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

iii] The proper conduct of men, women and slaves


Paul now turns away from the heretics, reminding Titus that his task is to "teach what accords with sound doctrine." Focusing on what are commonly called household rules, Paul instructs Titus on matters that specifically apply to older men and women, younger men and women, and slaves. When it comes to Christian ethics, the moral requirements expected of a minister of the gospel are also expected of members of the congregation.


i] Context: See 1:5-9.


ii] Background: See 1:1-4.


iii] Structure: Paul's instructions for household rules:

Instruction, v1:

Titus' teaching must reflect sound doctrine.

Household Rules:

Older men, v2;

Older women, v3;

Younger women, v4-5;

Younger men, v6;

for whom Titus must set an example, v7-8.

Slaves, v9-10.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul details a number of ethical rules which align with many of the civic virtues commonly acknowledged throughout the Hellenistic world. Christ-like virtues valued in society at large, should be valued and imitated by the Christian community, particularly when they are framed by the command to love one anther. The societal purpose for the imitation of these virtues is stated clearly in v5, "so that no one will malign the word of God" - "it's a good advertisement for the Christian faith (the gospel)", Phillips.


A Christian household code. Paul's ethical instructions seems somewhat strange to the modern ear, although not to a Bible student who has lived with them for ever and a day. The early church was primarily a house-church movement, with worshipping congregations existing as extensions of believing families. In the social context of the age, household relationships were framed around the reciprocal responsibilities of wives and husbands, children and fathers, and slaves / servants and masters. This frame was further extended to cover the responsibilities of a citizen to the State - emperor, governors, .... The reciprocal responsibilities amounted to obedience in response to respect and justice, respect and justice in response to obedience. It is therefore understandable that the early church should frame the responsibilities of fellowship members in the terms of a household code.

The household code developed in the Pastoral epistles is also present in Colossians 3:18-4:1 and Ephesians 5:21-6:9, and in a wider form in 1 Peter 2:13-3:7. The code in Titus gives more weight to a patriarchal hierarchy, a structure evident in secular society and within which the early church chose to frame itself. The NT author's didn't have to be sensitive to society at large, but chose to be for the sake of the gospel, while at the same time bringing Christian values to what was a secular frame. It is for this reason that the NT household codes are somewhat distinctive, with no exact parallel in extant writings of the time.

The interpretation of the NT household codes is fraught, given their contextual setting and the diversity of modern relationship structures. The primary task for the exegete is to find the ethical principles governing the household codes, while recognising the primary need to protect the gospel from unnecessary ethical conflicts.

Text - 2:1

Unlike the false-teachers, Titus must teach "what is correct", CEV.

su pro. "you" - Nominative of address; "but with respect to you."

de "however" - but/and. Primarily serving as a transitional connective, indicating a step in the argument, but with an adversative touch, as NIV.

th/ .... didaskalia/ (a) dat. "to [sound] doctrine" - [speak what things are fitting, suitable, seemly] to [sound] teaching. When, as here, prepw, "to be fitting", takes the sense "suitable for, appropriate to, in accord with, corresponding to", it is followed by a dative of direct object, but the dative could also be classified as a dative of reference / respect; "suitable with respect to sound teaching."

uJgiainoush/ (uJgiainw) dat. pres. part. "sound" - healthy = sound. The participle is adjectival, attributive. For "sound doctrine" see 1Tim1:10, Tit.1:9.


Household rules, v4-10: "Older men should be sober, dignified (serious = high principled), and temperate, sound in faith, love and fortitude (endurance)", REB.

presbutaV (hV ou) "teach older men" = [it is necessary for] older men, aged men. Accusative subject of the infinitive verb to-be. These are not the presbuteroi, "elders", the senior ministers serving in the congregation, although they are most likely those from whom the elders are selected.

