11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
grace (v.11) — In the ethical terminology of the Greek schools, charis implied a favor freely done, without claim or expectation of return, and finding its only motive in the bounty and free-heartedness of the giver. But in pagan Greece, this favor was always conferred upon a friend, not upon an enemy. When charis is taken over into the terminology of the New Testament, it takes an infinite leap forward, and acquires an added meaning which it never had in pagan Greece, for the favor God did at Calvary’s Cross, He did, not for a race that loved Him but which hated Him. Thus, in the N.T., charis refers to an act that is beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected and is therefore commendable. All the human race could rightfully expect would be condign punishment for its sins. But it is offered mercy from the Judge who stepped down from His judgment throne in the Glory, to take upon Himself the guilt and penalty of human sin, thus satisfying His justice and making it possible to bestow mercy on the basis of justice satisfied upon a hell-deserving sinner who puts his faith in the Savior who died for him. — Wuest, pages 193-194.
Grace has appeared (v.11); glory will appear (v.13). Grace disciplines the believer as to his conduct while waiting for the glory which in its turn is to crown him. — Williams, page 967.
all men (v.11) — It is generally — and correctly — agreed that the Greek epiphaneia in this passage connotes a conspicuous or illustrious appearing, a shining forth, and that the phrase “all men” therefore does not signify each individual singly, but all men collectively; all mankind. But few can quite believe that under Paul’s ministry the gospel of God’s grace shone forth to all mankind, that is proclamations ever became world-wide in its scope. They conclude, therefore, that Paul could not have meant this in Titus 2:11; that he must have meant only that the grace of God, bringing salvation for all, had appeared. This problem seems to have troubled many translators of this passage, for Bible translators have never been in agreement as to its true meaning.
It is significant that the three terms employed in the so-called “great commission: to indicate its world-wide scope, are also used in Paul’s epistles in connection with his ministry. Only, whereas the twelve never got to “all nations,” “all the world,” or “all creation” with their message, Paul did with his, either directly or indirectly.
In closing his Epistle to the Romans the apostle says: Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets (Lit. prophetic writings, i.e., his own writings, for he clearly refers to “my gospel,” explaining that it had been “kept secret” and was only “now made manifest.”) according to the commandment of the everlasting God, MADE KNOWN TO ALL NATIONS for the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:25-26).
And to the Colossians he writes concerning “the truth of the gospel“; WHICH IS COME UNTO YOU, AS IT IS IN ALL THE WORLD; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you …” (Colossians 1:6).
“… which ye have heard, and WHICH WAS PREACHED TO EVERY CREATURE WHICH IS UNDER HEAVEN [ALL CREATION UNDER HEAVEN]; wherof I Paul am made a minister” (Colossians 1:23).
We do not deny that to those addressed “all the world” would doubtless mean all the known world, and “all creation” would likewise mean all creation as they knew it. But the point is that whatever these three phrases mean in the so-called “great commission” they must also mean in these statements by Paul, for the terms are exactly identical in the Greek.
We have seen how the twelve did not get their message to “all nations,” “all the world” or “all creation,” because, on the one hand Israel rejected it and on the other hand God had a secret purpose to unfold. But Paul, to whom this secret purpose was revealed, says he did get his God-given message to “all nations,” “all the world” and “all creation.”
Whereas the twelve never got beyond their own nation in carrying out their commission, it is written of Paul that during his stay at Ephesus “all they which dwelt in Asia [a province of Asia Minor] heard the word of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:10). To the Romans he writes: “From Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19), and speaks of his plans to go to Spain (Romans 15:24), plans which may well have been accomplished between his two imprisonments. Even of his helpers it was said: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6). And to the Romans again, he says: “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). — Stam, pages 265, 269-270.
teaching (v.12) = training (children) — training by way of discipline and instruction
denying (v.12) = renouncing
ungodliness (v.12) = lack of piety or reverence toward God
worldly (v.12) = having the character of this present age
age (v.12) — [Age] is aion which is defined as “that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale again inevitably to exhale.” Christians live in this atmosphere. We breathe it. It confronts us wherever we go. It seeks our destruction. It is pernicious. It surrounds us like the air we breathe. We take it in unconsciously like every breath of air we breathe. We must therefore be well supplied with an inner antidote which will counteract its evil tendencies, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, a godly life, and the upward look for the coming of the Lord Jesus. — Wuest, page 194.
soberly (v.12) — forms of this work appear in this chapter in verse 2 (temperate), 5 (discreet) and 6 (sober-minded)
soberly (v.12) toward ourselves, righteously toward others, godly toward God.
looking (v.13) = expecting eagerly with certainty of fulfillment
the blessed hope and glorious appearing (v.13) — the two phrases share a single article in Greek, indicating that they refer to the same thing
blessed (v.13) = prosperous
appearing (v.13) = Greek epephaneia, English “epiphany” — shining forth
our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (v.13) — the two titles share a single article in Greek, indicating that both refer to Jesus Christ
gave Himself (v.14) — His death on the cross
for (v.14) = for the sake of, in behalf of, instead of
redeem (v.14) = release by paying a ransom
His own special (v.14) — “Peculiar” [special] is periousion, from the participle of perieinai, “to be over and above.” It also means, “possessed over and above,” that is, “specially selected for one’s own; exempt from ordinary laws of distribution.” It refers therefore to a private possession. The word “peculiar” is from peculium, “a private purse, a special acquisition of a member of a family distinct from the property administered for the good of the whole family.” Thus, Christians are the private possession of God. — Wuest, page 196
zealous (v.14) — The word rendered zealous is really a noun which in ordinary circumstances denoted an uncompromising partisan. “Zealots” was a term applied to an extreme section of the Pharisees. To this party a disciple named Simon had belonged (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). That which was an overwhelming passion in the Jewish sect, should find a corresponding but higher zeal on our part in the fulfillment of that which is beneficial and helpful to others, as guided by the Holy Spirit. — Vine, page 243
Wuest’s translation — For the grace of God bringing salvation, appeared to all men, instructing us that denying impiety and worldly cravings, we should live discreetly and righteously and piously in the midst of this present age, expectantly looking for the blessed hope, even the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself on our behalf in order that He might set us free from all lawlessness, and purify to Himself a people of His own private possession, zealous of good works. These things be constantly speaking and exhorting; and be rebuking with authority. Let no one despise you. — Wuest, page 196.