This chapter is interesting in the way Paul has specific advice for specific members of the church. He is obviously acting as a priesthood leader to advise Titus in his duties to admonish the members. Interestingly, he specifically addresses five groups: the aged men, the aged women, the young women, the young men, and servants (v. 2-9).
Specific groups within the church need advice as much today as they did in Paul's time. That is why President Ezra Taft Benson specifically addressed different groups over a period of General Conference addresses in the late 1980's. These are landmark guidelines which are reminiscent of Paul's concern for specific counsel and direction.
Conference addresses from President Ezra Taft Benson:
To the "Youth of the Noble Birthright" Ensign, May 1986, 43-45
To the Young Women of the Church Ensign, Nov. 1986, 81-85
To the Home Teachers of the Church Ensign, May 1987, 48-51
To the Fathers in Israel Ensign, Nov. 1987, 48-51
To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church Ensign, May 1988, 51-53
To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church Ensign, Nov. 1988, 96-97
To the Children of the Church Ensign, May 1989, 81-83
To the Elderly in the Church Ensign, Nov. 1989, 4-7
Titus 2:4 teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children
Ezra Taft Benson
Mothers are, or should be, the very heart and soul of the family. No more sacred word exists in secular or holy writ than mother.
President David O. McKay declared: "Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world." (Gospel Ideals, p. 452.)
President McKay continues: "Motherhood consists of three principal attributes or qualities: namely, (1) the power to bear, (2) the ability to rear, (3) the gift to love.... This ability and willingness properly to rear children, the gift of love, and eagerness, yes, longing to express it in soul development, makes motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world. She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, . . . deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God." (Gospel Ideals, pp. 453-54.) With all my heart I endorse the words of President McKay. ("To the Mothers in Zion," Parents' Fireside, Salt Lake City, Utah, 22 February 1987, from The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 513.)
Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste... obedient to their own husbands
Spencer W. Kimball
No woman has ever been asked by the Church authorities to follow her husband into an evil pit. She is to follow him as he follows and obeys the Savior of the world, but in deciding this, she should always be sure she is fair.
One woman said, "My home and husband come first in my life. I took care of my children myself when they were little and trained them all. I taught them all to read at home." Here is a mother who is interested in more than just giving the child food and shelter.
Mothers have a sacred role. They are partners with God, as well as with their own husbands, first in giving birth to the Lord's spirit children and then in rearing those children so they will serve the Lord and keep his commandments. Could there be a more sacred trust than to be a trustee for honorable, well-born, well-developed children? We affirm the Church's strong, unalterable stand against innovations or any unchastity or breaking of the laws that could possibly reflect in the lives of the children.
Motherhood is a holy calling, a sacred dedication for carrying out the Lord's work, a consecration and devotion to the rearing and fostering, the nurturing of body, mind, and spirit of those who kept their first estate and who came to this earth for their second estate to learn and be tested and to work toward godhood.
The role of mother, then, is to help those children to keep their second estate, so that they might have glory added upon their heads forever and ever.
We have often said, "This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it. Hired help cannot do it; kind relatives cannot do it. Only by mother, aided as much as may be by a loving father, brothers and sisters, and other relatives, can the full needed measure of watchful care be given." ("The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood," Ensign, Mar. 1976, 72-73)
Joseph F. Smith
Wives and children should be taught to feel that the patriarchal order in the kingdom of God has been established for a wise and beneficent purpose, and should sustain the head of the household and encourage him in the discharge of his duties, and do all in their power to aid him in the exercise of the rights and privileges which God has bestowed upon the head of the home.
...The necessity, then, of organizing the patriarchal order and authority of the home rests upon principle as well as upon the person who holds that authority, and among the Latter-day Saints family discipline, founded upon the law of the patriarchs, should be carefully cultivated, and fathers will then be able to remove many of the difficulties that now weaken their position in the home. (Brent A. Barlow, "Strengthening the Patriarchal Order in the Home ," Ensign, February 1973)
Titus 2:7 Young men likewise... be sober minded... shewing thyself a pattern of good works
Spencer W. Kimball
Paul, in writing to Titus, urged, "In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
"Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." (Titus 2:7-8.)
