SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul gives advice on how different groups of people should be taught to live:
- Older men need to focus on being temperate (moderation or self-restraint) and self-controlled while learning to be solid in faith and enduring in love.
- Younger men should focus on self-control.
- Older women need to focus on living reverently and mentoring younger women while avoiding gossip and too much wine.
- Younger women should focus on loving their immediate family, managing home-life well, practicing self control and purity, and living contently.
- Slaves should strive to please their masters and earn their trust while not talking back or stealing from them, so as to attract their masters to God and His teachings. Back then a person being a slave was not based on race, but on an economic situation. It was closer to our modern day employer/employee relationships.
- In the last section Paul writes about God's grace, which means that God offers us the opposite of what we deserve. This is how we receive "salvation" (verse 11) - the removal of our sins from our record so we can have relationship with God and go to be with Him in Heaven.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Many people think that what leads us to not sin is fear. If we fear being punished by God for our sins, perhaps we'll say no to temptation. But that's not what the Bible teaches. It's grace, God's unconditional love, that leads us to say no to sin. We realize that God loves us, and so we don't want to sin against Him. And we realize that God loves us, so we know that whatever He asks us not to do is in our best interest.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- What group that Paul mentions are you in? Older man? Younger woman? Employee? How does Paul's advice apply to you? How could you start actually living it?
- When you're tempted, what helps you to say no? Do you rely on fear and shame as your motivation? Or do you focus on the love of God? How could you start to focus on God's grace and have it lead you to say no to ungodliness?