Titus Bible Study

Titus: God’s Order of Service ~ Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3

Read Titus 2:1-6

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. Look back over the latter part of chapter 1 (9-16). How do 1:9 and 2:1 “bookend” this section on false teachers? How is the teaching of sound doctrine both the prevention and the cure for false doctrine? To what group of people (2:1-6) is Titus to teach sound doctrine?

3. In 1:5, Paul instructed Titus to “put what remained into order”. Examine the orderliness of the structure of 1:5-2:6. Notice the “first things, first” order of priority of Paul’s instructions. What is first, second, etc. on Paul’s “to do list” for Titus, and why?

  • 1:5b-
    • 1:6-9-
  • 1:10-16-
  • 2:1-
  • 2:2-
  • 2:3-5-
  • 2:6-

4. Compare the style and tone of 2:1-6 to 1:5-9. Titus 1:5-9 gives us the qualifications and character traits of an elder. Similarly, Titus 2:1-6 gives us what? Which three categories of church members are listed in verses 1-6?

  • 2-
  • 3-
  • 6-

Make a four column chart for each category: older men, older women, and younger men. In column 1, list each qualification or character trait of a godly, healthy church member. In column 2, explain this qualification / trait according to what you know of Scripture. In column 3, explain how this qualification / trait helps the church, makes it healthier, or contributes to its orderliness. In column 4, indicate whether or not this qualification / trait is the same or similar to a qualification / trait in either of the other two categories. Which are common to all three, and why?

When a church considers hiring a new pastor, we examine whether or not he meets the qualifications / traits of 1:5-9. In a similar way, should a church examine, when possible, the qualifications / traits in 2:1-6 of a potential new church member when considering whether or not to accept that person into membership? Why or why not? How might a church go about this? Does your church do this in some way?

We typically deem a pastor or elder “disqualified” for his office if he violates the qualifications / traits in 1:5-9. Consider the qualifications / traits of church members in 2:1-6 in light of the church discipline process in Matthew 18:15-20. How does a church that properly practices church discipline help to build and grow these godly qualifications / traits in church members? Should a church discipline a church member who violates the qualifications / traits in 2:1-6? Why or why not? How might a church covenant (for example) fit in to all of this?

5. Compare these requirements for elders, with the requirements for older men (2:2), older women (2:3-5) and younger men (2:6). For which groups does Paul give only character requirements? For which two groups does he give character and behavior / action requirements? Are any of these character and behavior requirements the same? Why? Which two groups does he address at greatest length? Why? For which two groups is teaching a requirement? Why?

Compare the pastor / elder leadership (over men and the entire church) and older women’s leadership and guidance (over younger women and children in the church) to the dynamic of husband as head and wife as helpmeet in a marriage. What are some ways the women of the church can serve as a “fit helper” to the pastors / elders and the church at large?

6. Often, the backlash against the extreme of antinomianism is the opposite extreme of legalism. This is what happened with the Pharisees during the intertestamental period after Israel returned from exile. There was such extreme concern about falling back into lawlessness that the Pharisees made up their own laws for God’s people that were even more restrictive than God’s laws. The same thing sometimes happens with Titus 2:3-5. There is such extreme concern about egalitarianism, that some Christians backlash against it with legalism. They twist Titus 2:3-5 to do so, basically saying that the only things women can teach other women are practical domestic skills, like cooking, cleaning, and child rearing. No Bible teaching, no discipling other women in the Scriptures, and so on. Is this what Titus 2:3-5 actually teaches? What does “teach what is good” mean? How is an older woman to teach a younger woman to “love her husband and children” without teaching her what the Bible instructs us about love? Or to be kind, self-controlled, or submissive to her husband without training her in the Scriptures about those things? I would encourage you to watch my teaching session Teach What is Good: Discipling Younger Women in the 21st Century (starting at 1:18:02 on the video) to learn more.


Homework

Consider again the paradigm of the women of the church serving as a fit helper to the pastors / elders and the church at large. How are the women of your church doing in this regard? Are they a loving and hard working Proverbs 31-type “helpmeet,” striving to nurture and do what’s best for the church? Or are they more like the quarrelsome wife of Proverbs?

Think, pray, and talk with other women and your pastor / elders about ways the women of your church could be a better “helpmeet”. Just as Paul prioritized what was most needful for the orderliness of the church in Crete, come to a wise and prayerful consensus on what is the highest priority issue that needs to be addressed for the women of your church, whether that’s learning the Bible better, hospitality, quelling gossip, servanthood, or whatever it might be. Rally a few other godly women, formulate a plan to address this issue, and, under your pastor’s / elders’ leadership, implement it.


