"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine"

Titus 2:1

The letter to Titus was written about the same time as the first epistle to Timothy. This was after the release of Paul from his initial Roman imprisonment. Much of the content of Titus is also contained in First Timothy. The purpose of both epistles were to instruct these men of God in some of the fundamentals of church order.

Titus was left behind by Paul on the isle of Crete. This was a mainly mountainous island in the Mediterranean to the south of the Aegean Sea. It was (and still is) about 250 km long, and its width varies from 56 km to 11 km. It isn't mentioned in the Old Testament, but its probable that the Cherethites ( who formed a part of David's bodyguard) came from it, and the place name Caphtor was actually referring to the island of Crete and adjacent coastlands.

The church does not belong to any one man (or woman). Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. Any man or woman who seeks to control the church, does so by displacing Jesus Christ. Consequently, Paul frequently addresses the churches as ". . . a bond-servant of Jesus Christ . . ." or a "prisoner of Jesus Christ". By doing that, he makes it clear that he is merely an ambassador of the Ruler of the church. He constantly asserts that he didn't choose this position- he was chosen for it by God.

1. What does Hebrews 5:4 make clear about those in ministry?


Because the church isn't to be controlled by men, but by God Himself, God has revealed that the local church is to be administered by 'overseers' or 'shepherds' or 'elders'. These men are responsible for hearing God's direction and obeying it. This role was never meant to be handled by one man. God never intended the church to a 'one-man-show', where one man gives the directions and commands. Instead, God's purpose is revealed in the ministry of eldership.

2. What are some of the advantages of eldership, rather than one man? (Prov. 11:14; 24:6; 15:22)


God is Head of the church. In Titus 2:13 it tells us that Jesus Christ is God over the church by saying that He will provide for it a blessed hope. All men who are in eldership are accountable to Him. Obviously, men who are selected as elders must be of the highest calibre. Little wonder then that Paul focuses so much of his attention in these 'Pastoral-Epistles' on the ministry and qualifications of an elder.


Titus 1

3. What was Paul's reason for leaving Titus in Crete? (1.5)


Within order there is structure and discipline. Part of this is the ministry of elders. An elder's qualifications include every area of their lives: their family, their finances, their reputation, their habits and their teaching. Necessary qualifications:


Above Reproach (blameless)


Married With One Wife


Believing Children


Well Behaved Children


Not self-Willed (ie. Overbearing)


Not Quick Tempered


Not Given To Wine (N.I.V. Drunkenness)


Not Violent


Not Greedy For Money




One Who Loves Good








Self-controlled (Disciplined)


Faithful To The Word


Sound in Doctrine




Able to Convict and Refute

4. Why would it be necessary to have strong eldership in a church?


Perhaps some may fail to realise the quality of Scriptural knowledge and depth in the average male Jew, at the time of Paul writing this letter. This must be taken into context. There is therefore the directive given by Paul that these men should not be new converts (1 Tim. 3:6).

Paul goes on to contrast the qualities of elders by saying that there are many men around who are not of good character. In fact, from the context of what Paul says about them, it sounds as though they may even have been 'peddlers of the Gospel' (that is preaching for selfish gain). Paul calls their motivation "dishonest (sordid) gain". In verse seven he said that elders should not be men who see that there's a living to be made from preaching the Gospel. Yet, sadly, even today money is the downfall of many good men and women of God. We must guard our attitudes as well toward money.

5. What did Jesus Christ say about our relationship to money? (Matt. 6:24)


Elders must be men of such character that they know how to silence these false teachers who merely tickle people's ears. Perhaps Crete had a large percentage of these 'gospel-pedlars', for Paul warns Titus that Cretans have a reputation, even amongst their own countrymen, as being ". . . liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons". All the more reason for having strong elders in the church to guard the flock.

6. According to verse 16, how can Christians deny God without speaking one word against Him?



Titus 2

For the older men in the church, note the different use of the word 'elder', they were to give a stabilising influence on the assembly. Paul tells Titus to instruct these men to be-


Temperate, Sober;


Dignified, Reverent in Behavior;


Sensible, Sound in faith;


Sound in Love;


Sound in Patience, Perseverance;

For the older women:


Reverent in their behavior;


Not malicious gossips or slanderers;


Not enslaved, or given to much wine;


Teaching what is good;


Teach young women and encourage them to love their husbands;


Teach younger wives to love their children;


Teach young women to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, subject to their own husbands.

Paul urges Titus to instruct young men to be sensible, and to be an example in word and deed. By them doing this, their opponents would be put to shame.

7. How could we relate Titus 2:9 to us today?



Titus 2

We define "grace" as God not giving us what we deserve (punishment), and giving us what we don't deserve. God's grace extends to every man and woman.

8. What does Romans 1:20(b) tell us about God's judgment of mankind?


9. What is the grace of God meant to do? (Rom. 2:4)


10. What is Jesus Christ called in Titus 2:13?


Paul finishes the epistle with some practical advice to be passed on to the church. This included submitting to authority, only allowing correct doctrine about salvation and rejecting heretics.


11. What is the similar thought in verses 1, 8, and 14 of chapter 3?


The political environment during the first century was sporadically (from time to time) very hostile. Generally the Roman government was opposed to Christianity. They closely observed Christians. What they saw were people who secretly met in homes at night, refused to participate in Roman festivals, and rejected Caesar as their Lord. This caused the Roman government great suspicion. They consequently saw Christians as a threat to the Empire. It is against this background that the Word of God instructs Christians to submit to authorities (Titus 3:1). But this epistle seems to indicate that the Cretans were actually acting unruly in the church. Therefore the message to these Christians was that their submission to authority must be reflected in every area of their lives- both in and out of the church.

12. For those who refused to submit within the church, what were the other Christians instructed to do? (3:10)


Paul was deeply concerned that the Cretans be contributors into their society. With so much suspicion into their activities, it was even more necessary for Christians to be active contributors. If they were seen as lazy by the outside world, this could jeopardise any possibility of successful evangelism or even tolerance among their community. It wasn’t expected that this would happen over night. Paul says that they must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good. So must we.


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New Testament Survey

© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania