Paul shifts his instructions from conduct for specific groups to conduct in general. He also broadens the context to interactions with all men, not just fellow believers. Paul’s instructions are followed by a convincing explanation of the basis for such instructions. He then advises Titus how to deal with dissension in the church and then ends his letter with a reminder, some personal instructions, and a farewell.
Did You Know...?
- “Maintain” (3:8,14): The Greek word so translated has in it the thought of priority, such as “devoting oneself before all else to.” [ref]
- “Genealogies” (3:9): “Jewish false teachers often expanded the Old Testament genealogical lists and interwove fanciful myths around the names.” [ref]
- Instructions to Do Good Works (3:1-2)
- Why We Must Do Good Works (3:3-7)
- Teaching What is Profitable and Guard against What Is Unprofitable (3:8-11) (3:8-11)
- Final Personal Messages and Reminder (3:12-14)
- Farewell (3:15)
Which verses speak of good works? What does each of them say about our attitude toward good deeds?Hide Answer
Verse 1 teaches us that we need to be ready for every good work. We should take every opportunity to do good.
Verse 8 says that believers in God ought to be careful to maintain good works. It is easy to slack off in good works. That is why we must always focus our minds on this important task.
Verse 14 speaks of learning to maintain good works. Doing good works involves learning, and such learning comes by constant reminder and practice. We need to always carry out good deeds and learn as we work so that we may become skilled in doing good works.
Why must we be subject to rulers and authority?Hide Answer
Human government and authority is instituted by God to deal with wrongdoers and approve those who do good. Therefore submitting to governing authority is submitting to God (Rom 13:1-7; 1Pet 2:13-14)
What does it mean to speak evil of someone? Give examples.Hide Answer
1. Speaking with the intent to injure. E.g. Miriam and Aaron against Moses (Num 12:1-16)
2. False accusation or false witness. E.g. Pharisees and Jews against Jesus (Mt 26:57-68)
3. Malicious criticism or gossip. E.g. Judas Iscariot against Mary (Jn12: 1-8)
Instead of speaking evil of others, we should speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15).
Illustrate what it means to be gentle and peaceable.Hide Answer
To be peaceable as explained by Paul means to have a non-retaliatory attitude (Rom 12:14-21) and to overcome evil with good. Isaac demonstrated this virtue by giving way to his aggressors (Gen 26:15-33). The Greek word for gentle here denotes being fair and reasonable. Here it is used in association with humility.
How do we show all humility to all men?Hide Answer
Count others better than ourselves (Phil 2:3)
Emulate the example of Jesus, who though being God Himself, became a servant to all (Phil 2:5-8).
According to this paragraph, what is the basis for the commands in the previous paragraph?Hide Answer
We once did what was evil but Jesus has saved us and made us “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Therefore, we should not go back to our former conduct.
Compare this paragraph with 2:11-14.Hide Answer
Both paragraphs have the following teachings:
1. Our salvation is due to the grace and mercy of God (2:11; 3:4-5).
2. We look to the hope of eternal life (2:13; 3:6).
3. Ungodliness and worldly lusts should have no part in believers’ lives (2:12; 3:3).
Why are our works of righteousness unable to save us?Hide Answer
All have sinned. Thus, no one can be justified before God by observing the law (Rom 3:9-20,23). Doing good deeds cannot save us or atone for our sins.
Why did Jesus save us?Hide Answer
Because of His love, kindness, and mercy.
How does Jesus save us?Hide Answer
By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Explain the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.Hide Answer
We can compare this statement to John 3:5. The washing of regeneration refers to being born of water, and the renewing of Holy Spirit refers to being born of the Spirit. Washing of regeneration has two effects, namely washing and regeneration; the only process that matches this is baptism because in baptism we are washed of our sins (Acts 22:16) and we are also regenerated in baptism as we died, are buried and raised to the newness of life with Christ (Col 2:11-12; Rom 6:3-4).
Renewing of the Spirit refers to the life-transforming effect on the believer after receiving the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:11). The Holy Spirit teaches us the truth (Jn 14:26; 16:13), sanctifies us (2Thess 2:13), helps us in our weakness by interceding for us (Rom 8:26-27), enables us to put to death the deeds of the body (Rom 8:13), and leads us to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:16,18, 22-25).
How do the words “washing,” “regeneration” and “renewing” relate to the subject of good works?Hide Answer
They remind us that we, who have been cleansed and born again in Christ, should not return to the life of sin but bear good fruit to reflect our new life.
“Not by works of righteousness” (5). Does this contradict the necessity of good works which Paul keeps emphasizing? Explain your answer.Hide Answer
Good works cannot be the basis of our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. However, God’s grace upon us should motivate us to do good works for God’s glory. If we are indeed people of faith, our faith will naturally demonstrate itself through good works. Thus, good works are necessary, not as the contributing factor for our salvation, but as the outcome of salvation.
According to this paragraph, what are profitable and what are unprofitable?Hide Answer
The teachings on good works as the result of God’s grace are profitable (8). Foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law are unprofitable (9).
How does doing good works profit men?Hide Answer
1. Our good works supply the want of the needy (14).
2. As a result of our good works, unbelievers will glorify God (Mt 5:14- 16).
3. Good works identify us as Christians and lead others to believe in God (Jn 13:34-35).
What are the two main ways to deal with divisions in the church?Hide Answer
The first is not to get into meaningless controversies, which are not profitable or edifying, but only promote strife and disputes. Secondly, the church is to warn factious individuals for once or twice and reject them if they refuse to change.
What two things does Paul ask Titus to do in verses 12 and 13? What can we learn from this?Hide Answer
Titus is to send Zenas and Apollos, probably the bearers of this epistle, on their journey and provide for their journey. Paul also asks Titus to join him after Tychicus or Artemas arrives in Crete.
We can learn that Paul was a very meticulous worker of God. He carefully thought out his plans before carrying them out. Paul did not leave the church in Crete without someone to supervise the divine work when he instructed Titus to join him. This was important especially when the church was newly established and faced numerous thorny problems that could adversely affect the members.
What was the final reminder about?Hide Answer
The reminder was about believers learning “to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful” (14).
Why must we make sure that we are not unfruitful?Hide Answer
Christians who are not diligent become spiritually stagnant and are easily deceived by false teachings (Heb 6:11-12; Eph 4:14). They are also in danger of being rejected by God (Mt 3:10, Jn 15:2).