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1:1-16 THE NEED FOR ELDERS
God appointed Paul to be a preacher of the gospel, but Paul knows that this work involves more than merely the announcement of a message. God has chosen sinners to be his people, and Paul’s first aim is to present the gospel in such a way that he can lead these people to eternal life. More than that, Paul wants to go on and instruct them in the Christian truth, so that they might develop practical godliness in their lives. His writing to Titus in Crete is in accordance with this wide-ranging responsibility (1:1-4).
Affairs in the churches of Crete were far from satisfactory, partly because the churches had no elders to provide the right sort of leadership. Paul was aware that time was needed for spiritual ability to show itself, and therefore he had been in no hurry to appoint elders during his brief time in Crete. Instead he left Titus to attend to this matter, while he himself moved on to other countries. He now writes to Titus from one of those countries and repeats instructions he gave earlier in Crete (5).
As in his letter to Timothy, Paul outlines certain minimum requirements for those who hold positions of leadership in the church. Such people must be blameless in conduct, firm in their understanding of Christian truth, and capable at both teaching truth and exposing error (6-9). (For fuller discussion on the character and responsibilities of elders see notes on 1 Timothy 3:1-13.)
Strong and suitably gifted elders are especially necessary because of the craftiness of false teachers, in particular the Judaisers. These false teachers move around private homes, where they soon gain people’s interest through their unusual interpretations and clever arguments. In this way they make money, even though the things they teach are nonsense (10-11). They take advantage of what Paul sees as a weakness among the people of Crete in general, namely, their readiness to accept anything that appears to make life easier and more enjoyable, whether such things are true and wholesome or not (12-14).
The Judaisers were apparently insisting on ritual purity, but Paul asserts that if a person is spiritually and morally pure, ritual purity has no meaning. Wrong belief in relation to these things is a serious matter, because belief determines character. Wrong belief corrupts the mind, and the actions that follow are likewise corrupted. The false teachers and their followers do not know God as they claim, but in his sight are unclean and therefore unable to do anything good (15-16).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Titus 1". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13