Titus 2

One of the talks that we give is about discipleship, based on Titus 2:1-8. It’s a passage that reflects how members of the church are interrelated: older men, older women, younger women, younger men. We like to point out that we all fit in one of those categories! And we’re all to teach and learn from one another: older men being leaders, worthy of respect, older women being reverent and training younger women. Younger women loving their families. Younger men learning and speaking rightly. And you can make a strong case that each group is to impact and help the others, starting from the “olders” (both men and women) and moving to the “youngers”. Each group contributes and learns and benefits from the others.

One of the major themes beside this interdependent discipleship is self-control. We usually never have time to discuss this other than a mention in the time we have. It’s interesting that each group but the older women are specifically told to have “self-control” (NIV). There are three cognates (different forms that come from a root word) that the NIV translates as “self-controlled” and they all spin off the Greek word for wisdom (sophia, from which two of my nieces are named). The initial indication would be that Paul wants these people to let their minds–wisdom–control their bodies and actions. And the older women are given a couple of specific examples for practicing self-control: “not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine.” So a big part of teaching and helping one another is encouragement and accountability toward…temperance, to use the old-fashioned word.

Now Cretans, (or “cretins”?), the people Paul’s letter was directed to, were pretty much the opposite of this: Titus 1:12. And I would say that the U.S., and maybe you could generalize that to Western-market-driven-consumer culture, pretty much is headed in the opposite direction. And young men especially are an out-of-control group. In fact our society celebrates that “out-of-control”-ness and laughs about it and uses it–just look at ESPN.com/Page2, all the men’s magazines, and too many movies to list. On second thoughts, maybe you shouldn’t check them out. So it’s worth paying attention to voices in the church (and outside) who call us all (and young men particularly) to self control. Let wisdom control your mind and your mind your appetites. Contrary to popular culture and a even lot of voices in science and psychology, it’s possible and good.

2 Responses to “Titus 2”

  1. 1
    Nate Duriga

    I’m all for practicing self-control, as long as I can still do whatever I feel like.

  2. 2

    Hey, then stay away from my sister!

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