that there be systematic instruction in the doctrines of the faith.

"This is the basis of Christian belief. “Experience” is quick and easily gotten, but doctrine takes time and a great deal of effort. Yet doctrinally weak believers are immature believers and the pastor who does not give attention to doctrine does not exhibit a love for his people." (Dobson, E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)

For the fourth time in chapter four Paul wraps up his charge to Timothy commanding him to

Pay close attention (present imperative -continually keep paying attention) to yourself (note the order) and to your teaching (didaskalia); (make it your habit to continually stay by the side of, "stick to them and see them through" King adds that “Stickability is an essential quality for effective leadership.”) persevere in these things (those things noted in the preceding paragraph directly above); for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1Ti 4:16)

Paul's emphasis here is on the This emphasizes the importance of the personal life in any servant of Christ. If his life is wrong, he might be orthodox in doctrine, but it is of no avail.

Ralph Earle comments that "No matter how straight a person may be in his doctrine or how effective he may be in his teaching, if there is a flaw in his inner or outer life, it will ruin him. This is where many ministers have failed tragically. While he is watching over others, the pastor must keep an eye on himself.” 

A. W. Pink has well said that "Service becomes a snare and an evil if it be allowed to crowd out worship and the cultivation of one’s own spiritual life.

The "salvation" Paul refers to is not a reference to justification by works but to sanctification (see discussion of Three Tenses of Salvation), the Christian’s daily walk of faith. Timothy proved faithful to practice what he Paul had called him to do, Paul noting that he had "followed my teaching (didaskalia)." (2Ti 3:10-note)

One of the best known uses of didaskalia is found in 2 Timothy Paul declaring that

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable (beneficial, yielding good return)  for teaching, (didaskalia) for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." (2Ti 3:16-note)

Wiersbe's succinct summarizes this verse as "profitable for doctrine (what is right), for reproof (what is not right), for correction (how to get right), and for instruction in righteousness (how to stay right). A Christian who studies the Bible and applies what he learns will grow in holiness and avoid many pitfalls in this world. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)

Doctrine is indispensable to Christianity. Christianity does not exist without it. Paul warns Timothy to focus on preaching the Word for

"the time will come when they will not endure (hold themselves firm against) sound doctrine (didaskalia); but wanting to have their ears tickled (by pleasing and comfortable "doctrine"), they will accumulate (in piles) for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires (who will tell them what they want to hear)." (2Ti 4:3-note)

Paul warned that the day would come when men would make themselves the measure of who and what doctrine would be acceptable.

In Titus Paul gives as one of the key requirements for any man who would be an overseer of the church as a man who is

holding fast (continually strongly clinging or adhering to) the faithful (trustworthy, reliable) word which is in accordance with the teaching (didaskalia) that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:9 - note)

The word used to exhort and refute must be based on doctrine which is not diluted, deleted or distorted. The "teaching" in this context refers to the the spiritually healthful doctrines taught by the Lord Jesus and the apostles and which have been preserved for us in the Scriptures.

Paul tells Timothy to

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (didaskalia) (1Ti 5:17)

Work here refers

to work to the point of fatigue or exhaustion. It does not stress the amount of work, but rather the effort. A man’s reward from God is proportional to the excellence of his ministry and the effort he puts into it. Excellence combined with diligence mark a man worthy of the highest honor." (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press)

Paul writes to the Roman church reminding them that

whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction (didaskalia), that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Ro 15:4-note)

Referring to the Old Testament, Paul emphasizes its importance as "didaskalia" for it contains invaluable doctrine for all ages. And so as we encounter temptations, tribulations, troubles, etc, the Old Testament teaches us to be steadfast, and imparts comfort to our soul. Then instead of sinking under the waves, we are sustained by the hope that the Lord will see us through. The Old Testament truths provide motivation for us to "hang in there" and be encouraged in the midst of the storm as we seek to remain faithful to do God’s will. The Old Testament Scriptures give us hope because in them we see God’s approval of those Old Testament saints who persevered faithfully in spite of opposition and frustration. 