Suggested Memory Verse

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Female pastor in 2 John?… Pronouns for pre-schoolers… Women’s ministry “how to”… Video studies for women?)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


Is the epistle of 2 John addressed to a female pastor? I just read a social media debate on this topic. One poster is focusing on the “children” in the verse, seeing them as God’s spiritual children (the church) and only considering the “chosen” or “elected” lady as the leader/pastor of the church. I took “chosen or elect” to mean she’s a “godly” woman, one predestined (chosen by God) like other believers.

Great question! It is so important to pay attention to details like this in Scripture.

No, 2 John is not addressed to a female “pastor”. If it were, it would be a stern letter of rebuke because such a woman would be in egregious sin and rebellion. The verses that are being twisted in an attempt to argue this fallacy are parts of verses 1, 4-5, and maybe a bit of 13:

The elder to the elect lady and her children … some of your children … I ask you, dear lady … The children of your elect sister greet you.

Excerpted from 2 John 1, 4-5, 13

You are definitely on the right track in your thinking. Some people think 2 John was written to a church and John was riffing off the “church as the Bride of Christ” metaphor by using this female personification of the church. “Elect” or “chosen lady” would then mean elect or chosen in the sense that the church is elect or chosen out of the world. This “lady’s” “children” would, metaphorically, be the members of that church.

Others think 2 John was written to a particular woman in the church, namely the woman who had offered her home as a place for the church to meet. Verse 10 would be a good fit with this idea, warning her that, though it was customary and good Christian hospitality to open her home to godly pastors and teachers who were traveling around and needed a place to stay, that she should not extend hospitality to those preaching a false gospel. This individual woman would be elect or chosen in the sense that every individual Christian is elect or chosen. Her “children” would be understood to be her own biological children.

Personally, I can see where a good argument could be made for both of these perspectives, and that maybe John had both in mind as God moved him to write this letter.

But whichever perspective you lean toward, one thing we know for sure is that it was not written to a female “pastor”. John would not have commended someone that Paul’s epistles rebuke. That would make Scripture contradict itself, and, thus, God contradict Himself, since He is the author of Scripture. And we know that can’t happen.


How would you respond (or how have you responded) when someone prefers to be called by the opposite gender?

I had a man correct my daughter (she’s only 2, almost 3) today because she referred to him as “he”. I told him out of deep love for him I could not in good conscience refer to him as “her,” but how do I explain that to an almost 3 year old? How have you informed your kids about this? Would love any feedback you have on this.

I do not envy you young moms who are having to deal with things like this with your small children. My youngest child is 19, so this was not an issue when he or any of his older siblings were toddlers or even young teens. Isn’t it amazing how fast the world has plunged headlong into this depth of sin?

I think you handled the situation just fine, and with a two or three year old who likely had zero memory of this incident the next day, you probably don’t even need to broach the subject. But if you do, I would suggest keeping your focus broad and shallow. “Honey, you need to whisper to me when you have a question about another person, or wait until later to ask. That person’s feelings might get hurt, and we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings if we can avoid it.”.

Honestly, for a two or three year old, even the part about hurting someone else’s feelings is going to go right over her head (as is the “wait until later” part, and she’s also unlikely to remember the “whisper to me” part for the future). Children that young rarely have the capacity to grasp the concept that another person even has feelings. They certainly aren’t going to understand the concept of adults “identifying” as the opposite sex. This is really not something you need to worry about trying to explain to her at this young age, and no amount of talking or explaining is going to keep a pre-schooler from verbalizing any and every thought that comes to mind. Ask any parent – that’s just what they do at that age.

In another year or two, if you encounter a person like this again and your daughter asks you why that man is dressed like a woman, you might say something like,

“Well, you know how sometimes you think you’d like to be a dog or a fairy princess instead of a little girl so that’s what you pretend to be? Do you ever see Mommy doing that? No? That’s because when we grow up, the Bible tells us we’re to put childish ways behind us. We’re to be happy with the way God made us and do our best to love Him and serve Him as the person He created us to be.

It’s really sad, but sometimes a boy [or vice versa for a girl] who doesn’t know God will grow up and think he would rather be a lady than a man, kind of like you think you’d rather be a fairy princess or a dog than a little girl. But instead of acting like a grown up and asking God to help him be happy with the way He made him, the man will dress up like a lady and pretend to be a lady. Let’s take a moment to pray for him, that He will come to know Jesus and be happy that God made him a man.”

