Session 2: Titus 1.5-16
In this section we find that Titus has been tasked with the appointment of elders in the towns throughout Crete. This passage helps us to learn that the normal and fitting experience of life in the community of believers is that godly leaders would be appointed to oversee and guide God’s people.
- Play: Session 2 Video
In Titus 1:5 we find out an aspect of a specific task Titus has been commissioned to do: to appoint elders in the towns throughout Crete. This is a similar passage to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 written to Timothy who was ministering in Ephesus. These passages, along with Acts 14:23, help us to learn that the normal and fitting experience of life in the community of believers is that godly leaders would be appointed to oversee and guide God’s people.
The description of who should be elders emphasizes godly character. It is noteworthy that the accent is not on talent, social status, or wealth. Instead, being a model of godliness and a trustworthy steward of our faith is the focus.
The expectation of godly character in Christian leaders is contrasted in Titus 1 with the dominant culture in Crete. Paul even quoted Epimenides, an author from Crete, who said that “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). This is a strong criticism of the local culture where Titus is serving. We should not be surprised if our pursuit of godliness and expectation of godliness from our leaders is quite different from the norms around us. We allow the Word of God to define our standards and expectations.
For those who are believers in Jesus Christ, the portrait of godliness given in Titus 1 should provide a target for us to aim for in our way of life. While not all people are called to be leaders in the church, we can all strive for this kind of godliness. And while we understand that church leaders are imperfect people, we should all be able to expect a certain measure of success in godliness from those who are appointed to lead.
Questions for Discussion/Reflection:
- How does the portrait of a leader in Titus 1 differ from what you might naturally think of when you think of a “leader”?
- How does Titus 1 (and 1 Timothy 3) help guide your church in the selection of leaders?
- What are elements of your cultural context that are at odds with the portrait of godliness given here?
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