Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Titus – Reflections II

Titus consists of about 1,060 English words, two single-spaced pages of Times New Roman 12 font. This is not a Mozart opera such as Jeremiah with 52 Chapters, or a Beethoven symphony such as Isaiah with 66 chapters. Titus is a piece a DJ can play during drive-time with a refrain that can stick in our minds like bubble-gum music – the difference being that Paul finds various yet similar ways to orchestrate the refrain, which separates Titus from Top-40 bubble-gum music and moves it into the genre of Jazz, Paul will call on different instruments to play the same theme and he’ll bring them together at appropriate junctures.

Let’s consider the instruments. Paul writes about elders (1:5); older men (2:2); older women (2:3); younger women (2:4); young men (2:6); slaves (2:9); and the people of God as a whole (2:11; 3:1, 8, etc.). Paul also brings in some counterpoint instruments, such as rebellious people (1:10); foolish, disobedient, living in malice and envy (3:3ff). Consider how many different types of people in the church Paul writes about within two pages:

  1. elders

  2. older men

  3. older women

  4. young women

  5. young men (note the chiasm)

  6. slaves

  7. the people of God

Now then, are there common points that Paul addresses in each of these groups? Are there counterpoints he juxtaposes in the other groups found in 1:10ff and 3:3ff? Is there a hinge upon which all of this hangs?

Here are some highlights:

Elders: blameless, not overbearing, not quick-tempered, self-controlled, disciplined.

Older men: temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Older women: reverent in every way they live, teach what is good.

Young women: self-controlled and pure

Young men: self-controlled.

Slaves: subject to their masters in everything, to show that they can be fully trusted, making the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

The People: subject to rulers and authorities, obedient, ready to do what is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men.

The counterpoint people are described in part as rebellious, talkers and deceivers, foolish, disobedient, and enslaved by all kinds of passions, living in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Do we see the contrast?

Note in 2:14; 3:8 and 3:14:

Who [Jesus Christ] 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…And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone…Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good

Dearest Pilgrim – do you think that Paul is trying to make a point? Going back to the previous post, what situation might have occasioned such a letter from Paul? What was going on in the church and the surrounding society?

To be continued…

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