Additional Resources:

The Mailbag: What’s In a Name?

pride, pronouns & prodigals at A Word Fitly Spoken


My church is looking at getting our women’s ministry off the ground and I was asked to be on the team. Do you have any pointers for what works best for your women’s ministry? I definitely want the focus to be growing women in the Word, but I’m unsure how to go about structuring the meeting.

I’m going to give you some resources below that can help jump start your brainstorming, but first a few very simple suggestions:

  • Trust God and pray for wisdom and direction. God promises to give them to you if you ask, so why not take Him up on His offer?
  • Gather your ladies together (or create a survey and email it out) and ask them what sort of structure or class would be most helpful to them.
  • With their feedback in hand, talk things over with your pastor. He should be able to give you some guidance that’s tailor made for the ladies at your particular church.

Additional Resources:

Teach What Is Good: Discipling Younger Women in the 21st Century– Listen in to my teaching session from last year’s OHCW conference. In fact, you might find all of last year’s sessions to be helpful (you’ll find the links below the video).

All Word and No Play: The Importance of Fun and Fellowship in the Doctrinally Sound Church

Guest Post: Building a Biblically Healthy Women’s Ministry (by a pastor, for pastors)


The small church I pastor in the process of launching a women’s ministry and I’m curious if there are any specific video studies led by women that you recommend. I hope to compose a menu of studies for them. Thanks for your assistance.

In case anyone is confused, this email is from a (male) pastor, not a woman pretending to be a pastor. Just wanted to clear that up, there. :0)

Brother pastor, my husband is a retired worship pastor, and God always had us at small churches too, so I not only sympathize with the challenges small churches face, but I also have a lot of experience with women’s ministry at small churches.

And still, I encourage women’s ministries (men’s ministries too, if that were my wheelhouse) not to use what I call “canned” studies (workbooks, videos, etc.) but to study and teach straight from the text of Scripture itself. That’s the primary reason why, on principle, I don’t make recommendations for any women’s Bible study materials other than the Bible itself. The second reason I don’t recommend “canned” studies is that, as you have probably discovered in your search, the overwhelming majority of women’s “Bible” studies are authored by false teachers and consist mainly of fluff and false doctrine. Even if I wanted to make recommendations, it would be nearly impossible.

What I would recommend instead is that you find at least one woman, and maybe up to five or six women, should your church be so blessed, who are spiritually mature and seem to have the gift of teaching, and begin training them to rightly handle and teach Scripture to other women, since this is the biblical instruction we’re given.

As they’re learning, you may wish to take them through or have them practice teaching some of the Bible studies I’ve written as “training wheels” to help them learn. My studies (all free) are designed to teach women how to study straight from the text of Scripture in a “learn by doing” way. Once they get the hang of it, they’ll never have to rely on anyone else’s materials again, even mine! Plus, they’ll eventually be able to teach other women how to teach the Bible. Here are some other resources I think will help:

Additional Resources:

Bible Studies

McBible Study and the Famine of God’s Word

4 Ways We’re Getting Women’s Discipleship Wrong, and How We Can Get it Right!

The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?

The Mailbag: “We need to stop relying on canned studies,” doesn’t mean, “We need to rely on doctrinally sound canned studies.”.

Teach What Is Good: Discipling Younger Women in the 21st Century (Session 2 on video)

How to Study the Bible – and How Not To


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Titus Bible Study

Titus: God’s Order of Service ~ Lesson 3

Previous Lessons: 1, 2

Read Titus 1:5-16

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. Review question 6 from lesson 2: 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?

3. Compare verses 5-9 with 1 Timothy 3:1-7. What word is used for the church leadership position in Titus 1:5? In 1 Timothy 3:1? Considering that Paul wrote both of these epistles and both of these passages are very similar in nature, is it fair to assume that these terms mean the same thing? What do we typically call an elder, overseer, or bishop in the local church today? Compare these terms in Titus 1:5 and 1 Timothy 3:1 in several reliable translations noting the footnotes and looking up the cross-references. What is a pastor / elder / overseer / bishop, according to Scripture? What does he do, according to these passages?

(If you have worked through my study on 1&2 Timothy, you may wish to review your notes on question 3, Lesson 4 for the following question.)

Make a 4-column chart. In the first column of each chart, list each qualification in Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Timothy 3:1-7 for the office of pastor / elder. In the second column, explain what that qualification means. (For example: What does it mean to be “sober-minded” or “hospitable”?) In the third column, explain why this qualification is important in the character of the man and/or in carrying out the duties of the office. In the fourth column, place a check mark if this is a requirement for pastor / elder in both passages. Which of the qualifications are common to both passages? Which are different? Why might Paul have included certain qualifications in one passage, but not the other? How is it beneficial to the church for men in the office of pastor / elder to have these qualifications?

