1 Remind them to be obedient to the officials in authority; to be ready to do good at every opportunity; 2 not to go slandering other people but to be peaceable and gentle, and always polite to people of all kinds.

3 There was a time when we too were ignorant, disobedient and misled and enslaved by different passions and dissipations; we lived then in wickedness and malice, hating each other and hateful ourselves.

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour for humanity were revealed, 5 it was not because of any upright actions we had done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own faithful love that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit 6 which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 so that, justified by his grace, we should become heirs in hope of eternal life.

8 This is doctrine that you can rely on. I want you to be quite uncompromising in teaching all this, so that those who now believe in God may keep their minds constantly occupied in doing good works. All this is good, and useful for everybody.

9 But avoid foolish speculations, and those genealogies, and the quibbles and disputes about the Law -- they are useless and futile. 10 If someone disputes what you teach, then after a first and a second warning, have no more to do with him: 11 you will know that anyone of that sort is warped and is self-condemned as a sinner.

12 As soon as I have sent Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to join me at Nicopolis, where I have decided to spend the winter. 13 Help eagerly on their way Zenas the lawyer and Apollos, and make sure they have everything they need. 14 All our people must also learn to occupy themselves in doing good works for their practical needs, and not to be unproductive. 15 All those who are with me send their greetings. Greetings to those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.  Version: New Revised Standard Version

COMMENTS

General:

  • Paul's practical advice continues in chapter 3.
    • Christians are to be obedience citizens -- to obey in every area possible, provided, of course, that there is no conflict with scriptural principle (v.1).
    • They are to slander no one, including the Romans (v.2)!
    • They are also to be gentle, showing true kindness to others (v.2).
  • After all, disciples of Christ have made a complete break with their pre-Christian past: disobedient, slanderous, malicious (v.3).
    • We are now kind to others because God was kind to us (v.4). See also 2:11.
    • All of this is by the grace of God (v.5).
    • We were saved in the gift of baptism (v.5).
      • On the cleansing water of rebirth, see John 3:5; Romans 6:4; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 10:22.
      • This comes through Christ (v.6).
      • As a result we have the hope of eternal life (v.7).
  • If Titus will uncompromisingly insist on this doctrine, the people of God will be consistent in doing good works (v.8).
    • We all need to be reminded of where we came from!
    • Gratitude leads to action. See Luke 7:36-51; 17:11-18; etc.
    • Once again, the false teachers will have the opposite effect (vv.9-10-11).
      • They "major" in the minor.
      • If someone resists this teaching, he is to be warned, If this doesn't change his behavior, he is to receive a second warning before being removed from the church, for he is deeply warped.
  • Paul closes his letter.
    • He has urged Titus to deal with the false teachers with conviction and decisiveness, given the very real threat they pose to the community.
    • He has directed people away from the petty disputes and pet doctrines of the heretics, back to the basics of Christian living.
    • After sending greetings, Paul wishes grace to all (vv.12-15).

Advanced:

  • To learn about the Greek word palingenesia (rebirth, v.5), click here.
  • For more on the cleansing of baptism, see the helpful (online) book by Rex Geissler, here.
  • In early Christian literature, "good works" (v.8) is usually associated with serving others, either in the church or in the community. See also verse 14.
  • A few comments on verses 12-15:
    • Paul plans to winter in Nicopolis, on Greece's western coast. It may well be that he is writing the letter from this location.
    • Artemas appears only here in the N.T. He appears to be one of Paul's ministry associates.
    • Tychichus was from Asia, and also appears in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12.
    • Zenas the lawyer appears only here in the N.T.
    • Apollos, perhaps the most eloquent and educated of Paul's associates, is first found in Acts 18:24ff, but also in 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-6,22; 4:6; and 16:12. Some scholars believe he wrote Hebrews.
    • For more on Nicopolis, click here.
  • For a full study of the three pastoral epistles, click here.
    • This set explores the background of Ephesus (1-2 Timothy) and Crete (Titus), which one must understand in order to appreciate these three letters.
    • It also calls us to rise above culture and stand with conviction, just as Paul challenged Timothy and Titus.

Thought questions:

  • Would others describe me as a kind person? Has the Spirit of Christ transformed me in this area, or do I have far to go?
  • Would others say I am an industrious person? that I am diligent, not lazy? that I am harder on myself than on others? that I am busy doing good works?
  • How grateful am I to God for his grace shown to me? How do I demonstrate my gratitude in my prayers, my attitudes, my daily activities?  Do I take time to remember his grace towards me, to keep the joy of my salvation fresh?