Titus 1

This devotional is written by Nicholas Bensberg.

Titus 1

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,
4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

Appointing elders who love what is good
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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 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.

Rebuking those who fail to do good
10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They 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. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’ 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.


I think it’s interesting Paul starts this letter with such a powerful  statement of what he sees as his job, his calling. Sent by God, to  further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth,  which has been bought to light by the preaching entrusted to him  by the command of God our Saviour. Apostle, teacher and  preacher. I’m called to do this and then I’m off to do it somewhere  else. You however, Titus, have another job. A different, job.  

Think of what must have happened when Peter preached on the  day of Pentecost and three thousand people believed and joined  their number that day. There must have needed an army of Titus’s  too, make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father and  of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Paul is showing that all these new converts, are at risk from  “rebellious people, who are full of meaningless talk and deception  and need discipling.” Paul asserts that, “I have done my job, and  it’s time for you to do yours”. Appoint leaders and begin discipling  God’s people in Crete. They seem to be particularly at risk from a  circumcision group, an ultra religious group who want Christian  converts to adhere to the Jewish law, something Paul and Peter  have vigorously and frequently denounced. There are modern day,  ‘circumcision groups’, insisting Christians give up the freedom  Christ won for them on the cross and live under the law.

I can see this working out in my own life, particularly as a young  christian my value to God was dictated by doing certain things,  living under certain laws that I had invented or had inherited from  family or the religious culture I was bought up in. Praying, reading  the bible, fasting and going to church are all positive things and  should be encouraged, but if by doing them one thinks of  themselves more acceptable to God, more deserving of his love,  then they can become a hindrance to God’s work in and through  us. When we cannot adhere or live up to these laws, we can end  up despising the very things that should move us forward and give  us life.

This then was Titus’ job and as his church today this is our job as  well. In our own context, we could think of the Life Dinner and The  Life Course as the work of the evangelist Paul, directly or indirectly  winning coverts for Christ, preaching the good news of Christ,  being all things to all people in order that we may save some. Then  a lot of the rest of the work of the church, the services, the small  groups, the teaching, courses, socials, prayer ministry etc… this  could be called the work of Titus. The discipling of people, helping  them grow up in the faith.

Dear Lord, help us do the work of Paul and Titus today. Sharing the  good news of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection with a world in  such desperate need. And help us build up and care for those new people you bring to us, that they would grow in the faith and  become elders themselves, able to do the same.

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