Christian ethics and the Christian message are meant to be inseparably and harmoniously related. Paul's command in verse 1 binds Titus to this principle. He does so because the opponents had rejected the message and perverted the concept of a Christian way of life.
Sound doctrine, the approved teaching of the Christian faith which produces spiritual health, is the immovable foundation of the Christian life. What is taught about Christian living must be in accord with (or correspond to) it. Paul measures this in two ways.
First, the Christian message is the source of the real Christian life. It is salvation through Christ that has introduced this new manner of life (2:12). Without the message there can be no Christian ethics. Consequently, many of the terms that describe aspects of godly living in verses 2-10 represent the possibilities of belief and in principle do not have their beginning in human effort. Here Christian and secular "respectability" part ways.
Second, the Christian manner of life accords with the Christian message by serving its missionary purpose. It adorns the gospel and makes it attractive to those who look on (2:5, 8, 10).
This opening command is therefore not simply a transition to bring the readers from 1:16 to the practical teaching of 2:2. Rather, it reminds Titus and Christian teachers that Christian ethics to be Christian must emerge from, correspond to and serve the message of the Scriptures. Furthermore, every believer's lifestyle must be subjected to the test of biblical principles; the alternative is to allow our lives to be shaped and approved by a value system that is opposed to God's.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider upgrading to Bible Gateway Plus. Bible Gateway Plus equips you to have in-depth biblical discussions with your friends, your family, and your peers. Try it free for 30 days!