It is vital for you as young adults to be a pattern of good works and to give to others no real cause to condemn you. However, it will be, and is, the lot of the followers of the Master to know the sting of misunderstanding and of false witness.
I mentioned earlier my coming to the ministry of the Twelve so many years ago. At that time, one of the Brethren I admired and loved in a very special way was President Stephen L Richards. I still feel that way about him. One of the many significant things he said related to what it means to be a true follower of the Savior. President Richards said this: "In spite of the prosaic and commonplace aspect of this subject, I have long been convinced, my brothers and sisters, that the most challenging, dramatic, and vital thing in our lives is this: keeping the commandments. It tests every fiber of our beings. It is at once the demonstration of our intelligence, our knowledge, our character, and our wisdom."
It may at times seem to you, my young brothers and sisters, prosaic and commonplace to simply be told again and again to keep the Savior's commandments. But that task is, as President Richards said, the most challenging, dramatic, and vital thing in our lives. I say to you that only true Christian behavior will bring about human happiness and real security. ("The Savior: The Center of Our Lives," New Era, Apr. 1980, 34-35)
Titus 2:9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters
Mark E. Petersen
In the New Testament, reference is made to servants. (See Matt. 26:51; Luke 7:8.) Were they bondsmen and bondswomen?
It is well known, of course, that the Romans were slave holders, even in Palestine. And note Paul's advice when he wrote to the Ephesians, saying: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." (Eph. 6:5.)
When Paul wrote to Titus he gave similar advice: "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again." (Titus 2:9.)
...From these scriptures it becomes obvious that the early Christians made converts among both free men and slaves. These words of the prophets were simply advice to those who were held in bondage but had joined the church. It was no expression condoning slavery at all; it was merely a recognition that slavery did exist and that some of the slaves had joined the church. (Abraham: Friend of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 80-81.)
Titus 2:10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity
"[Purloining] carried a meaning of 'to put far away from another,' and thus it came to mean 'to appropriate something of another's for one's own use.' It is secret rather than open theft. Servants are exhorted by Paul not to take for their own use the things which belong to their masters. Rather, they are to show fidelity; they are to be trust worthy in all things." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 374)
Titus 2:12-14 denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly
Admittedly, Titus is not the most quoted of Pauline epistles. Titus chapter 2 is not particularly well known for any particular passage. But take a moment and read verses 12-14; they are a capsulation of what the gospel teaches us. As saints, we are to live clean and pure lives, keeping in our hearts a great hope that when the Lord comes again, we will be found acceptable to Him.
Neal A. Maxwell
Real hope, said Paul, is a hope for things that are not seen that are true. (See Romans 8:24.) Paul accurately linked hopelessness and godlessness as he wrote of those "having no hope, and without God in the world." (Ephesians 2:12.) Christ-centered hope, however, is a very specific and particularized hope. It is focused on the great realities of the resurrection, eternal life, a better world, and Christ's triumphant second coming "things as they really will be." (Jacob 4:13. Italics added.)
Moroni asked rhetorically, "What should we hope for?" and, responding, said: "Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise." (Moroni 7:41.)
Paul described the resurrection-orientation of our hope with equal explicitness: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.)... Thus gospel hope is a very focused and particularized hope that is based upon justified expectations. (Notwithstanding My Weakness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 41 - 42.)
Titus 2:14 that he might... purify unto himself a peculiar people
Russell M. Nelson
I looked [peculiar] up in a modern dictionary. It is currently defined as "unusual" or "eccentric"; "strange," "queer," "odd"; "standing apart from others"; "exclusive" or "unique." But the term peculiar as used in the scriptures means something quite different. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew term from which peculiar was translated is cgullah, which means "valued property," or "treasure." In the New Testament, the Greek term from which peculiar was translated is peripoiesis, which means "possession," or "an obtaining."
With that understanding, we can see that the scriptural term peculiar does not mean "queer" or "odd" at all. It signifies "valued treasure," "made" or "selected by God." Thus, for us to be identified by servants of the Lord as his peculiar people is a compliment of the highest order. ("A More Excellent Hope," Ensign, Feb. 1997, 62-63)