Titus

Godliness in Church; Good Deeds Outside

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The Key
The Key to unlocking the dynamic

The key to unlocking the dynamic of Paul’s letter to Titus is to understand the situation in the Cretan churches. Paul has either visited Crete with Timothy and Titus, or he has heard disturbing reports about their chaotic and ungodly behaviour which is being exacerbated by the destructive influence of heretical teaching. Paul writes to Titus instructing him to correct this situation by appointing elders, confronting the false teachers, and teaching the new Christians how to live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (2:12) at home, and ‘devote themselves to doing what is good’ (3:8,14) in society.


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Hear
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Read
Read

It will take you around 6-10 minutes to read Paul’s letter to Titus aloud. One excellent practice is to read the letter aloud every day for a week, each time asking God’s Spirit for illumination and then writing down the points that make an impression on you.

 

As you read look out for the two main themes in this letter. First, look carefully for the influence of the false teachers – in many ways the whole letter is written to counter their influence. And second, note Paul’s repeated emphasis on the necessity of ‘doing good’ as a proper outcome of Christ’s work of salvation.


Study
Study

The key to studying a letter such as Titus is first to understand the main points and themes and the reason the letter was written, and then secondly, to study carefully each of these themes.

 

So, begin by reading the letter several times and familiarising yourself with Paul’s main arguments; Paul is commissioning Titus to bring order to the chaos in the new Cretan churches by appointing elders, opposing the false teachers, and teaching the different types of church members how to live at home and in society so that ‘no-one will malign the word of God’ (2:5) and so opponents ‘have nothing bad to say about us’ (2:8).

 

Once you have got a good grasp of WHAT Paul is doing, then study as carefully as you can HOW he goes about making these points. You will quickly discover that it is essential to see and understand how Paul’s short ‘summaries’ of doctrine in 2:11-14 and 3:3-8 undergird each of the practical sections where he is instructing Titus what to do.

 

Paul repeats his summary imperative in 3:14, so it is absolutely essential to meditate very carefully on this verse asking yourself what it means. What does ‘doing good’ actually mean in practice?

 

 


Meditate
Meditate

Suggested verses for meditation …

1:8   ‘An elder must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy an disciplined.’  

1:10   ‘For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group.’

2:1   ‘You however must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.

2:14   ‘Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people who are his very own, eager to do what is good.

3:5-8   ‘He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.’


learn
Learn

Consider learning:

(At the end of his life, in the last three letters that Paul wrote, (Titus, 1 Timothy, and 2 Timothy), he listed five “Trustworthy sayings”. These seem to be special, central truths about the kingdom so it makes a great deal of sense for Jesus’ apprentices to learn them.)

Titus 3:3-8     

‘At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating each other. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.’

 


Challenge
The Challenge

Explanation: We all learn in different ways. This section is for those who find that challenging questions motivate them to master a subject.

Here are ten questions about ‘Titus’. See how you score. The answers are at the bottom of the page.

 

Easy:

Q1   Where was Titus to minister?

Q2   What endearing commendation does Paul give to Titus?

Q3   What were the two main tasks that Paul commissioned Titus to do?

 

Straightforward:

Q4   Who was going to take over from Titus, and where was Titus to travel to meet Paul?

Q5   What is the leading imperative that Titus must teach the Cretan Christians?

Q6   Paul gives many instructions about what Titus is to teach the different groups of Christians, but by what power were they to obey these exhortations?

 

Difficult:

Q7   List some of the features of the false teaching being taught by the heretical teachers.

Q8   What are some of the key words Paul uses repeatedly in this letter?

 

Testing:

Q9   What future event should motivate our behaviour as believers?

Q10   Which gift of the Spirit does Paul repeatedly express throughout his commissioning of Titus?

 

Answers:

A1 – The Island of Crete.

A2 – ‘My true son in our common faith’ (1:4).

A3 – 1) Put in order what was left unfinished, and 2) appoint elders in every town.

A4 – 1) Either Artemas or Tychicus was to take over from Titus in Crete, and 2) once this happened, Titus was to travel to Nicopolis to meet Paul there for the winter.

A5 – ‘To devote themselves to doing what is good’ (3:8,14).

A6 – ‘By the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously’ (3:5).

A7 – They taught: Jewish myths, human commands, circumcision, genealogies, obedience to some (Old Testament) law. Paul adds that they engaged in ‘foolish controversies and arguments’ (3:9).

A8 – 1) Good/godliness, 2) Saviour/save, 3) Self-controlled, 4) Teach.

A9 – Our assured future life with Christ (1:2, 2:13, 3:7).

A10 – The Gift of Teaching (1:3, 1:9, 2:1,2,3,7,8,9,12,15, 3:1,8), in direct contrast to the false teachers (1:10-14, 3:9).

 

 

 

 

 

Maps

The Eastern Mediterranean

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Overview

Questions

5 mins

    • Summary - All the key features in a one page summary
    • Summary

    Summary and Exhortation

    It is not easy to date or place the letter that Paul wrote to Titus but it seems to make most sense to view it as one of the three last letters that Paul wrote to his two most loyal mission partners after his appeal to Caesar had been heard and upheld. It appears he then travelled around the southern Adriatic Sea in a fourth missionary journey which we could date from 64-66CE.

     

    Paul has either visited Crete, or heard from a third party that the new Christian communities on that island were in a state of ungodly chaos. In this letter he puts in writing his reasons for sending Titus to Crete and articulates the strategy his co-worker should follow in order to bring the new Cretan believers into proper, self-controlled, godly living.

     

    The letter is essentially very straightforward and is written in three main sections that ‘ripple out’ from the centre. In the first part, Paul addresses the ungodly chaos in the churches themselves which Titus is instructed to correct, firstly by appointing godly people to be elders, and then by directly confronting, silencing and rebuking certain false teachers who were having a very bad influence on both the churches and Christian households.

     

    The second part addresses Christian living in the home where the emphasis throughout is on what Titus is to teach to the different groups of people; older men and women, younger women and men, and then the Christians who are in slavery. Paul’s leading admonition is that God has saved us through Christ in order that we live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (2:12) as we wait in preparation for the eternal life we will live with Him for ever.

