Welcome, ladies! Just a reminder, please do not skip Lesson 1 (link below). Not only will it answer any questions you may have about the study itself, but if you want to study Titus properly, you must do the background work contained in Lesson 1.
Previous Lessons: 1
Questions to Consider
1. Review your notes from last week’s introductory lesson. What are some things to keep in mind as you begin to study the text of Titus today?
As we study the book of Titus, I will sometimes refer to the author as Paul (e.g. “What was Paul teaching pastors in v.6?”) and, often, as God (e.g. “How does God encourage church members in v.7?”). I don’t mean for this to be confusing. My purpose is two-fold: 1) To combat the popular false teaching that anything a biblical author wrote that we don’t like was simply that author’s human opinion, not God’s, 2) To constantly remind us that all Scripture was breathed out by God, not fallible humans, and, as Christians, we are obligated to believe and obey every word of it. If you’re confused, it might help to think of it this way: God is the author of Titus; Paul is the writer of Titus.
2. Examine verses 1-3. Recall from the introductory lesson which genre of biblical literature Titus is (Law? Prophecy? Poetry? etc.). Today, when we write a letter, especially a business letter, we normally close it with our signature and credentials. For example:
Acme Widgets, Inc.
Vice President of Doohickeys – Southeastern Division
In first century culture, the style was to open the letter with one’s name and credentials. Compare verses 1-3 with these greetings of other epistles. What are some similarities and differences you notice?
Even our abbreviated modern signatures/credentials, like the example above, give the reader some very important information about the person writing the letter. What type of information can you glean about “Joe Smith” from the signature/credentials above? In what ways is it similar to the type of information in verses 1-3?
Go back to verses 1-3, and break them down. What information do you learn about Paul from his opening signature/credentials?
- Who is the letter from? (1a)
- What is his position, and why is he qualified to write this letter? (1a, 3b)
- What are his three general purposes for this letter? (1b, 2a)
- By Whose authority does he write this letter? (2-3)
- What is his view of God’s nature and character, God’s authority, and his relationship to God? (1-3)
3. Let’s go back (see #2 above) to God’s three general purposes for having Paul write this letter. Explain each of these purposes in your own words. How do each of these purposes apply to pastors and elders today?
You’re obviously not a pastor or an apostle, training pastors, or leading a church, but as you’re discipling your children or other women or children in the church, are there biblically appropriate ways in which you can apply each of these purposes? How do you disciple them…
- for the sake of their faith
- in their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, and
- in the hope of eternal life?
4. Revisit verses 1-3 and meditate on the vastness and depth of the faith, the truth, the hope of eternal life, and God’s sovereignty these verses describe. Then consider Paul’s statement, “the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior”. Do you think Paul felt the weight of that responsibility? Do you feel a similar weight of responsibility when discipling your children or other women and children?
5. Examine Paul’s greeting in verse 4. To whom is this epistle addressed? What is Paul’s relational dynamic with Titus? Notice the picture God paints of that relational dynamic. He doesn’t characterize it as a “master (Paul) / slave (Titus)” relationship or “boss / employee” or even “teacher / student,” but as what? Why do you think that is? What does that metaphor indicate about Paul? About Titus? How does this connect back to Paul’s authority and credentials (see #2 above) for writing this letter?
Go back to verses 1-2. Is it fair to say that this epistle is also addressed to the church? Why or why not?
Why does God use the metaphor of family (“my child in the faith,” “brothers and sisters,” today, we even speak of “my church family,” etc.) in Scripture to characterize the church? Do you have a “true child in the faith” relationship with someone? How does that relationship compare to Paul’s relationship with Titus?
How does “Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior” set the tone for the letter, reiterate Paul’s God-given authority in writing the letter, and reference part of the Trinity?
6. Take a look at v.5. Why did Paul leave Titus in Crete? What does Paul mean by “put what remained into order”? What’s a phrase we might use in today’s vernacular to say the same thing? Why did Titus need to appoint elders “in every town”? (You might want to review your notes from lesson 1 – link above.) How would appointing elders have given the churches in Crete structure and order?
Orderliness. Structure. Hierarchy. This is a major underlying theme of the book of Titus. Spend some time before our next lesson meditating on God’s orderliness, and the structures and hierarchies He has set up in nature, the family, the church, government, etc. Why is orderliness important to God? Why does He think orderliness is so necessary for us that He built it into the fabric of the universe? Jot down your thoughts. Make a list of at least five verses or passages of Scripture that talk about orderliness, structure, or hierarchy. Consider these verses and your thoughts on God’s orderliness in relationship to the church. Why is it important to God that our churches be orderly? Is your church orderly? Does it need to be more orderly? How could it be more orderly according to Scripture?