Note the qualification “above reproach” in both the Titus and Timothy passages, paying special attention to the way Paul “bookends” Titus 1:6-7a with this term. How do all the qualifications listed between the two “above reproach bookends” (and after “above reproach” in Timothy) help us to understand what this term means? God could have tied “above reproach” to a man’s business dealings, the community’s or church’s opinion of him, or even his own personal character displayed to others, but what is “above reproach” most closely tied to in both of these passages? Why? Think about this statement: A man can hide his heart from others, but he can’t hide his family. Do agree or disagree in relation to the qualification of being above reproach?

4. How would you break down or outline the types or areas of qualifications in the Titus passage?

  • 6-7a –
  • 7b-8 –
  • 9 –

Why do you think God’s doctrinal requirements come last, after family requirements and personal character? Does it matter how sound and perfect a man’s doctrine is if he doesn’t have a godly heart that’s fleshed out in the fruit of his family and his character displayed to others? How would you answer the question of 1 Timothy 3:5: “for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”

5. Note the “he must” vs. “he must not” qualifications in 6-9. How do these groups of qualifications paint the overall picture of a godly man versus a worldly man? Connect the overall picture of of the godly man above reproach in this passage to the Old Testament concept of blamelessness. We tend to break this passage down and evaluate a man in a “micro” sense on each individual trait, but could another purpose of this passage be to demonstrate the general “macro” type of man who’s qualified for the office rather than a man who is absolutely perfect in each trait mentioned?

6. What are the three doctrinal requirements in verse 9? How does “holding firm to the trustworthy word as taught” equip a pastor to both give instruction in sound doctrine and to rebuke those who contradict it? Some pastors only give instruction in sound doctrine. They refuse or are afraid to rebuke sin in the church, carry out church discipline, biblically address controversial issues (homosexuality, women preaching, etc.), or clearly teach against false teachers and false doctrine. Carefully consider verse 9 again. Are such men biblically qualified to be pastors?

7. Read verse 9 as the introduction to verses 10-16. Note that verse 10 begins with the word “for,” which, in this context means “because”. Why, according to verse 10-16 must a pastor hold to sound doctrine, instruct in sound doctrine, and rebuke those who contradict it? Connect the phrases “they must be silenced” (11) and “rebuke them sharply” (13) back to “rebuke those who contradict it” (9).

Consider the “some pastors only…” from question 6 above and verse 9’s admonition to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine. How does Paul, in 10-16, set an example of how to “do” verse 9 for such pastors as well as for Titus?

8. Examine verses 10-16. What are the problems the false teachers – and/or the church members in Crete who believe their false doctrine – creating in the church? In what ways are these problems similar to the division and dissension created by false teachers and their followers in the church today?

Many professing Christians today consider it “unloving” or “unchristlike” to do exactly what this passage teaches – rebuke false teachers and their followers. Look carefully at the stringent language in this passage. What are some of the words and phrases these professing Christians would object to as “unloving” or “unchristlike” if someone applied them to false teachers today? How does God – Who, remember, is the One who breathed out these words – demonstrate via this passage, that it is His idea and instruction to use stark and stringent language in dealing biblically with false teachers and those who willfully and unrepentantly follow them?

How does instruction in sound doctrine and rebuking those who contradict it eradicate false doctrine, false teachers, and the division they create, and help create orderliness in the church’s fellowship and worship?


Homework

How does an orderly church structure (leadership, hierarchy, etc.) lead to orderly worship? This week, begin to consider how the order and structure in church leadership that God calls for in Titus 1:5-16 affects the order in the worship service that God calls for in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40. Also, compare and contrast the order and structure of the Old Testament system of worship – the leadership, feasts and festivals, rules for sacrifices and offerings, the architecture and design of the tabernacle and temple, etc. – compared to the order and structure of the New Testament church and worship.

Because order and structure in the church is a continuous theme throughout Titus, you may wish to make these comparisons (with 1 Corinthians 14 and with the OT system) each week of the study.


Suggested Memory Verse

Titus Bible Study

Titus: God’s Order of Service ~ Lesson 2

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

Read Titus 1:1-5

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:

Sincerely,

Joe Smith
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?


Homework

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?


Suggested Memory Verse

Titus Bible Study

Titus: God’s Order of Service ~ Lesson 1- Introduction

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”:

Teressa Campbell
Emily Smith
Melany Goblirsch

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 liberallyThe 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.