Titus – Reinforcement for a Leader

(April 17, 2021 version)

 

Paul wrote this letter to Titus, to fix the problems in the church in Crete.

 

Crete is a large island, about 160 miles (260 km) long, going east and west, that is 37 miles (60 km) at its widest, north and south. It was settled long before Abraham, and Genesis 1-:15 calls its people Caphtorites, from Caphtor, the ancient name of Crete. Some of the Sea peoples, later the Philistines, came from them. Crete was a populous island. In the time of Homer (and David), there were 90 to 100 cities according to the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2134. It has about 630,000 people today. Crete had a somewhat mysterious Minoan Civilization, from 2700-1800 B.C., that ended around Moses’ time, when Mycenaean Greeks invaded. Crete was an obvious stop for ships passing from Cyprus, Syria, and Judea to Rome and the other way. But Cretans were famous as liars; the Greek term kritizo “Crete-ize” meant to lie. Titus was up against some challenges. But like us, Titus had to remember that the battle was not his, but the Lord’s.

 

Dating of Titus: Most people think Titus was written 61-63 A.D., because it does not mention Nero’s persecution, which started in October 64 A.D. Titus was written before 1 and 2 Timothy. However, some think Titus might have been written as early as 59-61 A.D. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.423

 

Pre-Nicene writers who quote from Titus

Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.)

Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.)

Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.)

Origen (225-254 A.D.)

The Muratorian Canon (170-210 A.D.)

Novatian (250/254-257 AD)

Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.)

Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258A.D.)

Tertullian (198-220 A.D.)

Dionysius of Alexandria (246-265 AD)

The heretic Tatian accepted Titus as by Paul, but heretics Marcion and Basilides rejected it.

Pre-Nicene writers did not quote from Titus often, only 22 times. They quoted 14.58 of the 46 verses in Titus, or 31.7%.

 

Pre-Nicene manuscripts of Titus

p32 (150-200 A.D.)

Gothic (493-555 A.D.)

Sinaiticus (Si) 340-350 A.D.)

Ephraim Rescriptus (5th century)

Bohairic Coptic (3rd-4th century)

Alexandrinus (=A) c.450 A.D.)

Sahidic Coptic (3rd-4th century)

Vulgate (4th-5th century)

I Washington, D.C. 5th century

 

 

Here is an outline of Titus

1:1-4 Salutation

1:5-16 Appointing elders against false teachers

. 1:5-9 Elder appointment, qualifications, & duties

. 1:10-16 Defend against false teachers

2:1-15 How and Why we behave

. 2:1-10 Instructions for different life stages

. 2:11-18 Base our behavior on God’s grace to us

3:1-11 Focus on obedience and focus off disputes

. 3:1-8 Reminder to obey and be prepared

. 3:9-11 Avoid foolish divisions

3:12-15 Personal messages

Titus 1:1-7 – Fixing Broken Churches

 

1. In Tt 1:1, what is interesting about Paul’s description of himself here?

 

 

2. In Tt 1:2, Tt 3:7, and 1 Tim 6:16, do Christians have eternal life now, or is it only the hope of eternal life after you die?

 

 

 

3. In Tt 1:2 (NET Bible, NIV), should this say God who “does not lie” or “cannot lie” like KJV, NASB, uNASB, NKJV, and Wuest?

 

 

4. In Tt 1:2, does “before the beginning of time” mean time as we know it had a beginning, or is it just an expression for a long time ago?

 

 

5. In Tt 1:5, when did Paul leave Titus in Crete?

 

 

 

6. In Tt 1:5,10,12, why would Christ’s church need reinforcing by us?

 

 

7. In Tt 1:5, when do we need organization in a church, and when can something be over-organized?

 

 

 

8. In Tt 1:5; Acts 14:23; Php 1:1, should there generally be multiple elders in a church?

 

 

 

9. Why do Tt 1:6-8 and 1 Tim 3:2-7 differ slightly in their qualifications for elder?

 

 

10. In Tt 1:6, what does having only one wife, or a “one-woman man” mean?

 

 

 

11. In Tt 1:6, can you be an elder if you don’t have children?

 

 

12. In Tt 1:6, is an elder disqualified if adult children are unfaithful, or just kids under his roof?

 

 

13. In Tt 1:7, are the words “elder” and “overseer/bishop” interchangeable in the Bible?


 

Titus 1:8-16 – Addressing Problem-makers

 

1. In Tt 1:7,11 and 1 Pet 5:2 how can money be “filthy”?

 

 

2. In Tt 1:9, what is “holding firmly the trustworthy message” vs. not?

 

 

 

3. In Tt 1:10, why were the opponents of Paul so numerous?

 

 

 

4. In Tt 1:10, who are the “the circumcision” that trusted in their religious traditions?

 

 

 

5. In Tt 1:11, how does disseminating false teaching do damage?

 

 

 

6. In Tt 1:11, what are Calvinist and non-Calvinist understandings of this verse and the offer of the Gospel to all?

 

 

7. In Tt 1:12, why was Paul quoting from a non-Biblical source?

 

 

8. In Tt 1:12, why does Paul appear to be insulting the Cretans?

 

 

9. In Tt 1:13, what do you do when the people you are ministering to do not seem too “promising”?

 

 

10. In Tt 1:14, what are the Jewish fables Paul is referring to?

 

 

11. In Tt 1:15, how are all things pure to the pure?

 

 

12. In Tt 1:15, since all things are pure, what about marijuana, LSD, extortion, rape, etc.?

 

 

13. In Tt 1:16 how are some people unfit for doing anything good, of “every good work reprobate”?

 

14. In Tt 1:16, how should the people be dealt with who want to cause harm or tear down the church or an organization?

Titus 2 – The Art of Pastoring

 

1. In Tt 2:1, what are some examples where a Christian could speak what is not proper?

 

 

 

2. In Tt 2:2-6, if Titus is to teach the older men, older women, and young men himself, why not teach the young women?

 

 

 

3. In Tt 2:6, what would be the difference between two Christians who have good Christian character, except that one is self-controlled and one is not?

