Many or most of those participating in Dog Days of Podcasting are listening to all or most of the other DDP podcasts, so I feel the need to explain some of the points that the Apostle Paul made in this letter to Titus. I know that there are some who have limited knowledge of the Bible, and I hope to make it not so foreign sounding to you.
For my long time listeners, I hope that’s ok with you. Maybe there’ll be something here for you, too.
First a short background: Paul was one of the men in the very early church that was responsible for taking the message of Jesus to people and places quite far from Jerusalem, where Jesus was crucified and resurrected. And he was used by God to write much of the New Testament. This little book is actually a letter that Paul wrote to a man named Titus, which is of course why the book is called “Titus”.
Titus was a man who travelled with Paul and helped him in his work. In other parts of Scripture Paul calls him “his brother”, “his partner and fellow helper”, and in this book you heard Paul refer to him as “his true child”. So we see Paul thought highly of him. Titus was a Greek, and was with Paul in Rome when Paul was put on trial before Caesar.
Before they were in Rome however, the two of them had been in Crete, introducing the people there to the message of Jesus, but Paul was unable to stay very long, and he left Titus there to continue the work. Titus had some difficulties in Crete, and Paul sent this letter to encourage and help him and the new believers there.
Now, a few observations from what we read today:
After Paul’s salutation in the first chapter, he tells Titus what he should be looking for in men who would be leaders in the church there in Crete. It was important to get men of integrity who were above reproach because there were some in their midst who were causing trouble. Especially (in Paul’s words) “those of the circumcision”.
What he meant by that was old-school Jewish men. The reason that was a problem is that they were trying to teach that the people should follow the old Jewish laws of doing the various sacrifices and dietary restrictions and a host of other things that are no longer necessary, because the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus did away with those things.
The message of the Gospel, which means Good News, is that Jesus was the final and perfect sacrifice once and for all those who believe in Him. The Law put people under bondage, but Jesus brought grace, which makes us free.
In chapter two, Paul talked about how believers should behave so as to not bring dishonor to God. Some of the language sounds politically incorrect to our 21st century ears, especially in regards to how women should act, so I would like to briefly address those things. In regards to young women, Paul says that they should “love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”
There’s a lot there, and we have little time, so let me focus on the last part. “workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands,” What Paul was saying was that young wives who had children should not be going about, leaving their children at home, and partying. But they should nurture their children at home in a loving way, and they should be subject to *their own* (not others’) husbands.
Remember, the men had already been told to be sound in love, and when there is love on both side, the matter of being subject to one another is not a problem. In another New Testament book written by Paul, the book of Ephesians, chapter 5, he uses similar language. He says that wives should be subject to their own husbands, as they would to the Lord. And he tells husbands to love their wives, just as Christ also loved the church (which are those people who love him and believe in Him) and gave His life for her.
In my almost 26 year marriage to the lovely Lady LeeAnn, LeeAnn is subject to me, and I would do anything in the world for her. As Jesus does not rule over the church with an iron fist, I do not do that to LeeAnn. Jesus sacrificed his very life for the church, and I would do the same for my wife. We have a mutually respectful and loving marriage. She does everything possible to make me happy, and I do the same for her. She doesn’t gallivant around town causing embarrassment to me or God, and I don’t don’t go carousing around, either.
This is what Paul was saying. When both husband and wife love God and then love each other, things in the home honor God, instead of dishonor Him.
Quickly now, because we truly are short on time.
In verse 9 Paul talks about bondslaves. This is not the kind of slavery that we think of that happened here in the United States in our early history and happens even still in various other parts of the world. When people got into debt that they could not repay, they would sometimes volunteer to put themselves into bondslavery under the person to whom they owed the debt until they could work it off.
More could be said on this subject, but the clock is winding down.
Chapter three is a thing of beauty. Verses 4 and 5 state beautifully the message of Jesus: But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.
In reality, the entire Bible is a love letter from God to you. It really is. As Paul said in verse 8 of this chapter, “This is a trustworthy statement.”
We’re out of time, but I hope you’ll come back here again and again to hear more. It really is impossible to explain it all in a ten minute podcast. But if you stick with me, if you’ll let the words of the Bible into your heart and mind, I think you’ll see that God is madly, deeply in love with you.