Paul’s letter to Titus is another Pastoral epistle, written about the same time as 1 Timothy which is approximately AD 62. Titus, another one of Paul’s younger protégés was ministering in the island of Crete with a responsibility to not only oversee the local congregation and set things in order, but to also appoint elders (pastors) in every city (1:5). Titus is not mentioned in the book of Acts, but he was with Paul, and is referred to repeatedly in the book of 2 Corinthians, and also Galatians.
How beautiful it is to read the words of Paul towards Titus, “…a true son in our common faith.”Sometimes you see it (and sometimes you don’t) there’s no doubt about that brother or sister’s relationship with God – the fruit abounds – they’re “true.”
Part of the task Titus had was to help bring healing to the church at Crete. Warren Wiersbe comments on v. 5, “The Greek word translated ‘set in order’ is a medical term that means ‘to set a broken bone.’ The church body suffers when we avoid facing and solving serious problems.”
Titus was also to be a leader of leaders. In verses 5-9 Paul lays out the qualifications for an elder (pastor). One of the reasons that pastors are sometimes referred to as elders, is because these men were usually older, Scripturally seasoned, and experienced. Granted, not all older men are wise, but typically it takes time, trials, and years of seeing God’s Word in action, understanding it and knowing how to apply it in the variety of situations we face in life.
Things need to be in order at home if an elder is to be appointed. He’s to be a one-woman man with faithful children (see also 1 Timothy 3:4-5). In v. 7 Paul changes terms and uses the word “Bishop” which is a translation of the Greek word “episkopos” or overseer. These leaders are to “watch over” God’s people, feeding them, protecting them from wolves and lies, serving them, and leading them according to the Scriptures.
A call to the ministry is a call to holiness, it’s a call to have the character of Christ; pastors and leaders are to teach not only with our lips, but also with our lives; there’s power in purity. We are not to be self-willed, or lack self-control, we are not to be hotheads with a short fuse, greedy for money, or given to wine. Personally, I don’t believe a pastor (or Christians for that matter) should drink alcohol at all (Ephesians 5:18; Proverbs 20:1; 31:4; Isaiah 28:7). In today’s society the wine is much stronger, it’s not necessary, it’s dangerously addictive, and is a perfect tool in the hands of the enemy to cause other Christians to stumble (Romans 14:21).
Unfortunately, back then (and we still see it today), there were many false teachers/talkers who go into the church setting with their legalistic lies and create confusion among the congregation – Titus was to protect the people from that. Not everything these guys said was false, however – the Cretans had a bad reputation for being lazy liars, evil beasts, ungodly gluttons. Paul said it was actually true, and asked Titus to rebuke the people sharply for genuine change in the church. Like today, there were many who professed to know God, but they really didn’t, because the proof is in the pudding – they had no good works to back up their words. They were talkie-talkies, and not walkie talkies.
As a pastor, Titus was called to teach – and the teaching was to be sound, solid, and practical for all age groups in the church.
We older men are inclined to let our guard down over the years, but that’s not to be the case! Older men might struggle with sobriety, discipline, selfishness, doubt, or sloppy agape, we can lose our patience in a split-second! Pastors are to challenge the older men in these areas.
The older women were to be taught to be reverent. Ladies beware of slander and gossip, those “prayer requests” and pumping people for the 411 or distributing it is not a good thing. The older ladies also were to be sober and even teachers to the younger ladies, challenging them to love their children and enjoy the wonderful role of wife, mom, and homemaker. This sends out a beautiful testimony to the watching world.
Then there are the young men, the category that Titus fell under, to which Paul directs his message telling him and all the young men (yes it’s doable) as well as the pastors, to show yourself to be a pattern of good works. We are to be patterns for people. Witnessing is not something we do as much as it is something we are. Let’s live our lives in such a way – in word, deed, and integrity so that one day we could echo the words of Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”God help us to live our lives so much like Jesus that even our enemies are disarmed due to love and Christlike character.
Employees were to be taught to be submissive, to do what the boss says, have a good attitude, don’t resist, answer back, or take anything that doesn’t belong to you. I love the way Paul describes such behavior, that it adorns the doctrine, it makes being a Christian attractive to a world that’s watching, there’s something different about that guy, that gal!
It’s interesting what Paul says about grace, beginning in v. 11 – it’s not a license to sin, no, God’s grace teaches us, even empowers us to live pure lives, even in this evil age, and something else that helps us in that is knowing that Jesus can come at any time…this is our blessed hope, His glorious appearing!
We see it in the English, but in the original Greek it’s even stronger…Jesus is our great God and Savior. He gave Himself, God gave Himself to redeem us with His blood, pulling us out of the pit of lawless deeds, and setting us on the rock of purity and good works. May we never forget we were saved to serve and called to catch – people for Christ.
Preach it Titus!
Paul continues to encourage Titus to teach the people properly.
Submission to the government and obedience to the laws of the land is clearly taught in the Scriptures, unless the authorities command us to disobey the Word of God (Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 5:29).
What an awesome command in v. 2, SPEAK EVIL OF NO ONE! Every once in a while I’ll attend a funeral and hear the testimony of the person who passed and they’ll say, “…they never spoke evil of anyone.” There’s something wonderful about that type of testimony. The context is interesting because Paul seems to be asking Christians not to speak evil of non-Christians, to be gentle and humble with them as a witness to them, because we were once in their place – powerless against temptation, without Christ, and dead in our sins.
But then…Jesus came, God’s kindness toward us appeared, love incarnate, salvation for our souls, not by our works of righteousness, but His work of redemption there on the cross – HE SAVED US. He washed us – we’re born again (regenerated), we have the Holy Spirit, abundantly, God’s gracious justification, and then to think, we are also joint heirs of Christ!
Paul commanded Titus to constantly affirm these things to the people. If we believe we should also behave. We’re not saved by works, but true faith always “works.”
Titus was to avoid vain arguments, for there are some people who are divisive, they’re not truly interested in the truth, they’re just drawn to drama, Titus was to reject such people.
Paul’s was sending Artemas or Tychicus to Crete, this would allow Titus to spend the winter with him in Nicopolis. He encouraged Titus to help Zenas and Apollos financially, to support them fully in their journey and ministry.
He closes with greetings of grace.