 

 

 

4. In Tt 2:9, why should slaves be obedient to their masters?

 

 

 

5. In Tt 2:9, should slaves be obedient to their master in all things, including ungodly things?

 

 

 

6. In Tt 2:10 why are slaves especially told not to steal / purloin?

 

 

 

7. In Tt 2:11, how could the grace that brings salvation appear to men, if all are not saved as the heresy of universalism teaches?

 

 

 

8. In Tt 2:11, how could the grace that brings salvation appear to all men, since all did not see Jesus?

 

 

 

9. Does Tt 2:13 teach that Jesus is God?

 

 

 

10. In Tt 2:14 and 1 Pet 2:9, how should this word “peculiar” (KJV) be translated?

 

 

 

11. In Tt 2:15 and 1 Tim 4:12, how could Titus and Timothy not let anyone despise them?


 

Titus 3 – Good Pastors Remind

 

1. In Tt 3:1, the Cretan Christians had probably already heard most of these things before. How do we helpfully remind people of things they already know?

 

2. In Tt 3:1 and Rom 13:1, should Christians obey the government all the time?

 

 

3. In Tt 3:2, how can we, perhaps accidentally, fail to show humility to everyone?

 

 

4. In Tt 3:2, since we are to speak evil of no man, why did Paul speak evil of Hymenaeus and Phygellus (2 Tim 1:15), and Hymenaus and Philetus (2 Tim 2:17)?

 

 

5. In Tt 3:8, does Christians doing good work profit all, including unbelievers?

 

 

6. In Tt 3:9, what are considered foolish questions/disputes, and why should we avoid them?

 

 

7. In Tt 3:9-11 and 1 Tim 6:4-5a, Paul disputed, debated, or at the minimum dialogued with Pharisees, Sadducees, and Greek polytheists. What is the difference between a “foolish dispute” and a “worthwhile dispute”?

 

 

8. In Tt 3:10, should churchgoers in sin be corrected in humility, or should they be expelled as 1 Cor 5:5?

 

 

9. In Tt 3:12, what do we know about the city of Nicopolis?

 

 

 

10. In Tt 3:13, who was Zenas the lawyer?

 

 

 

11. In Tt 3:14, how can we “learn” to maintain or be devoted to doing good works?

 

 

12. In Tt 3:14, who are “our people” here?

 

 

13. In Tt 3:15, where was Paul when he wrote Titus?

 

 

14. In Tt 3, what is the main benefit of Titus for us?

Titus 1:1-7 – Fixing Broken Churches - some brief answers

 

1. In Tt 1:1, what is interesting about Paul’s description of himself here?

A: Of all the things Paul could have said to Titus, he only emphasized two things here.

Paul was a slave, a bondservant, under authority. Paul always uses the term “servant of Jesus Christ”, except for here, where Paul says “servant of God”.

Paul was an apostle, an envoy, who had authority.

This is fitting because many of the issues Paul wanted Titus to address in Crete had to do with authority.

See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1115, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2138, and the New International Bible Commentary p.1493 for more info.

 

2. In Tt 1:2, Tt 3:7, and 1 Tim 6:16, do Christians have eternal life now, or is it only the hope of eternal life after you die?

A: Both, this is an example of the already / not yet paradox. We have the certain promise and continuous existence from now to eternity. However, we have to go through a few things, like death and bema-seat judgment, before we receive our eternal, glorified bodies. See also the answer for 1 Timothy 6:16. See the discussion on 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 for more info on the bema-seat judgment.

 

3. In Tt 1:2 (NET Bible, NIV), should this say God who “does not lie” or “cannot lie” like KJV, NASB, uNASB, NKJV, and Wuest?

A: Green’s literal transliteration says “non-lying God”. While the Greek word in this particular verse could be taken either way, the intent of Titus 1:2 says that we can trust that God does not default on His word as The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.762 says. Hebrews 6:18 also flatly says it is impossible for God to lie.

   Williams Translation, RSV, and NRSV have “God, who never lies”.

 

4. In Tt 1:2, does “before the beginning of time” mean time as we know it had a beginning, or is it just an expression for a long time ago?

A: Christians today disagree. However, the concept of time having a beginning was known to ancient writers such as Philo the Jew (15/20 B.C. - 50 A.D.), in On the Creation chapter 7 (26) p.5.

 

5. In Tt 1:5, when did Paul leave Titus in Crete?

A: Paul was in Crete in Acts 27:7-9. But many people think there was not enough time for Paul to leave Titus there, and think Paul went to Crete after that. That would mean that Paul was imprisoned in Rome twice, and in between Paul went to Crete. On the other hand, Paul might have “left” Titus in Crete without Paul landing in Crete himself.

   We do not know that much about Titus. He is only mentioned in 2 Cor 2:13; 7:6,13,14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18; Gal 2:1-3; 2 Tim 4:10

   See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.422 for more info.