     

    In the third part Paul widens his perspective and teaches Titus (and all Christians) the leading principles of how we are to live in the world. This contains the longest theological reflection in the letter in which Paul restates several of the leading features of his teaching in his other letters (humanity’s fallen condition, God’s mercy, justification, grace, faith, rebirth, the gift of the Spirit and the believer’s inheritance) before culminating in the exhortation that believers must be ‘careful to devote themselves to doing good’ (3:8).

     

    The letter to Titus is not only a pastoral letter but a letter that very strongly promotes the teaching ministry. Throughout there is a sense of urgency and a serious tone. There is work to be done and Titus must set to it without delay. Titus’ task will not be simple. It will involve direct confrontation with false teachers who are themselves ‘detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good’ (1:16). The stakes are high, but the work must be undertaken because the credibility of the ‘word of God’ (2:5) is being called into question by the deeply disturbing behaviour of the untaught, deceived and ungodly new believers in Crete.

      Titus and Paul's letters -
    • Titus and Paul's letters
    taster Questions - Questions to start you off

    Question 1 -

    Of all the churches you know, which one is most effective in ‘doing good’ in the world?


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    Question 2 -

    Have you ever watched a theological punch-up on Facebook, or other social media? Did you get involved?


    Question 3 -

    Over the last three decades the priests in the Catholic Church in Ireland have been exposed for rampant paedophilia, then for desperately trying to cover up the paedophilia, and more recently for their active complicity in the forced adoption of illegitimate Catholic children. The damage to Christianity in Ireland has been catastrophic with the almost wholesale rejection of Christianity by those under 40. This is an example of the very opposite of Paul’s instructions to Titus. If you were Titus and Paul was writing this letter to you and sending you to Ireland, what would be your strategy for repairing the damage?


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    starter course

    podcasts

    the essentials

    Questions

    10 mins

    • podcasts - 3 to 5 minute ‘Teach-Ins’ on key themes

    What was the false teaching on Crete?

    What does Paul mean when he tells us to do good?

      the essentials - The literary features explained
    • Context
    • /
    • Literary Genre
    • /
    • Structure
    • /
    • Themes

    Context:

     

    Author:      Paul

    Date:       64CE

    Destination:

    Paul wrote the letter to Titus in Crete. However, since the letter commissions Titus to appoint elders and address heretical teaching we should understand that Paul is looking beyond Titus and has all the new churches and Christians in Crete in view.

    Titus himself is mentioned in several of Paul’s letters and in Acts; Galatians 2:3, Although he was not as prominent as Timothy, he was clearly one of Paul’s leading co-workers, and very significantly was sent by Paul to address and resolve a particularly complicated problem in the church at Corinth, (2 Corinthians 8:16, and then 12:18).

     

    Historical Context:

    Paul wrote this letter during his fourth missionary journey. After the favorable resolution of Paul’s appeal to Caesar, and his release from ‘house arrest’, (as described at the end of Acts 28), it makes good sense to view Paul as then travelling to Crete with Titus and Timothy. Paul was disturbed by the chaos he found in the Cretan churches but decided to leave Crete with Timothy after he heard alarming reports about the church in Ephesus. He then wrote this letter to Titus commissioning him to complete this ministry on Crete – which involved appointing elders, (1:5) and silencing the heretical teaching – and instructed him to join him later in Nicopolis as soon as either Artemas or Tychicus had come to take over the Cretan ministry.

     

    The Nature of the Problem:

    Paul and his missionary companions appear to have found immature and chaotic churches on Crete where there was no proper governance in place and where rampant false teaching was destroying the church.

    Genre:

     

    This pastoral letter is short by New Testament standards. Characteristically, Paul asserts his apostolic authority as he writes his instructions to Titus using a concentrated approach with many imperatives that give a ‘urgent’ tone to the letter.

    The Structure of Paul’s letter to Titus:

     

    Paul introduces his letter and summarises the work Titus must do in Crete (1:1-5)

    In Church: Titus must appoint church leaders and confront false teachers (1:6 – 1:16)

    1.    Appoint church leaders (1:6-9)
    2.    Opposition: Titus must confront false teachers (1:10-15)

    In the Home: Titus must teach and model ‘godly living’ (2:1-15)

    1.    Instructions for different groups in the home (2:1-10)
    2.    God’s saving work must lead to ‘godly living’ (2:11-14)
    3.    Opposition: Titus must teach with full authority (2:15)

    In the World: Titus must teach believers to ‘do good’ (3:1-11)

    1.    Instructions for believers in society (3:1-2)
    2.    Christ has saved us from evil so that we now do good (3:3-8)
    3.    Opposition: Paul instructs Titus how to handle false teachers (3:9-11)

    Final mission instructions and summary greetings (3:12-15)

    Main Themes:

    1. God’s atoning work through Christ our Saviour will culminate in his glorious return from heaven. Believers must live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly’ lives now in anticipation of our future eternal life with Christ.

     

    1. Only godly people should be church leaders.

     

    1. False teaching should be opposed.

     

    1. Christians must devote themselves to doing good; there should never be any grounds for outsiders to malign Christianity.

     

    Literary Genre >
    starter Questions - To help you think carefully about the key issues

    Question 1 -

    QQQ Years ago I met a man who had been appointed as an elder in a church he had previously attended. It was immediately clear from the man’s unwise comments, his insecurity, and his argumentative behaviour that he was eminently unsuitable to be ‘an elder’. He acted as if he had a right to have authority, while at the same time causing damage in the ministries he was involved with. Have you met people like this? How should we handle church situations like this?


    Question 2 -

    QQQ What Holy Habit should be practised when appointing elders?


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    Question 3 -

    QQQ I once saw a young man stop going to church because he watched a bad argument break out between two church elders. How do we silence false teaching in church without a row breaking out?


