Sunday, May 07, 2006

standards for believers (part 2)

Because of the fact that the Contenders Sunday school class is made up of young adults, I am not going into great depth and detail on the "practical outliving of healthy doctrine in good works" and developing the "practical examples of what these good works should be"1 for older men and women as shown in Titus 2:2-4a at this time. That being said, I do want to briefly look at the character traits of the older members the church to have an idea of what we are to aim for.

First of all, "older" refers to physical age (50 or 60 and older) and not spiritual maturity. If you want to read an examination of how we fit into the categories of spiritual maturity, read 1 John 2:12-14. Listen to following the statement about John Wesley when he was an old man:

"At the age of 83 - after having traveled some 250,000 miles on horseback, preached more than 40,000 sermons, and produced some 200 books and pamphlets - John Wesley regretted that he was unable to read and write for more than 15 hours a day without his eyes becoming too tired to work. After his 86th birthday, he admitted to an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning!"2

"Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance." (Titus 2:2 NASU)
  • Temperate – or sober who “avoids extravagance and overindulgence.”3
  • Dignified – being honorable “behaving with reverent propriety”4
  • Sensible – “prudent, or sober-minded”5
  • sound in faith, love and perseverance – having longer life experience, they should be more firm in these matters (see Titus 1:13,14 referring to sound faith)
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, (Titus 2:3-4 NASU)
  • Reverent in behavior – “came to refer to that which is appropriate to holiness.” 6
  • Not malicious gossips – a "slanderer or false accuser" and the word "malicious" is used many times in the NT to describe Satan.7
  • Not drunkards – ”as to be under the power and mastery of [drink].”8
  • Teaching what is good – a clear urging to use teaching gifts in a correct way
One key thing to remember is that these character traits don't just start out of the blue. It seems to me that these are traits that a person grows into. In other words, these traits should be evident in younger men and women, but they should grow and mature with age to be "ripe" in you and me when we are old.

As for the "application" part of this blog entry...well, there isn't one. The reason is that it seems to me that all of the different descriptive terms used for older men and women are pretty self evident. In the next part of this series devoted to the practical living out of sound theology found in Titus 2, I will tackle the roles of young women and men.

1 Believer's Bible Commentary by William MacDonald p. 2139

2 Titus, MacArthur New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur Jr. p.73

3 Ibid. p. 74

4 Parallel Classic Commentary on the New Testament compiled & edited by Mark Water p.977, Titus Commentary by A.R. Fausset

5 Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database.[Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft]

6 Titus, MacArthur New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur Jr. p. 77

7 Ibid. p. 77

8 Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database.[Copyright (c) 1991 by Biblesoft] Matthew Henry

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