Book of Titus:
Paul knew that he would not be around forever. In the book of Titus, he instructs one of his young proteges on how to select church leaders. Paul details the qualities of a dynamic leader, warning that pastors, elders and deacons hold a tremendous responsibility in guiding their flocks in the true gospel. Paul believed it is vital that church leaders "walk the talk."
He also warned against false teachers, probably Jewish Christians who were teaching circumcision and ritual purity. Paul fought these influences in Galatia and elsewhere as he struggled to keep the early church true to the gospel of faith in Christ, not keeping the Law.
Author of the Book of Titus:
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter, probably from Macedonia.
Scholars date this Pastoral Epistle to around 64 A.D. Ironically, Paul laid down these guidelines for selecting and replacing church leaders just a few years before he was martyred by order of the Roman emperor Nero.
Titus, the subject of this letter, was a Greek Christian and young pastor whom Paul entrusted to oversee the churches in Crete. Because these instructions on faith and behavior are particularly relevant in an immoral, worldly society, they still apply to churches and Christians today.
Landscape of the Book of Titus:
Titus served churches on the island of Crete, in the Mediterranean Sea south of Greece. Crete was notorious in ancient times for immorality, quarreling, and laziness. Paul had probably planted these churches, and he was concerned about filling them with leaders who were honorable representatives for Christ.
Themes in the Book of Titus:
• The church's survival depends on having godly men serve as pastors and elders. Their lives will serve as shining examples to attract others to the gospel. Paul lists several qualities of effective leaders.
• Leaders should be good citizens, obeying the laws and treating everyone with kindness. They should devote themselves to good works. Avoid quarrels and division within the church and discipline those who stir up trouble.
Key Characters in the Book of Titus:
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. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 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. (NIV)
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (NIV)
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. (NIV)
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. (NIV)
Outline of the Book of Titus:
The church needs authentic leadership and will be destroyed by false teachers - Titus 1:1-16.
True Christian leaders live by the gospel and their actions reflect their faith. Practice good works. Obey the government. Be considerate to everyone - Titus 2:1-3:8.
Discipline false teachers and troublemakers. Cut them out of the church to keep it pure - Titus 3:9-15.