    Question 4 -

    QQQ Where do we find false teaching today?


    main course

    Verse by Verse

    The Apprentice

    Questions

    • Verse by Verse - For a thorough understanding of the Biblical text
    • Titus 1:1-5 Introduction
    • /
    • Titus 1:6-16 In Church
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    • Titus 2:1-15 In the Home
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    • Titus 3:1-11 In the World
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    • Titus 3:12-15 Summary Instructions & Greetings

    Titus 1:1-5   Paul introduces his letter and summarises the work Titus must do in Crete

    Paul is writing this letter to Titus in order to commission him to complete a specific ministry task in Crete; a task he will specify in verse 5. As is his usual custom, Paul follows the conventional structural address at the start of contemporary 1st Century Roman letters but enlarges it to stress certain axiomatic truths underlying the argument of the letter, and to introduce the leading points he is about to expound.

    First, Paul has been commissioned by God as an apostle in order, as LT Johnson summarises, ‘to bring God’s people to faith and truth, and thus to life’. Second, this ‘life’ was promised by God himself before the beginning of time, and is being communicated to humanity through Paul’s preaching – which was itself entrusted to Paul by God’s command. The third point that Paul weaves into this unusually long introductory greeting, and that he will repeatedly argue throughout the forthcoming argument, is that ‘the truth leads to godliness’ (1:1); believers should live godly lives now in anticipation of their future ‘eternal life’ (1:2) in God’s presence. Lastly, we should note the strong tone of authority running through these first three verses; Paul uses words such as servant, apostle, truth, lie, promise, word, preaching, command.

    V2   In contrast to the basest characterisation of the indigenous people (v12), God does not lie.

    V4   Titus, like Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:1, and Philippians 2:20-23, is commended by Paul as being a ‘true son’. With this phrase, Paul endorses Titus to the Cretans as a Christian minister who has Paul’s complete commendation. Titus was one of Paul’s main helpers along with Timothy, Silas, and others. He is mentioned a number of times in Paul’s letters and in Acts as someone who served Paul very effectively, and as the ministry broadened and became established across the Eastern Mediterranean became a prominent leader in the emerging church (Galatians 2:1-3 (Acts 11:30), 2 Corinthians 7:6-16, 8:6, 8:16-24, 12:17-18).

    The gospel is all about how God established ‘peace’ with believing sinners through Christ’s ‘grace’, that is, his generous kindness and merciful atoning work which we did not deserve. So Paul’s usual practice is to start and close every letter with a reference to this grace (3:15).

    V5   This sentence is the highroad for understanding the reason why Paul wrote this letter and the development of the argument throughout. Paul has either visited Crete, or has heard that the new Christian community is in chaos. Towner expresses Titus’ task: to ‘put into order what was left unfinished’ and ‘appoint elders in every town’. Titus may have started the mission work in Crete and then been called away to another work, or the work may have been started by a different member of Paul’s team.  Either way, he must establish order out of the chaos. Titus is to do three things: appoint godly elders in the churches, oppose the false teaching that was causing havoc, and teach the new believers how to ‘live self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (2:12), and ‘devote themselves to doing good’ (3:8,14).

    In church: Titus must appoint church leaders and confront false teaching (1:6 – 16)

     

    1. Appoint church leaders (1:6-9)
    2. Opposition: Titus must confront false teachers (1:10-15)

     

    Paul divides the main part of his letter to Titus into three parts. In this first part, he addresses the chaos in the new Christian churches and instructs Titus to confront this with two strategies; the appointing of godly people as elders in the different churches, and by directly confronting and silencing the influence of the false teachers in the church. In the third part (3:1-11), Paul will address the influence of the false teachers in the outside world, and he will counsel Titus to avoid them, warn them and have nothing to do with them. However, in the case of false teachers operating inside the church Titus must silence their destructive influence.

     

    Titus 1:6-9   Guidance about the appointment of church leaders  

    Having emphasised that God’s truth leads directly to godliness (1:3), and stated that Titus’ task in Crete is to bring the chaos in the new Christian community into order and appoint elders to maintain that order, Paul now describes the attributes and features required in all people appointed to this church office. 

     

    Paul lists the necessary lifestyle and character features required in those who are appointed to serve as ‘elders’. The first concern’s the elder’s family (v6). The second area concerns the elder’s character and is expressed in terms of characteristics that ought not to be present (v7). The third area addresses positive godly character (v8). And the fourth is an ability to understand and defend ‘sound doctrine’ (v9).

    V6   The elder’s family: Very typically Paul begins with the person’s sex life and family (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 5-6, Galatians 5:19). The significance of monogamy is immediately seen when Christianity comes into a polygamous society. Long-term missionaries take the view that those in polygamous marriages should remain in them and honour the commitments they have made to their different wives (or husbands in polyandrous societies), but their children should be monogamous (as per 1 Corinthians 7:1-7). In this way, Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19:1-12 is upheld without damage being done to wives and children. In stating these requirements in the masculine we should not understand that Paul is saying women cannot be elders. Paul appointed women into church leadership, for example Phoebe (Romans 16:1), and godly women have played an absolutely essential role in churches throughout the world and throughout the two thousand years of church history.

    V7   The elder’s character: Paul’s decision to list the lifestyle features that must be avoided in the appointment of elders gives an insight into the chaotic ungodliness he had witnessed in the new Christian communities during his visit to Crete. Every elder is ‘entrusted’ with God’s work and therefore the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:4-47 apply directly. Having addressed sexual matters in v6, Paul now addresses issues concerning the use of power and wealth. The standard is to be ‘blameless’, which means that the person’s use of authority and wealth must be beyond question.

    V8   The elder’s character: Every apprentice of Jesus who has set themselves to ‘seek first the kingdom’ (Matt 6:33) will find that these five characteristics are entirely attainable.

    V9   The elder’s spiritual gifting: The fourth area is sound doctrine and the ability to both defend and confirm the gospel (Philippians 1:7). Not every elder will be gifted in apologetics, but all should have a foundational understanding of the faith so they can answer intelligently and sensibly. The difficult questions and challenges should be referred to those best able to answer competently.

     

     

    Titus 1:10-16   Instructions to confront the false teachers  

    Paul’s second strategy for bring godly order to the new Cretan churches is the direct confrontation with and silencing of the false teachers. Paul addresses the essence of the heresy they are promoting and commissions Titus to oppose them.

