Be sure to come back Wednesday, November 2,
for our wrap up lesson!
Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Read Titus 3
Questions to Consider
1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. How does that passage carry over to, impact, and set the tone and context for this week’s passage?
2. If we broadly characterize the lists of personal requirements in chapters 1&2 as character and behavior of Christians inside the gathering of the church, how would you broadly characterize the list of instructions in verses 1-2, 8b, 14? Do these instructions tend more toward character or external behavior? How does this compare with the requirements in chapters 1&2?
Let’s examine each of the instructions for church members in 1-2, 8b, 14:
Be submissive to rulers and authorities: Examine the cross-references for this phrase. What does this generally mean for law-abiding citizens today? Are there times when we shouldn’t obey our rulers and authorities?
Be obedient: Describe a Christian who walks in obedience in her daily life. To what and whom is she obedient? Is she subservient? Oppressed? How does her obedience look like Jesus’ example of obedience in the gospels?
Be ready for every good work: Notice this phrase doesn’t just say to do good works, but to be ready for every good work. What does it mean to “be ready” for every good work? How does being ready – being prepared, organized, planning ahead, etc. – help us get more good works done, and done well? How does this concept of being ready line up with the theme of “setting things in order” in the book of Titus?
Speak evil of no one: Wait a minute, didn’t Paul just say (1:12-13) it’s true that Cretans are “liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” and that they should be rebuked sharply? Isn’t that “speaking evil” of them? Why not? What does it mean to speak evil of someone? How is that different from speaking hard truths about someone or something when the situation requires it? Some professing Christians would say that warning against false teachers is “speaking evil” of them. Is this true? Why not?
Avoid quarreling: Give some examples of what this might mean in your own life. What does it not mean? (For example, does it mean not to contend for the faith? Never to oppose or correct anyone?)
Be gentle: What does it mean to be gentle as a Christian? Do Scripture’s various admonitions and descriptions of gentleness mean there is never a time to be assertive, even harsh, or is it more of a general descriptor? Consider again Paul’s instruction in 1:13 to “rebuke them sharply,” and these Scriptures.
Show perfect courtesy toward all people: Apply the questions asked in the sections above (speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, and be gentle). Does showing perfect courtesy to everyone mean never to confront someone, stop someone from hurting others, etc., or is it just a general instruction not to be a rude person? Consider these passages.
Devote themselves to good works: Why do you think Paul mentions this twice (8b, 14)? What is the difference between being devoted to good works and being ready for every good work? How do the two go hand in hand? Some Christians can be a bit “triggered” by the phrase “good works,” afraid that any time they see or hear it, the writer or speaker is saying that we are saved by our own good works. Is that what Paul means by “devoting themselves to good works”? How do you know? (Hint: Look ahead to v. 5.) What is the difference between a person who thinks she can be saved by her own good works and a person doing good works out of love for Christ and obedience to Scripture because she’s already saved?
Help cases of urgent need: Think about socio-political culture of the first century. What sort of “cases of urgent need” might have presented themselves in the churches of Crete? How does your church family work together to “help cases of urgent need”?
Not be unfruitful: Examine the cross-references listed. What does an unfruitful church or individual Christian look like? Why does Paul admonish against unfruitfulness? How can the church and individual Christians be fruitful instead?
3. Examine verses 3-7. How do verses 3-7 answer the question of why Paul wants Titus to “remind them to be…” in verses 1-2? (Hint: What’s another word you could substitute for “For” at the beginning of 3?) How does this “why” apply to your life and behavior today?
How does verse 3 describe lost people? How does each descriptor in verse 3 describe you prior to salvation? Why is it good, from time to time, to remember how we lived and what we were like before we got saved?
Verses 3-7 explain how salvation happens. Work carefully through these verses and explain each step of the process in your own words.
Imagine you had a friend who believed in works righteousness – the idea that we can earn our salvation by our good works alone or by Jesus plus good works. Using verses 3-7, how would you explain salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone to her?
4. Examine verses 8-11. List and explain the reason for each specific instruction God gives Titus in these verses.
Notice God’s instruction to Titus (and all pastors) to insist (8) on these things in 1-7. Describe what it would mean for a pastor to insist on “these things” in verses 1-2, verse 3, and verses 4-7. (It might help to look at 8 in a few different translations.) How does this fit with the perspective many hold today that pastors should be “nuanced” and “winsome” when addressing these things?
Summarize God’s desire for the church in these verses:
- 8- God wants the church to focus its efforts and attention on what? Why?
- 9- God does not want the church to focus its efforts and attention on what? Why?
- 10-11- What are Titus / pastors to do if someone in the church starts stirring up dissension by getting those two things (8-9) backwards? Why?
5. Sometimes we can accidentally slip into thinking of people like Paul and Titus as characters in a story. How can passages like verses 12-15 serve as an endearing reminder that they were real people with real Christian friends living real day to day lives just like you and me? Has it ever occurred to you that, even though you can’t see them, Paul and Titus are – right this very minute – your brothers in Christ, and you are their sister in Christ, just as much as the brothers and sisters in Christ you see every week at church? What are your thoughts about that?
Verse 1 says: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities”. Christians submitting to the authority in our lives is a major theme of the New Testament. Do a study of this theme. Type into your concordance words like “submit,” (often, if you’ll type in, for example, “submi,” your concordance will give you all forms of the word: submitting, submission, submits, etc.) “obey,” “authority,” etc., and examine the verses that pop up. Why, in general, does God want Christians to submit to authority? Are there times when we should not submit to particular authorities? How do Scripture and godly wisdom play into this? Who are the authorities in our lives that God wants us to submit to, and why? How does submitting to authority grow us, sanctify us, and make us more like Christ? What does our submission to authority teach a watching world about submitting to God?