As J Vernon McGee so aptly puts it

"You won’t find any hope in the daily newspaper. You won’t find any hope in modern literature. Look at any field and see if you can find any hope. There is none whatsoever. It is dark and dismal when you look out at this world today. My friend, the only place you can find real hope is in the Word of God." (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Thomas Nelson)

Here in Titus 2:1 as well as in his first epistle to Timothy, Paul clearly associates proper belief (sound doctrine) with right behavior, writing to bond slaves:

"Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine (didaskalia) may not be spoken against." (1Ti 6:1).

The respected Lutheran commentator, R. C. H. Lenski writes

"If a Christian slave dishonored his master in any way by disobedience, by acting disrespectfully, by speaking shamefully of his master, the worst consequence would not be the beating he would receive but the curses he would cause his master to hurl at this miserable slave’s God, his religion, and the teaching he had embraced: “So that is what this new religion teaches its converts!” Instead of bringing honor to the true God and the gospel of his high and holy Name, as every Christian should be anxious to do, this slave would bring about the very opposite, to the devil’s delight." (The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus, and to Philemon: Augsburg, 1964, p694–95)

The history of the early church reveals that Christian slaves generally commanded a higher price on the slave market than unbelievers. If a master knew that a certain slave on the auction block was a Christian, he would generally be willing to pay more for that slave, since he knew that the slave would serve him faithfully and well. This is high tribute to the Christian faith and the soundness of the doctrine that is according to the glorious gospel!  If you were put on the "slave market" so to speak would you "command a higher price?"

Are my actions before my family, in school and at the workplace giving clear testimony to the reality of Christ in me the hope of glory and His power to live as more than a conqueror?

Paul shows the clear connection between sound doctrine and one conduct writing that

"If anyone advocates a different doctrine (heterodidaskaleo), and does not agree with sound (health giving) words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine (didaskalia) conforming to (and leading to) godliness." (1Ti 6:3)

I like the NLT paraphrase which explains that

"the sound, wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ...are the foundation for a godly life."

Note that what you believe does influence how you behave! Be sure you are "eating" healthy spiritual food, the pure milk of God's Word if you desire to be spiritually healthy and vigorous. Doctrine not based on Scripture will always result in an unholy life. Instead of godliness, false teachers will be marked by sin.


Titus 2:2  Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance  (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: presbutas nephalious einai, (PAN) semnous, sophronas, hugiainontas (PAPMPA) te pistei, te agape, te hupomone
Amplified: Urge the older men to be temperate, venerable (serious), sensible, self-controlled, and sound in the faith, in the love, and in the steadfastness and patience [of Christ]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
NLT: Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have strong faith and be filled with love and patience. (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: The old men should be temperate, serious, wise - spiritually healthy through their faith and love and patience. (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: that aged men be temperate [in the use of wine], venerable, self-controlled, sound in the Faith, in the love, in the patience;  (
Young's Literal: aged men to be temperate, grave, sober, sound in the faith, in the love, in the endurance;
OLDER MEN ARE TO BE TEMPERATE: presbutas nephalious einai, (PAN): (Lev 19:32; Job 12:12; Ps 92:14; Pr 16:31; Isa 65:20) (1Cor 15:34; 1Th 5:6,8; 1Ti 3:2,11; 1Pet 1:13; 4:7; 5:8)

old men are to be simple in their tastes (BBE)


the elder men be watchful (Geneva)


Tell older men to be sober (GWT)


Older men should be reserved (NJB)


Urge the older men to be temperate, venerable (serious), sensible (Amp)

Older men (4246) (presbutes related to the comparative presbuteros = an older person) means an aged man and in Greek literature sometimes was used of men as young as 50.  Presbutes here is not to be understood as holding an ecclesiastical position but as a man older in years.

A church is blessed when it has believers who can say with Paul,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (see note 2 Timothy 4:7)

and who can pray,

“O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth; and I still declare Thy wondrous deeds” (Ps 71:17). (See Spurgeon's Comment)

Moses was 80 years old when God called him to lead Israel out of bondage in Egypt and to the land of promise and his advanced age did not excuse him from the Lord’s work.  At the age of 83—after having traveled some 250,000 miles on horseback, preached more than 40,000 sermons, and produced some 200 books and pamphlets—John Wesley regretted that he was unable to read and write for more than 15 hours a day without his eyes becoming too tired to work. After his 86th birthday, he admitted to an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning!

