To Titus 2:1-15

2  You, however, keep on speaking what is consistent with wholesome teaching.+  Let the older men be moderate in habits, serious, sound in mind, healthy in faith, in love, in endurance.  Likewise, let the older women be reverent in behavior,+ not slanderous, not enslaved to a lot of wine, teachers of what is good,  so that they may advise the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sound in mind, chaste, working at home,+ good, subjecting themselves to their own husbands,+ so that the word of God may not be spoken of abusively.  Likewise, keep on urging the younger men to be sound in mind,+  showing yourself to be an example of fine works in every way. Teach what is pure* with all seriousness,+  using wholesome speech that cannot be criticized,+ so that those who oppose may be put to shame, having nothing negative* to say about us.+  Let slaves be in subjection to their owners in all things,+ trying to please them, not talking back, 10  not stealing from them,+ but showing complete trustworthiness, so that in every way they may adorn the teaching of our Savior, God.+ 11  For the undeserved kindness of God has been manifested, bringing salvation to all sorts of people.+ 12  It trains us to reject ungodliness and worldly desires+ and to live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid this present system of things,+ 13  while we wait for the happy hope+ and glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ, 14  who gave himself for us+ to set us free+ from every sort of lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people who are his own special possession,+ zealous for fine works.+ 15  Keep on speaking these things and exhorting* and reproving with full authority.+ Do not let anyone look down on you.


Or possibly, “Teach with purity.”
Or “bad; vile.”
Or “encouraging; urging.”

Study Notes

the wholesome instruction: Paul here refers to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since everything Jesus taught is in agreement with the rest of the Scriptures, the expression “wholesome [or, “healthful; beneficial”] instruction” can by extension refer to all Bible teachings.​—See study note on 2Ti 1:13.

wholesome: Or “healthful; beneficial.”​—See study note on 1Ti 6:3.

moderate in habits: According to one lexicon, the Greek word used here literally means “sober, temperate; abstaining from wine, either entirely . . . or at least from its immoderate use.” However, the word came to be used in a broader sense to describe a person who is well-balanced, controlled, or levelheaded. This verse shows that a Christian overseer must be moderate in all areas of life. In the next verse, Paul makes a more direct reference to the misuse of alcoholic beverages.​—1Ti 3:3.

serious: The Greek word rendered “serious” at 1Ti 3:8, 11, and Tit 2:2 could also be rendered “worthy of respect,” “dignified,” or “honorable.” In order to qualify as a ministerial servant, a man should conduct himself in a dignified manner that would win respect. He should be reliable and dependable, taking his duties seriously.

sound in mind: Or “have good judgment; be sensible.” According to one lexicon, the Greek words rendered “sound in mind” and “soundness of mind” refer to being “prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled.” A person who is sound in mind would show balance and avoid judging matters hastily.

the older men: Paul uses a Greek word (pre·sbyʹtes) that in the Christian Greek Scriptures refers to physically older men. (See also Lu 1:18; Phm 9.) This term is related to the Greek word (pre·sbyʹte·ros) that Paul used earlier in this letter when urging Titus to “make appointments of elders [lit., “older men”] in city after city.” (Tit 1:5; see study note on Ac 11:30.) However, the context here indicates that Paul is addressing all Christian men who are older in years, whether they serve as congregation elders or not. In fact, Paul goes on to give instructions regarding various age groups in the congregation, such as “the older women” and “the younger men.”​—Tit 2:3-6.

moderate in habits: See study note on 1Ti 3:2.

serious: See study note on 1Ti 3:8.

sound in mind: See study note on 1Ti 3:2.

healthy in faith, in love, in endurance: The Greek word for “healthy” actually refers to physical health. (Lu 5:31) Paul, however, uses it in a figurative sense. With this medical metaphor, he encourages “the older men” to maintain strong spiritual health.

the elders: Lit., “the older men.” In the Bible, the Greek term pre·sbyʹte·ros refers primarily to those who hold a position of authority and responsibility in a community or a nation, although the term sometimes refers to physically older men. (See study note on Mt 16:21.) In the ancient nation of Israel, elders shared the responsibility of leadership and administration, both on a community level (De 25:7-9; Jos 20:4; Ru 4:1-12) and on a national level (Jg 21:16; 1Sa 4:3; 8:4; 1Ki 20:7). This is the first use of the term in connection with the Christian congregation. As had been true in fleshly Israel, the elders in spiritual Israel were responsible for the direction of the congregation. In this context, the elders were the ones who received the relief contribution, and they supervised its distribution to the congregations in Judea.

