Titus 3:1-7

 |  October 19, 2016

  1. Identify the Text

The most natural exegetical division of chapter three produces four sections.

3:1-2 Exhortation

3:3-7 Exhortation

3:8-11 Exhortation

3:12-15 Benediction

For pastoral reasons, however, the first two sections (vv. 1-7) may be taken naturally together (as is done here) in order to show the grounds (vv. 3-7) for the imperative (vv. 1-2).

  1. Identify the Genre

Macro: Epistolary


3:1-2   Hortatory (driven by the command to remind them)

3:3-7   Expository

  1. Identify the Structure of the Passage

3:1,2 is a command to remind them to do seven things. There is no semantic structure that makes any of these commands to v. 2, it is a straightforward list.

3:3-7 The main idea of the passage is found in v. 5, he saved us. How did He save us? Again, v. 5, He saved us by His own mercy and “by the washing of the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

In v.5 he also gives something that did not affect our salvation: “not by works done by us in righteousness.” The reason we know that this is true is because of v. 3 – We were once “foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”

3:6-7 further explains the work of the Spirit identified in v.6.

  1. Exegete the Passage

3:1,2 is driven by the command to remind them, hupomimnḗskō. This first person active imperative command leads to a simple list of which there is no semantic hierarchy. Meaning, these seven actions and attitudes are all seven things that Titus is to remind them to do.

It is best to understand the obedient (v. 2) as also tied to the authorities.   One commentator suggested this is the “submission of an active obedience.”[1]Knight, G. W. (1992). The Pastoral Epistles: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 332). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.

The phrase “for we ourselves” is important rhetorically. It is the link between what they should be reminded to do (vv. 1-2) and the reason for their actions (vv. 3-7). The “for”, gar, in v.3 is explanatory. To put it together means that we are to act circumspectly without outsiders for the very reason that God saved us never to act like them again!

Again, vv.3-7 are a distinct semantic unit. Vv. 1-2 involve a command and vv. 3-7 concern the reason for the command, namely that God saved us. So in vv.1-2 we are to be submissive to authorities in order to demonstrate that we are no longer like we were in the world. This is intended to show contrast.

  1. Allow the structure of the text to drive the structure of the sermon

Exegetically vv. 1-2 answers the question, “What is Titus to remind them to do in light of the world?” and vv. 3-7 answers the question “How did God save us?” It could be put together this way.

How are we to act in the world? vv. 1, 2

The seven qualities.

Why did He save us and make us different?

God did not save us because of ourselves (vv. 3,5b)

God saved us by His goodness, mercy (vv. 4, 5a)

God saved us by the renewing of the Holy Spirit (vv. 5c-7)


Category: Sermon Structure
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