Guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world

Titus 2: Teach, Urge, and Encourage

30th March 2021

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It might seem like an unlikely contestant in the fight for favourite Bible passages, but Titus 2 is one of my favourite chapters in the Bible. There are two things I love about it: the image of intergenerational discipleship and the challenge of ‘Who am I?’. 

The image of intergenerational discipleship

I love the image Titus 2 presents of generations of believers investing into each other’s lives. When we think about discipleship of young people in our churches there is, rightly, a strong focus on the Bible’s encouragement to parents to disciple their children. 

In addition to the role of parents, Titus 2 reminds us that we all have a role to play in the discipleship of the next generation. 

The kind of discipleship on view is two-fold: teach sound doctrine and teach godly obedience. Notice I did not say “model godly obedience”. Not that modelling godly obedience is bad, but the instruction here is stronger: 

Teach the older men to be temperate…. (verse 2)
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent… (verse 3)
Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children… (verse 4)
“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled (verse 6).

Teach. Urge. Encourage. This is more than practice godly obedience and hoping others will imitate you. It is active involvement. Be part of their lives, talk to them about how to live out their faith. Yes, show them (“In everything set them an example by doing what is good” (verse 7)). But don’t stop there. Invest in the lives of the younger generation so that they too can do what is good. 

But did you notice the older men and women are also being taught? We never stop being taught sound doctrine and godly obedience. Each generation is being taught and teaching simultaneously. Which brings me to my second point. 

The challenge of ‘Who am I?’

When I first read Titus I automatically put myself in the place of the younger woman. The question I asked was, ‘Where are all the older women who should be teaching me?’ Now, as I read Titus 2 I wonder, ‘Am I an older woman or a younger woman?’. The answer is ‘Yes’. 

This is true for most of us. Most of us are both an older man or woman, and a younger man or woman. As the younger man or woman, we need older and wiser people who take the time to urge and encourage us to live in light of the “grace of God [that] has appeared” (verse 11). Who are the older people who urge and encourage you?

As the older man or woman, as we are taught we should also be intentionally investing in the next generation. It is our responsibility to urge and encourage them as they seek to live “upright and godly lives in this present age” (verse 12). Who are the younger people you urge and encourage in this way?

Paul’s motivation to Titus is the great gospel message:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” – Titus 2:11-14

Paul’s message to Titus is also for us: “These, then, are the things you should teach” (verse 15).

The Lift Up Your Hearts devotional series for the month of March 2021 are provided by Canon Craig Roberts, CEO, and his colleagues from Anglican Youthworks in Australia. Today’s devotion was written by Rev. Kate Haggar, Children’s Ministry and Special Religious Education Advisor, Youthworks Ministry Support. You can find more of Youthworks excellent resources here.


Pray with us today's prayer request:

Goma Diocese, DR Congo. In Goma Diocese , the Anglican church is very active in evangelism. Many of the evangelists lack a Bible , and we have prayed about this over the last two years. In 2021, gifts directly to the Bible Society in Kinshasa have resulted in the purchase of 140 new Bibles for the evangelists. Praise God for this provision and pray that every Anglican minister and evangelist in the diocese will have their own Bible.

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