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Titus 1:10-16

Thursday Evening Bible Study

July 26, 2018


Titus is one of the unknown heroes of the early church.

We hear lots about the apostles, Paul, and even Timothy, but Titus was there most of the time in the background.

Titus was even the “test case” when the church had it’s famous first church council (Acts 15) to decide whether or not Gentile believers needed to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses in order to be saved.

(Galatians 2:3 NKJV) Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

While Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church there, Paul had left his other sidekick, Titus, on the island of Crete.

Titus was to oversee all the churches on the island.

The people of Crete had a reputation in the ancient world as not being very nice people.

The Greeks had even invented a word, “to cretanize”, meaning “to lie”.

When Paul left Titus on Crete, his mission was to …

(Titus 1:5b NKJV) …should set in order the things that are lacking

We’ll see tonight what some of that “setting in order” involved.

1:10-16 The Elders’ Task

:10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,

:11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

:10 there are many insubordinate

insubordinateanupotaktos – not made subject; that cannot be subjected to control, disobedient, unruly

This is the opposite of that horrible word “submission”
Submission is something we all ought to learn, especially if we are being filled with the Holy Spirit.  One of the results of the Spirit-filled life is:
(Ephesians 5:21 NKJV) submitting to one another in the fear of God.

These might be teachers or people in the churches in Crete who refuse to let others correct or guide them, such as when the decision came down from that first church council.

Warren Wiersbe writes,
“Beware of teachers who will not put themselves under authority.”

:10 both idle talkers and deceivers

idle talkersmataiologos (“vain” + “word”) – an idle talker, one who utters empty senseless things

Part of this word’s root (mataios) means “vain” or “empty”.  It’s something that’s not what it appears to be, something that’s deceptive.
The more you dig into what this person is saying, the more you realize that it’s worthless because it’s deceptive or ineffectual.

deceiversphrenapates (“mind” + “deceiver”) – a mind deceiver, a seducer

They play mind games

:10 especially those of the circumcision

circumcision – Paul may simply be referring to Jews, or he could be meaning Jewish believers who taught that a Gentile Christian had to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses in order to be saved.

Who is the “circumcision”?

It’s Jews, and probably more specifically those Jewish Christians who were teaching that for Gentiles to be saved, they needed to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses.

:11 whose mouths must be stopped

mustdei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

mouths … be stoppedepistomizo – to bridle or stop up the mouth; metaph. to stop the mouth, reduce to silence

These kinds of people needed somebody to put a muzzle on their mouth.

:11 who subvert whole households

subvertanatrepo – to overthrow, overturn, destroy; to subvert

householdsoikos – a house; the inmates of a house, all the persons forming one family, a household

These bad teachers were upsetting entire families – husbands, wives, and children.

:11 teaching things which they ought not

Or literally, “teaching what is not necessary”.

:11 for the sake of dishonest gain

dishonestaischros – filthy, baseness, dishonor

gainkerdos – gain, advantage

sakecharin – in favor of, for the pleasure of; for, for the sake of; on this account, for this cause

The goal of their teaching is the edification of those listening, but only that they might take their money.

:12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

prophetprophetes – in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things; one who, moved by the Spirit of God; one who speaks for God; a poet (because poets were believed to sing under divine inspiration)

:12 One of them, a prophet of their own

Paul is talking about a man known as Epimenides. 

This man was a poet born in Crete at Cnossos (around 700 bc). 
There was a wild story about him that he was sent out by his father to watch the sheep in a field, but he stopped at a cave at noon and took a nap that lasted 57 years (I hope you’re not falling asleep too). 
When he woke up, he was a prophet.
He was called a “fortune teller” and was skilled in “divination”. 

We don’t have any of Epimenides’ original writings, but there are fragments of his writings quoted in other places.

We mentioned last week that the Cretans claimed that Zeus was born on Crete, and that he also died on Crete and his tomb was on Crete.
Epimenides apparently wrote a treatise on Minos, the first king of Crete who was supposedly a son of the god Zeus and a human wife named Europa.
In his treatise, Epimenides has Minos addressing Zeus in a poem:
They fashioned a tomb for you, holy and high one,
Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies.
But you are not dead; you live and abide forever,
For in you we live and move and have our being.

You might have realized that the last line also sounds vaguely familiar.

Years before writing to Titus, Paul quoted Epimenides when he spoke to the Athenians on Mars’ Hill about the “Unknown God”.
(Acts 17:26–28 NKJV) —26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
It’s the phrase “in Him we live and move and have our being” that comes from Epimenides.

There are some Christians who feel that we ought to be so separate from the world that we don’t read any secular books, watch any secular TV or movies, all to stay “pure”.

