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Titus 1:1-9

Thursday Evening Bible Study

July 12, 2018


The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul still being confined to an apartment, under house arrest, in Rome. Church tradition has it that Paul was soon afterwards released from arrest and allowed to travel.

We can piece together some of what happened to Paul from the last letters that he wrote.

After having been released from imprisonment in Rome, Paul visited Ephesus (1Tim. 1:3), and left Timothy there to run the work.

(1 Timothy 1:3 NKJV) As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus …

Paul then went on to Macedonia (northern Greece), and writes his first letter to Timothy (AD 63).

Then Paul went on to the island of Crete, leaving Titus in charge there. (Titus 1:5)

(Titus 1:5 NKJV) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking…

Paul’s next stop was Nicopolis in Achaia (southern Greece) and wrote to Titus (AD 63-64) (Tit. 3:12).

(Titus 3:12 NKJV) …be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.
We’re not sure about whether Titus met with Paul in Nicopolis, but we do know that Titus would go on to Dalmatia (modern Serbia) where he would raise 101 dogs (just kidding) before eventually heading back to Crete.
(2 Timothy 4:10 NKJV) …Titus for Dalmatia.

Paul then went to Troas (2Tim. 4:13), where he was rearrested, sent to Rome, write 2Timothy, and eventually beheaded (AD 66-67).

1:1-4 Greeting

:1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,

:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

:3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

:4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

That’s one long run-on sentence.

:1 a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ

servantdoulos – a slave, bondman, man of servile condition

apostleapostolos – a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

This is how Paul sees himself – both as a slave of God, as well as one who has been sent on a mission by Jesus Christ.

:1 according to the faith of God’s elect

Paul’s calling was to stir up faith in the people God has chosen.

(Titus 1:1 HCSB) …to build up the faith of God’s elect…

according – kata

Here κατα [kata] expresses the aim of Paul’s apostleship, not the standard by which he was chosen (Robertson)

:1 and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness

acknowledgmentepignosis – precise and correct knowledge

The word speaks of a fuller, clearer, more thorough knowledge.

Paul’s calling is to help people become intimately acquainted with real truth, truth that leads to a holy, pure, godly lifestyle.

godlinesseusebeia – reverence, respect; piety towards God, godliness

When Paul talks about our being saved by grace through faith, some go too far and say that there should never be talk about works, or the kind of life a person should be living who comes to follow Jesus.

Don’t misunderstand me here – our salvation depends solely upon the finished work of Christ for us.
All we need to do in order to find eternal life is to believe – to put our trust in Jesus.
And yet when we come to trust in Jesus, there will be a change in our life.
(Ephesians 2:8–10 NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

A person who has come to trust in Jesus will find himself changing from the inside out.

God has brought us out of darkness and into light.

A changed life looks like a life of good works.

But we don’t do good works to be saved, we do good works because we’ve been changed.

:2 in hope of eternal life

Paul’s gospel is to bring people the hope that comes with finding eternal life through Jesus Christ.

:2 which God, who cannot lie

Paul drops a little phrase here that reminds us of a character quality of God.

God does not lie.  He cannot lie.

cannot lieapseudes (“not” + “lie”) – without lie, truthful

(Numbers 23:19 NKJV) “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

:2 promised before time began

promisedepaggello – to announce that one is about to do or furnish something; to promise (of one’s own accord) to engage voluntarily

before time began – literally, “before time eternal”

timechronos – time either long or short
beganaionios – without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be

God has always had a plan of salvation, even before creation.

Jesus is known as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8)

(Revelation 13:8 NKJV) …the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

:3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching

manifestedphaneroo – to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

timekairos – due measure; a measure of time, a larger or smaller portion of time

dueidios – pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self

preachingkerugma – that which is proclaimed by a herald or public crier, a proclamation by herald; in the NT the message or proclamation of the heralds of God or Christ

This truth of God’s salvation that has been present since before creation is now being made obvious through the practice of “preaching” or “proclaiming” that good news.

:3 which was committed to me

This is what Paul’s main mission has been – preaching the gospel.

:4 To Titus, a true son

TitusTitos – “nurse”; a Gentile Christian an Paul’s companion in some of his journeys

truegnesios – legitimately born, not spurious; true, genuine, sincere

sonteknon – offspring, children; child

commonkoinos – common; common i.e. ordinary, belonging to generality; by the Jews, unhallowed, profane, Levitically unclean

We often think of Timothy as being Paul’s “son” in the faith.

