1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
In this first verse, Paul declares who he is, an apostle of Jesus Christ called of God to proclaim the gospel of salvation before a lost and dying world. Paul, as we know, was a man of faith, a true believer. He was what we all strive to be, one of God’s chosen elect. He acknowledges the power and the truth that is in Jesus Christ, our Lord. He acknowledges that Jesus is our one and only Saviour and Redeemer, and that Jesus is the only redeemer for all of mankind.
Paul believed in living a life of holiness and godliness before this present world. He was our model showing that as we give ourselves to Jesus, He begins to change us from the inside out. He teaches us by example that we can stand upon the promises in God’s Holy Word, for as the scriptures teach, God cannot lie. God established His Precious Holy Word before the beginning of this world.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Peter 1:3-4
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The promises of God are eternal; they are for His children, the saints. Like Paul, we can live by them and stand upon them, because God will never fail those who live for Him and serve Him.
As we look at verse three, Paul states that God “in due times” has manifested Himself through the preaching of His Holy Word. This commission was given to Paul on the Damascus road, to preach the unsearchable riches of God’s glory, so that the lost souls of this world might be saved.
1 Corinthians 1:21
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
The preaching of the gospel is a very special calling put upon certain individuals by God. Paul was such a person along with the other apostles. In God’s plan, He has chosen certain individuals, men and women, to fill special positions in the work of reaching the lost. Some He calls to be ministers, some to be teachers and some to be missionaries. Whatever the calling may be, God will give grace and power for you to see your calling through.
God has a plan for our lives. He has seasons or times when we are to step up and do what God wants done. Our timing may not be God’s timing; however, always wait upon God’s time. Never get ahead of God; if you do, then you are out there by yourself. Likewise, neither let us lag behind God. We must move with God to be profitable, for to everything there is a season and a time. In Ecclesiastes, we read the writings of Solomon.
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Just as it states in verse one, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” God has a plan for our lives if we will live for Him. That plan is to spread God’s Word to the lost or sinners of this sinful world, whether through preaching or witnessing to those who live around us.
In verse four, Paul speaks of Titus as being his own son after the common faith. Was Titus Paul’s son? Not in the natural; however, he was in the spiritual because it was Paul who led Titus to Jesus Christ. Paul’s use of “after the common” means that we all are saved or brought into the same faith by our belief in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and Lord. This is the faith that all born-again believers have in common, a faith common to each other. This faith has no denominational labels; it is the same for everyone who has been saved. When we are born again, we all have this faith in common. It matters not what denomination you belong to: Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Pentecostal or whatever you may be. We all must be born again to enter into the common faith.
5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Paul tells Titus why he left him in Crete in verse five. As we read, we are given to understand that there were problems in the local churches or assemblies. Paul appointed Titus to act as he would act if he had stayed in Crete. With this authority, Titus was to set in order the things that they were wanting or missing. These churches had not officially been set in a good working order. Some were not much more than prayer meetings with no official head or leaders.
Every assembly must have a form of leadership that is scripturally sound in doctrine. Not too much is known about how the services of the early church were run. Did they have a Sunday school? Likely not. In the early churches, the emphasis was upon teaching the gospel message to everyone who would listen. Yet the church must be more than a social gathering. There must be rules of conduct and rules of order for the church to follow. Along with this, there must be elders ordained in every church. Therefore, Titus was left to attend to the work of setting each congregation in order. The elders were men that were then given the responsibility of overseeing the church and its functions. Titus had to get to know these men so that he would know their reputations, their manners and how they ran their households to be sure that they were worthy of the office to be put upon them. God is very particular who holds offices in His church.
With verse seven, we begin to see the rules Titus was to go by. First, the elders must have a blameless reputation. In other words, there could be no accusations of bad conduct leveled against them. Second, they must be the husband of one wife. Contrary to what many believe, this does not mean that a divorced man could not fill the office of an elder. We need to use some common sense here. In the time of the early church, it was common for men to have more than one wife. Even in the Jewish law, if a man married and something happened to him so that he and his wife were childless at the time of his death, then one of his brothers was to take his widow to be his wife. The first child born to this union was to inherit the dead brother’s estate. Thus, plural marriages were common among the Jewish people as well as the Gentiles. Just as today, there are places where plural marriages are lawful and widely accepted. Think about it, if a man in the early church had more than one wife and had children by them, and he came to the Lord and was saved, would it be right for him to divorce all his wives and their children except for one wife and her children? It would not be right for him to do this. You will not find in the scriptures any place where God specifically states that a man cannot have more than one wife. In most of this world’s countries, plural marriages are illegal, however not in all of them. There are fifty-eight countries where plural marriages are legal out of the two hundred countries worldwide at the time this book was written. Therefore, the scripture means just what it says. The scripture is merely saying that to hold the office of an elder, a man could only have one wife.
To be an elder, a man can only be married to one woman at a time. If he has any children, they must also be faithful. Faithful children, according to what some commentators say, mean that all the children living at home must be saved, that they must be Christians. I do not necessarily agree with that statement, since a father cannot make his children accept the Lord as their Saviour. He lives a life before them as an example. However, he cannot make them accept the Lord. I have known of many a minister whose children were rebellious and unsaved. If children refuse to accept Jesus into their lives, you cannot make them.
Personally, I believe that a faithful child means children who are respectful and obedient to their parents. They are not unruly or rebellious but are brought up to honor their father and mother. Salvation is a personal experience between you and God.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines faithful:
- keeping faith; maintaining allegiance; constant; loyal: faithful friends
- marked by or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility; conscientious: faithful attendance
- accurate; reliable; exact: a faithful copy
Children brought up in the right way (as God dictates), can be faithful to their parents, yet not be a born-again believer. If every minister and elder’s child living at home had to be saved, then there would be a lot fewer ministers and elders today.
Let us also not forget about the prophet of God, Hosea. Hosea was told by God to go and take unto himself a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms. Thus, Hosea took to wife the harlot Gomer. Gomer conceived and brought forth a son, then a daughter and another son. Just because she had been a harlot before their marriage, then left him and went back to being a harlot during their marriage, does not mean that God no longer accepted Hosea as a prophet. Hosea could not make Gomer do what was right. Neither can we make our children serve the Lord.
Verse seven talks about the bishop and his qualifications. A bishop must be blameless as the steward of God. To hold the position of a bishop, a man must have a good reputation. His life must be blameless. He must be surrendered to God’s will for his life. To be self-willed is to be rebellious against God. He must be able to hold his anger in check, not lashing out at those around him and not given to wine. A minister must be sober, for wine loosens the tongue of those who drink it. It also causes men to be riotous when drunk. For this cause, God says that no drunkard will ever enter into heaven.
1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Furthermore, a bishop must not be prone to fighting, but be peaceable with all men. It goes on to say that he must not be a lover of filthy lucre or money. Today, as bad as I hate to say it, there are many in the ministry not because God called them, but because they are looking for an easy way to make a living. They want easy living and a good salary. If you look around, many of the mega-church pastors make millions of dollars in salary each year. Far too many pastors and ministers are making merchandise of God’s people...