1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ,
according to the faith of God's chosen ones,
and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who can't lie, promised before
1:3 but in his own time revealed his word in the message
with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our
1:4 to Titus, my true child according to a common faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
1:5 I left you in Crete for this reason,
that you would set in order the things that were lacking,
and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you;
1:6 if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife,
having children who believe, who are not accused of loose or unruly
1:7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward;
not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine,
not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain;
1:8 but given to hospitality, as a lover of good, sober-minded, fair,
1:9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching,
that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine,
and to convict those who contradict him.
1:10 For there are also many unruly men, vain talkers and
especially those of the circumcision,
1:11 whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses,
teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain's sake.
1:12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons."
1:13 This testimony is true.
For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the
1:14 not paying attention to Jewish fables
and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.
1:15 To the pure, all things are pure;
but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure;
but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
1:16 They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny
being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.
vs 1-3 How has the knowledge of the truth led to a godly
lifestyle in your case?
How important does Paul view his preaching? vs 6 What's the difference between blameless and sinless?
What does it mean to be the husband of one wife?
Why must elder's children be well-behaved believers also? vs 7 How might you summarize these characteristics? vs 8 Of these characteristics, which are you strongest in? vs 9 Have you ever been involved in refuting someone who
opposes the Bible?
Should such refuting be a part of the Christian life? vs 10-16 Do you know of examples today of people getting paid
for promoting false teachings?
What in particular was the group of the circumcision teaching?
Is it Biblical to characterize population groups, or it that racism and
What kind of "Christian" myths that you've heard should be suppressed?
What kind of commands have you heard from false teachers that should be
The Truth Leads to Godliness
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant
of God and an apostle
of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the
truth that leads to godliness—
In Rom 1:5 Paul writes, "Through Him we have received grace and
apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name" Entering
a saved condition and subsequently into the family of God through
regeneration by the Holy Spirit is conditioned upon faith. Subsequent
to that having been saved one grows in godliness by applying one's
faith to the knowledge of the truth. And if one's alleged faith does
not lead them to godliness it's questionable whether their faith is
genuine. Or as Paul says later in chapter 2, "For the grace of God that brings
salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to
ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright
and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed
hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify
for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."Titus 2:11-14
Far from a fatalistic viewpoint Paul saw the elect's salvation being
contingent upon him. For people are elected according to the
foreknowledge of God. (1Peter 1:2)
foreknows who will hear and believe. Given that "faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ."Rom 10:17 It was necessary for
people to hear the gospel to be saved. Consequently people's salvation
was dependent upon people like Paul preaching to them. "It pleased God through the
foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."1Cor 1:21 And so also there are
people whose salvation is dependent upon whether or not you decide to
get involved in the process of bringing them to faith in Christ. Thus
Paul also writes, "Therefore I
endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain
the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."2Tim
The correlation between salvation and godliness Paul elaborates on
in chapter 2.
Appointed for Preaching the Gospel
Titus 1:2,3 A faith and knowledge resting on the
hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the
beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to
light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our
Christian faith and knowledge is primarily about resting in God's
grace. It's about resting in the grace of God. For salvation is a free
gift offered graciously and received by faith. Implied is an eternally
secured aspect to saving faith.
This is the New Covenant which God prepared beforehand, indeed before
the beginning of time. There's an exact parallel passage to these
verses in 2Tim 1:9-11"He has saved us and called us to a
holy life— not because of anything we have done but because of his own
purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the
beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing
of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought
life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this
gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher."
"Through the preaching entrusted to me" -
Paul, in some sense has a higher status than the other apostles, who
had early on limited themselves to ministering to Jews exclusively.
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles - which included most of the
world. And most of the New Testament letters were Paul's letters. Even
the book of Acts is primarily about Paul, written by his traveling
companion Luke and continued with him to the end, and who also wrote
the gospel of Luke. This not to say that there are contradictions
between Paul and the others. For Peter himself in declares Paul
writings to be scripture in 2Peter 3:15,16 Organize the Church
Titus 1:4,5 To Titus, my true
son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ
Jesus our Savior. The reason I left you in Crete was that you might
straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every
town, as I directed you.
We don't actually know the origin of Titus conversion. He was a
Gentile. Paul mentions in Galatians that he and Barnabus brought him to
the church at Jerusalem to deal with the issue concerning circumcision.
The Judaizers wanted Titus circumcised to become a Jews, but Paul
wouldn't stand for it. Peter finally sided with Paul and the matter
became largely closed. Thus Gentiles don't have to become Jews to
become Christians. (The issue may sound funny today)
In Paul referring to Titus as his son it doesn't necessarily mean he
brought him to faith. For he said the same of Timothy whom Paul clearly
had not himself brought to faith. Rather in both cases I believe he's
referring to their relationship. That is, Paul's relationship with
Titus was much as a father to a son insomuch as he was discipling him
in the ministry, as is also the subject of this letter.