slanderers: In the Bible, the Greek word for “slanderer” (di·aʹbo·los) is most often rendered “Devil” and is used as a title for Satan, the wicked slanderer of God. (See study note on Mt 4:1 and Glossary, “Devil.”) However, in a few cases, the term is used according to its basic meaning and is rendered “slanderer” or “slanderous.” (1Ti 3:11; Tit 2:3) Here in his description of “the last days” (2Ti 3:1), Paul uses it to refer to people who try to injure the reputation of others, both fellow humans and God, by false accusations or misrepresentations.​—See study note on Joh 6:70, where the term is used to describe Judas Iscariot.

Let a woman learn in silence: Paul here counters the view held by many Jewish religious leaders of his day that women should not be taught the Scriptures. He knew that such traditions had no basis in the Hebrew Scriptures; nor did Jesus support such views. In fact, Jesus openly taught women. (Jos 8:35; Lu 10:38-42; Joh 4:7-27) Paul is here inspired to state that in the congregation setting, a woman should learn “in silence.” He uses a Greek word that might also be rendered “quietness” or “calmness.” This counsel is similar to what he earlier wrote to the Corinthian congregation, where some women may have been a disruptive influence.​—See study note on 1Co 14:34.

with full submissiveness: By this inspired counsel, Paul urges Christian women to accept and support Jehovah’s arrangement of headship within the congregation. The following verse shows that God has assigned men to handle the responsibility of teaching the congregation. (1Ti 2:12) When Paul discusses submissiveness and subjection, he does not limit his comments to women. For example, he says that Jesus will “subject himself” to Jehovah (1Co 15:27, 28) and that “the congregation is in subjection to the Christ” (Eph 5:24). Paul also instructs all Christian men and women to “be submissive” to those taking the lead in the congregation.​—Heb 13:17.

Likewise, let the older women: Paul shows that mature Christian women, like “the older men” whom he has just discussed, play a vital role in the congregation. For example, “older women” can be a positive influence on younger women. (Tit 2:2, 4, 5) Families in Crete were exposed to a bad moral climate and false teachers who were “subverting entire households.” (Tit 1:11, 15, 16) So Paul enlists the help of mature women to strengthen Christian families.

be reverent in behavior: The Greek word rendered “reverent” was used in non-Biblical writings regarding priests and others who were “engaged in sacred duties.” Here it suggests acting with deep respect toward God. (Compare 1Ti 2:10.) The Greek word for “behavior” in this context stresses actions that stem from a person’s attitude. The Christian women whom Paul mentions needed to remember that their everyday conduct and attitude should be in harmony with Jehovah’s sacred standards.

not slanderous: Paul wants older Christian women to set a good example by refusing to allow their conversations to slip into negative gossip and slander. (Ps 15:3; 1Ti 3:11; see study note on 2Ti 3:3.) He adds that they should not be enslaved to a lot of wine. Among the dangers of drinking too much is that doing so often makes a person speak recklessly, which could lead to slander.​—Pr 20:1; 23:33.

teachers of what is good: This phrase emphasizes the dignified role of older women in the congregation. In another letter, Paul wrote that women were not to be appointed as teachers of the congregation, for God reserved that role for elders. (1Ti 2:12; see study notes on 1Ti 2:11.) Here, though, Paul stresses important ways in which Christian women were to teach others. Whether in the ministry or in an informal or a private setting, they taught by word and by example. Thus, they could be a vital influence for good.

they may advise the younger women: The Greek word rendered “advise” might also be translated “train; recall [the younger women] to their senses.” It is related to terms rendered “sound in mind” elsewhere in this letter. (Tit 1:8; 2:2, 5, 6) One lexicon suggests that the word involves teaching others to be prudent, to behave properly, to use good judgment. The older women would provide such loving guidance to younger women by setting a good example and by sharing Scriptural counsel. Paul trusted that faithful sisters would keep in mind the inspired principles he recorded about respecting the dignity and privacy of others.​—1Th 4:11; 1Ti 5:13.