Paul, on the other hand, is quoting secular literature as though he was familiar with it. 
He’s doing this to show that even the Cretans themselves thought they had problems.

:12 always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons

always liars

alwaysaei – perpetually, incessantly; invariably, at any and every time: when according to the circumstances something is or ought to be done again
liarspseustes – a liar; one who breaks faith; a false and faithless man
Lying was one of the things that those on Crete were known for, it was their “national sin”, just as the Corinthians were known for their immorality. 
Ovid called Crete “Lying Crete” and the Greeks coined a term “cretanize” for lying.

evil beasts

evilkakos – of a bad nature; not such as it ought to be; base, wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful
beaststherion – an animal; a wild animal, wild beast, beast; metaph. a brutal, bestial man, savage, ferocious. 
The idea is that the Cretans were like animals that preyed on other animals.

lazy gluttons

gluttonsgaster – the belly; the womb; the stomach; a glutton, gormandizer (eating to excess), a man who is as it were all stomach
lazyargos – free from labor, at leisure; lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform
or literally, “lazy bellies”.  They preferred eating to working.

:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

:13 This testimony is true

There is a little controversy over what Paul means here.

Some have suggested that Paul is saying, “Some Cretans call other Cretans liars, and it’s true, they really say things like that about each other.”
It’s more likely that Paul is saying that he agrees with Epimenides, that Cretans are liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons”
This is why an elder needs to be able to …

(Titus 1:9 NKJV) …by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

This is why Paul tells Titus in this verse to “rebuke them sharply”.

Some have come to associate Epimenides with what’s called the “liar paradox”, which is based on part of what Paul is quoting.

If Epimenides said, “all Cretans are liars”, and Epimenides is a Cretan, is his statement a lie?
If Epimenides’ statement is a lie, then all Cretans aren’t liars (because he’s lying)
If Epimenides isn’t a liar, then all Cretans ARE liars… or maybe they aren’t because Epimenides isn’t a liar?
Confused yet?

:13 Therefore rebuke them sharply

rebukeelegcho – to convict, refute; generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted; to expose; correct

Paul has already used this word with Titus in talking about the role of an elder:
(Titus 1:9 NKJV) 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.

It’s interesting that in our paragraph Paul is focusing on the “rebuke”, and when we get into chapter two, we will see Paul giving Titus many examples of how to “exhort”.

“Exhort” (parakaleo) doesn’t have the same harshness as “rebuke”.

Jesus said,
(Matthew 18:15 NKJV) “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
Paul wrote,
(Ephesians 5:11 NKJV) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
Jesus wrote to the Laodiceans,
(Revelation 3:19 NKJV) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

sharplyapotomos (“from” + “cut”) – abruptly; sharply, severely, curtly

There is a place for “rebuke”, even “sharp” rebuke.

:13 that they may be sound in the faith

soundhugiaino – to be sound, to be well, to be in good health


The right tool

A good doctor knows what instrument he needs to bring healing.
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We all need correcting from time to time.
It’s not hard to become “unhealthy” in our faith.
Wisdom requires that we learn what the best method is when it comes to confronting or “correcting” each other.
Jude writes,
(Jude 22–23 NKJV) —22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

I take this to mean that we need to use different means in different situations.

Some people only need a little hint, a gentle nudge, and they’re back on track.

Others of us need a 2x4 across the head to wake us up.

The goal is to have a “healthy faith”.

:14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

:14 not giving heed to Jewish fables

giving heedprosecho – to bring to, bring near; to bring a ship to land, and simply to touch at, put in; to turn the mind to, attend to be attentive; to apply one’s self to, attach one’s self to, hold or cleave to a person or a thing; to be given or addicted to

fablesmuthos – a speech, word; a fiction; an invention, a falsehood

There are plenty of ancient Jewish writings other than the Scriptures, such as the various “Talmuds” or the “Mishnah”.

Though they might be interesting, they are not inspired by God.

:13 commandments of men who turn from the truth

commandmentsentole – an order, command, charge, precept, injunction

that turn fromapostrepho – to turn away; tempt to defect


Staying on God’s path

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for taking things that men wrote, and holding them at the same level as things from God.
(Mark 7:7–9 NKJV) —7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” 9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
If we’re not careful we can do this today in the church as well.
Some churches feel that the use of musical instruments in church is wrong.

You will have a hard time seeing this in Scripture.  It’s simply a church’s tradition.

Some churches feel the only music played should be a 19th century hymn, accompanied with an organ.
Some churches feel like a pastor should always wear a robe.  Others feel the pastor must wear a Hawaiian shirt.  It’s all tradition.