     

    The difficult task of understanding these verses is complicated by Paul’s rapid move through his argument. The situation seems to be this: a group of false teachers are influencing the new Cretan Christians and causing serious problems for the believers. Since the letter speaks of ‘circumcision’ (v10), ‘Jewish myths’ (v14), ‘purity’ (v15), ‘claiming to know God’ (v16), observance ‘of the law’ (3:9), and ‘purity’ (1:15), we should conclude that false teachers who were strongly influenced by Jewish Old Covenant law-based obedience were attempting to pervert the new believers from their faith in Christ into a religious practice that ‘claimed to know God’ (1:16), and to be ‘pure’ (1:15). Paul makes a strong rhetorical point by likening these teachers to the basest Cretan character of ‘lying, brutality, laziness and gluttony’ (1:12). With uncompromising words, he commissions Titus to oppose these false teachers and their deceiving message.

    V12   By quoting the Cretan poet Epimenides, Paul is stating that the false teachers, who despite their claims are actually in rebellion to the truth, are nothing better than the basest individuals on the Island. This description is in direct contrast to the godly characteristics required in ‘church elders’ (v6-9).

    V13   Titus must be in no doubt that he is commissioned to engage the false teachers directly, oppose them and silence them!

    V15-16   The false teachers seem to be promoting obedience to ‘religious law-based’ concepts involving circumcision and aesthetic religious rules about (food) cleanliness in order to be ‘pure’ in God’s sight. In Mark 7, Jesus declared all foods clean and pointed to the necessity of having a heart purified from sin. Jesus also taught that if you clean the centre of the cup, the outside of the cup will be cleaned in the process. Paul is stating that in their attempt to prove their ‘purity’ to God, they are actually proving their uncleanness and their failure to be ‘pure’, because their characters and their actions demonstrate they are ‘detestable, disobedient and unfit to do anything good’; the tone of this is similar to the final sentences of Romans 1. A profound and axiomatic principle of discipleship is at issue here. Where the heart of the believer is purified by faith and grace and filled with love for the Saviour then that person will seek to follow Christ in every part of their lives, and will be determined bring the ‘purity’ in their heart to every part of their whole life. But where the motive is for an outward religious show then the inner character will be evident to everyone despite any religious performance that may be enacted.

    In the home: Titus must teach and model ‘godly living’ (2:1-15)

     

    1. Instructions for different groups in the home (2:1-10)
    2. God’s saving work must lead to ‘godly living’ (2:11-14)
    3. Opposition: Titus must teach with full authority (2:15)

    In this second part of the letter, Paul addresses Christian living in the home. While instructing Titus how to deal with the false teaching, Paul has stated that it is ‘ruining whole households’ (1:11), so it is logical that having completed those first instructions, Paul immediately switches to instructing Titus what to teach in order to restore godly living in the households of believers. The emphasis throughout is on what should be taught to each of the five groups he lists. Paul gives a theological reflection about how God has saved us in order that we live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (2:12) and ends with a robust admonition to Titus not to be swayed from this teaching ministry.

     

     

    Titus 2:1-10   Instructions to teach believers how to live ‘good lives’ at home

    Paul now carefully articulates the essential standard of godliness required in five different groups in the home: older men and women, younger women and men, and slaves.

     

    Paul follows his frequent pattern of applying the doctrine of salvation to the different groups in the Christian communities. In this case, because Titus is being commissioned to bring order to what appears to have been rampant chaos in new Cretan Christian churches, Paul tilts these exhortations towards what outsiders will see in the behavior of those in church. Three times – at the end of each sub-section – Paul summarises the reason why he is framing these imperatives; ‘so that no one will malign the word of God’ (v5) and so ‘they will have nothing bad to say about us’ (v8), and finally so that ‘in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive’ (v10).

    V1   This statement directly links the legalistic piety of the false teachers that Titus is commissioned to oppose (1:10-16) to the mayhem Paul has been so shocked to find in the Cretan churches. The correction of false doctrine must, and will, lead directly to a dramatic improvement in godly living. We see an echo of this in Paul’s final statement in Galatians 5 where, although he does not elaborate, he refers to the conceit, the provoking and the envy that is the direct fruit of those who preach legalism and a return to Old Covenant legalistic righteousness.

    V2   The older men’s lives will be watched and imitated by all, and therefore they must be temperate, controlling their tempers, their drinking, and their speech. The call to live a life ‘worthy’ of the Saviour (v10) is never far from Paul’s thinking, so it is unsurprising that it is the second call on those prominent in Crete’s patristic society. ‘Faith and love’ are the ‘boundary lines’ of the Kingdom (1 Thessalonians 1:3, Colossians 1:4-5), and the seniors in the churches must be strong in these. ‘Endurance’ is the fruit in the lives of all who have persevered through difficulty because of their love for Christ (Romans 5:3). It is so very impressive to watch senior Christians at the end of their lives ‘pressing on’ and, ‘straining forwards’ (Philippians 3:12-14) as they ‘seek first the Kingdom of God’ (Matthew 6:33).

    V3   The characteristic of slander is never attractive, and it is especially unattractive in the elderly (both men and women). Instead of drinking in excess ‘the mothers of Israel’ (Judges 5:7), should be known for their wisdom and godly counsel.

    V4   Young Mums and Dads need to be taught how to love their spouses and their children – I certainly did. Marriage starts with a decision, it leads to a promise and it is cultivated through long term persistent committed learning by both spouses. The wise counsel of older married people is absolutely invaluable in this journey.

    V5   These instructions must be read and understood in the context of shambolic chaos prevailing throughout the ‘baby’ churches in Crete. The gospel, properly expounded and obeyed, will create communities of healing and peace and security where all – men as well as women – are free to love and live and flourish in Christ. The final sentence is crucial; the purpose of all these exhortations and admonitions is ‘so that no one will malign the word of God’.

    V7   Titus himself is to be the example to the young men ‘by doing what is good’. This imperative is the high road through this letter (1:8, 1:16, 2:3, 2:7, 2:14, 3:1, 3:8, 3:14).

    V8   Paul is expounding the very principle that Peter expressly states is the will of God in 1 Peter 2:15: ‘It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men’. Every Christian church should have a reputation for ‘doing good’, so that even if people disagree with our message they are unable to fault the ‘good’ that is so obviously flowing out from the Christian community.

