This is the reason I left you in Crete1 so that you should correct the defective things 2 and appoint elders in every town, 3 just as I ordered you. 4
|1||Crete: Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea near Greece. It seems likely that Christianity first reach Crete by those Jews present at Pentecost who then returned to their homeland with the Evangel of Christ. (Acts 2:5, 11) Paul comes there as described at Acts 27:6-16, 37, 38.|
|2||You should correct the defective things: Or, KJV: set in order the things that are wanting; RHM: the things remaining undone; BER: straighten out unfinished business; CON: correct what is deficient; TCNT: put in order what has been left unsettled; BECK: make the improvements still need. The Greek is LEIPONTA [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #3007, things wanting]. It is seems clear that the congregations on Crete needed a steady hand to bring them to maturity. Titus seems to have had the authority to make these corrections. The first of which, as Paul goes on to write, was leadership. See notes on Ephesians 4:12-16.|
|3||Appoint elders in every town: Or, KJV: ordain; RHM: establish; CON: appoint Presbyters; TCNT: Officers of the Church; TAY: pastors. The word “elder” is from the Greek PRESBYTEROUS [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #4245, elder of age; rank or office] from which the title Presbyterian comes. Just as the Jewish religion had “elders” (or, older men), so the early Church appointed such qualified males to take the lead in governing the local congregations. There are several views regarding these appointments but the evidence seems to point to these ordinations by apostolic representatives, such as Paul. Compare Acts 14:23. These appointees had apostolic hands laid upon them following fasting and prayers. Research the words elder and laying on of hands. [1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2]|
|4||Just as I ordered you: Or, KJV: as I appointed thee; ASV: gave thee charge; ALF: prescribed; MON: instructed; TCNT: directed; RHM: arranged; NEB: observe the tests I prescribed. These are not suggestions or recommendations. They are charges from that apostle appointed by Christ himself.|
Dear Friends of the Nazarene,
Today we move into Paul’s epistle to Titus which might be titled: “Correct the Defective With Healthy Teaching.” We choose Titus 1:9 as the theme verse of chapter one – An Elder Exhorts By Healthy Teaching. Paul introduces himself to “my genuine child” Titus. [1-4] In the introduction Paul calls both God the Father and Christ Jesus by the designation “Savior.”
Paul launches right into the reasons he left Titus on the isle of Crete. [5-9] He is to “correct the defective” [“straighten out unfinished business” – BER] and “appoint elders in every town.” Paul gives a list similar to the one in 1 Timothy chapter 3 regarding the qualifications of Christian men who would be elders [or, overseers]. These include men those who ‘hold on to teaching that is in harmony with the Word.’ The elder must be a man strong enough to encourage with healthy doctrine and reprove those who oppose such teaching.
Titus and qualified elders are to “shut the mouths of dishonest teachers.” [10-12] Paul particular isolates those false Christian teachers of the “Circumcision,” that is, those Judaizers who would confine the disciples to Moses and the Law. [Acts 15:1, 2, 5] Such mouths should be stopped as their motive is “dishonest gain.” Spiritual health results from severe reproof, writes Paul. [13-16] Paul mentions Jewish myths and the commandments of men. Such persons have a defiled mind and conscience and deny God by their works.
Much can be learned from Paul’s epistle to Titus. It gives us inner sight into the function of elders within the Christian Church. It stresses the importance of not permitting erroneous teaching and doctrine in the congregations. The early Church was not a place where “every wind of teaching” could blow freely as though there was not Truth. [Ephesians 4:14, 15]
Abba our Father bless those who preserve healthy doctrine.
[7 August 2002]