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.

Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 13 – Wrap Up

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Wrap Up

Questions to Consider

1. Was there anything new God taught you in this study that particularly impacted you? What was it, and why was it so significant?

2. How is your walk with the Lord different after this study than it was before?

3. What did you learn from this study about what your relationship with, and response to God’s Word should be like?

4. What did this study teach you about obeying God’s Word?

5. What did this study teach you about the nature and character of God?

6. Have there been any passages or concepts in this study that God used to convict you of disobedience and lead you to repentance? How will you walk differently in this area from now on?

7. What did this study teach you about prayer?

8. Describe one specific, practical way you will apply to your life something you learned in this study.


Homework

Spend some time in prayer this week asking God to show you how to put into practice one thing you learned from this study.

Recite all of your memory verses from this study. Which one is most meaningful to you right now?

Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 12

TOMORROW will be our wrap up lesson for Psalm 119. Don’t miss it!

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Read Psalm 119:161-176

Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.

Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.

Recall the themes you’ve been noticing in Psalm 119. Watch for those themes to be repeated in today’s and future passages. You may wish to make a list of those themes to refer to throughout this study.

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?

2. Write down each phrase in 161-164, 167 that follows the general pattern: “I / my [heart attitude] at Your Word, law, etc.”. Compare the posture of your heart toward God’s Word with that of the psalmist’s. Take a moment to ask God to help you stand in awe, rejoice at, etc., His Word.

Second Corinthians 13:5 tells us to test ourselves to see if we are, indeed, in the faith. The book of 1 John emphasizes the tests of obedience to the Word and love for the brethren. John 10 shows us the test of rejecting false teachers. Could the phrases you wrote down from 161-164, 167, help you test yourself regarding your love for God’s Word? Since even the finest Christian will never love God’s Word perfectly 100% of the time, what would passing the test of loving God’s Word look like? What role does God play in your ability to love His Word?

Once you’re done with this question, you might enjoy reading my article The Mailbag: I love the Bible, but I have to force myself to read it (Don’t think the psalmist didn’t feel that way sometimes, too.)

3. What kinds of things would the psalmist have considered to be “great spoil”? (162). When you get right down to it, aren’t money, jewels, gold, and silver essentially just paper, rocks, and metal? Why do they have value? Who assigns them their value? Is it ultimately our place to assign value to things? Why or why not? Do we incorrectly over or under value certain things?

Consider this statement: “It’s not our place to assign value to things. It’s God’s place. It’s our place to agree with Him and value the things to which He has assigned value.” Agree of disagree? Why? Does Scripture have intrinsic, ontological value, or assigned value, or both? Explain your answer.

4. Verse 165 is the only verse in Psalm 119 in which the psalmist uses the word “peace”. How does loving God’s Word give Believers peace? Can an unbeliever truly love God’s Word or derive real peace from it? Why not?

5. What does the psalmist mean by “all my ways are before you” (168), and why does this fact lead him to keep God’s precepts and testimonies? Ponder for a moment that all your ways are before God. In what ways does this realization make you want to better keep God’s precepts and testimonies in your own life?

6. Revisit lesson 11 (link above), question 4, and compare 169-170 to the “Give me _____ according to your_____,” verses there. What similarities do you see? Differences?

7. In question 2, the verses we looked at all dealt with the internal response of the heart toward God’s Word. How would you characterize the response to God’s word in 171-172? For a Believer, why is it; a) natural, and b) important that God’s word evokes both an internal and external response in us? How, and why, should pondering God’s Word move us to worship Him?

8. Compare the sheep motif of 176 to these passages. What is the perspective from which each of these passages is written? Is the focus of each of these passages on the individual sheep, the flock, the shepherd, etc.? Are any of these passages (or any other “sheep” or “shepherd” motif passages you can think of) written from the perspective of an individual “sheep” saying “I have gone astray” as 176 is? What does the psalmist mean when he says he has gone astray like a lost sheep, and then asks the “Good Shepherd” to seek him? How does he know he has gone astray? If he knows he has gone astray, why doesn’t he just go back? Why does he need the shepherd to seek him? What does “I do not forget Your commandments” mean in relationship to all of this? How does the Lord restore us to Himself after we sin?


Praying Psalm 119

Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)

The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?

What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.


Suggested Memory Verse

Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 11

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Read Psalm 119:145-160

Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.

Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.

Recall the themes you’ve been noticing in Psalm 119. Watch for those themes to be repeated in today’s and future passages. You may wish to make a list of those themes to refer to throughout this study.

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?

2. Let’s look at a few themes in today’s passage.

The first is the theme of the psalmist’s imploring. Make a list of all the phrases in this section which indicate imploring (e.g. “Answer me, O Lord”). Who is he imploring, for what, and why? When we implore someone about something, what does our imploring indicate that we believe about that someone? What does the psalmist’s imploring God indicate he believes about God? Is his belief correct? How do we know this? Think of a time when you implored God about something. What did your imploring indicate you believed about God? Regardless of how He answered, was your belief correct? How do you know?

Our next theme is the theme of night. Which two verses in this passage contain this theme? What is “the watches of the night” (148), and what does the psalmist mean in this verse? (It may help to compare a few different translations.) What sort of picture do darkness and night paint in this passage? What is the antidote to darkness and night in this passage?

The third theme is the theme of far and near. Which verses explore this theme? In each instance, list what is far from or near to what. In what ways are far and near contrasted? In each instance of far or near, note whether the psalmist is indicating that far or near is a good thing or a bad thing. Have you experienced any of these instances in your own life? What does this teach us about salvation and the nature and character of God?

