Our Paidagogos- Titus 2:12

In our previous post, we looked at the idea of grace here being “personified”, of grace being not only an abstract concept (something) but also as a person (someone). Having examined what (and who) grace is, we will now examine just what this passage tells us that grace does. We are first told here that grace “teaches” us. The word translated as “teaches” here is the Greek paideousousa which is the present active participle form of the verb paideuo. This Greek term refers to a very specific form of teaching, common in the first century world in which this letter was composed, but foreign to our modern culture. We will recall that a participle is essentially a verbal adjective, a verbal form which modifies a noun, here the noun grace. This participle tells us about something which the noun it modifies (grace) does, and what grace does here is “teaches”. To understand what is meant by the use of this term, we must first examine the role of a particular person in first century culture, the paidagogos. The paidagogos was the one responsible for the conducting of the paideuo. This paidagogos was, in wealthier families, a servant assigned by the master of the household to be with one of the master’s children at almost all times, and his or her role was to model for the child the proper way of interacting with life. The goal of this teaching was to produce a child who would behave in a way which reflected positively on the child’s father, which would not besmirch the father’s good name through improper behavior. In our passage here, grace serves as our paidagogos, and we can now see how it makes more sense of the passage to understand grace as not merely an abstract concept. Abstract concepts can not model for us proper behavior or serve to correct improper behavior, a person is necessary to do so, and we are told here that the person of Jesus (through the Holy Spirit- John 16:13-14) is our paidagogos. As the “one and only” Son of God, Jesus both modeled for us what the proper behavior of a child of God looks like, but also left us instructions as to how we are to conduct ourselves as children of God as we encounter the world around us. Jesus Christ is referred to as the Word of God, He is both the living Word and the written Word, and we grow to know the living Word through continual engagement with the written Word. It is the person of Jesus who serves as our paidagogos, who has left us a record of how He interacted with the world as the Son of God, both modeling for us the proper behavior of a child of God, and also leaving us written instructions on how to do so as well. May all believers learn from our paidagogos just how we can more and more be about our Father’s business, just as Jesus was.

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