Matters of ministry concern, 1:5-3:11

iv] Faith and Christian living


At this point in his letter to Titus, Paul sets out the theological basis for his ethical instructions concerning life within the Christian fellowship. The basis for ethics is the redemption of broken humanity wrought by Christ's sacrifice. It is "because Jesus sacrificed himself for all mankind that old and young men and old and young women (cf. v1-8 + slaves, v9-10), can be bidden to live in obedience to God", Barrett.


i] Context: See 1:5-9.


ii] Background: See 1:1-4.


iii] Structure: Paul's summary of the doctrine of salvation:

Proposition - salvation has an ethical purpose, v11-14:

salvation is a universal reality, v11;

with an ethical purpose, v12;

also a future dimension, v13;

based on the redemptive work of Christ, v14a;

for removal from the sphere of sin;

for the creation of a people zealous for good works, v14b.


Teach these things, v15.


iv] Interpretation:

This passage serves as the theological basis for the ethical instructions coving 1:10-2:10. Although the passage serves as a brilliant summary of salvation as a now / not yet reality, its purpose is not to exegete salvation as such, but to show how salvation impacts on ethics - "it teaches us to say 'No" to ungodliness and worldly passions."

Paul begins by noting the universal scope of God's grace in salvation through Christ, a salvation for "all people", v11, which serves to instruct / train those who experience this salvation in the way of godliness, v12. Paul qualifies the point he has made by stating that salvation is not just a past / present reality, but is also a future reality, a reality to be experienced at the epifaneian, "appearing", of Christ, v13. Noting that salvation is realised through the redemptive work of Christ, v14a, Paul restates his central point; the aim of this grace of salvation is to create a people "zealous for good works", v14b. Refocusing on Titus, Paul calls on him to play the part of the teaching elder: teach these truths, encourage and rebuke.


The Syntax of verses 11-14. The passage forms one complex sentence in the Greek text. The opening clause serves as the leading statement controlled by the main verb "has appeared", the subject of which is "the grace of God ([which brings] salvation)". This verb, and its attendant participle "teaching", controls the rest of the sentence; "the grace of God in Christ which brings salvation has been revealed and teaches us." The following dependent statement outlines what this revelation / epiphany teaches. The statement is controlled by the main verb "we should live", supported by two participial phrases, "having rejected" the evils of this world, and "awaiting" the Christian hope. The "awaiting" is exegeted in a supportive phrase giving its content, namely awaiting the epiphany ("appearing of glory"), which appearing is limited by the adjectival phrase "the great God and saviour of us who is Jesus Christ." An adjectival clause follows, led by a relative pronoun describing the coming Christ as the one "who gave himself on our behalf". This is followed up by two purpose clauses explaining why Christ gave himself, namely "in order that he might redeem us from all sin" and "in order that he might cleanse for himself a people of his possession." Finally, this people is qualified by an appositional phrase, "namely a people zealous of good works."

Verse 15 is often treated as if introducing the next passage, but it is probably best treated as a personal instruction to Titus as to his handling of the theological themes outlined in v11-14; "These are your themes; urge them and argue them with an authority which no one can disregard", REB.


v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 2:11

Proposition, v11-14: i] Salvation is a universal reality, v11. Having defined a series of practicalities concerning the Christian life, Paul now explains that this life rests on the humanising power of the gospel revealed in Christ.

gar "for" - for. More reason than cause, establishing a logical link which grounds the previous ten verses on the theology of v11-14. A variant without this conjunction exists, but is discounted.

h cariV (iV ewV "the grace" - the grace. Nominative subject of the verb "to appear." The covenant mercy of God realised in the person and work of Christ. Surely a Pauline sense is intended, but some disagree, eg. D/C. This phrase serves as the content of what was revealed / manifested, of God's epiphany in Christ, an epiphany which brought salvation to all humanity. The phrase most likely serves as a summary of the gospel.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - of god. The genitive is usually classified as verbal, subjective, "the grace that flows from God", but it may treated as adjectival, possessive, "the grace that belongs to God.",

swthrioV adj. "brings salvation" - bringing salvation. Variant tou swthrioV exists. If attributive, it would rightly take an article, but here the adjective is predicative; a grace of God which conveys salvation.

epefanh (epifainw) aor. pas. "has appeared" - appeared, dawned. "This grace has been concretely manifested in the world", Marshall, as a "divine manifestation to save, and royal visitation", Towner. "Revealed was the grace of God for the rescue of all human beings", Quinn.

pasin dat. adj. "to all men" - to all. Dative of interest, advantage. The adjective is limiting "salvation", ie. a salvation of all mankind, and not as NIV.