Paul had quite a few men that he not only brought to Jesus, but had discipled and mentored.

All we know about Titus is through the fragments mentioned of him in Paul’s letters (not in Acts), though we have more than a few mentions of him.

It would seem that Titus might even predate Paul’s relationship with Timothy, and may have been older than Timothy.
The earliest mention of Titus is in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Paul was talking about his conversion, and years later attending the first major church conference held in Jerusalem in AD 50.
The purpose of this council was to decide whether or not Gentile converts should be circumcised or not.  The details of the conference are in Acts 15 (though Titus isn’t mentioned by name).
(Galatians 2:1–3 NKJV) —1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

Titus is called a “Greek”, meaning he was not a circumcised Jew.

It has been suggested that Titus may have come to Christ in the early days of the church in Antioch, Syria.

Titus became the “test case” for that church council – they didn’t require Titus to become circumcised.

Titus is also mentioned nine more times in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.
Paul had some rough situations to deal with among the Corinthians, and Titus was one of Paul’s men on the scene.
Paul had sent Titus to Corinth after the first letter, to make sure that the Corinthians were responding properly to Paul’s concerns for them.

Paul was expecting Titus to meet back up with him as Paul was heading towards Corinth, and for a time, it seemed like they might meet in Troas.

(2 Corinthians 2:12–13 NKJV) —12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.

So Paul finally moved on from Troas and met up with Titus in Macedonia.

(2 Corinthians 7:5–7 NKJV) —5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

When Paul got Titus’ report of how things were going in Corinth, he was greatly encouraged.

Paul then sends Titus back to Corinth to encourage them to do like the other churches have been doing, and contribute funds to help the poor in Jerusalem.

(2 Corinthians 8:6 NKJV) So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

Several more times Paul mentions Titus’ name to the Corinthians in connection with the handling of this offering.

When Paul writes to the Corinthians, he calls Titus:

“his brother” (2Cor. 2:13)
(2 Corinthians 2:13 NKJV) I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.
“partner” and “fellow worker” (2Cor. 8:23)
(2 Corinthians 8:23 NKJV) If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.

1:5-9 Elders

:5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—

:5 I left you in Crete

The only other time in the Bible that Crete is mentioned is in Acts 27, when Paul sails by it on his way to Rome.

Even though Paul mentions in 2Timothy 4:10 that Titus would go to Dalmatia (modern Serbia), but the early church historian Eusebius (320 AD) records that Titus’ main calling was to be the bishop over all the churches in Crete.

Video:  Crete Map

The island of Crete is long and narrow.  It’s 160 miles east to west, and its widest point is 35 miles across (north to south).  It’s highest mountain peek is Mount Ida, over 8,000 feet high.
Today, Crete is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece with over 2 million visitors a year. It has a population of 600,000.

Crete was a place with lots of history.

The Minoans are thought to be one of the oldest European cultures.
There was a royal palace in Knossos there built before the time of the Exodus.
The Minoans disappear from history around 1400 BC and were replaced by one civilization after another.
One suggestion is that the Minoans are related to the place called “Caphtor” in the Old Testament.

Some have suggested that the Philistines were descendants of these Minoan people, and arrived in the area of Gaza around the time the Minoans disappeared.

In Greek mythology, the city of Knossos was home to a famous Labyrinth and its Minotaur.
Zeus was also supposedly born on Crete.

Crete had a reputation in the ancient Greek world as “liars”.

The Greeks even coined a word, to “cretanize”, referring to liars.
We’ll see this play into our text next week.

We’re not sure when the churches in Crete were actually established.

There’s no record in Acts of missionaries going to Crete.
Some have suggested that Jews from Crete were there on the day of Pentecost, and they went home filled with the Holy Spirit, and started churches.
They may have been established on the trip where Paul left Titus in Crete.

:5 that you should set in order the things that are lacking

set in orderepidiorthoo – to set right; set in order

This is a medical word used to describe the setting of a broken bone.  Titus had Paul’s commission to straighten things out in Crete.

There were some problems in Crete.

