Welcome to our new study, Titus: God’s Order of Service!
What does God think about the way His church should operate? What are the qualifications and character traits of godly pastors, elders, and church members? What is your role in the Body, and why is it so crucial? God is a God of order, and He wants the church to operate in an orderly way – to glorify Him – as we worship, work, and witness.
Titus is the New Testament’s third and final pastoral epistle. The pastoral epistles are God’s instructions to pastors about the way His church should run (kind of like the weekly “order of service,” or bulletin at your church describes how that week’s worship service will run). But pastors aren’t solely responsible for the smooth sailing of the church. We all contribute to glorifying God by learning and robustly filling out our roles in the church in a godly and orderly way. Over the course of approximately 5-8 lessons, we’ll learn how to do that from the book of Titus.
The attractive title image for our study was designed by Benita Gruchy. I liked Benita’s use of the photo of the church sanctuary because the book of Titus is about the gathered body of the church. The word “service” in the title of the study is meant both in the sense of “worship service” – our corporate worship of God – and our “serving” the church body. When I imagine brothers and sisters in Christ assembled together in the pews in that photo, that’s what I think of: worship and service. Finally, the main theme of Titus is “setting things in order” (1:5) in the church, and I thought the rows of pews, with hymnals neatly in their racks, as well as the sleek design and the lines and sections on the left side of the image evoked that sense of orderliness quite nicely. Great job, Benita!
Many thanks to all of those who worked so hard on your entries for our title pic contest. You ladies were very creative and did some outstanding work!
There were too many entries to share all of them with you, but here are a few “honorable mentions”:
If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:
The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.
My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.
I will post a new lesson on the blog every other Wednesday, so there is nothing to sign up for or commit to. Simply stop by the blog every other week, or subscribe to the blog via e-mail to have the lessons delivered to your inbox.
I use hyperlinks liberally. The Scripture passage for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.
All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.
You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).
From time to time I receive inquiries from men about using my studies for their personal quiet time or for teaching a co-ed or men’s Bible study class. It is my personal conviction that it is more in keeping with the spirit (though not the letter) of 1 Timothy 2:12, Titus 2:3-5, and related passages for men to use Bible study materials authored by men rather than by women. Therefore, on the honor system, I would request that men please not use my studies for personal use, or when teaching a class with male members. (Vetting the studies for your wife, daughter, or the women of your church, is, of course, fine. Encouraged, actually.)
Introduction to Titus: God’s Order of Service
Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…
Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.
Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.
What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.
What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?
What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing helps us understand what was written and why it was written.
When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.
So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of Titus, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.
Read the following overviews of the book of Titus, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:
Bible Introductions: Titus at Grace to You
Overview of the Book of Titus at Reformed Answers
Summary of the Book of Titus at Got Questions
1. Who wrote the book of Titus? How do we know (or why do we not know) this?
2. Approximately when was Titus written? What is the geographical setting of the book of Titus? Here are some maps (scroll down to “Titus”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of Titus.
3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of Titus? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of Titus.
4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Titus: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying from this book versus our approach to books of other genres?
5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Titus?
6. What are some of the major topics of instruction or exhortation in the book of Titus? How do these topics relate to the theme of Titus?
7. What are some ways Titus points to and connects to Jesus?
8. What else did you learn about the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?
Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to give you wisdom both to understand the text, and to apply what you learn from Titus as a member of your own church, as we study Titus together.
Our next lesson will be two weeks from today.