ii] Salvation has an ethical purpose for the present and for the future, v12-13. This humanising function of the gospel achieves the following: First, the living out of new-life in Christ; Second, the turning away from a life without God;

paideuousa (paideuw) pres. part. "teaching" - teaching, instructing, disciplining [us]. The participle may be viewed as adverbial, expressing purpose, or just attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the main verb "has appeared"; "he has appeared ... and is teaching ..." The pronoun "us" serves as the object. Obviously "teaching", although Paul often uses the word elsewhere in the sense of "disciplines", so possibly "it schools (trains) us", Moffatt. Towner extends the idea somewhat and so opts for "civilising", even "humanising." We have here an extremely important principle. The Christian life, shaped as it is toward godly living and away from ungodliness, is driven, not by law, but by the gospel of God's grace in Christ. It is God's mercy in Christ which motivates us to be merciful, to be forgiving rather than unforgiving.

iJna + subj. "to ...... " - that. Although possibly introducing a purpose clause, "in order that we may live ...", it is more likely serving as an epexegetic infinitive explaining the content of the teaching; "it is training us ....... to live a well-ordered, upright and godly life", Barrett.

arnhsamenoi (arneomai) aor. part. "say 'No'" - having denied [ungodliness and worldly desires]. The participle may be viewed as adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, or simply attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the main verb "we should live." "Training us to renounce the life in which God is banished from the scene (a life without God), and in which the worlds desires hold sway", Barrett.

zhswmen (zaw) aor. subj. "live" - we should live [sensibly and righteously and godly]. "Live" in the sense of "conduct oneself." The three modifying adverbs are used to describe the Christian life. Note that they are placed before the verb zhswmen to give them emphatic weight.

en + dat. "in [this present age]" - in [the now age]. Either temporal or local. Although the phrase would normally be translated as NIV, the presence of the adverb nun, "now / present", probably pushes to the more specific "in the midst of this present world", Cassirer.


"A forward looking hope", Towner.

prosdecomenoi (prosdecomai) pres. part. "while we wait for" - eagerly waiting for. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, modifying the verb "we should live", as NIV. "While we look for", TNT.

makarian adj. "blessed" - [the] blessed [hope]. The attributive adjective limits elpida, "hope", identifying a particular type of "hope", namely a "blessed" type. Blessedness is of course a God bestowed quality, so the hope is for divine blessing. "The hope that brings blessing", Fee.

kai "-" - and. Here probably epexegetic; "the blessed hope, that is / namely, appearing of the glory ..." The fact that there is no article before "blessed" supports this view, cf. BDF#276.3. Clearly, the parousia of Christ is in mind. "While waiting for that blessed hope of ours [that is], for the appearing in glory of him who ....", Cassirer.

epiqaneian (a) "appearing" - appearing, manifestation. Accusative direct object of the participle "eagerly waiting for." The hoped for blessing is the "appearing / manifestation" of .......

thV doxhV "the glorious" - of the glory [of the great god and saviour of us jesus christ]. The genitive is probably adjectival, limiting by describing "appearing", ie. it is a "glorious" type of appearing, so NIV, but it can also be taken with "of the great God"; "the appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour", so TNIV (probably not an objective genitive, although it may be so argued on the basis that epifaneian is anarthrous, but then the article would be dropped if kai is explanatory). Related to this issue is the title "Jesus Christ" which is usually coupled with "God", but the title may also be coupled with "the glory of God". We end up with three possibilities: a) the passage refers to two persons ("the great God" and "the saviour Jesus Christ"); b) the passage refers to Jesus as being the glory of God; c) the passage refers to Jesus as "our God and Saviour." Commentators: a) D/C; b) Towner; c) Marshall, Barrett, Quinn ("of Jesus Christ, our great God and saviour"), Fee, Guthrie, Hanson, Simpson, Knight III, Mounce. The decider is probably theological in that "appearing" surely refers to the parousia, something undertaken by Jesus, not Jesus and God / the Father, although against this there is the argument that Paul would not use such a specific identifier for Jesus. So, "Jesus Christ" most likely stands in apposition to "our great God and Saviour", as NIV, although the approach of Towner has much to recommend it. We do well to remember that the deity of Jesus does not rest on this verse.


iii] Salvation is based on the redemptive work of Christ, v14. Having mentioned "our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ", Paul reminds Titus that Jesus "gave himself for us" and states the purpose of this selfless sacrifice: a) our removal from the sphere of sin, and b) our purification as a people for God.

