Titus 1:11-12

In Titus 1:11-12 Paul has some harsh words for those who undermine the teaching of God’s Word. “They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.” Barclay explains what was going on: “They tried to persuade them that the simple story of Jesus and the Cross was not sufficient, but that, to be really wise, they needed all the subtle stories and the long genealogies and the elaborate allegories of the Rabbis. Further, they tried to teach them that grace was not enough, but that, to be really good, they needed to take upon themselves all the rules and regulations about foods and washings which were so characteristic of Judaism.”

Titus had to train leaders how to quiet those who were problem people. They could not be allowed to teach things contrary to God’s Word. Barclay writes “That does not imply that they are to be silenced by violence or persecution… it became the normal word for to silence a person by reason.” Guzik explains that “there are at least three things which should not be taught among Christians.

  • First, false doctrine ought not to be taught.
  • Second, insubordinate things ought not to be taught.
  • Third, unprofitable things ought not to be taught.”

The driver for teaching these false doctrines was money but it also can be emotional gain of being recognized or admired by others.

Paul shares the issue Titus is facing. “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” The general characteristic of the population was problematic and was deep within their character. This is why having the right elders and overseers was critical for the church to have any chance of success because without strong leadership the church would drift away. Barclay explains “So notorious were the Cretans that the Greeks actually formed a verb kretizein, to cretize, which means to lie and to cheat; and they had a proverbial phrase, kreitzein pros Kreta, to cretize against a Cretan, which meant to match lies with lies, as diamond cuts diamond.”

Paul didn’t say to Titus, “Cretans are liars and cheats and gluttons, with one of the worst reputations of any group in the Roman Empire. You should look for an easier group to work with.” Instead he said, “I know how bad they are. Go out and change them with the power of Jesus and for His glory.” Paul doesn’t give Titus an out, but rather as provided direction on how to deal with this group of people who need Jesus desperately. Success lies in executing the leadership structure of the church because with their historical background, it will be extremely easy for them to slip into their natural living rather than walking in obedience to God’s truth.

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