These small group studies of Titus contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Titus 2:1-5 Bible Study Commentary and Discussion Questions – Various Roles In The Church

Outline

I. Teach sound doctrine (1)
II. Older men (2)
III. Women (3-5)

I. Teach sound doctrine (1)

Discussion Questions

• What was Titus supposed to do in the churches?
• How can a person make sure the doctrine he teaches is sound?
• How can a teacher evaluate and improve his teaching?

Cross-References

2 Timothy 4:2-4 – Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

1 Timothy 6:3 – If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Teach what accords with sound doctrine – Titus was charged by Timothy to teach “sound doctrine.” In the dictionary, doctrine is defined as “a belief or set of practices held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.”

In essence, Paul is telling Titus that he should teach and that his teachings should be accurate. Sound doctrine helps form a solid foundation for the church to build on.

Paul devoted much energy in his letters to exposing and refuting false teaching (unsound doctrine). He did not want Titus to be led astray into any heresies. If Titus gave bad teaching, those in the churches he ministered to would also be negatively influenced by it.

Paul gave many similar warnings to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:4-7).

2 Timothy 1:13-14 – Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

1 Timothy 1:3-4 – So that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

As a shepherd, Titus was responsible to teach. The sheep needed to be fed. A shepherd does not just tell the sheep, “Go feed yourself.” He guides them to pasture.

Teaching is necessary and useful (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But the teacher should be careful that what he is teaching is sound (James 3:1).

2. How can a person ensure he is teaching sound doctrine?

A teacher has the responsibility to ensure that the teaching is accurate and will not lead anyone astray. It is a serious thing. A doctor cannot randomly prescribe medicine. He needs to make sure that it is the right medicine. An architect cannot haphazardly make up a blueprint. Precise math and measurements are needed.

Giving counsel to others in the form of teaching can influence lives. It can affect whom a person marries, what career he chooses, how he educates his children and a million other aspects of life.

Reflect – How can a person ensure he is teaching sound doctrine?

Here are a few practical questions you can ask yourself.

• Is this just my opinion or is it a Biblical truth? – Our opinions are not always sound.
• Am I adding or taking away from Scripture? – Let the plain words of Scripture be your guide.
• Does my teaching agree with major Christian creeds? – Godly believers in history carefully examined Scripture and together wrote several documents (creeds) listing out many basic doctrines of the faith.
• Is my teaching something new that the church never taught before? – While it is possible that you may have a new angle on some passage that no one has ever preached or written about before, it is very unlikely. Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun. Most “new” teachings are spurious.
• Am I submitting myself and my teaching to the oversight of a godly group of Biblically-appointed elders? – God established the office of elder for a reason. A plurality of elders provides safety in that they can keep each other and the church accountable. Where one person may stray from sound doctrine (due to emotion, being deceived, or some other reason), it is less likely that a group of mature elders will together all fall for that false teaching.

Application – Regularly evaluate your own teaching to make sure that you are not straying from the Word. Commit yourself to a Biblical church where the teaching is sound.

II. Older men (2)

Discussion Questions

• What age do you think counts as an older man?
• Why do you think Paul lists out these specific qualities as being important for an older man?
• What do we see in these verses about what makes up a healthy church?
• How is an older man’s example of steadfastness important for the church?
• How could you use this verse to encourage an older man who might think that he is not important in the church?

Cross-References

Proverbs 16:31 – Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29 – The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Everyone has a role in the church – The book of Titus is a pastoral letter in which Paul instructs Titus in many aspects of church life. In chapter 1, he described the role of elder and the type of person who is qualified for that job. In chapter 2, he goes into many other roles in the church.

A healthy church is not just about having healthy leadership. Every person has a unique role to play. Each member of the church is vital. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul compares the church to a body. A body has many parts all working together for the same goal. And a church is the same.

If your throat is sore, you are sick. If you have circulation problems, it affects the whole body. If you have spine pain, it limits your mobility. The feet are not more important than the hands and the eyes are not more important than the mouth. A healthy body requires all of the parts to properly carry out its own roles.

Likewise, every category of people in the church is important to the overall health and function of a healthy church body. Paul talks about old men, young men, old women, young women, and even slaves.

Application – Know that you have an important role in the church. Do not be passive, expecting that the leaders will do all the work and you need only spectate. You have a job to do and your job is important. Do you know what it is?

2. What is older? – Paul starts with old men. Remember that Paul is writing to Titus and not directly to the church congregation. It would be Titus’ job to bring these words of encouragement to the various people in the church.

The age of “older men” is not clearly defined. Is it 75 or 40? And are you an older man?

That answer is relative. You are older than some but younger than others. It is not about the specific age. A man should be growing in all of these areas as he matures. There is no age where you will magically receive these character qualities. As you grow and mature, you can help those who are younger on their spiritual journeys with the experience and wisdom you have gained.