    V9-10   These verses touch the heart of the revolution of the gospel of the Kingdom. This is the other side of the coin to Paul’s exhortation to Philemon to welcome the run-away slave Onesimus back ‘as a dear brother’ (Philemon 16). This is the tiny seed that overturns all the empires of this world.

     

     

     

    Titus 2:11-14   God’s saving work must lead to ‘godly living’  

    Paul now endorses the instructions he has given to the different Christian groups with the doctrinal explanation that God has saved us through Christ’s atoning work precisely in order that we now turn from evil live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (2:12). 

     

    Paul’s usual practice is to teach about Christ’s redeeming work, and then teach and explain how believers should live as a consequence, but in this chapter the two are reversed, possibly because Paul has been so shocked by the behaviour of the new Christians in Crete that his first response is to teach what their behaviour ought to be before establishing the reasons why. In these verses, Paul articulates the atoning work of God in terms of our redemption from wickedness in order that believers belong to Christ, live pure lives and are eager to do good. As always in Paul, he teaches how we should live now in anticipation of the future that is coming; we model now to the world the future that is coming in Christ.

    V11   Paul’s linking of grace to Christ’s appearing echoes John 1:17: ‘grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’. ‘Grace’ in its simplest is ‘God’s help for humanity through Jesus’.

    V12   The necessity that believers turn from all ‘worldly passions’ is a central Pauline doctrine.

    V13   When the New Testament uses the word ‘hope’ it means our certain future in Christ; it does not mean something that ‘might happen’ such as a sunny day. Simply trying to be good is almost always a difficult and disappointing business. When we live in the light of our certain future with Christ, guaranteed by the dynamic life of the Spirit that we experience so wonderfully and so frequently now, and the expectation of receiving even more when Christ returns or when we die, then we are eager to invest every possible moment we have in the good service of Christ and others. Our very lifestyle and behaviour now reflects to the world the full life that is coming when Christ returns. Don’t miss the statement of Christ’s divinity in this verse!

    V14   ‘…who gave himself for us’ parallels Paul’s statement of atonement in Galatians 2:20. The Son of God loved us, and gave himself for us in order that we might turn away and be rescued from the cesspool of evil in humanity that is so horrifically destructive, and instead learn to be good and to do good. Since we belong to Christ, we must be like Christ.

     

    Titus 2:15   Opposition: Titus must teach with full authority

    Each of the three parts of the letter contains instructions about how Titus is to deal with his detractors and those who oppose him. These final short admonitions are included by Paul so that Titus does not lose his nerve when teaching Christians about life in the home.

    V15   Paul refers back to the lifestyle instructions he has given in verses 2-10, and the doctrinal foundation for these instructions in verses 11-14, and instructs Titus to teach all these things, doctrine and practice, with authority. Titus is not to allow objectors to despise him; he is ministering under the delegated authority of Paul himself (1:3).

    In the world: Titus must teach believers to ‘do good’ (3:1-11)

    1. Instructions for believers in society (3:1-2)
    2. Christ has saved us from evil so that we do good now (3:3-8)       
    3. Opposition: Paul instructs Titus how to handle false teachers (3:9-11)

    In the third part of the letter Paul addresses Christian living in the world, that is, in the decadent Cretan society he described in 1:12. Paul begins with brief instructions about living peaceably and respectfully with all people. However, the major part is a summary of the Gospel where Paul argues that God has saved us through Christ precisely in order that we should ‘devote ourselves to doing what is good’ in the world. The section closes with instructions about how to respond to the influence of the false teachers in the wider Cretan society.

     

    Titus 3:1-2   Instructions to teach believers how to ‘do good’ in society

    Towards the end of the second section of the letter, Paul has given a detailed explanation that good behaviour is a direct outcome and requirement of God’s gracious work of salvation, Paul now widens his focus and applies these principles to Christian behaviour outside in the wider society throughout Crete. 

     

    Paul now instructs Titus to teach the Cretan believers how to behave in society. At his most basic, he is instructing them not to be a nuisance to the civil authorities. Christians ought to be model citizens, obeying the civil law, helping in good social projects wherever this is feasible and possible, bringing peace and consideration into public discussion, showing respect for all people, and never slandering other people in society. All such behaviour has the effect of raising the standard of behaviour throughout society and creates strong social capital. Believers in Christ should be at the backbone of society, modelling the resolution of conflict, contending for justice, and being a powerful force for maintaining peace and justice. Paul is not saying that there is no place for Christians to challenge society’s injustices through social disobedience. Such action may at times be absolutely necessary. But the Cretan Christians were behaving so badly that Titus’ first duty was to put ‘our own’ house in order. This paragraph should be studied alongside Romans 13:1-7, Galatians 6:10, Colossians 4:5-6 and 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.

     

    Titus 3:3-8   Christ has saved us from evil so that we do good now

    Paul now summarises God’s salvation work through Christ in order to highlight that doing and being good is God’s nature and his specific purpose for us in Christ as we wait to inherit our eternal life in Christ.

     

    In these 6 verses Paul gives an overarching summary of God’s salvation work through Christ. There are three parts. Verse 3 outlines our previous desperate slavery to evil behaviour. Verses 4 to 7a highlight that Christ’s atoning work was in order to save people, and emphasises that this salvation was motivated by the very character of God; his kindness and love, his mercy, his generosity and his grace. In verses 7b-8 Paul states that God’s eternal purpose is that we are his heirs, and we inherit the certain future of life with Christ. Paul states that Titus is to stress these truths as he teaches the Cretan believers so that they ‘devote themselves to doing what is good’. Paul is arguing that all disciples – all those saved and justified by grace who are trusting God – should devote themselves to doing what is good because

     

    1) Christ has specifically saved us from being enslaved to evil;

    2) This is God’s character, and is how God himself behaves; and

    3) Our lifestyle now must mirror the lifestyle we shall all live in our future life with Christ.

     

    V3   These verses build directly on the unflattering description of the Cretans by one of their own poets and quoted by Paul in 1:12, and which Paul applies directly to the false teachers in 1:16. This in turn echoes the description of humanity at the end of Romans 1. ‘Malice and envy’ portray a society where each individual has attitudes to (some) others that are motivated by envy over what that person has, or unprocessed festering anger towards them.