 

6. In Tt 1:5,10,12, why would Christ’s church need reinforcing by us?

A: While God works in the church, He usually uses people as the means of His working. We like to think that the early churches didn’t have problems. But the churches at Corinth, in Galatia, Crete, and six of the seven churches in Revelation show that is looking at them through rose-colored glasses. Just as a house could have problems with disrepair, termites, and the foundation, there can be at least three types of reinforcing needed in a church.

a) Titus 1:5 shows that even in a true church there can be things that are sorely lacking.

b) Titus 1:10 shows that there can be obstacles sent by Satan to attack the church, within the church itself.

c) In Titus 1:12 the statement about Cretans reminds us that a particular culture is often more prone to either commit or overlook certain sins than others. Church leaders need to call the church in that culture back to the timeless truths of Jesus Christ.

 

7. In Tt 1:5, when do we need organization in a church, and when can something be over-organized?

A: Apparently God wanted some organization; Paul told Titus to appoint elders in every church in Titus 1:5. Elders/overseers/presbyters in the church are in Acts 14:23; 15:2,4,6; 15:22,23; 16:4; 20:17; 20:28; 21:18; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 4:14,17; Titus 1:5; and James 5:14. An individual elder is mentioned in 1 Tim 3:1,2; Tt 1:7.

   Deacons are mentioned in Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Deaconesses are mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:11. Organization, in a church or any organization for that matter, can turn bad when it encourages self-interest at the expense of the organization, being elitist, and a self-perpetuating hierarchy for its own sake. In the Catholic and Orthodox churches, later offices of readers, lectors, chorespiscopoi (rural country bishops or circuit riders), archbishops, cardinals, right reverends, metropolitans, monks, abbots, nuns, abbesses, friars, mendicant friars, altar boys and girls, popes, patriarchs, are not mentioned anywhere in the Bible.

 

8. In Tt 1:5; Acts 14:23; Php 1:1, should there generally be multiple elders in a church?

A: Yes. Elders over a church are always in the plural. It is always “elders” in the church, never elder in the church, or even elders in the churches. Acts 14:23 says, “they appointed elders in every assembly.” So, every single assembly (singular) had elders (plural). See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2134 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1115 for more info.

 

9. Why do Tt 1:6-8 and 1 Tim 3:2-7 differ slightly in their qualifications for elder?

A: Paul was giving two complementary descriptions of a qualified elder, but Paul did not give a definition of a qualified elder. Paul was not laying down an exhaustive list of rules, for in different times and cultures there might be other things to consider too. Rather, Christian leaders are to use their godly judgment in choosing elders, and the qualifications in Titus 1:6-8 and 1 Timothy 3:2-7 together are a minimum list, not an exhaustive list.

 

10. In Tt 1:6, what does having only one wife, or a “one-woman man” mean?

A: There are four sub-questions here: polygamy, divorce, remarriage, and celibacy. Obviously, someone with more than one wife at a time is a “multi-woman” man. A man who sinned by choosing to divorce his wife (except for adultery), and then remarrying someone else could not be an elder either. Besides these obvious cases, there is disagreement.

   Church historians mention that Peter was married, and after Christ’s resurrection Peter remained married. When Peter’s wife was martyred, he yelled to her from the crowd “remember the Lord”. But since Peter was likely married before this was written, that is not relevant here.

   Many early Christian bishops were celibate.

   In Eastern Orthodox churches, a priest can be married or have a vow of celibacy. But if a priest is married, and his wife dies, the priest is not permitted to remarry and still be a priest.

   In Bible churches a woman can be a pastor over women and children. But for both sexes in Bible churches, a pastor is held blameless if the spouse divorced the pastor, but not if the pastor divorced the spouse (except for adultery).

   Christians disagree if a person meets this qualification if they remarry after their spouse died.

 

 

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2135-2136, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.762, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.430 for more info.

 

11. In Tt 1:6, can you be an elder if you don’t have children?

A: Yes, sometimes people are unable to have children. Many early Christian bishops had no wife or children. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2135 for more info.

 

12. In Tt 1:6, is an elder disqualified if adult children are unfaithful, or just kids under his roof?

A: Christians disagree. The Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2136 says only children under parental authority in the home.

 

13. In Tt 1:7, are the words “elder” and “overseer/bishop” interchangeable in the Bible?

A: Yes. The church has a need for godly leaders, but remember that the qualities that make a man successful in business are not all the same as the qualities to make someone fit to be an elder, though there is some overlap.

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2137, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.762 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2134 for more info.

 


 

Titus 1:8-16 – Addressing Problem-makers - some brief answers

 

1. In Tt 1:7,11 and 1 Pet 5:2 how can money be “filthy”?

A: This means “dishonest gain”, not only just stealing or robbing. This can refer to anything where a person is making profit on something they should not be. In the Middle Ages, people would go to the Mass with a coin in their hand. The priest would take the coin and give them a wafer. At many times, the laity would not get the wine, only the clergy drank that. No coin, no wafer. There was an issue where wandering friars would go through places, hold masses, and hear confessions, where they would receive the money for the indulgence, and the priests would see their incomes fall when friars were around.

   People can also pursue dishonest gain that is not directly money. They can pursue position and power, which though that can lead to more money and higher salary too, can be more about the power than the money.