to love their husbands: Paul here uses a single Greek word that was often said in praise of a good wife. The apostle does not assume that a wife would automatically love her husband. Many women in those days had little or no say in the choice of a mate. So in some cases it may have been a challenge for a woman to develop such affection.

to love their children: This expression, like the preceding one (“to love their husbands”), also translates a single Greek word that was often used in praise of a good wife. Paul’s counsel shows that a mother’s natural love for her children can be nurtured and strengthened. Older women could help to build up families in the congregation by urging younger mothers to continue giving their children the love and direction they needed.​—2Ti 1:5; 3:14, 15.

provide for: That is, provide materially for. Paul shows that family heads were expected to provide for their spouse and children to the extent that circumstances allowed. Also, some widowed parents or grandparents were unable to care for their own physical needs. In that case, their adult children were to do what they could to provide for them. At times, this may have involved anticipating future needs and making arrangements for care of the older ones. (Compare Joh 19:26, 27.) Paul shows that in addition to feeling obligated, Christians have an even greater reason for applying this admonition, namely, to please God and receive his approval.​—Ex 20:12; De 5:16; Mt 15:4-6.

working at home: Or “caring for their homes.” In Paul’s day, women commonly cared for domestic duties, although there were exceptions. The apostle, however, is not suggesting that women confine their activities to the home; such an idea would not be in harmony with the Scriptures. (Pr 31:10-31; Ac 18:2, 3) By using this expression, Paul shows that caring for the household was an important, necessary duty. Christian women who neglected their families would reflect negatively on the congregation and its message. Paul may also have used “working at home” as a contrast to the worthless pursuits that took up the time of some women. (1Ti 5:13, 14) Jehovah gave both men and women important responsibilities in caring for their household.​—1Ti 5:8 and study notes.

subjecting themselves to their own husbands: See study note on Col 3:18.

so that the word of God may not be spoken of abusively: Paul had just shown how Christian women could conduct themselves honorably in their daily lives. Now he explains why. If Christian women set a poor example, non-Christian observers would criticize “the word,” or message, of God. They would claim that the Christian message fails to produce good qualities in people. On the other hand, women who conducted themselves honorably would reflect favorably on God and on his message, perhaps even moving some to become Christians.​—1Pe 2:12; see study note on Col 3:8.

abusive speech: Paul here uses the Greek word bla·sphe·miʹa, which is often rendered “blasphemy” when it refers to speech that is disrespectful to God. (Re 13:6) Originally, however, its meaning was not restricted to insults directed at God. The term can also denote evil or slanderous speech against fellow humans, and the context suggests that Paul uses it in that sense here. (See also Eph 4:31.) Other translations of this verse use such expressions as “slander,” “defamation,” and “insults.” One reference work says of this word: “It indicates the attempt to belittle and cause someone to fall into disrepute or to receive a bad reputation.”

be in subjection: Paul here speaks of the Christian wife’s voluntary submission to her husband’s God-given authority. The Christian husband, in turn, is to follow Christ’s example in exercising headship; he also willingly subjects himself to Christ’s authority.​—1Co 11:3; Eph 5:22, 23; see study note on Eph 5:21.

for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household: Of these two expressions, “those who are his own” is broader in meaning, referring to close relatives. The phrase “those who are members of his household” in this context refers to the members of a person’s immediate family who live under the same roof as the householder.

encourages: Or “exhorts.” The Greek word pa·ra·ka·leʹo literally means “to call to one’s side.” It is broad in meaning and may convey the idea “to encourage” (Ac 11:23; 14:22; 15:32; 1Th 5:11; Heb 10:25); “to comfort” (2Co 1:4; 2:7; 7:6; 2Th 2:17); and in some contexts “to urge strongly; to exhort” (Ac 2:40; Ro 15:30; 1Co 1:10; Php 4:2; 1Th 5:14; 2Ti 4:2; Tit 1:9, ftn.). The close relationship between exhortation, comfort, and encouragement would indicate that a Christian should never exhort someone in a harsh or unkind way.