    V4   Twice Paul refers to Christ as Saviour, and twice more he uses the verb ‘save’. Paul is emphasising the ‘salvation’ atonement motif in order to drive home the truth that Christians are saved from evil behaviour in order to change and ‘devote themselves to doing what is good’ (3:8,14).

    V5   ‘Rebirth’ means rebirth into a new, completely different life. ‘Renewal in the Holy Spirit’ is the power to change and live differently, and Paul stresses that God’s empowering presence, his ‘Holy’ Spirit, has been poured out ‘generously’. This verse echoes Romans 5:5; men and women are changed when what we love is changed, and when the Holy Spirit pours his love into our hearts our whole motivation is reoriented to love Christ and Christ alone in everything.

    V7   Another deeply Pauline emphasis. God has not only saved us, he has, almost unbelievably, made us his heirs! (Galatians 4:1-7, Romans 8:17). Part of the inheritance is even granted and given to us NOW. Our discipleship and pursuit of the Kingdom takes us directly into the life of the Spirit, we begin to taste the powers of the age to come, as we deny ourselves take up our cross(es) daily and follow him. This world gives many wonderful things, truly good things, but nothing, nothing, nothing is even remotely close to the delight of the inter-reaction with the Spirit in worship and prayer, or as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13:14, ‘the fellowship of the Holy Spirit’.

    V8   This is of course Paul’s main point. This is one of the five ‘trustworthy sayings’ in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, and Christian teachers must stress that believers should ‘be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good’. Absolutely everybody will benefit when this happens.  

     

     

    Titus 3:9-11   Opposition: Paul instructs Titus how to handle false teachers

    Before bringing his commission to Titus to a close, Paul includes instructions about how to ‘silence’ and discipline the false teachers he has previously referred to in 1:10-16, and whose pernicious influence is behind the chaos in the Cretan churches that Paul has been correcting throughout the letter. In church they are to be silenced (1:11), but in the world they are to be avoided, and where necessary warned.

     

    Paul’s strategy against such false teachers has two parts. First, Titus must not engage in debate with them over issues which are essentially tertiary, that is, issues that are not essential to the gospel message of the Kingdom. There are three categories: first order issues involve gospel truths such as the divinity of Christ, the resurrection and the Kingdom, give no room for debate about these as they are essential dogma (2 Timothy 4:1). There is room for difference of opinion within the Christian community over secondary issues such as baptism policy and views about the end of the world; the guiding principle is expressed in Romans 14, especially verse 13. There is no room however for ‘royal punch-ups’ over tertiary issues, that is, any issue that is ‘unprofitable and useless’ (3:9). So the second part of Paul’s instruction to Titus is how to discipline the false teachers who persist in such disputes, and who by doing so publicly demonstrate that they are ‘divisive’, ‘warped, sinful and self-condemned’ (3:10-11).

    V10   Paul follows the three phase disciplinary process advocated by Christ himself (Matt 18:15-17).

    Titus 3:12-15   Final mission instructions and summary greetings  

    Paul follows his usual practice of closing the letter with short directive instructions about his mission partners. He then restates the main imperative of his letter before concluding with greetings and a ‘grace’ blessing. 

     

    V12   Tychicus seems to have a special ministry in taking letters to and from Paul to the churches. It is important to study the map to realise how far Nicopolis was from the regions where Paul had previously established churches. Perhaps, following his release from house arrest after his appeal had been heard (Acts 28:30), Paul had travelled from Rome to Nicopolis with Titus and Timothy on their way to Crete.

    V13   Most probably the ‘Apollos’ mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:5.

    V14   Paul restates his summary application from 3:8, but in adding the phrase ‘in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives’, he sheds considerable light on what he was actually looking for in the lives of the Cretan Christians. This point is entirely consistent with 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12, and his example in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:7, that every believer should first of all work to provide for their own needs, and then in addition work to support others also. What is significant about this verse is that Paul identifies this as the ‘good’ he is looking for in the Cretan Christians.

    Titus 1:6-16 In Church >
      The Apprentice - Helping apprentices of Jesus think through the applications
    • Overall Message
    • /
    • Leading Imperatives
    • /
    • Supporting Imperatives
    • /
    • Applications
    • /
    • Holy Habits

    The overall message of ‘the letter to Titus’:

    The leading message of Paul’s letter to Titus is that the truth of the Gospel should lead all believers to live godly lives, that is, in they should live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (2:12) at home, and ‘devote themselves to doing what it good’ (3:8,14) in the world.

    The leading imperatives:

    1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

    1:11-14 They [the false teachers] must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. … Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 

    2:1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 

    2:15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

    3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

     3:8 I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

     3:9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 

    Supporting imperatives:

    1:6-9 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

    2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.  In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.

    3:12   As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there.  Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 

    3:15 Greet those who love us in the faith.

    Applications:

    1. We should live ‘self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (2:12) in anticipation of Christ’s return and the eternal life we shall then live with him.
    2. We should ‘be careful to devote ourselves to doing good’ (3:8,14) in the world around us.

     

    Holy Habits: (Holy Habits are patterns of living and lifestyle practices which we choose to do in our lives.  These can be in order to either withdraw from the dominion of the world, such as silence, secrecy, submission, fasting, watching, simple living, or, practices that plunge us into the life of the Kingdom, such as prayer, worship, celebration, study, serving the poor and deprived, etc. They can be as simple as kneeling by your bed and thanking God at the end of the day, or as substantial as attending an annual Christian festival.)

     

    Ideas:

    • Practice Holy Habits in the home that help us to be ‘self-controlled, upright and godly’:
    • Do more than your fair share of the washing up for a week.
    • For a week make a conscious effort not to have the last say in every argument.
    • Make sure you and your Christian friends are involved in some form of engagement serving and helping and doing good in the world.
    • Run a half marathon raising money for charity.
    • Help a secular charity organise a special event.
    • Volunteer with a charity which uses your company or skills to help vulnerable people.