 

2. In Tt 1:9, what is “holding firmly the trustworthy message” vs. not?

A: You can negotiate and compromise on some things, but the truth of the gospel should not be one of them. Of course, failing to hold firmly can mean denying the truths of the gospel, such as there is no way to haven apart from Jesus. However, failing to hold firmly can also apply to teaching that the truths of the gospel or mere opinions, or not essential.

   See the New International Bible Commentary p.1493 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.763 for more info.

 

3. In Tt 1:10, why were the opponents of Paul so numerous?

A: For such as short period of time, a number of people came up to oppose Paul. It was probably because Paul was doing so much to bring people to Christ, and Satan tried to raise up all the people he could to oppose Paul. Some opposition was from false doctrine, some was from wanting to live a sinful life, and some might be primarily neither; just a general rejection of authority. Sometimes when a person is very successful at something, there are evil people who want to bring him or her down, if for no other reason than they don’t want to see another succeed. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1115 for more info.

 

4. In Tt 1:10, who are the “the circumcision” that trusted in their religious traditions?

A: These are not just the Jews who trusted in their Jewish tradition and circumcision instead of Christ. This also refers to people called Judaizers, who were false Christians and even some misguided genuine Christians. Judaizers were deceived in trusting in Jewish tradition and God’s Law apart from Christ. Even today, there are many who trust in various rituals and rival traditions, which though not necessarily evil in themselves, have become an evil for people who trust in their tradition and ritual more than Christ.

 

5. In Tt 1:11, how does disseminating false teaching do damage?

A: Even when it is not soul-perishing heresy, it can confuse Christians and divide the church. When it says their mouths must be stopped, they must be put out of the church. Even if they are Christians, if they are scattering God’s flock by their false teaching, they should be expelled. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.763 for more info.

 

6. In Tt 1:11, what are Calvinist and non-Calvinist understandings of this verse and the offer of the Gospel to all?

A: Some Calvinists say the Gospel is not offered to all. Hyper-Calvinist A.W. Pink in The Sovereignty of God says, “Concerning the character and contents of the Gospel the utmost confusion prevails today. The Gospel is not an ‘offer’ to be bandied around by evangelistic peddlers. The Gospel is no mere invitation, but a proclamation,... No man is asked to believe that Christ died for him in particular. ... The Gospel, in brief, is this: Christ died for sinners, you are a sinner, believe in Christ, and you shall be saved.” (p.209 italics in the original). Note the subtlety here: Since Christ died for sinners, and you are a sinner, a sinner could easily think Christ died for them. However, Pink really thinks that Christ died for some sinners, of which you may or not be one of those. To round out Pink’s view, Pink believed in preaching the Gospel (ibid p.210), and that we should be active and not fatalistic in preaching, and doing Christian work.

Non-Calvinists and other Calvinists believe the Gospel is offered to all. The following is from a booklet by a Calvinist.

In the booklet Sinners, Jesus Will Receive, the forward by James Boyce says “According to the way hyper-Calvinists think about such things today, Jesus must have made a mistake when he explained so much of the gospel to Nicodemus, as recorded in John 3. ... Nicodemus was not born again. So according to the way these persons think, Jesus should have stopped the discussion right there. ‘Come back later when you are born again,’ he should have said.... Jesus knew precisely what he was doing. ... Pastor Bill Payne of Canada knows this and wishes all other Calvinists knew it too, which is why he has written this small booklet. Particularly, it grieves him that so many use good theology to undercut the responsibility we have as Christians to do the equally good work of inviting sinners to come to Jesus Christ.”

   William Payne, in his booklet, Sinners, Jesus will Receive, on p.23 he says, “The problem of holding the balance between the Reformed faith, the doctrine of limited atonement being a part of that, and the universal offer was also seen in England. This may be seen in the history of Andrew Fuller, one of the great names forever identified with William Carey in the work of missions. Fuller, who was born in 1754, had been brought up under a ministry influenced by the type of preaching which did not believe in the universal offer. It was, as one expressed it “preaching of the Gill types.” Fuller was called to the pastorate at the age of 21, and early in his ministry he received help from the writings of Bunyan and Gill. However he soon realized that there was a great difference between the two men. Whilst they both adhered firmly to Calvinistic theology, limited atonement included, Bunyan obviously felt no hesitancy in inviting all sinners everywhere to come to Christ, whereas Gill would never do such a thing. After much prayer and study Fuller came to the conclusion that Bunyan was scriptural in this, and that Gill was not. Fuller’s convictions eventually led to his writing the famous book called The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, and it was a direct result of this book that Carey went with the gospel to India.... We would add this note in leaving this brief historical sketch, that in departing from the hyper-Calvinistic position where there was no free offer of the gospel men such as Boston and Fuller did not become Arminians!” p.23

   On p.22 Payne says, “The fact that Hyper-Calvinism had gripped much of the Church of Scotland at that point is attested to by the fact that the republishing of the Marrow caused a great stir, and that it was condemned by the general assembly of the Church of Scotland.”

John Calvin himself believed the Gospel was offered to all. “The mercy of God is offered equally to those who believe and to those who believe not.” according to the pamphlet Sinners Jesus Will Receive p.21. Non-
Calvinist Christians all believe the gospel’s offer of salvation should be proclaimed to all.

 

7. In Tt 1:12, why was Paul quoting from a non-Biblical source?

A: Paul was free to quote any true saying he wished. See the discussion on Acts 17:16-34 and When Critics Ask p.507 for more info.

