Good Old Men
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?
great blog David. Your bible commentaries are a real blessing to me. I read them every day. In August I will be 64 and it brings challenges and blessings. Caleb’s attitude is a great encouragement. Senior Christians should behave as it they have the best years ahead of them. We have to speak positives about ourselves, life, other people and not go down the well worn path of dwelling on health, energy levels, tiredness, changing society and the gulf between the young and old, who we just don’t understand! I have been challenged by the Lord to repent of prejudice towards young Christians, especially worship styles and songs. I now love some of the music of Jesus Culture and Matt Redman! A group of us are doing renovation work on an old Brethren church in London. It is led by a young Christian man who is in his late thirties. I submit to him because he is appointed by God to lead the work. He knows what he is doing, he is practical. Also, he respects me, we like each other. There is no age gap, barrier. It evaporates. That is how is should be in the Body of Christ. I’m single but feel a deep fatherly protection and care to young Christians. And they love my affirmation and fellowship. As we get older, we get more set in our ways and it is more important than ever to deal with habitual sin. The mature wine is the best wine and not tainted in its final years of fermentation. God bless you and your family.
Ian, that’s a great word! God bless you and keep growing – no matter what your age.
Ian, I am the same age group as you (older, even!) and your comments about “not dwelling on the well worn path of health, energy levels, tiredness,..gulf between young and old” ring very true with me. In fact, I have made pacts with some of my best friends that when we are together these very topics are verboten to be spoken of unless they are of the utmost seriousness; this seems to work most of the time and we have happier discussions. And your comments about worship styles and music are also spot on. In this area I am still trying to improve my understanding and acceptance as I don’t approve of some of what I see and hear at church because it seems more like stage performance than worship leading. So in that regard, I don’t think it is healthy to blindly submit on every point to the younger people as they may need a good dose of old guy wisdom (as if we had any!). In any case, your points on love, affirmation and fellowship ring true. God bless you for your observations.