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "to be" - to be. The function of the infinitive is unclear here. An ellipsis is likely, or possibly an imperatival infinitive, so Robertson, Grammar, also Moule, but contra D/C. It seems that the clause is similar to v7, with dei, "it is necessary", assumed; "it is necessary for older men to be sober-minded", ie., the infinitival construction, "older men to be" stands as the subject of the impersonal verb "it is necessary", with "older men" serving as the accusative subject of the infinitive. Rather than instructions, it seems more likely that we have a "catalogue of duties", D/C; "older men should be temperate, serious, wise", Phillips.

nhfaliouV adj. "temperate" - sober, temperate [serious / dignified = worthy of respect, self-controlled / temperate]. Predicate adjective, as with those that follow. Possibly "sober minded", although Towner suggests "cautious in the use of wine", but more likely addressing the problem of a bad temper, or even aggression.

th/ pistei (iV ewV) dat. "[sound] in faith" - [being healthy] in the faith [in love, in endurance]. Dative of reference / respect, "sound with respect to faith, love and fortitude", but possibly local, in the context of "the faith (Christian doctrine), the love (that which marks a believer), and the patience (hope)."


The duties of older women, v3. "In the same way the older women must live as if every act in life is an act of worship. They must not indulge in scandal-mongering. They must not be so addicted to drink that they cannot do without it. They must be teachers of all that is fine .....", Barclay. The corresponding virtues are somewhat sexist, but it is an observable fact that males in general, as for females in general, display particular vices, eg., intemperance, in the sense of aggression, is particularly a male failing. It is interesting that addiction should be singled out for women, but in Roman culture it was common for a more mature women to drink too much wine at banquets. It was also noted that this led them to slanderous outbursts and sexual promiscuity, cf., Winter, Roman Wives.

wJsautwV adv. "likewise" - similarly. Comparative adverb. Corresponding virtues are required of mature female members.

en "in the way they [live]" - [it is necessary for aged women to be reverent] in [behaviour]. Adverbial use of the preposition, expressing reference / respect; "reverent, with respect to their behaviour." The clause is elliptical with dei and einai assumed, as v2. Referring to "behaviour that is holy, or Godly", Towner.

dedoulwmenaV (doulow) perf. mid./pas. part. "addicted to" - [not slanderous (loose-talk], not] enslaved to. The participle is adjectival, predicative.

oinw/ (oV) dat. "[much] wine" - to [much] wine. Dative of direct object after the verb "to enslave."

kalodidaskalouV adj. "but to teach what is good" - it is necessary for aged women to be teachers of good. The exact meaning of this hapax legomenon (once only use in the NT) is unclear. It is usually taken with v4 in that the more mature women is to set a good example for the younger women and in so doing teach them, train them to love their husbands and children. "Good / excellent teachers", Towner.


The primary duty of younger women is presented in the context of the example set by the more mature women. The duty is family focused, specifically of compassion, cf., 1Tim.5:14.

iJna + subj. "then [they can urge]" - that [they may encourage the younger women]. Introducing a purpose clause; "in order that ..."

einai (eimi) "to [love]" - to be [husband loving, children loving]. The infinitive serves to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech, expressing what the older women "urge", namely the predicate adjectives "lovers of husbands, lovers of children."


The family-focused duties of the younger women are catalogued, virtues widely acknowledged throughout the Hellenistic world, and worthy of imitation for gospel acceptance in the wider community, cf., 1Cor.11:3, 1Tim.2:1. "By looking at them (the older women), the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's message because of their behaviour", Peterson. It is interesting reading how translators handle "subject to one's own husband", so for example, "willing to adapt themselves to their husbands", Phillips. Peterson steers well clear of the problem, but Phillips, reflecting the 1950s, sets himself up for a posthumous attack by today's feminists. See "Gender roles in marriage",Ephesians 5:22-33", especially reciprocal / mutual subordination, Eph.5:22, cf., Col.3:18, 1Pet.3:1.

uJpotassomenaV (uJpotassw) pres. mid./pas. part. "[to be] subject to" - [sensible / temperate, pure, workers at home, good], being subject to. The participle is adjectival, predicative, serving as the next element in the series of predicate adjectives. If this virtue is cultural, acknowledged in the wider community and worthy of imitation for gospel acceptance, then its imitation today is anything but culturally sensitive and likely to "malign the word of God."

toiV ... andrasin (hr droV) dat. "[their] husbands" - the [ones own] husband. Dative of direct object after the uJpo prefix verb "to be subject to."

iJna mh + subj. "so that no one" - lest [the word of god be blasphemed]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that", or probably better, a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that the word of God is not reviled."


