Titus 1 (ESV)
This is a personal letter written by the apostle Paul to a young minister whom he had left on Crete. The letter to Titus is practical and discusses the everyday problems confronted by a young church leader. The importance of good works is stressed in this epistle. Not that we are saved by good works, but that we are saved for good works. Here also God presents His ideal for the Church and its officers and members. The epistle to Titus was written by Paul. Titus was bishop of Crete, a hard post (see Titus 1:12-13). Paul had given Titus a difficult task before, that of settling the differences at Corinth and tactfully persuading the Church to do the right thing in the matter of divisiveness. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians shows how successful Titus was in this mission.
Titus was a Gentile. No doubt he was one of Paul’s converts during the early years of the apostle’s ministry. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem 17 years after Paul’s conversion. When Paul heard that Apollos was about to go to Crete, he took the opportunity to send this letter to Titus (see Titus 3:13). It is full of practical advice to the young pastor, giving him directions for church administration and warning him against the heretics of his day. He asks Titus to come to him and to report about the condition of the church on the island. Although this is a personal letter, it undoubtedly was meant to be read to the church also.
1Paul, a servant of God
Of all the titles Paul could use, he first chose “bondservant of God.” If Paul had a modern day business card, that would be his title on the card.
Significantly, when Paul used the term bondservant, he chose the ancient Greek word doulos. This word not only designated a low slave (one Greek scholar called it “the most abject, servile term in use among the Greeks for a slave”), it was also the word for a slave by choice.
and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3and at the proper time manifested in his word
Galatians 4:4 (New King James Version)
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son.
Christianity came into the world at a time when it was uniquely possible for its message to spread rapidly. Greek was the common language, the language of trade, business, and literature. There were virtually no frontiers because of the vast nature of the Roman Empire. Travel was comparatively easy. It was slow, but relatively safe because of the security that the Roman Empire brought to roads and sea routes. The world was largely at peace under the pax Romana. Due to the Jewish dispersion throughout the ancient world, the world was curiously conscious of its need for a messiah and savior.
through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;
4To Titus, my true child in a common faith:
Though we read nothing about Titus in Acts, we still know something of his character and personality.
- Titus was a true son in our common faith (Titus 1:4).
- Titus was a genuine brother to the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:13).
- Titus was a partner and a fellow worker with Paul (2 Corinthians 8:23).
- Titus walked in the same spirit as Paul (2 Corinthians 12:18).
- Titus walked in the same steps as Paul, in the same manner of life (2 Corinthians 12:18).
- Therefore, Titus could be a pattern to other believers (Titus 2:7).
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Qualifications for Elders
5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
The family of the elder must not be undisciplined. Nothing can make up for the lack of parental control. There is a saying about the household of Sir Thomas More: “He controls his family with the same easy hand: no tragedies, no quarrels. If a dispute begins, it is promptly settled. His whole house breathes happiness, and no one enters it who is not the better for the visit.” The true training ground for the eldership is at least as much in the home as it is in the Church.
7For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
10For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true.
“So notorious were the Cretans that the Greeks actually formed a verb kretizein, to cretize, which means to lie and to cheat; and they had a proverbial phrase, kreitzein pros Kreta, to cretize against a Cretan, which meant to match lies with lies, as diamond cuts diamond.”
Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.
15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
ALL THINGS ARE PURE
Your heart’s condition will be expressed through your life. It will be evident by your attitudes, your words, and your behavior. Jesus said that you can clearly see others only when your own eyes are unobstructed (Mark 6:42). If your vision is hindered by sin, you will not look at others properly.
If your heart is pure, you will approach life without malice. You will not question the motives of everyone around you; you will not doubt the truth of everything others tell you; you will not look for fault in others. Instead, you will look for the good in others, finding what is praiseworthy. You will not be naive or gullible, but you will seek what is good rather than what is evil. If your heart is pure, you will see others the way God sees them (Matthew 6:22).
If your heart is defiled, everything with which you are involved will seem corrupt as well. You will assume evil motives in others because you know what you would do given the same circumstances. You will be cynical about what you hear because your own words are deceitful. You will be drawn to evil people and evil things.
How do you look at the words and actions of others? Are you critical of them? Are you judgmental? If so, ask God to purify your heart. Once He has, you will be free to see yourself and others as God does.
Oh, to be “above reproach, upright, holy, and disciplined,” as Paul requires (verses 7-8)! I cannot do it on my own. But help is always near. HERE is “There Is a Savior.” I hope that the truth of this song will encourage you to live today in the “grace and peace of God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior” (verse 4).
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.