This letter is personal and pastoral, giving an important insight into the complex and challenging task of church leadership.
Faith in Jesus Christ is very precious. It is a personal trusting relationship.
As Paul was writing to Titus, giving him instructions which would establish the church in Crete, he viewed the younger man as a close relative, part of his family.
Although Paul's letters were personally directed to churches or individuals, they were read more widely.
This verse is the first in a series of instructions to Titus for appointing church leaders (Titus 1:6-9).
Elders are both overseers of God's church and stewards/trustees. The Lord has delegated authority to them for ruling the churches, and they are accountable to Him.
Church elders must be 'men of the message': that was Paul's clear instruction to Titus as he set about his task of ordering the fast growing church in Crete.
Strong-minded people might make money in business or a power base in politics, but they can ruin God's purpose in the church unless they are fully submitted to Jesus Christ.
Paul's assessment, of the national temperament of the Cretan people, may seem harsh. But He merely agreed with a Cretan philosopher, based on his own experience of preaching on the Island.
Some people have wrongly used these verses to justify wicked behaviour.
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Holy Bible, New International Version TM (Anglicised), NIV TM
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