More Instructions to Titus (2:15)

Paul's thought turns briefly to remind Titus of his duty in relation to the doctrine just laid down (these . . . things refers at least to vv. 1-14, perhaps also to 1:5-16). In the original Greek sentence three verbs combine to describe Titus's responsibility toward the Cretan churches. First, he must teach (literally, "speak") this doctrine. Thus at the outset Paul emphasizes the need to communicate not only the practical teaching of verses 1-10 but also the content of the creedal material in verses 11-14, particularly as the latter provides the reason and basis for the former.

The following two verbs, encourage and rebuke, reveal the two main thrusts of communication. Encourage can also mean "urge" and "exhort." In any case, it is a positive use of Christian doctrine for edification. Rebuke, however, is corrective in its thrust and implies that Paul's teaching is also designed to get wayward believers back on track (1:13; 2:1). Of course, uppermost in Paul's mind here are the effects of the false teaching on the conduct of individual Christians in Crete.

As one chosen by God to serve the churches, the Christian teacher or leader has authority to carry out such a command. Titus, as the apostle's delegate, shared Paul's authority. The gravity and need of the situation required that the people recognize that this doctrine was to be accepted and responded to as God's instruction. These were not merely helpful suggestions, but divine commands.

It is in view of this delegated authority that the personal command is given: Do not let anyone despise you. Obviously, neither Titus nor any Christian leader can control the feelings and actions of others. And in this situation Paul anticipated opposition to his delegate's authority (1:9-10, 13; 3:10). But for his part Titus was to insist on his authority (and not allow others to ignore him or "go over his head") and behave in a commendable manner (so that no one would question his suitability to lead). Christian leaders should keep in mind that authority and exemplary behavior are to be inseparable.

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