Titus is a small but significant book. In just three chapters, it has much to say about how to live godly and do good works in a corrupt culture. Titus’ ministry was in Crete, which was one of the most immoral places in the Roman world. Studying this book, we learn how to live out our faith in a difficult culture.
The Relationship of Titus
In Titus 1:1 we learn that the book of Titus is written by the apostle Paul. Paul was a legalist, a Pharisee, and he had Christians arrested and put to death. But, this persecutor of the church met Jesus on the Damascus Road, and verse 3 says that God “entrusted” or “committed” to him the task of preaching His word. Saul the murderer became Paul the messenger!
Titus was a Greek believer who was won to Christ under Paul’s ministry. He organized the church at Crete and this book includes some of Paul’s last words to this faithful young pastor and co-worker.
The key word in chapter 1 is “godliness.” Faith should lead to godliness. Godliness, to be more like Jesus, is the goal for all of us. To have godly relationships it all starts with a relationship with God. Do you know God? Do you spend time in prayer and time in the word?
The Leadership of Titus
According to verse 5, Titus had two main tasks. He was to “set in order the things that are lacking” and to “appoint elders.” Set is a medical term, like setting a broken bone. A church is not a building, it’s people. As long as there are people there will be problems, because we are all broken on the inside. We all need to be set straight! The Christians in Crete were not living like Christians, but they were living like Cretans. Praise God that Jesus is the Great Physician and He sets in order His people, His body, when we are broken. He brings healing!
Verses 6-9 give the qualifications for the elders Titus was to appoint. The terms elder, bishop, and pastor all refer to the same office. You may not be a bishop or elder, but you are a leader. Leadership is defined as influence. People look at your life. Your lifestyle provides a window into your character. Take some time to read these verses and examine your own life. Are you living as an example in today’s culture?
The Membership of Titus
Paul warns Titus, “…there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped…” (v. 10-11). “Idle talkers” – Cretans were known for lying. Satan is the father of all lies. Do you lie to your parents? Spouse? Boss? Teacher? Self? Do you lie when it would be easier to tell the truth? Half-truths are whole lies. “Deceivers” – False teachers may sound good but they are up to no good. They add to the Bible, subtract from who Jesus is, multiply the steps to salvation, and divide your loyalty. We must guard the fellowship and the unity of the church.
In verse 15, Paul says, “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.” He is talking about dietary laws and food. Godliness is not a matter of clean and unclean food, but a matter of a clean mind, heart, and clean conscience. Sound doctrine (v.9) leads to sound faith (v.13). What you believe will determine how you behave. Verse 16 says, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” Many profess to know God but their lifestyle denies Him. Why is a godly lifestyle important? Because the excuse many use for not becoming a Christian is Christians! Are you growing in godliness? Are you growing in good works? Good works will not save you, but every person who is saved will do good works.