keep on urging the younger men: Paul here uses a stronger verb than “speaking,” which he used at Tit 2:1. In this context, the Greek verb for “urging” means to “persuade with authority.” (See study note on Ro 12:8.) However, Titus was not to exercise authority in a harsh or unkind way; rather, he was to be “an example of fine works” for the younger men. (Tit 2:7) Further, Paul uses a continuous verb form (here rendered “keep on urging”), indicating that Titus needed to give ongoing reminders.

sound in mind: See study note on 1Ti 3:2.

sound in mind: Or “have good judgment; be sensible.” According to one lexicon, the Greek words rendered “sound in mind” and “soundness of mind” refer to being “prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled.” A person who is sound in mind would show balance and avoid judging matters hastily.

wholesome speech that cannot be criticized: The Greek word for “wholesome” may also be translated “healthful” or “beneficial.” Granted, even perfect speech may meet with criticism. (Compare Joh 6:58-61.) But the term here rendered “cannot be criticized” conveys the idea that the wholesome speech cannot justly be criticized, or condemned. Titus’ good example in speech would reflect well on the congregation, possibly even putting opposers to shame.

under the yoke of slavery: Lit., “slaves under a yoke.” The word “yoke” was often used figuratively to represent enslavement or servitude under the authority of an owner, or master. (Tit 2:9, 10; 1Pe 2:18; see Glossary, “Yoke.”) In the Roman Empire, there were many slaves, including some Christians. Jesus’ followers neither endorsed nor criticized the secular institution of slavery. (1Co 7:20, 21) Jesus himself did not engage in social reform, and he said that his followers would likewise be “no part of the world.” (Joh 17:14) Instead, Jesus preached about God’s Kingdom, which would eventually eliminate all forms of oppression and injustice.​—See study note on Joh 18:36; see also Media Gallery, “Common Duties of a Slave.”

keep on considering their owners worthy of full honor: Paul encourages Christians who were slaves to respect their owners, or masters. A slave’s attitude could be seen in his actions, whether he was conscientious in doing his work. His not respecting his owner would imply that Christian teachings had made no real change in the slave’s life. Such a poor example would bring reproach on God’s name.​—Col 3:22, 23; see study notes on Eph 6:5, 6.

Let slaves be in subjection to their owners: Some might conclude that Paul here endorses the institution of slavery, but in fact, he simply acknowledges a reality of his day, which Christians had no authority to change. True, at 1Co 7:21, Paul urged slaves who were Christians to “seize the opportunity” to be set free if they could legally do so. However, not all could. Therefore, here he urges Christians who are slaves to be conscientious and to bring glory to Jehovah by their actions.​—See study notes on 1Ti 6:1.

steal no more: Paul’s words may have had special meaning for the working poor who lived in Ephesus. Some may have found that work was sporadic, seasonal, and not always sufficient to provide for their families, so the temptation to steal may have been strong. Paul here urges Christians to refrain from theft for any reason. Instead, they were to work hard with their hands. (De 5:19; 1Th 4:11) Paul had earlier reminded the Ephesian elders of his own example in working hard. (Ac 20:17, 34; see also study note on Ac 18:3.) His counsel required that Ephesian Christians trust in Christ’s promise that God would care for their material needs.​—Mt 6:25-33.

God our Savior: In Paul’s first letter to Timothy and in his letter to Titus, the term “Savior” is used six times with reference to Jehovah God (here and at 1Ti 2:3; 4:10; Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4) compared to only twice in the rest of the Christian Greek Scriptures (Lu 1:47; Jude 25). In the Hebrew Scriptures, Jehovah is often described as the Savior of his people, Israel. (Ps 106:8, 10, 21; Isa 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; Jer 14:8) Since Jesus is the one through whom Jehovah saves mankind from sin and death, Jesus too is referred to as “Savior.” (Ac 5:31; 2Ti 1:10) He is also called “the Chief Agent of . . . salvation.” (Heb 2:10) The name Jesus, given to God’s Son by angelic direction, means “Jehovah Is Salvation” because, said the angel, “he will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21 and study note) So Jesus’ very name emphasizes that Jehovah is the Source of the salvation that is accomplished through Jesus. Therefore, both the Father and the Son are spoken of as being a Savior. (Tit 2:11-13; 3:4-6) Both the Hebrew and the Greek (in the Septuagint) terms for “savior” are also used of humans who were raised up as “saviors to rescue” God’s people from their enemies.​—Ne 9:27; Jg 3:9, 15.