 

8. In Tt 1:12, why does Paul appear to be insulting the Cretans?

A: Paul actually was quoting from their own literature, a famous Cretan poet Epimenides (6th century B.C.). The same Epimenides that Paul quoted in Acts 17:28. Neither Paul nor Epimenides meant that every Cretan, Epimenides included, never told a single truth. Rather, Cretans were prone to lying.

   Paul is not being either humorous or insulting here. The objective truth is that people of some cultures are more prone to some sins. Sometimes there is a genetic basis, such as North American Indians and alcoholism, and other times a culture has prevailing sins with no genetic basis at all, but due to external factors. For example, at one time a great number of people in China were opium addicts, due to the British winning the opium wars to protect their supposed “right” to export opium to China. What do you think are the dominant sins of your culture?

   Clement of Alexandria (Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 1 ch.14 p.313 affirms Paul’s words about Cretans. The Greek term kritizo “Crete-ize” meant to lie, according to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.433.

   The Greek poet Callimachus also said something very similar. Athenagoras (177 A.D.) quotes Callimachus’ Hymn to Jupiter 8 sq., “The Cretans always lie; for they, O king, Have built a tomb to thee who are not dead.” A Plea for Christians ch.29 p.145. Origen also uses the same argument in Origen Against Celsus book 3 ch.43 p.481. This quote is interesting because it is showing an inconsistency in the Greek pagan religion. While the Cretans built a tomb to honor the dead Jupiter, how could he still be worshipped if he is still dead and his body is in the tomb? If Jupiter is not living, then there is no point in worshipping him or praying for his help. But if the Greeks thought Jupiter has come to life again, then they should not think resurrection of the dead out of the realm of possibility. So basically, one form of lying is “institutional lying”, where the whole culture explicitly affirms something that the whole culture can see is not true.

   See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.675-676 When Critics Ask p.507 for more info.

 

9. In Tt 1:13, what do you do when the people you are ministering to do not seem too “promising”?

A: We should pray with humility for discernment. On one hand, we do not know for sure, because God knows their heart and not us. On the other hand, when we find that there are more opportunities to serve the Lord than we have time to do, then based on the best knowledge we have, Christians should go to places that have the most need and place for impact. But rather than be “lone-rangers” Christians should work together as one. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2135-2136 for more info.

 

10. In Tt 1:14, what are the Jewish fables Paul is referring to?

A: Scripture does not say. But we know that Jews had a large number of books fables and traditions, preserved today in the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. This were probably a part of the myths Timothy to command people to avoid in 1 Timothy 1:4. As Christians we should clearly distinguish between God’s Word and our interpretation of God’s word. See Proverbs 30:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 4:6 for more on this. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2138 and the New International Bible Commentary p.1494 for more info.

 

11. In Tt 1:15, how are all things pure to the pure?

A: These is true in a couple of ways.

Positively, pure people don’t always think of ways to be impure, or be suspicious that everyone else is doing things from impure motives.

Negatively, a person, without thinking things through, could put themselves in a position where they could be under suspicion of doing something evil, even though they did not and that was not their intent. So we should avoid even the appearance or form of evil, as 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says. Also, they could not be suspicious of someone else when they should be. They can be slow to see that the person is acting consistent with someone who is doing things with ulterior motives.

   In the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5:8 says “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But Jesus also told us to be wise as serpents, but innocent as doves in Matthew 10:16f.

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2138 for more info.

 

12. In Tt 1:15, since all things are pure, what about marijuana, LSD, extortion, rape, etc.?

A: Paul is saying all nutritional foods are legitimate to eat. People should not shoot up or swallow mind-destroying drugs, such as cocaine or LSD, any more than they should eat dung.

 

13. In Tt 1:16 how are some people unfit for doing anything good, of “every good work reprobate”?

A: If their character is a disgrace to Christ and the church, even the good things they try to do will not be considered in the eyes of the world. For some it is not just what they do not know but also the things they believe that are not true, and the things they think are important, but are not. As the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2138 says, “The lives of the false teachers were a libel rather than a Bible.”

 

14. In Tt 1:16, how should the people be dealt with who harm or tear down the church or an organization?

A: You should handle this similar to if your brother sins against you in Matthew 18:15-17. First privately try to correct them. Hopefully, they will see their error, and they themselves will tell others they were wrong and what the correct view is. But if that does not work, they take one or two more people, as witnesses, and try to show him his error. If that does not work, then the whole church needs to know and the person, even if they are a believer, should be excommunicated from the church.

   The previous is appropriate for both private and public matters. But in addition, for false teaching, the error should be pointed out and refuted for the scope of audience that the error was originally taught. So if an entire Sunday school class, or a church service was where the error was taught, then the refutation of why that person taught wrong, and what the correct teaching is, should be the entire Sunday school class, or church.


 

Titus 2 – The Art of Pastoring - some brief answers

 

1. In Tt 2:1, what are some examples where a Christian could speak what is not proper?

A: There are various ways Christians can accidentally, or not accidentally but carelessly, speak what is not proper.

Things that encourage others to sin.

Gossip and slander

Making fun of Christianity, other Christians, or belittling others in general

Things that dishonor God, or do not glorify Him.

   Remember, in any situation, you always have the option of not saying anything. As one person once said, “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”  James 1:19 says to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Following James 1:19 can keep us out of a lot of sin.

 

2. In Tt 2:2-6, if Titus is to teach the older men, older women, and young men himself, why not teach the young women?

A: The Bible does not say. However, Christians have noticed this “deliberate omission” and can see at least three reasons.