Here he left Titus with a task to accomplish. Paul planted, and he left
Titus to organize. Understand that as the church grows, there's greater
practical necessity to form some kind of organization. Actually that's
true of secular groups as well. However the term "church" often is
spoken of in two senses. The Bible commonly refers to "church" as the
assembly of believers. So "church" refers to people. But more commonly
today and throughout much of the history of post-Biblical Christianity,
the term "church" is used to refer to the organization, or to the
administrators of the organization. That has led to a lot of
misconception over the years.
Note that Titus was to assign elders, not pastors. "Pastor" is a
function, not an office. In terms of organization, a board of elders is
in some sense safer than having one man in charge - that is rule by
committee rather than a dictatorship. However, if you get a bunch of
guys together, it is natural for a hierarchy to form. So regarding an
elder board, even if everyone allegedly has an equal voice, it's simply
human nature that some end up having a greater voice than others. But
can't do much about that.
As a final note I find it interesting that these institutional churches
didn't start with elders. They hadn't had elders and yet they were
reckoned churches. Thus if a church doesn't have elders it doesn't mean
it is not a legitimate church. Rather elders are one of many roles which
can edify a church.
Titus 1:6 An elder must be
blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe
and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
"Blameless" is not the same as "sinless".
This refers his reputation being above reproach.
"The husband of but one wife" would
exclude polygamists, not uncommon in those days. More commonly today is
the serial form of polygamy in which divorced men remarry. And as Jesus
said, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries
another woman commits adultery" Lk 16:18a and thus they
are disqualfied from eldership.
"A man whose children believe and are not open to
the charge of being wild and disobedient." Not that its sinful
to not have believing children, but a preference for eldership insomuch
as children are a reflection on their parents. Even having believing
children is not sufficient, if they are wild and disobedient. "He must manage his own family well and see that his
children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to
manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?" 1Tim
3:4,5 Though one wonders whether God himself would be qualified to be an elder of a church seeing as He says, "I have nourished and brought up children,
and they have rebelled against me." Is 1:2
Titus 1:7 For a overseer must be
blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered,
not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
Notice that "elder" is synonymous with "overseer". Though many an elder
today could be more accurately described as "overlookers".
The attitude of the overseer must be just the opposite of elitism,
being not the master of the house, but simply the steward, overseeing
the house on behalf of the master. Thus in contrast to being
"self-willed", he must be "Spirit led", complying to the Lord's will.
He must not be "quick-tempered", prone to angry outbursts, or to the
rash decisions that result from such a temperament.
Naturally you don't want a drunkard as a steward.
Historically the religious elite tend to characteristically be prone to
violence, greed and pride. For consider the category of people who
crucified Christ. The office of institutional leaders tends to both
attract such people or to develop such characteristics in people hold
such offices. Thus it is very important to assign the best people to
such offices. For example it says, "not a
novice, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as
the devil."1Tim 3:6 The devil himself is a
precedent for those who get corrupted by religious office!
As for greedy, Paul advises the elders in emphasis in this manner, "I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or
clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my
own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I
showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak,
remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed
to give than to receive.’" Acts 20:33-35 Thus Paul
advises elders not to receive payment for their services, but rather to
earn their own living to provided for the needy. And elders who demand
payment for their services are actually diverting funds which would
otherwise have been directed to the needy.
Live Righteously and Love Others
Titus 1:8 Rather he must be hospitable,
one who loves what is good, who is sober-minded, upright, holy and
In contrast to being greedy, he much be hospitable. Naturally if one is
to be characterized as an "overseer", he much spend time with people.
Much of that practically involves having people come over his house.
When did an elder last invite you over his house?
An elder is one who actually loves what is good, and not simply loves
the praise that comes to him from doing what is good. For there are
people who "love evil more than good, Lying
rather than speaking righteousness." Ps 52:3
"sober-minded", being of a sound mind.
Today we might refer to such a person as rational, reasonable.
"upright" or "just" speaks
the person's judicial sense as he will be involved in judging
disputes and such.
"holy" kind of goes along with blameless
insomuch as it depicts a person taking measures to avoid sin.
As for self-control, a baseline might be
established by simply considering their waistline.
Hold to Right Doctrine
Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the
trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage
others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
In other words, an elder much have fortitude in holding to the message
of which the Bible teaches. There are those who don't have this
fortitude which reflects deep conviction, esteeming the Word of God
above opinions of man. This is particularly necessary among those of
religious office, where there is such temptation to become conceited
and so modify the message to accommodate whatever pleases people.
The measure of good teaching is not whether it makes people feel good,
but rather whether it is in fact sound - conforming to the Bible's
intended meaning and application. "All Scripture
is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man
of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2Tim
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of
season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but
according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they
will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears
away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2Tim
2Cor 10:5 "We demolish arguments and
every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and
we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Titus 1:10,11 For there are many
rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the
circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining
whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach— and that
for the sake of dishonest gain.