     

    Leading Imperatives >
    main Questions - Important questions directly from the text

    Question 1 -

    QQQ Paul sees a direct link between law-based religion (1:14) and horrible character traits (1:16). Where in the world do you see this happening?


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    Question 2 -

    QQQ Why is the teaching function given to the older women, and not the older men (2:3)?


    Question 3 -

    QQQ What does Paul actually mean by ‘doing good’?


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    Question 4 -

    QQQ In his letters Paul uses several different ‘atonement images’ depending on the different contexts into which he is writing. Why do you think he chose to use the image of ‘Saviour/save’ in his letter to Titus (1:3, 1:4, 2:10, 2:13, 3:4,5,6)? Which New Testament atonement image do you relate to best? Which image do think the unbelievers around you relate to?


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    Question 5 -

    QQQ What can you do to ‘devote yourself to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs’ (3:14) in the community where you live?


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    Question 6 -

    QQQ What ‘good’ has the Christian Church done over two thousand years?


    dessert course

    A prayer

    Commentaries

    Suggested Sermon Series

    Questions

    • A prayer -

    A Prayer based on Titus

    Lord, by your Spirit raise up godly leaders who silence false teaching in the Church, guide us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives at home, and help us to devote ourselves to doing what is good in the world.  Do this so that no one can malign the word of God as we wait for your glorious appearing and the promised gift of eternal life, in your name. Amen.

     

    Commentary:

    Lord, by your Spirit (3:5) raise up godly leaders (1:6) who silence false teaching in the Church (10-16), guide us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives at home (2:12), and help us to devote ourselves to doing what is good in the world (3:14).  Do this so that no one can malign the word of God (2:5)  as we wait for your glorious appearing (2:13) and the promised gift of eternal life (1:2 & 3:7), in your name. Amen.

     

      Commentaries - Introducing the best commentaries

    BfL Recommends:

    For a readable, intelligent and helpful commentary on ‘Titus’, especially focusing on the context of the letter, read:

    ‘Letters to Paul’s Delegates 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus’ by Luke Timothy Johnson in ‘The New Testament in Context’ Series: 1996, Trinity Press International, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 264 pages (about 77pp on Titus)

     

    For a readable commentary on ‘Titus’ focusing on exegesis, read:

    ‘1 and 2 Timothy, Titus’ by Gordon D. Fee in the ‘New International Biblical Commentary’ Series: 1984, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts. 332 pages (about 80pp on Titus)

     

    For a leading exhaustive commentary on original Greek text of Titus, read:

    ‘The letters to Timothy and Titus’ by Philip H. Towner in ‘The New International Commentary on the New Testament’ Series: 2006, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids. 886 pages (about 240pp on Titus)

      Suggested Sermon Series -

    Sermon Series on Titus

    (Updated: July 2018)

    Series Title:           ‘Learning Godliness’

     

    Comment:   Titus is an excellent letter to be taken as the subject of a day’s retreat, or a church weekend. There are three or four specific subjects that can be addressed alongside one (or two) study sessions.

     

    Text Subject Subject
     Titus 1:1-5,  3:15-end

    ***********

    Key verses: 1:5, 3:14 

    ‘Chaos in Crete’ As always, the first sermon should set the CONTEXT for the series. Explain how Paul came to be on Crete, why he had to leave quickly, and give background to their previous journeys together and Titus’ service of Paul. Explain the chaos in the Cretan churches, and the destructive and deceptive influence of the false teachers, of which ‘the circumcision party’ were some of the most pernicious. Explain the main three parts of the letter, and guide the congregation into how they can themselves study this short Bible book over the next few weeks.
    Titus 1:6-16

    ***********

    Key verses:

    1:7,15

    ‘Restoring godliness to a church’ This is will probably be the most difficult sermon in the series to prepare because the exposition of v10-16 is complicated. It will be wise to write out the text of this part of the sermon in full because the way that Paul likens the false teachers to the very basest characters on the Island will need to be explained sensitively. Verse 15 is also crucial because although the false teachers are claiming to be pure, they are actually deceived and proclaiming not just nonsense, but teaching commands that lead directly to detestable behaviour and the destruction of whole households.
    Titus 2:1-15

    ***********

    Key verse: 2:1

    ‘Godliness in the home’ You are going to need skill not to make this sermon bossy and dull. Ask how godliness in the home can be fun. Paul is addressing adults. The main goal is that no one can malign the word of God, and that the lives of all adult believers demonstrate the attractiveness of Jesus our Saviour.  You could conclude with the point that the purity Jesus brings stands in direct contrast to the false misleading purity of the false teachers (1:15).
    Titus 3:1-14

    ***********

    Key verse: 3:8

    ‘Living godly lives in the world’ The details are in v1-2, but the explanation and motivation is in v3-8, culminating in the imperative of v8 which is repeated again in v14.
     

     

     

    dessert Questions - Gloves off; hard questions for the Bible student and theologian

    Question 1 -

    QQQ Someone once joked that he didn’t want to go to heaven because there were 24 elders there. In his experience most of the difficulty in church was caused by the elders rejecting both the leading of the Spirit and what the Lord was doing. Have you been in a church where those who held the power were also the ones who seemed to always be at the root of the difficulties; older people ‘saved and stuck’?


    Question 2 -

    QQQ How should the Church confront false teaching in the world?


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    Question 3 -

    QQQ At what point does a Christian community (a church) lose its status as genuine Christian community?


    Waiter's Brief

    Answers to Questions

    Coaching Questions

    Questions

    • Answers to Questions -

    Starter Course Questions:

    QQQ   Years ago I met a man who had been appointed as an elder in a church he had previously attended. It was immediately clear from the man’s unwise comments, his insecurity, and his argumentative behaviour that he was eminently unsuitable to be ‘an elder’. He acted as if he had a right to have authority, while at the same time causing damage in the ministries he was involved with. Have you met people like this? How should we handle church situations like this?

    Comment: Probably the best verse on this is Paul’s wise pastoral instructions in Galatians 6:1.

     

    QQQ   What Holy Habit should be practised when appointing elders? 

    Comment: Acts 14:23

     

    QQQ   I once saw a young man stop going to church because he watched a bad argument break out between two church elders. How do we silence false teaching in church without a row breaking out?

