Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
Paul has listed teachings for the older men, the older women, and for the older women to teach the younger women. The specific lessons tailored for each group would have presented a special challenge for the original Cretan audience…and now we come to Paul’s prescribed teaching for the young men in the Cretan church:
Titus 2:6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
Paul has given the older men six things to learn, the older women get three things and a direction to be mentors, and the younger women get six things…while the Cretan younger men are only given one topic that is in accord with the healthy teaching of the gospel.
Is this an indication that the young men have it easy or does this imply that there is a male bias in the text? To solve a question like that, we must first look at the context of the surrounding verses.
Paul’s direction in this verse begins with the word similarly, so we need to ask “similarly to what?” Since the immediate previous context is Paul explaining how a younger woman’s walk is to be one so that no one will malign the word of God, that same expectation is placed on the younger men as well.
Also, to encourage means to urge strongly, as well as to invite and exhort…which implies some sort of relationship between Titus and the younger Cretan men. Paul develops this idea as he continues:
Titus 2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Although these directions are for Titus, they are also what Titus needs to be modeling to the younger men. Whether they are actively looking or sub-consciously scanning, young men are constantly watching for another man to be an example for them. Oftentimes, an older man becomes a role model without even being informed by the younger man. Perhaps that is why Paul emphasizes several ways that Titus can model self-control.
Self-control is the underlying current that flows through a young man’s life. To maintain a right frame of mind while the world rages around you and to have sober judgment of the people and situations you daily encounter are life-preserving skills for a young man. Many younger men have had their lives and their faith shipwrecked due to a lack of self-control. Notice that Paul says that opposition will come; however, he expects that Titus will be ready for it because his self-control in previous situations have kept him from having a reputation that can be attacked.
Nowadays, a common political trap is to bait your opponent by saying something completely ridiculous, even false against him…and then sitting back and waiting for his response. This kind of trap is based upon the assumption that the opponent will respond forcefully and quickly…but also recklessly. A reckless response will typically dig a bigger hole, one that the man will not be able to politically escape from. His fate is sealed by his own lack of self-control.
Paul doesn’t list one trait for the younger men to learn because he is taking it easy on them. In fact, the opposite it true! By narrowing it down to one item, Paul is emphasizing the importance of a young man’s self-control not only in his own life, but also in how he lives out the gospel message. After coming into a saving relationship with Jesus, in order to represent that relationship so that no one will malign the word of God, the most important lesson a younger man needs is self-control!
If you fit the category of a younger man, ask God to show you the importance of living with self-control. He will give you the strength needed to bring your passions and emotions under proper control, so they can be put to good use.
If you don’t fit the category of a younger man, please pray for those you know. Ask God to give them a mentor that consistently displays this characteristic of a Godly man.