As with the older men and younger women, the younger men must also be swfronaV, "temperate", NEB, v2, v5.

wJsautwV adv. "similarly" - likewise [encourage]. The adverb is used here as as a linking conjunction, "also", "in like manner."

touV newterouV adj. "the young men" - the young men. The adjective serves as a substantive.

swfroneiV (swfronew) pres. inf. "to be self-controlled" - to be sensible. The word usually takes the sense "to reason correctly, think straight, make sound judgments / be temperate, sensible, serious, prudent, self-controlled." Introducing an object clause, dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Titus should "encourage / exhort" the young men to be.


To enable the young men to be "temperate", Titus, also obviously a young man, is to set an example for them to follow, in both his behaviour, his "good works", and in his teaching, teaching that is principled, serious and sound such that those who oppose the gospel will have no ground on which to attack it, v7-8.

peri + acc. "in [everything]" - about, concerning, with respect to [all things]. Expressing reference / respect. It is unclear whether this prepositional phrase is forward, or backward referencing, ie., are young men to be self-controlled in everything, or is Titus to set an example in everything? Commentators are divided, given the intertwining of Paul's two aims, namely that young men are to live godly lives, and Titus is to set a godly example to them. That Titus is to set an example in all things seems best.

parecomenoV (parecw) pres. mid. part. "set them" - presenting, offering, providing = showing. The participle is adverbial, possibly instrumental, expressing means, "by", or better modal, expressing manner; "encourage the young men to be temperate, setting yourself up, in all respects, as a model ...."

topon (oV) acc. "an example" - [yourself] a model. Accusative complement of the direct object "yourself" standing in a double accusative construction.

ergwn (on) gen. "by doing [good] works" - of [good] works. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, limiting "a model" by specifying the type of "model" in mind; "a model which consists of good works."

en + dat. "in [your teaching]" - in [the teaching, integrity, seriousness]. The preposition is usually treated as either local, expressing sphere, or modal, expressing manner, or instrumental, expressing means; "in / with / by your teaching." The following nouns, "integrity", "seriousness" and "[healthy] speech", are accusative and so are obviously intended as direct objects of the participle parecomenoV, "showing", with the prepositional phrase, "in the teaching", serving to modify them. At this point we seem to have an ellipsis (missing words), and an anacoluthon (confused syntax). Numerous suggestions are offered, but if we take the preposition en as adverbial, reference / respect, then we end up with something like "encourage the young men to be self controlled, showing yourself, in respect to everything, a model of good works, and in respect to teaching, a model of integrity, dignity and sound speech."


logon (oV) "[soundness of] speech" - [sound, healthy] word, speech [irreproachable (not open to rebuke)]. The third of the three accusative direct objects of the participle "showing"; "integrity", "seriousness" and "[irreproachable] speech".

iJna + subj. "so that" - that [the one from the opposing side may be ashamed, having nothing bad to say about us]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, or probably better, a consecutive clause expressing result; "in order that" / "with the result that", the critic will "have no legitimate ground for censure", Marshall.

ex (ek) + gen. "-" - from [the opposing side]. Here source / origin, "from", or better, used for a partitive genitive, "those of the opposing side".

mhden ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "because they have nothing" - having nothing. The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal, as NIV.

legein (legw) pres. inf. "to say" - The infinitive is complementary.

peri + gen. "about [us]" - Expressing reference / respect; "concerning us."