:15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

:15 To the pure all things are pure

purekatharos – clean, pure; free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt



The good Jewish boy might take this idea of “purity” to be a matter of taking a bath, of washing in a miqvah regularly.
God is concerned about what’s inside, not the outside.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they thought that “purity” had to do with what others see from the outside of you:
(Matthew 23:26 NKJV) Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Jesus wants His followers to have purity on the inside.

We’re going to track some of the uses of katharos and it’s related words…
Our cleansing doesn’t come because we don’t sin, but because we have learned how to become clean when we do get dirty.
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As we learn to hang out with other believers, and learn to be open and honest with each other, we will continue to find cleansing.
(1 John 1:7 NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Paul wrote about his own life,
(2 Timothy 1:3 NKJV) I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,

Paul was far from a perfect man.  He called himself the “chief” of sinners (1Tim. 1:15)

(1 Timothy 1:15 NKJV) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

Yet Paul had found cleansing.

God desires that everything in our lives be “pure”, including how we actually “love” others.
Paul wrote to Timothy,

(1 Timothy 1:5 NKJV) Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

Peter wrote that we ought to love each other with a “pure” heart.

(1 Peter 1:22 NKJV) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

I think one way to look at “purity” is like this – when somebody tells a joke that has some innuendo, some sort of off-color sense to it, do you get the joke?  Or does it go right over your head?
I’m afraid that I get more of those kinds of jokes than I want to, though I do feel pretty good when I can honestly say I didn’t get it.

:15 but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure

defiledmiaino – to dye with another color, to stain; to defile, pollute, contaminate, soil

unbelievingapistos – unfaithful, faithless

Though this seems to be speaking of unbelievers (“unbelieving”), I’m afraid that sometimes even some believers fall into this way of thinking.

I find that some people take everything and twist it.

Some people will find impurity in just about anything.
You show them a picture, and they will twist it in their head to something dark and evil.

:15 but even their mind and conscience are defiled

mindnous – the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining

consciencesuneidesis – the consciousness of anything; the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other; the conscience


Brain Change

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Impurity changes the way you think.
Even the scientists today are starting to realize this.
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Statistics now tell us that porn addiction isn’t just a “guy” thing.  30% of addicts are women.
Porn doesn’t just physically affect your brain, it affects how you treat others as well.
It affects your relationships.

You start treating people differently, whether it’s someone you’re in a relationship with, or just people you meet on the street.

It objectifies people of the opposite sex – you treat them less as actual people, and more as “objects”

If this is a struggle of yours, don’t just sit in church silently and suffer through it.
I don’t care if you’re leading a ministry at church, or you’re a brand new Christian.
Ask for help.
I know people I can point you to who have broken free from this particular addiction, and are willing to help.

:16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

:16 They profess to know God

professhomologeo – to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent; to concede; to profess; to declare openly, speak out freely; to profess one’s self the worshipper of one

knoweido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to know; to know of anything; to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive

Paul is telling Titus that some of the Cretans coming to church are in a bad place.

They say they know God.  They might.  They might not.

:16 being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified …

abominablebdeluktos – abominable, detestable

from bdelusso – to render foul, to cause to be abhorred; to turn one’s self away from on account of the stench
These “unclean” people, unclean in their mind, “stink” before God.

disobedientapeithes – not persuaded, not compliant, disobedient

We’ve seen this word in Hebrews, often translated as “disobedient”, but it comes from the word meaning “persuade”, with the negative on the front of it.
They are “disobedient” because they don’t really believe what they say they believe.

disqualifiedadokimos – not standing the test, not approved

The word is used of metals and coins, to prove whether they are genuine or not.
All their “works” fail the test.



How could a good work fail God’s test?
Our works will be judged, tested by God.

(1 Corinthians 3:11–15 NLT) —11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

The works of our lives will have to survive the “fire” of Jesus’ testing.

One of the ways our works will be judged on is motive.

One “bad motive” is that of wanting attention.

(Matthew 6:1–4 NLT) —1 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

If someone catches you doing a good thing and says “thank you”, it doesn’t mean you lose your reward, unless you did it openly for the very purpose of someone seeing you do it.  It’s all about motive.

The best motive is to do things out of love.

(1 Corinthians 13:1–3 NLT) —1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

:16 in works they deny Him

worksergon – business, employment, that which any one is occupied; any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind; an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work

denyarneomai – to deny; not to accept, to reject, to refuse something offered


What does your life say?

The words that Paul uses here in vs. 16 (“profess”, and “deny”) are the same words Jesus uses in:
(Matthew 10:32–33 NKJV) —32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

We usually think of this in terms of what a person says about Jesus with their words, but Paul is saying that you can “deny” Jesus by your deeds.

Our lives ought to match what we believe.
Our lives when we’re just living our normal life, not just when we’re in church.
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