1. Possible temptation to Titus.

2. Giving the appearance of evil to others, even when both Titus and the women were pure. (2 Corinthians 8:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:22)

3. Not just temptation to the women, but distraction from Timothy’s teaching on the truth of God.

   When I was an undergraduate at the University of Texas, I had not considered the truth implied by the “deliberate omission” in Titus. Once I brought an attractive Christian woman to my dorm room in college, I shut the door, and we had a Bible study together. After she left, the other guys (non-Christians) teased me about what they accused me of doing alone in my room with the girl. About a week later a different girl came to my room and we had a Bible study, and the guys thought the same thing, despite my protestations of innocence. The next week both girls came together, and as they told me later, either I was one super guy, or maybe I was telling the truth after all. While they eventually completely believed me, it was a mistake for me not to have avoided the appearance of evil.

   In Titus 2:7, the word “them” is not in the Greek. So Titus is not to set them [younger men] an example, but to set an example [for all].

   See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.436,437 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2140 for more info.

 

3. In Tt 2:6, what would be the difference between two Christians who have good Christian character, except that one is self-controlled and one is not?

A: The Greek word here sophron/sophronas, in 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:4, has a broad meaning. It means not under the influence of anything, sober-minded, and self-controlled. It involves in saying “no” to sin in Titus 2:12.

   See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1117 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.764-765 for more info.

 

4. In Tt 2:9, why should slaves be obedient to their masters?

A: The ancient empires ran on slavery, and submitting to slavery was usually the only option. While some owners were kind, many were not. Given that many Christians were slaves, things would generally go better for them if they obeyed rather than disobeyed.

   This is also a specific case of what Jesus said in general in Matthew 5:39, “if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” 1 Peter 2:18-33 also talks about slaves bearing up under their masters, even harsh ones. See also the discussion on 1 Corinthians 7:21-23.

 

5. In Tt 2:9, should slaves be obedient to their master in all things, including ungodly things?

A: No. They were to be an example by obeying their masters, but they were not to disobey God, who is the highest authority.

 

6. In Tt 2:10 why are slaves especially told not to steal / purloin?

A: Household slaves were in a position where they could steal things and the master never know which slave stole. It would be easy for a slave to rationalize stealing; since the master (despot in Greek) forces me to be his slave, I should get something back. A rationalization for sin might make sense to the person, but it is not acceptable to God. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.438-439 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2141 for more info.

 

7. In Tt 2:11, how could the grace that brings salvation appear to men, if all are not saved as the heresy of universalism teaches?

A: It was announced to all on earth, but this did not mean all would choose to benefit from it. The free offer of the Gospel is to be presented to all as Peter did in Acts 2:38. Do you weep for the lost in Luke 19:41? See also 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 John 2:2; and 1 Timothy 4:10.

 

8. In Tt 2:11, how could the grace that brings salvation appear to all men, since all did not see Jesus?

A: The Greek here is the dative case, and can be translated “to all men” or “for all men.” Grace that brings salvation can appear to all in at least three ways.

1. Eventually all people living on earth will know of Jesus and the Gospel and make a decision.

2. It was even announced to those who had died, according to 1 Peter 3:19 and 1 Peter 4:6.

3. In the Millennium all will be resurrected and know of Jesus, according to Revelation 20:5.

See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.440 for more info.

 

9. Does Tt 2:13 teach that Jesus is God?

A: Yes. Though the Greek grammar is ambiguous, the content is clear. How many appearings are there, and which appearing is God the Father. There is only one appearing, and it is of Jesus Christ, not God the Father. Grammatically the Greek sentence could be paraphrased loosely in two ways:

(a) the appearing of two: 1) our great God, and 2) our Savior, Jesus Christ. (two beings)

(b) the appearing of one: our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (one being)

   However, if it were the first way, when is God the Father going to appear at Christ’s Second Coming? Since all agree it is Jesus and not the Father that appears at Christ’s Second Coming, the original meaning was the second way and not the first. This is an important point to share with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

   John Chrysostom’s Greek was so eloquent he was called “Chrysostom” meaning golden-mouthed. Before his martyrdom in 407 A.D., he also wrote on this verse that this could in no way refer to an “appearing” of the Father.

   So (b) is correct and so this refers to Jesus as God.

   See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.441 for more info.

 

10. In Tt 2:14 and 1 Pet 2:9, how should this word “peculiar” (KJV) be translated?

A: The Greek word also says how we are special, we are God’s possession! New Age Bible Versions Refuted p.11 mentions that the same Greek word is used in Ephesians 1:14, where the KJV translates it as “possession”.

Titus 2:14:

NIV: “a people that are his very own”

NKJV: “His own special people”

Green’s literal translation: “for Himself a people special”

NASB: “a people for his own possession”

uNASB: “a people that are his very own”

NET Bible “a people that are truly his,”

Wuest: “a people of His own private possession”

RSV, NRSV: “a people of his own”

Williams: “a people to be His very own”

However, in Titus 2:14 the whole phrase in KJV in “purify unto Himself a peculiar people”, so the KJV still translates the overall meaning fine here.

1 Peter 2:9

NIV: “a people belonging to God”

NKJV: “His own special people” (should have an italicized “His”)

Wuest: “a people formed for [God’s own] possession”

Williams: “the people to be His very own”

Green’s literal translation is the closest, saying: “a nation holy, a people for possession”

The KJV translates 1 Peter 2:9 as “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people … who hath called you”, so it is still accurate, but it could be more precise.

