The Apostle Paul wrote this letter, the third of his “Pastoral Epistles,” probably around A.D. 66. He addressed it to the Greek convert Titus, one of his most trusted co-workers, “my true child” as Paul affectionately calls him in 1:4. Titus assisted Paul in Jerusalem and Corinth. Later, he took the lead in establishing a church on the island of Crete, where he went with Paul between the apostle’s first and second imprisonments.
Paul’s main aim in the epistle is to guide Titus in bringing order and sound leadership to the budding churches of Crete. In Titus 1 he sets out clear qualifications for church elders and overseers. They must be devout and self-controlled, not given to drinking, evil deeds, or seeking riches. They must hold to sound doctrine, holding firm to God’s Word. They must also be able to teach and correct others. Paul reminded Titus that those who profess to believe, yet live as though they deny Christ, remain unfit for any good work. All believers are called to make disciples, and that includes teaching new disciples to obey God’s commands.
In Titus 2, Paul broadens the scope to include standards for everyone in the church: the old and young, men and women, masters and bond-slaves. Older men should be sound in faith and self-controlled. Older women should both be reverent and train younger women to love their husbands and children. Older men should urge younger men to be self-controlled.
In the final chapter, Paul turns to the believers’ relationship with the wider culture. He urges Titus to remind the church that members of the body of Christ are to be ready for every good work. We should speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, and show courtesy to all people.
Why? Because we, too, were once foolish and disobedient. Yet God, rich in mercy, sent His Son Jesus that we might be saved. True salvation will produce changed lives and changed behavior. We must choose behaviors that are excellent and profitable, avoiding foolish controversies and worthless arguments. We must have nothing to do with a person in the church who has been warned yet continues to stir up division, because this behavior is warped and sinful. What’s more, the advance of the gospel is at stake.
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
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