But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: That the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience. (Titus 2:1-2)
The Apostle Paul spent a lot of time in Titus chapter 1 telling his younger associate how to deal with problem people. But Titus didn’t only need to give attention to the problems, he also had to teach Christians the right way to live.
That’s what Paul had in mind when he wrote, “things which are proper for sound doctrine.” The idea behind this phrase has to do with right living, not just right thinking. The Living Bible translates this, “Speak up for the right living that goes along with true Christianity.” The New Living Translation has “Promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching.”
We can’t escape it. The Bible is a book that tells us how tolive. It is the height of hypocrisy to say that we believe its truth if we ignore how it tells us to live our lives. We don’t always like it, but we always need to hear how God expects us to live.
Paul simply wanted Titus to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20: Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. In that effort, he first told Titus how to teach the older men.
Titus had some older men among the Christians in Crete. They had to be approached with love and wisdom, or they might easily be offended when they were taught by a younger man like Titus.
Paul wanted Titus to know that the older men must live with the maturity and wisdom that their years should give them. This means sober, reverent, and temperate lives. The command to teach these things means that they do not come automatically with age. Sometimes we think that when people are older, they must be wiser. This is often the case, but not always.
The older men must also have stability, being stable in the right things: sound in faith, in love, in patience. As we get older, we tend to “harden” in our ways. This is a good thing if we “harden” in the ways of faith, love, and patience. Becoming hard of heart is no way to grow old gracefully.
Finally, notice that Paul wrote that the older men should be concerned with patience.
That is the great ancient Greek word hupomone. It means a steadfast and active endurance, not a passive waiting. Older men are not to just patiently wait around until they pass on to the next world. They are to actively endure the challenges of life; even the challenges of old age. Doing this they will not only be blessed themselves, but a blessing to all who know them.
As you grow older, are you growing in the right direction?