The duties of slaves, v9-10. Paul's instruction to Titus regarding slaves is not an endorsement of the institution of slavery, but is certainly an acceptance of the given; cf., also Eph.6:5-8, Col.3:22-25. Roman society was built on slavery, with the institution functioning as an indentured form of labor. For believers so employed, Paul encourages integrity for the good reputation of the church and the gospel. The teachings of Christ will ultimately discredit the institution and in so doing, promote its demise, but in the meantime, rather than promote social revolution, Paul encourages compliance with the given labour laws.

DoulouV (oV) acc. "teach slaves" - [it is necessary for] slaves. Given that "slaves" is accusative, subject of the infinitive "to be subject to", our author either assumes a repeat of parakalei, "encourage", v6, "encourage slaves to be subject ....", or even possibly a repeat of "it is necessary for (dei) slaves to be subject ......", v2, 3.

uJpotassesqai (uJpotassw) pres. mid./pas. inf. "to be subject to" - Either introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the contend of the assumed verb "to encourage, exhort", or serving as the subject of the assumed impersonal verb "it is necessary", "slaves to be subject to one's own master is necessary" = "slaves are to be obedient to their masters", Barclay.

idioiV dat. adj. "their" - ones own [masters]. Dative of direct object after the uJpo prefix verb "to be subject to."

en + dat. "in [everything]" - The preposition is probably adverbial, reference / respect; "in all respects / with respect to everything." As NIV, so Marshall, Lock, Knight, ..., best taken with the verb "to be subject to"; "in everything be subject to" = "obeying them in everything", CEV. It is possible, although unlikely, for the prepositional phrase to be linked to what follows, "in all respects try to please them." So, a Christian slave is to subject themselves, "in all respect" of their service to their master. Knight adds the proviso, in the duty they "can render without sinning" - a long debated issue!

einai (eimi) "to try to" - to be. The infinitive as uJpotassesqai above.

euarestouV acc. adj. "please them" - acceptable, pleasing [not speaking against, speaking back, contradicting]. Predicate adjective.


mh nosfizomenouV (nosfizw) acc. pres. mid. part. "and not to steal from them" - not stealing, pilfering [but demonstrating]. As with endeiknumenouV, "demonstrating", the participle is adjectival, predicative. The syntax of v9 continues, either "encourage slaves to be ......... not pilfering, but demonstrating all good faith", or "it is necessary for slaves to be ....... not pilfering, but ....."; "slaves" serve as the accusative subject of the infinitive, and "pilfering" an accusative object of the infinitive.

pistin (iV ewV) acc. "[fully] trusted" - [all good] faith = fidelity. Accusative object of the participle "demonstrating". The adjective "good" is attributive, limiting "faith", "good faith", with "faith" here taking the sense "faithfulness", although expressed "all good faith" = "trustworthy", CEV.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that [they may adorn (do credit to)]. As with the previous usages of hina in Titus, probably serving to introduce a consecutive clause expressing result / hypothetical result, "with the result that ...", rather than a final clause expressing purpose, contra Ellicott. "That they will add lustre to the doctrine of God our saviour", NEB.

en + dat. "in [every way]" - in [all things]. The preposition is again probably adverbial, reference / respect, "with respect to everything", but possibly modal, expressing manner, as NIV; "to put in order" = "to make beautiful in every way."

thn "-" - [the teaching] the = which is. The article serves as an adjectivizer, turning the genitive construction "of the saviour of us, God", into an attributive modifier limiting the noun "teaching"; "teaching which has its source in God, the bringer of our salvation", Cassirer.

tou swthroV (hr roV) gen. "about [God our] saviour" - of the saviour [of us]. The genitive is usually viewed as adjectival, verbal, objective, as NIV. So also hJmwn, "our [Saviour]", ie., "he saves us", Perkins, but possibly attributive, "who saves us", or relational, "our saviour."

qeou (oV) gen. "God" - Genitive, standing in apposition to "saviour".


Titus Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]