Heavenly Father, thank You for inspiring the writings of apostle Paul that transcends time and culture. Thank You for the life of an apostle par excellence to the Gentiles, in Jesus’ name, Amen. .
Titus 1: 1-16, Salutation, criteria for selecting elders and bishops, rejecting false teachers
VV 1-4, 1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, andpeace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Paul’s spelled out his credentials, a slave of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and God’s elect. God who cannot lie, promised in eternity past the promise of a Saviour who came in the flesh through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Word of God. Paul committed himself to preach the gospel of Christ. Paul pronounced a greeting of grace, mercy, and peace to Titus from God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
VV 5-9, 5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
Elder, “presbuteros”and bishop, “episcopos” refer to the same office, the overseers. Paul spelled out the criteria or qualifications of an elder or a bishop. He must be above reproach, husband of one wife, and had faithful children. He must not be self-willed, not quick tempered, abstain from wine, gentle, not money greedy, hospitable, sober, just, holy, self-controlled, faithful to the Word, and able to teach sound doctrine to encourage, convict, and correct.
VV 10-16, 10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 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. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
“Those of the circumcision”, were the Judaizers, the Gnostic, legalistic, heretic teachers who peddled in the teaching of Jewish myths, Mosaic law, circumcision, and Jewish rituals. Paul rebuked them for idle talking, abusing the gospel for dishonest monetary gain, lying, evil, laziness, and gluttony. Paul said that to the pure everything is pure, but to the impure nothing is pure because of corrupt and defiled conscience. These people profess to know God denied the existence of God by what they did.
Not all teachers teach sound doctrines. We should be able to discern and reject heretic teachings and doctrines. We must avoid idle talking, abusing the gospel for monetary gain, legalism, dishonesty, laziness, and gluttony. Churches will do well if they follow Paul’s criteria for selecting elders, bishops, and leaders.
Heavenly Father, we pray for wisdom to discern and reject heretic doctrine and heretic teachers. Protect us from deceptions, thieves, robbers, and scammers, in Jesus’ name, Amen.