Paul wanted Titus to fix what was broken.
It kind of sounds like what Titus had been doing in Corinth.

reasoncharin – in favour of, for the pleasure of; for, for the sake of; on this account, for this cause

leftkataleipo – to leave behind

lackingleipo – to leave, leave behind, forsake, to be left behind; to lag, be inferior; to be destitute of, to lack; to be wanting, to fail

:5 appoint elders in every city

appointkathistemi – to set, place, put; to set one over a thing (in charge of it); to appoint one to administer an office

elderspresbuteros – elder, of age,; among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably

commandeddiatasso – to arrange, appoint, ordain, prescribe, give order


Appointing Leadership

I believe there is value in “appointing” people to leadership positions within the church rather than just asking for volunteers or looking for a popular vote.
With some churches, positions like “elder” are nominated by the people and voted on by the people.  That can be fine many times, but sometimes the “popular” person isn’t the one who is close to Jesus.
I think it’s a mistake sometimes to ask for “volunteers” for important leadership positions.  If I were to resign as pastor and decided to ask, “who’d like to be pastor now?”, I’d probably get some interesting responses.  There are some folks who think higher of themselves than they ought and they’d probably be at the head of the line.  There are others who don’t think too highly of themselves, but who may be more better qualified.
In our church, our elders are “nominated” by the pastor.  The rest of the board will vote to confirm the nomination, but the name comes from me.

The board’s vote serves as a check to make sure I haven’t picked a dud.

You will find that we generally don’t ask for volunteers when it comes to heading up a ministry.  We’ll ask for volunteers to serve in a ministry, but I believe it’s best that leaders be “appointed”.

What are the qualifications for leadership?

For most ministries, the main qualification is faithfulness.  Can a person be depended upon?

Gifting and talents are good, but faithfulness is best.

Paul will now give Titus a list of what he thinks an elder ought to look like.
While these qualities apply especially to pastors, there is a sense they are a kind of goal for all of us, kind of a roadmap to maturity.

This is going to be very similar to the list that Paul gave Timothy for the elders in Ephesus (1Tim. 3).

In reality, no one fits all of these. 

We all will fall short somewhere.

:6 if a man is blameless,

blamelessanegkletos – that cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused

Designates one against whom there is no accusation, implying not acquittal of a charge, but that no charge has been made.

Leaders ought to be people who don’t have a record, at least not since they came to Christ.

:6 the husband of one wife,

husband of one wife – literally, “a one wife man

Some might think this is talking about polygamy – that a pastor can’t have more than one wife.

Others would take this to include divorce and remarriage as well.

:6 having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.

:6 having faithful children

This might be talking about children who are “faithful”, who are dependable and can be counted on. 

It could be talking about having children who are believers.

childrenteknon – offspring, children

faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful; believing, confiding, trusting; in the NT one who trusts in God’s promises. 

accusedkategoria – accusation, charge

dissipationasotia – an abandoned, dissolute life; profligacy, prodigality; reckless and extravagant expenditure, chiefly for the gratification of one’s sensual desires. It denotes a dissolute, profligate course of life.

insubordinationanupotaktos – not made subject, unsubjected; that cannot be subjected to control, disobedient, unruly, refractory

Paul told Timothy about elders:

(1 Timothy 3:4–5 NKJV) —4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);
The principle is that a man’s church will be a reflection of his home.
The difficulty with this principle is to know how far to go with it.  It’s not uncommon for pastors to have kids who go astray.

We were just at a pastors’ conference this week and heard the testimony of Ryan Ries, one of Raul Ries’ sons.  He lived quite a wild, rebellious life, all while Raul was pastoring.

And yet Ryan has now turned his life around.

:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

:7 a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God

It’s not just important that a bishop be blameless, it’s NECESSARY because of whom he represents.

must be dei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

bishopepiskopos – an overseer; a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent; the superintendent, elder, or overseer of a Christian church

blamelessanegkletos – that cannot be called into account, unreproveable, unaccused, blameless; designates one against whom there is no accusation, implying not acquittal of a charge, but that no charge has been made.

stewardoikonomos – the manager of household or of household affairs; esp. a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has intrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age

Note: There are different words used to describe church leadership.

The word “elder” (presbuteros) (v.5) and “bishop” (episkopos) (v.7) seem to both be used to describe the same individual and role.  Some churches like to split up these words and apply them to different roles.
An “elder” implies age and wisdom.
“Bishop” refers to oversight, being in charge.

I think they all refer to a “pastor”.