Temperate  (3524) (nephalios from nepho [word study] = to be sober, free of intoxicants, wineless and thus sober in judgment) strictly speaking means "holding no wine" (without wine). Figuratively nephalios speaks of complete clarity of mind and resulting good judgment. It describes one who is watchful to remain free from the intoxicating effects of the world, the flesh and the devil and therefore they seek to continually remain circumspect, sober, and vigilant.

A temperate attitude is to be the older man's lifestyle. Old men should have learned what are and what are not godly (God pleasing) pleasures. They should have learned by now that the passing pleasures of sin (He 11:25-note) and  of self-indulgence cost far more than they are worth. The "dividends" of vice are not worth the "investment"

Ralph Earle writes that nephalios

was first used literally to describe drink which was "unmixed with wine." The ancient Greeks used to give to the Muses offerings of water, milk, and honey. It was forbidden to mix wine with these. The prohibitions went a step further: the wood burned with the sacrifices must not include the twigs of grapevines. There must not be the slightest contact with that which caused drunkenness. (Word Meanings in the New Testament)

A temperate person avoids excess, extravagance and over-indulgence of appetites and passions.

Someone has well said that we should never expect to govern others until we have learned to govern ourselves! Convicted? I am!

The temperate older man is able to discern more clearly which things are of the greatest importance and value. He uses his time, his money, and his energy more carefully and selectively than when he was younger and less mature. His priorities are in the right order, and he is satisfied with fewer and simpler things.

In this area of "self mastery" or self control, there is always the subtle danger of falling into the trap of legalism. Along that line I think D G Kehl's advice is spot on...

The beginning of self-mastery is to be mastered by Christ, to yield to His Lordship. True spiritual self-discipline holds believers in bounds but never in bonds; its effect is to enlarge, expand and liberate.

Comment: Saying "Yes" to Jesus (and His Spirit) each morning makes it much easier to say "No" to the variegated fiery missiles of temptation which fly into our eyes, ears, heart and mind each day. In fact, if we would guarding our hearts well, we must begin with assiduously guarding our eyes and ears.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said...

The great need in the Christian life is for self-discipline. This is not something that happens to you in a meeting; you have got to do it!

W E Vine...

nephalios primarily has to do with abstinence from strong drink; it acquired, however, the more general sense of soberness in disposition....It conveys partly the idea of watchfulness, but the meaning is that of freedom from excitability as well as from credulity. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

John MacArthur notes that...

While it is true that wine “makes man’s heart glad” (Ps. 104:15), it also has the potential for great harm. That is why it was commonly diluted with water in biblical times. Even so, it retained its potential for harm to those who drank it unmixed or to excess. Proverbs 20:1 warns, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” Proverbs 23:29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 graphically describes one snared by wine. Noah (Ge 9:20–27) and Amnon (2Sa 13:28, 29) are examples of those affected by wine. Leviticus 10:9 forbids priests from drinking wine when performing their priestly duties. Those taking a Nazarite vow also could not drink wine (Num. 6:3). Kings and other rulers were to abstain from drinking (Pr. 31:4), because it could dull their senses and affect their judgment. In a metaphorical sense, nephalios means “alert,” “watchful,” “vigilant,” or “clearheaded.” That may be its primary sense in this passage. A leader must be one who thinks clearly. He must possess the inner strength to refrain from any excess that would dull his alertness. William Hendriksen writes, “His pleasures are not primarily those of the senses … but those of the soul” (New Testament Commentary: The Pastoral Epistles [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981], 122). Temperate men are desperately needed in today’s church. They will be to her what the sons of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32 were to Israel, “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press or Logos or Wordsearch)

Augustine who had entered into the Spirit given victory over sexual lusts (see note) said...

Conquer yourself and you have conquered the world.

Webster's definition of temperate - Not excessive. Moderate in the indulgence of the appetites and passions; as temperate in eating and drinking; temperate in pleasures; temperate in speech. Cool; calm; not marked with passion; not violent; as a temperate discourse or address; temperate language. Free from ardent passion.

The point that the Pastorals make here is that the Christian must allow himself no indulgence which would lessen his Christian vigilance or soil his Christian conduct.

Bauernfeind writes

The reference is to the clarity and self-control necessary for sacred ministry in God's work (TDNT, 4:941).

Bernard says

Primarily having reference to sobriety in the case of wine, it has here the more extended sense of temper-ate.

Spurgeon comments that...

Among the heathen, old men often gave themselves up to drunkenness and gluttony; so now, this is the teaching that is to be given to aged Christian men. They need faith, love, and patience, as well as the virtues of sobriety, gravity, and temperance. The infirmities of old age often create petulance, so the grace of God is to make the venerable Christian to be full of faith, love, and patience.

Nephalios - 3x in 3v - 1Ti 3:2, 11; Titus 2:2

1 Timothy 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

1 Timothy 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

DIGNIFIED: semnous: (Titus 2:7; 1Ti 3:4,8,11; Php 4:8)

Dignified (worthy of respect - NIV) (4586) (semnos) (see also word study on related word semnotes) means honorable, august (marked by majestic dignity or grandeur), venerable (stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age), reverent or behaving with reverent propriety. It refers to the character that evokes special respect.

Semnos is used 4 times in the NT and is translated dignified(2), honorable(1), men of dignity(1)...

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (note)

1 Timothy 3:8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,

1 Timothy 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

The behavior of these older men is serious in the right way. It does not describe the demeanor of a person who is a gloomy killjoy, but the conduct of the man who knows that he lives in the light of eternity, and that before very long he will leave the fallen race of men for the glorious presence of God. The dignified person is never frivolous, trivial, or superficial. He does not laugh at immorality, vulgarity, or anything else that is sinful and ungodly. Nor does he laugh at that which is tragic or at the expense of others. These older men have learned the value of time and opportunity. They are better than younger men at accepting and comprehending their own mortality, the imperfections of this present world, and the inability of material things to bring true joy and lasting, deep satisfaction. They have seen utopian ideas fail and have learned how short-lived and disappointing euphoric emotional experiences can be.

Matthew Henry writes that

"levity is unbecoming in any, but especially in the aged; they should be composed and stayed, grave in habit, speech, and behaviour; gaudiness in dress, levity and vanity in the behaviour, how unbeseeming in their years!"

SENSIBLE: sophronas: (Titus 1:8; Acts 24:25; 1Cor 9:25; Gal 5:23; 2 Pe 1:6; Mk 5:15; Lk 8:35; Ro 12:3; 2Cor 5:13; 1Pet 4:7)

Sensible (
4998) (sophron which Vine says derives from a combination of sozo = save + phren = mind and see note in next paragraph) (Click word study on sophron) means acting like one with a "saved mind" curbing one’s desires and impulses and so describes the man who is self-controlled, self restrained and discreet. This man's mind has everything under control (of the Holy Spirit).

Sophron - 4x in 4v - 1Ti 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2, 5

Over the years the senior men must have acquired that cleansing, saving strength of mind which has learned to govern every instinct and passion until each has its proper place and no more. They would have the discernment, discretion, and judgment that comes from walking with God for many years.

Sophron also describes an elder (see note Titus 1:9) as who is self-disciplined in all of his freedoms, self-restrained in all of his passions and desires.  The last part of sophron  (phren) means "brakes" in modern Greece and so the word conveys the idea that this man knows how to stop, when to quit and when to say "no".  A lot of people know when to start but not when to stop!

As Henry says this man

"governs well his passions and affections, so as not to be hurried away by them to any thing that is evil or indecent."

Sophron taken back to its root means a "saved mindset" coming right out of a person's salvation, so that his thinking has been flipped over from the "AM" band of the World to the "FM" band of the Spirit and he now has the ability to think the way God wants him to think and can act the way God wants him to act. He controls his physical passions, rejects worldly standards and resists worldly attractions because like Paul, by God’s grace he has learned to

“think so as to have sound judgment” (Ro 12:3-note)

He has come to learn that to be "in control" he has to be "under control" of the Holy Spirit (cf Gal 5:23, Eph 5:18-note).

SOUND : hugiainontas: (Titus 1:13-

"robust in their faith" (Weymouth)

Sound (5198) (hugiaino) (Click word study on hugiaino) as discussed in the two prior uses (see note Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13) means uncorrupt, healthy and wholesome and so is that which protects and preserves life and gives good health (in this case spiritual health). Though they may be unhealthy in body and decrepit because of age, they should still remain sound in mind.