 

11. In Tt 2:15 and 1 Tim 4:12, how could Titus and Timothy not let anyone despise them?

A: As far as was possible, they were to resist either fellow Christians or others looking down on them because of their youth.

   Paul mentions this in two places addressing two different people, so Paul saw this as an important potential problem. When Paul chose to send Timothy and Titus, Paul might not have chosen the most impressive-looking people, but Paul did not have to. Paul would want to choose the best people to send. Sometimes our ministry, and reputation and be minimized by public despising by other people. You should defend your reputation, but without getting dragged down into the mud yourself.


 

 

Titus 3 – Good Pastors Remind - some brief answers

 

1. In Tt 3:1, the Cretan Christians had probably already heard most of these things before. How do we helpfully remind people of things they already know?
A: You can repeat the message using different words. But realize there are totally different ways to convey a message. You can give the information in outline form, or you can tell stories. You can give examples of following something, or counter-examples of people not following it. Sometimes your questions can go farther inside a person than your statements.

Perhaps ty to find out what else is keeping them from following these things.

 

2. In Tt 3:1 and Rom 13:1, should Christians obey the government all the time?

A: No. The early Christians distinguished between what they punningly called “legal laws” and “illegal laws”, such as sacrificing to the Roman Emperor. They would obey all laws that did not violate God’s law, but they chose to die rather than follow laws that were against God. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2142-2143 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.442-443 for more info.

 

3. In Tt 3:2, how can we, perhaps accidentally, fail to show humility to everyone?

A: First what is not the answer and then the answer.

Not the answer: Don’t do what you think would be disrespectful. That is only a partial answer, because there might be things that we would not consider disrespectful if done to us, but they consider very disrespectful. Something but be no big deal, and funny to us, but give someone else great offense.

The answer: Be respectful to them, as they would consider things respectful, as long as it does not compromise your beliefs or message. As an example of not compromising our message, if someone considers their religion’s founder a prophet, and he founded a false religion, don’t speak as if you agree that he is a prophet. But you can respect a person, without respecting their false religion.

   Be gentle and courteous (1 Peter 3:8), don’t’ return evil for evil but rather bless (1 Peter 3:9).

One motivation to be patient to others is to remind ourselves how foolish we used to be before we matured in the Lord, as The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.444 says.

   Don’t say things that put them down. Someone might be overly concerned about their looks, sports ability, intelligence, knowledge in a particular area, possessions, etc., and if you say something that might disparage one of those things, you might be surprised if they take great offense over a small thing. And especially don’t say something careless like this in front of someone else.

   Listen to their criticisms; you could be wrong. Some might true, some be totally off-base, and some might be off-base but still have a portion that is valid. One reason some rejected Jesus is that He did not fit their notion of a successful Messiah. Perhaps someone else might not fit our definition of a success, but the problem might be with our definition.

   If someone tells you something privately, in confidence, don’t break their trust and tell others, at least unless it was a life and death, or another serious situation.

   See also the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2142-2143 for more info.

 

4. In Tt 3:2, since we are to speak evil of no man, why did Paul speak evil of Hymenaeus and Phygellus (2 Tim 1:15), and Hymenaus and Philetus (2 Tim 2:17)?

A: Paul did not mean never to speak negatively about anyone, for Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, murderers, and a brood of vipers in Matthew 23:13-36. Paul, John the Baptist, and all of the Old Testament prophets accurately said many negative things about people.

   The NIV translates this as “slander” no one. Slander is negative talk that is false and either known to be false, or said without regard for whether or not it is true.

   Saying negative about someone is saying something that person would not want you to say. There is a time and place to do that, and a time and place not to do that. So, when should you say something negative specifically about someone? Before you say something negative about someone, you should “guard” your words and not say anything if it fails any of these four conditions.

Is it all true (not slanderous): Do you know that it is all true? If it is only partially true, or part is true, and you do not know whether the rest is true or not, then don’t say it. If one part is true, but the context is misleading, then it is on the whole not true.

Is it helpful or necessary: Even if it is all true, how is it helpful or useful for a third person to know this? For example, if a third person is about to enter into a business dealing with the other person, and the other person has been dishonest in business dealings before, it would be helpful to the third person to know that. But if it is not helpful to the third person to know something, such as a past sin that the other person already repented of, you don’t need to mention that.

Does Christ want you to say that: Is this something Jesus would want you to say?

What is your tone: You are speaking the truth in love, or speaking the truth from some other reason? If you have the wrong tone, then sometimes what you say reflects more poorly on you than it does on the person.

 

5. In Tt 3:8, does Christians doing good work profit all, including unbelievers?

A: Four points to consider in the answer.

1. Paul was saying that practicing his teaching was profitable to “those who have trusted in God” in Titus 2:8.

2. Christians doing these things are profitable to everyone, including non-believers in at least two ways. A Christian’s life of consistent witness is profitable to unbelievers to help bring them to Christ.

3. As a practical matter, Christians helping the poor, orphans, and the oppressed is profitable to non-believers. In many parts of India for example, at one time most of the hospitals were started by Christian missions and churches.

4. Finally, Christian’s function as salt and light in society (Matthew 5:13-14). Light exposes dark things, and salt can slow down the rate of decay of some things.

 

6. In Tt 3:9, what are considered foolish questions/disputes, and why should we avoid them?

A: Questions that a person asks in sincerely trying to learn the truth about God, or to test the truth of something are not foolish questions. On the other hand, when the answer to a question does not make any difference to either the questioner or responder, it can be a waste of time that distracts people from what they should be learning. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.447-448 for more info.