My thirteen-year-old son leads a short Bible study with the toddlers or young children of families who attend the weekly adult Bible study at our home. He, in turn, is the youngest member of his soccer team. There are several older teenagers who act as role models from who he learns self-control. And they all have a coach who, in turn, also looks to others for wisdom and guidance.

A key lesson from Titus 2 is that a healthy church is relational. Everyone should be learning from others and also passing on what they learn to others. A healthy stream keeps moving and many benefit from the water as it cycles through. Disease and bacteria build-up when a pool of water has no outlet.

Application – Who are you older than (if not in age, then in faith) in your local church? How can you help encourage and mentor those who are younger?

3. Old men should be encouraged in their role –

An older man might get discouraged. His physical strength isn’t what it was. Likely he is past the prime of life. In the workplace, younger, stronger men may have taken over for him. He has seen his children grow older and become independent. As a result, he might be tempted to think that he is not useful and that his best days are past.

Like Mr. Fredricksen in the movie UP, an older man might be tempted to sit on his recliner, sadly reminiscing the past and waiting to die.

But Titus should encourage them. They have a vital role to play in a healthy church. They are neither forgotten nor replaced. It is not the time to retire. There is much work to do and Titus should encourage them to get to it.

4. Their example and experience are very valuable –

While their physical strength might be less than before, their experiences are more. These experiences, combined with many years of service and Bible study, give them wisdom that a younger man may lack.

Their lives should be typified by godly character traits, including sober-mindedness, dignity, self-control, faith, love, and steadfastness. The character “steadfastness” is especially important in this context. It shows that they have fought the good fight and are finishing the race. Years, perhaps decades, of steadfast service have proven their faith. Temptations and the world did not sideline them or cause them to go astray. But they did learn from those and have a testimony to share. Their example can help others follow in their footsteps and live a life of faithful service to the Lord without wavering.

1 John 2:13 – I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.

Those who are older have a deeper knowledge of the Lord and, with that, can serve as mentors for those who are not as far in their spiritual journey.

Resource – For more on the qualities older men and women should strive for, check out this booklet from Bible Helps: https://biblehelpsinc.org/publication/counsel-for-older-men-and-women/

III. Women (3-5)

Discussion Questions

• What do you learn from these verses about the role of older women?
• What does an older woman tend to have that others may not?
• What are some temptations that older women may face?
• What do you learn from these verses about a healthy church?
• What do you observe about the relationships between church members? Are only the elders doing the teaching?
• Why is the example of older women very important for younger women?
• Why is it important for young believers to have a mentor?
• What do you observe is the primary role and responsibility for younger women who are married?
• What does it mean to be “working at home?”
• What are some practical ways that young women can fulfill these instructions?
• How can a husband help his wife fulfill the role of being a worker at home?
• How should these verses encourage an older woman who might be struggling with discouragement related to perceived low self-value?

Cross-References

Ephesians 4:12-14 – To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

1 Timothy 5:2 – Older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Proverbs 24:3-4 – By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Proverbs 14:1 – The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. The qualities of older women – Every person in the body of Christ is important and older women are no exception. Like older men, they might be tempted to think that they cannot do much and their useful years are behind them. Paul makes it clear this is not the case.

Like men, they have a very important role to play. God does not forget or overlook anybody. The church is healthy when all the members perform their part in harmony for His glory.

Reflect – What examples of older women in the Bible can you think of who followed these standards in Titus 2?

The first thing older women should focus on is their own character.

Paul lists out several character qualities that Titus should emphasize to them.

• Reverence – The word “reverent” means “feeling or showing deep and solemn respect.” Older women should be serious and dignified.
• Not slanderers – They should be careful about their speech. Because they tend to have more free time than others, their mouth might get them into trouble. Titus was to encourage them to watch over their words so that they wouldn’t talk negatively about others and create division or conflict within the church.
• Not slaves to wine – Older women should be productive and use their time well. Wine is a mocker (Proverbs 20:1) and would rob the women of their positive testimony and impact on those around them.

Many other important qualities for older women are discussed by Paul in 1 Timothy 5.

2. Older women are to be mentors – One very important instruction given to the older women here is “they are to teach what is good.”

Here we again see the relational aspect of the church. It is not only the elders who are charged with teaching. Many churches function with a top-down structure where the paid clergy do all the work, counseling, evangelism, and teaching. The laypeople are supposed to keep their place, sit, and “listen to the professionals.”

Such a mentality was common for much of church history. Church members were not even allowed to read the Bible in their own language. All of the power was reserved for the clerics. Shadows of this priest and layperson division remain in many churches today.

But notice how Paul empowers individuals in the church, and specifically a segment of society that at that time was not regarded as having much of anything to offer. Elders were to teach. And the old women were also to teach.