Basically there are many who replace the Word of God with their own
opinion. The cult of the circumcision of whom Paul dealt with
extensively in Galatians, appeared to originate in the church of
Jerusalem - the church of which was led by Peter, James and John, who,
likely due to the prejudice they held against Gentiles at the times,
were grossly negligent in allowing this cult to grow in their own
church. And it took Paul to come into their church to deal with it
himself because men were coming from that church over to his preaching
a false gospel. Thus his conviction "They must be
The process of doing so may involve confrontation, conflict and
intimidation; and you yourself may be viewed as a divisive person in
the good that you do. For even fellow Christians will return evil for
the good that you intend in doing this kind of thing. But for the sake
of the body it must be done.
Be on guard particularly for those who received payment or like benefit
for teaching. Not that such is wrong in itself, as Paul also said, "The Lord has commanded that those who preach the
gospel should receive their living from the gospel." 1Cor 9:14,
that is an option that Paul himself avoided. "Unlike
so many, we do not peddle the word of God for
profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity,
like men sent from God." 2Cor 2:17 And "you know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a
mask to cover up greed— God is our witness." 1Th 2:5 And
furthermore over time those who get paid for ministry can't really be
sure to what extent the money is affecting their teachings. The case of
the cult of the circumcision is even more transparent.
Titus 1:12,13Even one of their
own prophets has said, "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy
gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply,
so that they will be sound in the faith
It's not that Paul was endorsing one of their own prophets, but rather
noting how those of their own culture characterize them. Crete is an
island off the southern coast of Greece. Paul quoted Epimenides, who
was Cretian by birth. It is reported of him, that being sent by his
father to his sheep in the field, he by the way, at
noon, turned aside into a cave, and slept fifty seven
years. Thus laziness was characteristic of Cretans. But also lying was
characteristic of them. And their kind characterized them as evil
beasts, driven by their own passions.
By the way, this style of rhetoric is a generalization,
Jesus himself uses such as for example in Mt 23 where he
generalizes the characteristic behavior of scribes and pharisees. But
this is not to say such is true in every particular case. Yes, the
Bible does endorse such rhetoric. You're not lying in using
Now, at times we're called to respond gently. But not in this kind of
case. In this kind of case, particularly involving those who view
themselves with some spiritual authority and are teaching false
doctrine, those are to be rebuked sharply. Likewise of elders it says, "Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all,
that the rest also may fear." 1Tim 5:20 Note even in the
gospels how Jesus dealt harshly with the religious elite in comparison
with ordinary folk.
Attention to those who Promote Myths
Titus 1:14 and will pay no attention to Jewish
myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.
Now while it appears these false teachers were primarily unconverted
Cretan Jews, there are elsewhere general commands concerning avoiding
myths, such as he commanded to Timothy, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old
wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly." 1Tim 4:7 and "As I urged you when I went into
Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men
not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless
genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work— which
is by faith."1Tim 1:3,4
"Preach the Word; be prepared in
season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage— with great
patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will
not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires,
they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what
their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from
the truth and turn aside to
myths." 2Tim 4:2-4
Along with promoting myths, these also command Christians concerning
their way of life. One thing that can help Christians keep themselves
from such influence is to be "Berean". "The Bereans were of more noble
character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with
great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what
Paul said was true."Acts 17:11
Scrutinize everthing in light of the Word of God.
Corrupt Obsess over Rituals and Regulations
Titus 1:15To the pure, all things are pure, but
to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In
fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
Become so familiar with the truth, and look to yourselves, keeping
yourselves pure from sin, that when corrupted teaching comes along, you
will sense it. This may take the maturity that comes from experience. "Solid food is for the mature, who by
constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."Heb 5:14
In particular by
"pure" Paul was likely referring to the obsession the
circumcision has over Jewish customs concerning purification, such as
we see also Jesus speaking to in the gospels. In contrast to such
regulations Paul says, "'Everything
permissible for me"'but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is
permissible for me'— but I will not be mastered by
in Galatians, "It is for
freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let
yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I,
Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will
be of no value to you at all."Gal
In contrast these Jewish unbelievers are characteristically depraved in
their thinking and in their conscience, such as attributing guilt to
that which they should not, while not feeling guilty for that which
they should. And because of their depraved mind you will find it
difficult reasoning with these people.
Actions Reflect One's Faith
Titus 1:16They claim to know God, but by their
actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for
doing anything good.
A person's claim of being a Christian should not soley be the measure
as to whether they actually are. For there is a correlation between a
person's salvation status and their behavior. Thus, for example, John
says, "This is how we know who the
children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who
does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does
not love his brother."1John
"unfit" is the same Greek word "disqualfied" as in the following, "Examine yourselves as to whether you
are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that
Jesus Christ is in you? ——unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust
that you will know that we are not disqualified." 2Cor 13:5,6