 

7. In Tt 3:9-11 and 1 Tim 6:4-5a, Paul disputed, debated, or at the minimum dialogued with Pharisees, Sadducees, and Greek polytheists. What is the difference between a “foolish dispute” and a “worthwhile dispute”?

A: People often argue foolishly when they lose their sense of perspective. One question to ask is “So what?” If one side being right, vs. the other side, makes no difference either way, then perhaps you have more important things you can talk about.

Words over meaning

Straining a gnat and yet swallowing a camel.

When they emphasize methods and process over spiritual realities

Allegorizing scriptures that are not allegories.

Wasting time on lesser things, while ignoring greater things.

   Believers who are this way are actually a serious threat to the church. If a person is not a believer but a heretic leading people away from Christ, they should be expelled from the church, or withdraw from them as 1 Timothy 3:6 says. But here even a divisive person should be expelled from the church, even if they are a believer. This should be done by the elders of the church (not just a single person). They should be done after warning them and trying to correct them first.

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2145 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament p.767 for more info.

 

8. In Tt 3:10, should churchgoers in sin be corrected in humility, or should they be expelled as 1 Cor 5:5?

A: Both are a part of the process, but one must understand the difference between correction and rebuke. Correction is informing someone they are doing wrong when they are unaware of it, and correction is also helping someone in an addictive sin who has come forward for help. Rebuke is warning someone again after they knowingly continue to do wrong.

   A churchgoer should be corrected, in humility, when they are doing unintentional wrong or ask for help. A churchgoer should be rebuked, and then expelled, if he or she persists in rebellion.

   See When Critics Ask p.508 for more info.

 

9. In Tt 3:12, what do we know about the city of Nicopolis?

A: The name Nicopolis means city of victory, and there were actually seven cities named Nicopolis. But since Paul was going to winter there before going to Dalmatia in 2 Timothy 4:10, in modern-day Bosnia, this was most prominent of the cities called Nicopolis. This Nicopolis was a large port in Epirus on the western shore of Greece (in Albania today). It was called “Nicopolis”, meaning “city of victory” because Octavian (the future Emperor Augustus) founded the city after defeating Mark Antony in the naval battle in the Bay of Actium near there in 31 B.C. There were also six other smaller towns named Nicopolis in Cilicia and Thrace, but this is the only port city that would be on Paul’s route.

   As both The NIV Study Bible p.1853 and Asimov’s Guide to the Bible (p.1147) point out, since Paul was determining where to winter, this indicates he was not a prisoner when he wrote the book of Titus.

   The New International Bible Commentary p.1491,1497 points out that Nicopolis was a strategic city for moving into Dalmatia. In Titus 3:12 Paul asked Titus to meet him in Nicopolis, and in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul says that Titus has gone into Dalmatia. This clue indicates that 2 Timothy was written after Titus.

   See the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.708, the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1205, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1118, The New Geneva Study Bible p.1929, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.448, and The Believer’s Bible Commentary p.2145 for more info.

 

10. In Tt 3:13, who was Zenas the lawyer?

A: We only know about Zenas based on this verse. The name could be a shortened form of Zenodorus or Zenodotus. One of the first librarians of the Library of Alexandria, way before this time was named Zenodotus. It could mean “gift of Zeus” or “giver of Zeus”, i.e., of Zeus’ wisdom. So, since his name referred to Zeus, he was almost certainly Greek, as opposed to Jewish, Roman, or Egyptian. Lawyers back then worked like lawyers today, arguing court cases and drawing up documents. There was one famous court case where after a lawyer successfully argued for a client, and the client refused to pay him, the lawyer returned the next day and argued against the client.

   See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Zenas.html and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.11 p.448 for more info.

 

11. In Tt 3:14, how can we “learn” to maintain or be devoted to doing good works?

A: Some good works might not feel so natural for you to do; perhaps you need to change. You can make them more natural by practicing them. I had been sharing over a long period with someone who later became a Christian, and they decided to throw a baby shower party for a co-worker. They were not close friends, and the co-worker could do nothing for them, but no one else was going to have a shower for them. As they said after they held the party, “I think that was the first time I did something good for someone else!”

 

12. In Tt 3:14, who are “our people” here?

A: These are fellow Christians regardless of their race, ethnic background, male or female, wealth, or social standing. Paul did not tell believers to nag the world to do good works, but he did sort of tell them to nag “our people”, other Christians, to do good works. See the Believers Bible Commentary p.2146 for more info.

 

13. In Tt 3:15, where was Paul when he wrote Titus?

A: We have one cluse in verse 15. Paul says “everyone with me”, which he would not say if he were among a large group of people in a local church. So, Paul was likely traveling, and the people with him were his companions. We are guessing he was in the neighborhood of Corinth. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1497 for more info.

 

14. In Tt 3, what is the main benefit of Titus for us?

A: You can learn to be more godly by reading Titus, but still miss the main point. The main point is not how to be more godly, but rather, how you can help other believers to be more godly. Titus is a book for pastors. But all mature Christians, male and female, should be pastors in some sense, even though we might not have a formal occupation as a pastor. We are to be pastors, helping to shepherd our family, younger believers in the church, and Christians and non-Christians we encounter. This skill, or being a good pastor, is not a skill younger believers necessarily need or have, but something we are supposed to develop as we mature in the Lord.


 

 

by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.