    Comment: This is not easy precisely because, by definition, those who are teaching error will be most prone to bad behaviour. This is the conclusion of Paul’s argument in Titus 1:10-16.

     

    QQQ   Where do we find false teaching today?

    Comment: Wherever the Gospel is not taught; see 2 Timothy 4:3-5.

     

    Main Course Questions:

    QQQ   Paul sees a direct link between law-based religion (1:14) and horrible character traits (1:16). Where in the world do you see this happening?

    Comment: Everywhere where zealous people try to show God their dedication to him by obeying religious human based laws, and then enforcing them on others. Jesus, Paul and James all summarise law in terms of love for God and others (Matthew 22:37-40, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8). The Holy Spirit makes all the difference by putting into our hearts a love for Jesus, and thereby both fulfils the requirements of the law and sets us free from ‘the law – the operating principle – of sin and death’ (Romans 8:2). Then, because we love him, we long to obey him.

     

    QQQ   What does Paul actually mean by ‘doing good’?

    Comment: This is a leading question and it must not be glossed over. Paul’s instructions in ‘Titus’ are actually very straightforward reflecting the profoundly ‘immature’ state of the church on Crete. As such, Paul’s imperatives in 1:8, 2:3, 2:12, 2:14, 3:1, 3:8, 3:14, reflect an ‘elementary’ strategy for the subject. The surprising aspect of 3:14 is that (following 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) the place for ‘doing good’ is first of all the disciple’s own home.

     

    QQQ   In his letters Paul uses several different ‘atonement images’ depending on the different contexts into which he is writing. Why do you think he chose to use the image of ‘Saviour/save’ in his letter to Titus (1:3, 1:4, 2:10, 2:13, 3:4,5,6)? Which New Testament atonement image do you relate to best? Which image do think the unbelievers around you relate to?

    Comment: The ‘Salvation’ motif best serves Paul’s argument that believers are being rescued from a life of moral chaos and destruction. Perhaps this is one of the more straightforward atonement images which would be easier for the ‘immature’ new church on Crete to understand. In the 21st Century where family relationships fracture and society has ‘commitment phobia’ the atonement image of ‘reconciliation’ can be especially powerful for explaining Christ’s work. The Parable of the Two Lost Sons in Luke 15 is arguably the most prominent and powerful passage of scripture on this image. Paul uses ‘reconciliation’ in Colossians, and structures his argument in ‘Philemon’ on Christ’s work reconciling God and repentant sinners. 

     

    QQQ   What ‘good’ has the Christian Church done over two thousand years?

    Comment: Christians have pioneered the forming of schools, hospitals, hospices and a wide breadth of charities, wherever they have had opportunity. For example, the formation of trade unions emerged from Methodism.

     

    Dessert Course Questions:

    QQQ   Someone once joked that he didn’t want to go to heaven because there were 24 elders there. In his experience most of the difficulty in church was caused by the elders rejecting both the leading of the Spirit and what the Lord was doing. Have you been in a church where those who held the power were also the ones who seemed to always be at the root of the difficulties; older people ‘saved and stuck’?

     Comment: Yes, younger Christians should respect those older and more experienced than themselves; those who ignore the lessons of the past are destined to repeat all the mistakes of the past. But, those who are older and in the governance of the church should remember Jesus’ warning that prostitutes and sinners were getting into the Kingdom and taking it by force while those who considered themselves righteous and safe were on the outside. The Kingdom is dynamic, and it is the responsibility of the ‘elders’ to keep making sure the whole Christian community they jointly oversee is on the cutting edge of the Spirit’s work. There is far too much snuffing out initiative by Christian leadership and not enough pioneer risk-taking for Jesus. Ideally ‘youngers’ and ‘elders’ should pioneer together and support each other, but those who have lost to ability to be courageous for Jesus should do Jesus and the Church a big service and step aside from governance.

     

    QQQ   How should the Church confront false teaching in the world? 

    Comment: Clearly, but with respect. One example that could be studied profitably is the responses (after careful investigation and due consideration) to ‘Freemasonry’ by different denominations, which range from outright disapproval to moderate criticism.

     

    QQQ   At what point does a Christian community (a church) lose its status as genuine Christian community?

    Comment: When exploring the boundary of what is and what is not genuine church, we should probably start where Paul usually starts (in the opening of his letters) and examine the ‘love’, and ‘faith’ of the ‘believing community – the church’. If there is no love, (expressed in action), then there is no genuine and true faith, however ‘correct’ the doctrine may be.

      Coaching Questions -
    Discipleship Coaching Session                                            Titus

     

    Podder:

    Start: ‘Hello’ and Beginning

    Key current things in your life

    Last pod you said you wanted to make progress in …  How have you got on?

     

    10 min: Prayer:        Ask for the Spirit’s help now.  
    11 – 45 mins: ‘Understanding the content’

     

         How did you go about engaging with Paul’s letter to Titus?

     

          What do you want to talk about from your study of ‘Titus’?

                       Do you have any questions – points to clarify?

     

          What are the main themes and points?

    Ø  The appointment of godly leaders in church  

    Ø  QQQ – Examine the four different features required in elders (1:6-9).

     

    Ø  The false teachers

    Ø  QQQ – What is the essence of the false teaching?

     

    Ø  Christian living in the home

    Ø  QQQ – What are the key aspects of Christian living at home?  

     

    Ø  Christian living in the world

    Ø  QQQ – What should Christians do in the world, and what should they not do?

     

    Ø  *** Use some of the Menu Questions

     

    45 – 60 mins:    Personalised Coaching Qs for “the Podder

     

    Talk together and explore what it means for the ‘Podder’ to ‘do good’ in practice. Be specific and practical. What will it actually look like? What will there be ‘more of’ and what will there be ‘less of’? What would be a good step forward from here?

     

    60 min: Prayer: Lord, by your Spirit raise up godly leaders who silence false teaching in the Church, guide us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives at home, and help us to devote ourselves to doing what is good in the world. Do this so that no one can malign the word of God as we wait for your glorious appearing and the promised gift of eternal life, in your name. Amen.