The platform for their teaching was not the same, but the roles were both important.

The older women were to mentor the younger. Their experiences in marriage, raising children, following the Lord, and many other areas were invaluable and vital to pass on.

Reflect – What older women mentors can you see in Scripture?

Note that a mentor is not required to be perfect or to have done everything right themselves. Even their failures could be used as teaching opportunities to help keep the younger women from making the same mistakes.

And as discussed above, there is no magic age where a person becomes “old” and able to mentor. It is a relative thing. A woman who is married can offer advice to one who is getting ready for marriage. An older, single woman who chose another ministry instead of marriage can also offer counsel and encouragement to a younger sister who is still single. One who has young children can encourage the expecting mother. Wherever you are on this journey, it is likely that someone is not as far along as you.

Application – Are you offering mentorship, help, advice, or encouragement to those younger than you? Have you sought mentorship and wisdom from those older than you? The church is healthy when we both are learning from and sharing with others.

3. Young women – The qualities that young women in the church should strive for are shown by what the older women are to teach them. Several key areas are listed.

Love their husbands and children

Most instructions in Scripture aimed at wives are in relation to submitting to or respecting their husbands. Therefore it is significant that this passage makes it clear that wives are, in fact, to love their husbands.

Submission toward their husbands is to come from a loving heart. All of the qualities of love shown in 1 Corinthians 13 are to mutually be shown to one another by husband and wife. Thus, while Scripture emphasizes the husband’s duty to love his wife, a wife also should love her husband.

In addition, she should love her children.

Love sacrifices for others. A godly wife should sacrifice for her family.

Reflect – What are some practical ways a wife can show love to her husband? To her children?

Be self-controlled

A maturing woman needs to be self-controlled. The context of this instruction is in family life. A godly wife should not allow her emotions to take over and lose control of herself by lashing out at her husband or her children.

There can be many frustrating situations in the home. Children will make messes, spill things, break things, and sometimes vomit on the carpet in the middle of the night.

Young women need to anchor themselves in the Lord, getting strength from Him to pull through with a good attitude.

Pure

Women are to be pure in action and in thought life. Purity is generally emphasized to men in the Bible since they tend to struggle with it more. However, this passage makes clear that godly women are to be chaste.

Romans 13:14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Reflect – What are some practical safeguards that can help protect a Christian woman’s purity?

Working at home

While this phrase does not preclude doing any work outside the home, it does highlight the home as the primary focus of her attention. God made woman to help man (Genesis 2). One of the ways a wife can do this is by working in her home (Proverbs 31).

The complementarian view of gender roles is seen throughout Scripture. A husband and a wife have different but complementary roles. Each one is valuable and important in God’s sight. And when both sides faithfully fulfill their God-given roles, the family will be at its most harmonious.

Note that the wife is to “work” at home, not merely sit or relax at home. Managing the home well is difficult and takes a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding. It contrasts with the world’s idea of a rich housewife who needn’t lift her hand to engage in any work but spends her time shopping for more shoes.

Everyone in the family of God is called to work. There are different tasks, but one team and one goal.

Reflect – What are some of the important tasks that a young woman “working at home” can engage in?

Kind and submissive to their own husbands

God has designed authority structures in every area of life. He has put authorities into place in the political sphere (governments), the social sphere (bosses and masters), the spiritual sphere (elders over the church), and the family sphere (parents over children and wife submit to the husband.) This should not be a surprise to us. God is an orderly God.

He doesn’t want confusion and chaos. He doesn’t want there to be multiple people or groups striving to lead and bickering about who is in charge. A home with multiple heads cannot function well. Neither can a home with no head. God’s design of one clear head is the best.

Wives who truly seek to honor God will submit to their husbands graciously and with a sweet spirit.

At the same time, submission does not mean that the wives cannot share their opinions with their husbands or that husbands need not consider their wives. Neither does it mean that husbands should make unilateral decisions. The husband is called to be a servant leader.

In your marriage, always seek to talk with your wife about serious issues and come to an agreement before making decisions. You should be able to come to an agreement on a course of action. Sometimes she may rely on her husband’s expertise or experience in a certain field and say, “I trust your judgment. You decide.” And sometimes it is also OK for the husband to say, “Let’s try it your way.”

Being the head means that the final authority to make a decision is given by God to the husband so that the house will run in an orderly manner. It does mean that the husband should use this power in a selfish manner to get his own way. He is called to love his wife self-sacrificially.

To your own husbands – This is important to note because some men want all women to submit to them. But this is unbiblical. As a woman, you are not required to submit to all men but only to your husband.

4. That the Word of God may not be reviled – The purpose of these instructions is so that the body of Christ will follow the Word and therefore be a good testimony.

Study Titus 2:6-15
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