not stealing: The Greek verb here rendered “stealing” is not the one most commonly used for “to steal.” This verb literally means “to put aside for oneself” but could also convey the meaning “to misappropriate funds for one’s own benefit” or “to embezzle.” The same word is rendered “secretly hold back” at Ac 5:2, 3 in the account about the sin of Ananias. In the Greek Septuagint, this verb is used at Jos 7:1 to describe how Achan improperly took for himself something that belonged to Jehovah. One reference work explains that in Paul’s day many slaves “were entrusted with the task of buying, and often were in charge of large amounts of money.” So they were tempted to steal from their masters. Christian slaves, who resisted such temptation, showed that they were completely trustworthy.​—See study note on Eph 4:28.

adorn the teaching: The Greek term here rendered “adorn” was also used regarding the precious stones that adorned Herod’s temple, the appealing qualities that Christian women could cultivate, and the beauty of New Jerusalem. (Lu 21:5; 1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:5; Re 21:2) As Paul here indicates, it is possible for a Christian to adorn, or to show the beauty of, God’s message. A Christian slave who respected and obeyed his owner could make Bible teachings appealing. Onlookers could clearly see the difference between a Christian slave and a slave who was known to be lazy, argumentative, and likely to steal.

our Savior, God: See study note on 1Ti 1:1.

be saved: The terms “to save” and “salvation” are sometimes used by Bible writers to convey the idea of deliverance from danger or destruction. (Ex 14:13, 14; Ac 27:20) Often, though, these terms refer to deliverance from sin. (Mt 1:21) Since death is caused by sin, people who are saved from sin have the hope of living forever.​—Joh 3:16, 17; see study note on 1Ti 1:1.

all sorts of people: While the Greek expression used here may more literally be translated “all people,” the rendering “all sorts of people” is appropriate because of the context. (For other examples, see study notes on Joh 12:32; Ac 2:17.) God wants all people “to attain to repentance” (2Pe 3:9), so he impartially offers salvation to everyone, regardless of their gender, ethnic background, financial status, or social position. (Mt 28:19, 20; Ac 10:34, 35; 17:30) However, the Scriptures clearly indicate that many people will reject God’s invitation and will not be saved. (Mt 7:13, 21; Joh 3:16, 36; 2Th 1:9) So the rendering “all sorts of people” is in harmony with those verses. A similar rendering is also appropriate in the preceding verses, where Paul urges fellow Christians to pray “concerning all sorts of men, concerning kings and all those who are in high positions.”​—1Ti 2:1, 2.

bringing salvation: See study note on 1Ti 2:4.

to all sorts of people: See study note on 1Ti 2:4.

godly devotion: The Greek term used here (eu·seʹbei·a) refers to reverence and deep respect for God. (For a discussion of the Greek expression rendered “godly devotion,” see study note on 1Ti 4:7.) The same Greek word is sometimes used in the Septuagint. For example, it occurs at Isa 11:2 and 33:6, where the Hebrew text uses “the fear of Jehovah,” an expression that likewise refers to deep respect for Jehovah God. When 1Ti 2:2 was translated into Syriac (the Peshitta) in the fifth century C.E., this Greek term was rendered “reverence for God,” explicitly including the word for “God.” Similarly, some later translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew have rendered eu·seʹbei·a “fear of Jehovah” in this verse and others where it appears. (1Ti 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3, 6, 11) However, the New World Bible Translation Committee decided that there was not sufficient support for using the divine name in the main text of this verse.​—See App. C, where the reasons for restoring the divine name in other verses are discussed; compare study note on Ro 10:12.

godly devotion: The Greek word (eu·seʹbei·a) conveys the idea of profound reverence and awe for God that a Christian expresses by serving God loyally and obeying him fully. The word is broad in meaning; it also suggests the kind of loyal love for or personal attachment to God that moves a person to seek to do what pleases Him. One lexicon thus summarizes the overall idea as “to live as God would have us live.” Paul also shows that godly devotion is not an inborn trait. Thus, he urges Timothy to work hard, training as an athlete would, to strengthen this quality in himself. Earlier in the letter, Paul reminded Timothy that Jesus Christ set the greatest example of godly devotion.​—See study note on 1Ti 3:16.

