1 Paul, a servant of God 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, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;
To Titus, my true child in a common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Qualifications for Elders
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—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. For 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, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He 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.
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 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. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Titus 1 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Titus was a Greek Believer. Originally a listener to Paul’s message, he embraced it and was taken under Paul’s wing. In time he stood before the council of Jerusalem as an example of a flourishing Greek or Gentile Believer. Eventually, he landed in Crete as an ambassador of Christ under Paul’s direction. Paul poured into this man who became a pastoral leader there. Although the letter is short, his opening is longer than usual laying out qualifications and progression for those who would assume such a role of leadership in the church. Once again, Paul is very practical in what he writes.
Paul’s intention was for the people of the congregation to function as one Body in Christ. He called Titus and ultimately the people he was leading in Crete to set aside their own selfish desires and pursue a oneness with God and one another. It was what would make the difference and keep them on track.
Tragically today there can be so much infighting within congregations. Sometimes the leadership’s hands are tied as people pursue their own desires rather than trust and depend upon whom they’ve appointed as shepherd over them. On the last night of Jesus’ life, he prayed for future believers that they would be one with God the Father in complete unity so that the world would know of Him through their actions and commitment not only to God but each individual making up the church. (John 17:20-26)
We need to be reminded we’re all on the same team. We’re all working toward the same cause. Unity and joy within speak boldly outside the walls of the church. It’s an understatement to say the fighting needs to stop. The set agendas we have must be relegated out of our thinking. The denial of ourselves, as Jesus said in our following Him, is not just part of our initial decision. It needs to be practiced each and every day as we function as His Body. The world is watching. What are they determining? We must manifest the grace of God not only to those in the world but also to other Believers.
Titus 1 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Parenting is not an easy task. It involves incredible commitment, unyielding problem-solving, and loads of diapers. Parenting exposes so many of your own flaws as you begin to see the quality level of your own leadership skills. Sometimes, it is helpful to learn from older, wiser parents who have navigated the deep waters of such struggles. There is much to be said about the similarities of parenting and church leadership. After all, Paul used this analogy in 1 Timothy…
For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of the church of God?1 Timothy 3:5 GNB
The believers at Crete were struggling and needed leadership. Paul called on Titus.
Many in the church today believe they are “called” to a particular ministry or leadership position. The question is, are they qualified? It goes without saying that spiritual leaders shouldn’t be chosen at random. But they also shouldn’t be chosen by church attendance, reputation, popularity, or charisma. Paul didn’t write, “Find the most influential or most talented guy.” Titus 1 sets forth the qualifications for elders. Paul also calls for a stern rebuking of false teachers. His desire is for them to be unmasked and exposed by the sound teaching of Titus and his team.
I find it very interesting that Paul does not sugarcoat Titus’ issues in Crete. He tells him plainly what he will be facing.
One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. 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.Titus 1:12-14 ESV
There will be many confrontations. The discussions may get heated. Titus may have to flip and whip some tables like Jesus. But Paul instructs that the rebukes must come hot and heavy with loads of brute force. Why? Paul writes, “…that they may be sound in the faith.” For Paul, this was a battle for their souls. The false teachers had sprung up, and it was up to Titus and his team to respond.
“Such men were to be resisted to the uttermost and sharply rebuked. Where the work of grace is really commenced in the heart, a sharp rebuke will often turn the soul back to God. The gardener must not hesitate to use a pruning-knife, if the well-being of the tree is at stake.”F.B. Meyer
Paul was an incredible leader who produced more incredible leaders. Titus was about to get down and dirty in the lives of these difficult people. That fact alone paints a healthy picture of what church leadership can feel like sometimes. He was primed and ready to use the pruning knife.