Hugiaino - 12x in 12v - Luke 5:31; 7:10; 15:27; 1 Tim 1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim 1:13; 4:3; Titus 1:9, 13; 2:1, 2; 3 John 1:2

IN FAITH: te pistei:

"to be well-grounded in faith" (GWT)

"to be robust in their faith" (Weymouth)

Faith (4102) (pistis) (Click word study on pistis) has the definite article, here, not “faith” as exercised, but the Faith,” (click discussion of "the faith") the body of Christian doctrine. Older men have learned that the doctrine of God can be trusted in every way. They do not question His wisdom or power or love, and they do not lose trust in His goodness and grace or lose confidence in His divine plan and divine wisdom. They do not doubt the truth or sufficiency of His Word or waver in their divinely assured hope that His sovereign plan will be fulfilled. Listen to the words of Joshua who had grown old and sound in "the faith":

"Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed." (Josh 23:14)

Henry  adds that sound in the faith means he is

"sincere and steadfast, constantly adhering to the truth of the gospel, not fond of novelties, nor ready to run into corrupt opinions or parties, nor to be taken with Jewish fables or traditions, or the dotages of their rabbis. Those who are full of years should be full of grace and goodness, the inner man renewing more and more as the outer decays."

"Faith" (pistis) is derived from peitho which means to be so persuaded by what we say we believe that we bow and act accordingly. So FAITH has an ACTION associated with it and is not just something you tell people you have but is something you show people you possess by the way you live. If this man is "healthy in the faith" it means he is always found trusting God, always willing to obey. Does your life back up what you say?

IN LOVE: te agape: (1Cor 13:4, 5, 6, 7, -see notes
1Corinthians 13:4; 13:5 ; 13:6 ; 13:7)

Love (26) (agape) ( word study on agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love and a love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16), that God shows (Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9) and that God is so as noted above it is not surprising that Greek literature throws little light on its distinctive NT meaning. Agape in the Greek classics spoke of a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved. Agape may involve emotion, but it  must always involve action. Agape is unrestricted, unrestrained, and unconditional.

The definite article ("te"), referring to the love produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit. Agape love is a choice and not based on whether one feels like showing it or not! He has learned to love when his love is not deserved and to continue loving when it is rejected, even when he suffers because of it. He lovingly forgives and lovingly serves.

Barnes adds that this older man

"should have overcome, at his time of life, all the fiery, impetuous, envious, wrathful passions of his early years, and his mind should be subdued into sweet benevolence to all mankind."

IN PERSEVERANCE: te hupomone:

Perseverance (5281) (hupomone from hupo = under + meno = abide) (Click word study of hupomone) which literally means “remaining under” trials and afflictions in a way that honors God. The root idea of hupomone is that of remaining under some discipline, subjecting one’s self to something which demands the acquiescence of the will to something against which one naturally would rebel. It portrays a picture of steadfastly and unflinchingly bearing up under a heavy load and describes that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. The picture is that of steadfastness, constancy and endurance.

Hupomone - 32x in 31v - Luke 8:15; 21:19; Rom 2:7; 5:3f; 8:25; 15:4f; 2 Cor 1:6; 6:4; 12:12; Col 1:11; 1 Thess 1:3; 2 Thess 1:4; 3:5; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 3:10; Titus 2:2; Heb 10:36; 12:1; Jas 1:3f; 5:11; 2 Pet 1:6; Rev 1:9; 2:2f, 19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12

Hupomone  is patience in the sense of meekness. Hupomone is the ability to endure when circumstances are difficult - not a passive sitting down and bearing things but a triumphant facing of them so that even out of evil there can come good, a bearing up in a way that honors and glorifies our heavenly Father.

The difficulties in our lives,
The obstacles we face,
Give God the opportunity
To show His power and grace.

Trench has defined hupomone as

“that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.”

Older men are to exhibit the ability to endure hardship, to accept disappointment and failure, to be satisfied despite thwarted personal desires and plans.  The older man is one who has learned to graciously live with such difficulties as physical weakness, loneliness, and being misunderstood and unappreciated.  He does not lose heart when things do not turn out the way he had hoped and expected, but has the perfect confidence

“that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Ro 8:28-note).

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Last Updated February 21, 2015