ungodliness: Or “irreverence.” The Scriptures use the Greek word a·seʹbei·a and related terms to refer to a lack of reverence for God and even a defiance of him. (Jude 14, 15) It is an antonym of the term eu·seʹbei·a, rendered “godly devotion; godliness.” This reverence is manifest in a person’s service and devotion to God and His worship.​—Ac 3:12; 1Ti 2:2; 4:7, 8; 2Ti 3:5, 12.

godly devotion: The Greek word (eu·seʹbei·a) conveys the idea of profound reverence and awe for God that a Christian expresses by serving God loyally and obeying him fully. The word is broad in meaning; it also suggests the kind of loyal love for or personal attachment to God that moves a person to seek to do what pleases Him. One lexicon thus summarizes the overall idea as “to live as God would have us live.” Paul also shows that godly devotion is not an inborn trait. Thus, he urges Timothy to work hard, training as an athlete would, to strengthen this quality in himself. Earlier in the letter, Paul reminded Timothy that Jesus Christ set the greatest example of godly devotion.​—See study note on 1Ti 3:16.

the present system of things: Or “the present age.” Here Paul is referring to the unrighteous system of things of which Satan is the ruler.​—See study notes on Mt 13:22; 2Co 4:4; Ga 1:4.

It trains us: Paul here refers to “the undeserved kindness of God.” Jehovah God has shown mankind great love and undeserved kindness by providing the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, which brings “salvation to all sorts of people.” (Tit 2:11; Eph 1:7; 2:4-7) As Paul expresses it, that kindness trains a follower of Christ. It guides and motivates him. (2Co 5:14, 15) After being taught what Jehovah has done for him, a Christian wants to live in a way that pleases his heavenly Father. For example, he learns to reject wrong desires and negative personality traits that reflect “this present system of things” ruled by Satan. (See study notes on Eph 2:2.) The Christian works hard to develop such positive qualities as soundness of mind, righteousness, and godly devotion.​—See study notes on 1Ti 3:2; 4:7.

ungodliness: See study note on Ro 1:18 for a discussion of the term “ungodliness,” which is the opposite of “godly devotion.”

godly devotion: For a discussion of the expression “godly devotion,” see study note on 1Ti 4:7; see also study note on 1Ti 2:2.

this present system of things: Or “this present age.”​—See study note on 1Ti 6:17; Glossary, “System(s) of things.”

the ruler of the authority of the air: Satan the Devil is the “ruler” referred to here. Paul uses the literal air, or atmosphere, to illustrate how the spirit, or dominant attitude, of selfishness and disobedience permeates the world today. Paul uses similar language at 1Co 2:12 in referring to “the spirit of the world.” Just as literal air is everywhere, ready to be breathed in, so “the spirit of the world” is always present. It exerts “authority,” or power, over most of mankind. The power of this dominant mental attitude lies in its appeal to the sinful flesh, its subtlety, its relentlessness and, like air, its pervasiveness. Those who are alienated from God and who pursue a course contrary to God’s will are here called “the sons of disobedience.”

the system of things of this world: The Greek word here rendered “system of things” basically means “age.” It often denotes the current state of affairs or features that distinguish a certain period of time. The Greek word for “world” (koʹsmos) here refers to the unrighteous human society alienated from God. In this verse, where these two terms are combined, the whole expression could be rendered “the course [or, “customs; ways”] of this world,” referring to the behavior and standards of people alienated from God. Paul makes the point that the Christians in Ephesus had once led, or walked according to, an unrighteous way of life.

sound in mind: Or “have good judgment; be sensible.” According to one lexicon, the Greek words rendered “sound in mind” and “soundness of mind” refer to being “prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled.” A person who is sound in mind would show balance and avoid judging matters hastily.

the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Greek term rendered “manifestation” (e·pi·phaʹnei·a) is used in the Scriptures in the sense of a discernible evidence of something or a display of authority or power. It is used to refer to Jesus’ time on earth. (2Ti 1:10 and study note) The term is also used with regard to various events during his presence in royal power. (For example, see study note on 2Th 2:8.) In this context, “the manifestation” refers to a future appointed time when Jesus’ glorious and powerful position in heaven is clearly recognizable.​—Da 2:44; 7:13, 14; 1Ti 6:15; 2Ti 4:1.

