1 But you should talk in a way that is consistent with sound teaching. 2 Tell the older men to be sober, dignified, sensible, and healthy in respect to their faith, love, and patience.
3 Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in their behavior, teaching what is good, rather than being gossips or addicted to heavy drinking. 4 That way they can mentor young women to love their husbands and children, 5 and to be sensible, morally pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, so that God’s word won’t be ridiculed. 6 Likewise, encourage the younger men to be sensible 7 in every way. Offer yourself as a role model of good actions. Show integrity, seriousness, 8 and a sound message that is above criticism when you teach, so that any opponent will be ashamed because they won’t find anything bad to say about us.
9 Tell slaves to submit to their own masters and please them in everything they do. They shouldn’t talk back 10 or steal. Instead, they should show that they are completely reliable in everything so that they might make the teaching about God our savior attractive in every way.
Some specific parts of Paul’s counsel don’t fit today’s culture. But his main concern was not to uphold Greco-Roman culture. He hoped Christians could make the gospel as appealing as possible to that culture’s people. Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, “What if there’s a town in the ancient Mediterranean world which has never seen Christians before? ... Paul, like other early Christian teachers, is anxious that if the Christians are going to get into trouble it will be because of things they definitely stand for, not because of incidental things which people on the street will mock or sneer at but which Christians should in any case avoid.”*
- Paul urged Titus and the Christians he led to live in such a way that even opponents “won’t find anything bad to say about us.” He urged even slaves to “make the teaching about God our savior attractive in every way.” In what ways can you apply that principle to your conduct as a Christian in your workplace, business dealings and personal relationships?
- Today’s passage spoke first to older Christians. William Barclay observed, “Sometimes it would seem that the only gift experience gives to some is that of pouring cold water on the plans and dreams of others. It is a Christian duty ever to use experience to guide and encourage, and not to daunt and discourage.”** If you’re older, how well do you live up to that in your influence on others? If you’re younger, how can that guide you in choosing older mentors to listen to?
Lord Jesus, guide and shape me into a person whose life makes the teaching about you and your salvation “attractive in every way” to the people who know me. Amen.
* Wright, N. T. Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters: 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus (The New Testament for Everyone). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, pp. 249.
Want more reflection on today's GPS?
Jennifer Creagar is the Financial Care Program Director in Congregational Care at Resurrection Leawood. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.