The final theme is the theme of hope. Which verse explicitly declares the psalmist’s hope? What does he hope in, and why? Make a list of other phrases in today’s passage which implicitly indicate the psalmist’s hope. Who or what does he hope in? How does this hope ease the tension of, and comfort him in his affliction? Do you have that same hope in Christ? Write out a few statements of your own hope in Christ and His Word modeled after the structure of verse 147 (e.g. “I [negative circumstance], but I hope in [characteristic of God / the Word].)

How do the themes of imploring, night, far and near, and hope relate to and inform one another in this passage?

Did you notice any other themes in today’s passage? Explore them using your cross references. How do they connect to the aforementioned themes?

3. Note the word “promise” in 148. In this context, does “promise” mean Scripture in general, a specific verse or promise, the nature and character of a God who keeps His promises, all of the above? Explain why. (Again, it may help to compare a few different translations.)

4. How many times, and in which verses, does the psalmist use the phrase “give me life according to Your…”? How does the first line of each verse inform or relate to the “give me life” part of the verse? What are the three “according to’s” in these verses?

Whenever God acts in any way, in any circumstance, explain how and why He always acts:

  • according to His promise:
  • according to His rules:
  • according to His steadfast love:

Can you think of some examples from Scripture in which we see God acting according to His promise, according to His rules, and according to His steadfast love? What about some examples from your own life?

5. Make a list of each phrase in today’s passage in which the psalmist is basically saying, “I obey Your Word.”. Do you get the sense that the psalmist is saying to God, “I obey You, therefore, You owe me X,Y, and Z.”? That God should react to his obedience as a quid pro quo? Why or why not?

Remember that, unlike Christians today, the psalmist was living under the Mosaic covenant. Under this covenant, God promised to bless Israel’s families, fields, flocks, finances, and fighting men if they obeyed Him, and to curse them in all of these areas if they disobeyed him. This was the air the psalmist breathed that informed his view of God, his relationship to God, and how he expected or anticipated that God would act in his life. Knowing this background, why do we see this repeated refrain of “I keep Your commandments,” especially when the psalmist is suffering, in today’s passage and throughout Psalm 119? What is the psalmist reminding himself of – about himself and about God – by repeating this again and again? How does “holding God to His Word” demonstrate the psalmist’s trust in God to keep His promises? Explain how the psalmist’s constant cry of “I obey Your Word” calls upon God to be God – to act in accord with His nature and character, to keep the promises He made in the Covenant, and to act within the parameters of the Covenant.

How is the psalmist’s brand of “stake my life on it, total obedience, so much so that I don’t get why God hasn’t acted yet” faith and belief different from the easy, shallow, mental assent, untested “I love Jesus” brand of belief that requires nothing of, and demonstrates nothing about the “believer,” that we see in so many professing Christians today? Which type of belief is Jesus calling us to when He says “Repent and believe the gospel,” and Paul and Silas, when they said to the Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”? How is this type of “stake my life on it” belief different from both the works righteousness, “quid pro quo” type of “belief” in God and the easy / shallow type of “belief” in Jesus? How is the posture of the psalmist’s heart, and the genuinely regenerated Believer’s heart different from the posture of heart of those who subscribe to these other two forms of “belief”?


Praying Psalm 119

Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)

The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?

What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.


Suggested Memory Verse

Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 10

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Read Psalm 119:129-144

Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.

Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.

Recall the themes you’ve been noticing in Psalm 119. Watch for those themes to be repeated in today’s and future passages. You may wish to make a list of those themes to refer to throughout this study.

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?

2. As you have been studying Psalm 119, have you noticed that everything in the psalmist’s life is oriented toward God and His Word? I illustrated his God-ward orientation like this in my own notes: “Let me eat my Wheaties so I’ll have the strength to obey Your Word.” “Even when I’m brushing my teeth, I long for Your statutes.” Explain the psalmist’s desire, reflected in today’s passage, to have everything in his life: his heart, his actions, his environment, and his relationships with others, align with, be saturated with, and be enthralled with God’s Word. Compare that desire to these passages. What does it mean to glorify God in whatever we do? To desire God’s will in every circumstance? Explain the friction and tension sin – our own sin, others’ sin, and living in a fallen world – creates as it works against that desire. When and how will this conflict between sin and God’s will and His glory be resolved?

3. How is Psalm 119 – as a whole, and today in verses 132-135 – a model for our prayer life? Compare the psalmist’s prayer in this passage to the Lord’s Prayer. Would it be a right handling of God’s Word to see the Lord’s Prayer as sort of a general, condensed version of the prayers we see in Psalms, especially Psalm 119? How does this similarity in prayer from the Old Testament to the New Testament to today reflect God’s immutability – His unchanging nature?

4. Read verses 136 and 139 together. Describe the two reactions the psalmist has to others’ sin. Why does he react to others’ sin this way? List some reasons. Do you react to others’ sin (and not only sin that directly affects you) in the same way as the psalmist, and for the same reasons? What is it about our new nature in Christ that moves our hearts to view and respond to sin this way?

5. How many times are the words right, righteous, and righteousness used in 137-144? Define righteousness. Explain in your own words what each of these occurrences of right/righteous/righteousness means in this passage. Describe how the concept of righteousness “bookends” (137 & 144) this passage. Who/what is righteous? How is He/it righteous? How are we to respond to that righteousness? How does the righteousness described here help us to have confidence in God and His Word? How does it lead us to trust God and His Word?

6. Compare and contrast the reaction to sin of #4 with the righteousness of #5. How are they connected? Is it possible to have one without the other? Why or why not?


Praying Psalm 119

Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)

The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?

What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.


Suggested Memory Verse