Happy: The Greek word ma·kaʹri·os used here does not simply refer to a state of lightheartedness, as when a person is enjoying a good time. Rather, when used of humans, it refers to the condition of one who is blessed by God and enjoys his favor. The term is also used as a description of God and of Jesus in his heavenly glory.​—1Ti 1:11; 6:15.

the happy hope: In the Bible, hope refers to “confident anticipation of what will surely come to pass,” as one reference work explains. Paul here refers to the hope of some humans to be resurrected as immortal spirit creatures and to be corulers with Jesus Christ in “his heavenly Kingdom.” (2Ti 4:18; Re 5:10) That Kingdom will bring blessings to its subjects on earth, giving them the prospect of living forever. All such prospects inspire happiness in those who look forward to the fulfillment of the promises, which only “the happy God” can guarantee. (1Ti 1:11) The Greek word here rendered “happy” is translated “blessed” in some Bible translations. Both renderings highlight God’s favor toward those who entertain such hopes.​—Compare study note on Mt 5:3.

glorious manifestation: The Greek term rendered “manifestation” (e·pi·phaʹnei·a) is used in the Scriptures to refer to discernible, solid evidence of something; it can also refer to a display of authority or power. (See study note on 1Ti 6:14.) Here Paul links such a manifestation with the fulfillment of “the happy hope.” For spirit-anointed Christians, this hope includes their resurrection to serve as Christ’s corulers in heaven. The Bible shows that this heavenly resurrection would not take place until “the presence of the Lord” Jesus. (1Th 4:15-17) This resurrection is also part of the “glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” With God’s backing, Jesus is made manifest, that is, he appears, and he rewards anointed Christians who have died.

of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ: Paul here discusses the “glorious manifestation” of both God and Jesus Christ. Usually, the term “manifestation” is used only in connection with Jesus. (2Th 2:8; 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 1:10; 4:1, 8) Some scholars therefore argue that only one person is referred to here, so they render this phrase, “of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” They thus view this text as proof that the inspired Scriptures describe Jesus as “the great God.” However, many scholars and Bible translators acknowledge that this passage can properly be rendered as it is in the New World Translation, referring to two distinct persons.​—Support for this rendering can be found in the Kingdom Interlinear, App. 2E, “Of the Great God and of [the] Savior of Us, Christ Jesus.”

to set us free: Lit., “to ransom us; to redeem us.” The Greek verb was used of freeing a slave or a prisoner of war by paying a ransom. The same verb is used at 1Pe 1:18, 19, where Christians are said to be “set free [or “ransomed; redeemed,” ftn.]” by means of Christ’s “precious blood.”​—See also study note on Mt 20:28.

every sort of lawlessness: The Bible says that all “sin is lawlessness.” (1Jo 3:4) However, lawlessness can include not just sinful actions but contemptuous disregard for God’s laws. (See study note on Mt 24:12.) Of course, Paul knew that imperfect Christians were not entirely free from sin. (Ro 7:19-23) But their way of life changed; they no longer ignored God’s righteous standards. Thanks to Jesus’ priestly services, they now had Jehovah’s laws “in their hearts, and in their minds.” (Heb 10:14-16; Ro 7:25; 8:2, 4; Tit 2:12) Thus, they were “set . . . free from every sort of lawlessness.”

a people who are his own special possession: Christ’s followers have been cleansed and “set free” by means of the “precious blood” of his ransom sacrifice. (1Pe 1:18, 19; Heb 9:14) So they can rightly be called “his own special possession.” According to one lexicon, the Greek word Paul uses for “his own special possession” can include the idea of being a “costly possession and a distinctive treasure.” This wording echoes what Jehovah told the ancient nation of Israel: “You will certainly become my special property [or, “my treasured possession”] out of all peoples.” (Ex 19:5; see also De 7:6; 14:2.) Since Pentecost 33 C.E., Jehovah has had a new “nation” on earth, “the Israel of God,” “a people for special possession.” (1Pe 2:9, 10; Ga 6:16 and study note) Therefore, spirit-anointed Christians can be called a “special possession” both of Jehovah God and of Jesus Christ. However, the term “people” used here is not limited to anointed Christians. It includes Jesus’ “other sheep,” who zealously support them. (Joh 10:16) Jehovah God and Jesus Christ deeply treasure them all.​—Compare Ps 149:4; Hag 2:7.