edwken (didwmi) aor. "gave" - [who] gave [himself]. Obviously "he it is who sacrificed himself for us", NEB.

uJper + gen. "for [us]" - on behalf of [us]. Here expressing representation, so "on behalf of, for the sake of", but possibly replacing anti, expressing substitution, "in place of / instead of", so Zerwick, cf., MM.

iJna + subj. "to" - that. Introducing two purpose clauses, "in order to redeem ....... and in order to purify ....""

lutrwshtai (lutrow) "redeem" - he might ransom, redeem / set free, rescue [us]. Possibly of paying a price for release, or just liberate, set free, cf., 1Tim.2:6 and Mk.10:45 as related to say Ps.130:8. The idea of ransom / redemption / buying back at the payment of a price, rather than set-free / rescue may be present, given the overtones of Mark 10:45 in v13, as in 1 Peter 1:18. Certainly, Christ's self-giving on behalf of sinners is in mind, but when it comes to the payment of a price we are forced to ask, payment to whom? The answers are less than satisfactory. We seem on safer ground if we hold that "the emphasis of the ransom metaphor here is on the cost of the redemption", Mounce. That is, the idea of "redemption" is drawn from "the Biblical tradition of the action taken by YHWH to set his people free ......; it had become another way of speaking of God's saving act", Towner.

apo + gen. "from" - Expressing separation; "away from."

pashV adj. "all" - Attributive adjective, so "everything belonging to wickedness."

anomiaV (a) "wickedness" - lawlessness, wickedness. "To set us free from all wickedness", REB, ie., "from the sphere of sin", Towner, cf., v12. Marshall suggests "set free from its power (inclination to wickedness) and its consequences (guilt)", but it is not clear here that Paul is thinking of the consequences of sin, namely guilt. The context is primarily focused on behaviour.

kaqarish/ (kaqarizw) aor. subj. "purify" - he might cleanse, purify. Possibly set apart = "consecrate", D/C, cf., Ezk.37:23. Possibly spiritual cleansing (forgiveness / removal of guilt) is in mind, but certainly in "abstaining from evil deeds", Marshall.

eJautw/ dat. ref. pro. "for himself" - [and that he might cleanse] for himself. Dative of interest, advantage.

periousion adj. "[a people] that are his very own" - a special, chosen [people]. As of something that belongs to someone, so here of God's "special possession", his "peculiar treasure."

zhlwthn (hV ou) "eager to do" - zealous, enthusiastic, eager for. Standing in apposition to "people". Paralleling v12 "to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives." "Full of zeal for good works"; "enthusiastic for fine deeds", Quinn.

ergwn (on) gen. "what is [good]" - of [good] works. The genitive is usually viewed as verbal, objective.


Exhortation, v15. "Having set before them the theological basis for 'good works' (God's saving grace manifested in Christ's redemptive act), Paul now turns to urge Titus to teach these things", Fee. The problem we face is identifying "these things". As we see from the quote above, Fee suggests "good works", 2:1-14, possibly 1:10-16. Possibly Paul is referring to his ethical instructions in the letter as a whole. Marshal, referring to Lips, argues that Paul uses this phraseology "to refer to what has just preceded", cf., Tim.3:14, 4:6, 11, 15, 1:7, 21, 6:2, 2Tim.2:15.

tauta "these, then, are the things" - these things. Accusative direct object of the verb "to speak."

lalei (lalew) pres. imp. "you should teach" - speak. "Let this be your message", Cassirer.

parakalei (parakalew) pres. imp. "encourage" - [and] exhort, urge, encourage. The present tense probably indicates a general command; "tell people these things and urge them to respond", Junkins.

elegce (elegcw) pres. imp. "rebuke" - [and] rebuke, reprove, convict / convince. Probably again the present tense indicates a general command. Literally "with every command", but better "with full authority to command", BAGD. "This solemn admonition should be given to those who neglect their duties / who are slack, or fail to respond", Knight III.

meta + gen. "with" - with [every command]. Adverbial use of the preposition, modal, manner / attendant circumstance; "with complete authority."

perifroneitw (preifronew) pres. imp. "do [not] let [anyone] despise [you]" - let [no one] disregard, despise, overlook, look down on, disdain [you]. Again, the present tense indicates a general command, possibly in progress. Hapax legomenon, here taking a genitive of direct object sou, "you". Possibly encouraging Titus to reinforce his authority as a minister of the Word since, where a minister is disregarded, the Word is inevitably disregarded. Towner suggest the exhortation is more personal; "Titus, even if someone disrespects your authority, do not be dissuaded from your task."


Titus Introduction


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