(16 verses, 2:10 to read)
What I am about to READ:
Paul’s pastoral instructions to Titus, his “true child in a common faith” and the pastor in Crete.
MARK and LEARN
1-4: Opening greeting. Apart from the opening greeting in Romans, this greeting is longer than Paul’s other epistles. Titus, Paul’s representative in Crete, is to be encouraged and strengthened that what follows in this letter is authentic, genuine, apostolic instructions. Therefore, whoever refuses to heed Titus, refuses Paul, and refuses the “command of God our Savior” (v.3).
v.1 – Paul points out that all he does is “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect.”
v.2 – Eternal life is absolutely certain because God has promised it, and He never lies.
v.3 – God works through His preached word.
v.4 – Titus is a child in a “common faith.” Here Paul points out that there is ONE faith. There are not many different versions of Christianity. There’s only one faith: the authentic, genuine, apostolic faith – revealed by God and taught by Paul.
5-10: Qualifications of the office. Here Paul lists the requirements of a pastor/elder/overseer. See also 1 Timothy 3.
v.5 – City by city, Titus is to finish the work of appointing elders/bishops/overseers. Here Paul uses “elder” and “overseer” to describe the same office.
v.6 – “Above reproach” – Elders are to be blameless or unaccused. Luther writes,
According to the list Paul makes, he [an elder] should not have public guilt which causes people to stumble. Paul is referring to public vices which can be made the subject of accusation. But this does not mean, does it, that they should be without any guilt at all, without any flesh and blood? ‘He himself is beset with weakness,’ as Hebrews (5:2) says. But Paul is speaking about public vices, where the state is obligated to say and give testimony about him that he is doing me an injustice and that a detractor will find something to cavil at; that is he should be the kind of person who cannot be accused openly and publicly. (LW 29:17-18).
v.9 – Titus must hold firm to the trustworthy word. He must remain in sound doctrine (God’s word) in order to teach, but also to rebuke those who oppose sound doctrine.
10-16: Paul warns Titus of the rebellious people in Crete. The “circumcision party” must be silenced because they preach and teach a false gospel of works. Titus is to rebuke them in hopes of bringing them to the truth: we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone!
Heavenly Father, the temptations of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh are great and unceasing. Grant all believers, including pastors, the strength to resist these temptations and lead godly lives. Forgive us our many sins and failings, and give us the courage to remain faithful to Your trustworthy word, sound doctrine, and the common faith. In Jesus mighty name we pray. Amen.
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Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.