zealous for fine works: Paul explains that Christians would be “zealous,” or eager, enthusiastic, to do what is right and proper in God’s eyes. Such “fine works” include doing good deeds for others, displaying the fruitage of God’s spirit and, above all, preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom.​—Mt 24:14; Ga 5:22, 23; Tit 2:1-14; Jas 1:27; 1Pe 2:12.

lawlessness: The Greek word rendered “lawlessness” includes the idea of violation of and contempt for laws, people acting as if there were no laws. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws.​—Mt 7:23; 2Co 6:14; 2Th 2:3-7; 1Jo 3:4.

the Israel of God: This expression, found only once in the Scriptures, refers to spiritual Israel rather than to natural descendants of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. (Ge 32:22-28) The preceding verse (Ga 6:15) shows that circumcision is not required of those making up “the Israel of God.” The prophet Hosea foretold that God would show favor to a people that would include Gentiles. God said: “I will say to those not my people: ‘You are my people.’” (Ho 2:23; Ro 9:22-25) While natural Jews and proselytes were included in spiritual Israel (Ac 1:13-15; 2:41; 4:4), they amounted to “only a remnant” of that rejected nation (Isa 10:21, 22; Ro 9:27). Paul later wrote to the Romans: “Not all who descend from Israel are really ‘Israel.’”​—Ro 9:6; see also study notes on Ac 15:14; Ro 2:29; 9:27; 11:26.

ransom: The Greek word lyʹtron (from the verb lyʹo, meaning “to let loose; to release”) was used by non-Biblical Greek writers to refer to a price paid to release those under bond or in slavery or to ransom prisoners of war. It occurs twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures, here and at Mr 10:45. The related word an·tiʹly·tron appears at 1Ti 2:6 and is rendered “corresponding ransom.” Other related words are ly·troʹo·mai, meaning “to set free; to ransom” (Tit 2:14; 1Pe 1:18; also ftns.), and a·po·lyʹtro·sis, often rendered “release by ransom” (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:15; 11:35; Ro 3:24; 8:23).​—See Glossary.

Keep on speaking . . . and exhorting and reproving: Paul concludes this passage of his letter to Titus with a series of exhortations that are progressively more forceful. Paul knew that an overseer might need to give only a kind reminder to some, whereas others he would need to exhort; still others he would need to reprove. With a few, he might need to take all three steps. Titus would start by “speaking these things,” then “exhorting” the individuals if they failed to listen, then “reproving” them if they turned a deaf ear to his exhortations. Titus could take these steps confidently, knowing that he had “full authority” to carry out this assignment.

Do not let anyone look down on you: Paul here uses a Greek verb that may suggest that Titus’ opponents took a superior attitude toward him. But Titus should remember that as an appointed elder, he had “full authority” to exhort and reprove those who disrupted the peace and unity of the congregation.​—Compare 1Ti 4:12, where Paul uses a similar verb to indicate the disdain that some might have shown for Timothy because of his youth.


Common Duties of a Slave
Common Duties of a Slave

Slavery was part of everyday life in the Roman Empire. Roman law regulated certain aspects of the relationship between slaves and their masters. Slaves performed much of the work in the homes of wealthy families occupying the territories of the Roman Empire. Slaves cooked, cleaned, and cared for children. Other slaves worked in factories, in mines, or on farms. Those who were better educated served as doctors, teachers, or secretaries. In fact, slaves worked at every occupation except in the military. In some cases, slaves could be emancipated. (See Glossary, “Freeman; Freedman.”) First-century Christians did not take a stand against governmental authority in this matter, nor did they advocate that slaves revolt. (1Co 7:21) Christians respected the legal right of others, including fellow Christians, to own slaves. That is why the apostle Paul sent the slave Onesimus back to his master, Philemon. Because Onesimus had become a Christian, he willingly returned to his master, subjecting himself as a slave to a fellow Christian. (Phm 10-17) Paul encouraged slaves to work honestly and diligently.—Tit 2:9, 10.