:7 not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine

self-willed authades (“self” + “pleasure”) – self-pleasing, self-willed, arrogant, self-satisfied

quick-tempered orgilos – prone to anger, irascible

Someone has said, “Temper is such a wonderful thing that it’s a shame to lose it.”

given to wineparoinos (“alongside” + “wine”) – given to wine, drunken

Perhaps not just speaking of alcoholism, but drugs as well.

:7 not violent, not greedy for money

violentplektes – ready for a blow; a pugnacious, contentious, quarrelsome person

greedy for money aischrokerdes (“filthy” + “gain”) – eager for base gain, greedy for money

Billy Graham used to warn pastors that the three areas that men will fall are:
1) Sex
2) Money
3) Pride
Some have suggested that these are also a roadmap of temptation as men age as well.
In your earlier years, sex is the primary temptation.
As you grow, money becomes the thing.
When you’re older, it’s not sex or money, but power and pride.

:8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good,

hospitablephiloxenos (“love” + “stranger”) – hospitable, generous to guests

a lover of what is goodphilagathos (“love” + “good”) – loving goodness. 

Someone who loves good things, has an appreciation for good things.

:8 sober-minded

sober-minded sophron (“safe” + “mind”) – of a sound mind, sane, in one’s senses; curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled

The emphasis isn’t on a lack of wine, it’s a state of mind.

Pay attention – you’re going to see this word, or forms of it, MANY times in this letter.

1:8 – “sober-minded”
2:2 – “temperate”
(Titus 2:2 NKJV) that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
2:4 – “admonish”
(Titus 2:4 NKJV) that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
2:5 – “discreet”
(Titus 2:5 NKJV) to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
2:6 – “sober-minded”
(Titus 2:6 NKJV) Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded,
2:12 – “soberly”
(Titus 2:12 NKJV) teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

I kind of get the feeling that this letter to Titus could be called, “Letter For a Sound Mind”. 

Apparently this was quite needed in Crete.

A good picture of this is to see how it’s used in the life of the man, Legion, after Jesus cast out all the demons.

(Luke 8:26–35 NKJV) —26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!” 29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. 30 Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. 32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. 33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. 34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
The man was sane.  He had control again over himself.

:8 just, holy, self-controlled,

A “just” man is a guy who does what God wants him to.

A “holy” man acts in a way that all men regard as being “pure”.

A “self-controlled” man is one that can curb his lusts.

justdikaios – righteous, observing divine laws

holyhosios – undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious;

used of persons or things, describes that which is in harmony with the divine constitution of the moral universe. Hence, it is that which is in accordance with the general and instinctively felt idea of right, "what is consecrated and sanctioned by universal law and consent" (Passow), rather than what is in accordance with any system of revealed truth.

self-controlledegkrates (“in” + “strength”) – strong, robust; having power over, possessed of (a thing); mastering, controlling, curbing, restraining; controlling one’s self, temperate, continent

:9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

holding fastantechomai – to hold before or against, hold back, withstand, endure; to keep one’s self directly opposite to any one, hold to him firmly, cleave to, paying heed to him

faithful wordpistou logou – this is the same phrase translate “faithful saying” that Paul has used several times with Timothy and Titus.  These seem to be the nuggets that Paul is trying to get his young pastors to keep remembering and putting before their people.

An elder is one who will pay attention to these “faithful sayings” and hold on to them, putting them into practice.

We’ll get to one of Titus’ “faithful sayings” in 3:8.

may be abledunatos – able, powerful, mighty, strong; to be able (to do something); mighty, excelling in something; having power for something

to exhortparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.

doctrinedidaskalia – teaching, instruction

soundhugiaino – to be sound, to be well, to be in good health; metaph.  of Christians whose opinions are free from any mixture of error; of one who keeps the graces and is strong

who contradictantilego – to speak against, gainsay, contradict; to oppose one’s self to one, decline to obey him, declare one’s self against him, refuse to have anything to do with him

to convinceelegcho – to convict, refute, confute; generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted; to find fault with, correct

One of the ministries of an elder is to be able to refute those who oppose the truth.

:9 holding fast the faithful word

An elder needs to be one who knows his doctrine.

He holds to what the Scripture teaches.

He’s able to recognize and deal with the various heretical teachings that will crop up.

It’s just like what Paul wrote to Timothy:

(2 Timothy 2:24–26 NLT) —24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.


Template for maturity

Look over the things Paul has just listed for Timothy.
These are the “elders”.  This is what maturity should look like.
We’ve all got room to grow.
Are there areas here you need to grow in?