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From Paul, God’s willing slave[a] and an apostle of Jesus, the Anointed One, to Titus.[b] I’m writing to you to further the faith[c] of God’s chosen ones and lead them to the full knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, which rests on the hope of eternal life. God, who never lies,[d] has promised this before time began. In his own time he unveiled his word through the preaching of the gospel, which was entrusted to me by the command of God our Life Giver.[e]

Titus, you are my true son in the faith we share. May grace and peace descend to you from God the Father and our Savior, the Anointed One, Jesus!

Qualities of Church Leaders

The reason I stationed you in Crete[f] was so that you could set things in order and complete what was left unfinished,[g] and to raise up and appoint church elders[h] in every city, just as I had instructed you. Each of them must be above reproach, devoted solely to his wife,[i] whose children are believers and not rebellious or out of control. The overseer, since he serves God’s household,[j] must be someone of blameless character and not be opinionated or short-tempered. He must not be a drunkard or violent or greedy. Instead he should be one who is known for his hospitality and a lover of goodness.[k] He should be recognized as one who is fair-minded, pure-hearted, and self-controlled. He must have a firm grasp of the trustworthy message that he has been taught. This will enable him to both encourage others with healthy teachings and provide convincing answers to those who oppose his message.

False Teachers

10 There are many wayward people, smooth talkers, and deceivers—especially the converts from Judaism.[l] 11 They must be silenced[m] because they are disrupting entire families with their corrupt teachings, all for their dishonest greed. 12 A certain one of them, one of their own prophets,[n] said, “Those Cretans are nothing but liars, worthless beasts, and lazy gluttons.”[o] 13 He certainly knew what he was talking about! For this reason, correct them thoroughly so that their lives will line up with the truths of our faith. 14 Instruct them not to pay any attention to Jewish myths or follow the teachings of those who reject the truth.

15 It’s true that all is pure to those who have pure hearts, but to the corrupt unbelievers nothing is pure. Their minds and consciences are defiled. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are disgusting, disobedient, and disqualified from doing anything good.


  1. 1:1 Or “bondservant.”
  2. 1:1 Although the name Titus is not found until v. 4, it is included here to enhance the understanding of Paul’s introduction.
  3. 1:1 Or “according to the faith of God’s elect.”
  4. 1:2 Paul is making quite a statement in this verse. Zeus was said to have been born in Crete, and Cretans were known to be liars (1:12). So Paul is saying to the Cretans that our God is greater than Zeus and he never lies!
  5. 1:3 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “Savior.”
  6. 1:5 A Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Paul’s ship had stopped on the way to Rome at Fair Havens, a small harbor on the southern coast of Crete (Acts 27:7–12).
  7. 1:5 The unfinished work would be bringing believers into maturity in Christ and raising up godly, qualified leaders who could teach the church and lead it forward.
  8. 1:5 Or “ordain elders.” This is the Greek word presbyteros, which means “senior leaders.” These are church elders who would function as overseers, teachers, and shepherds of God’s flock. The same Greek word is used for women in 1 Tim. 5:2. Although generally assumed to be male in the cultural context of that day, there is nothing to indicate that presbyteros is gender exclusive. The church elder is called an “overseer” (or “bishop”) in v. 7, which indicates that both terms speak of the same office and are synonymous.
  9. 1:6 Or “the husband of one wife” or “married only once.”
  10. 1:7 Or “God’s steward.”
  11. 1:8 The Aramaic can be translated “one who nurtures goodness” (in others). We would say, “one who brings out the best in others.”
  12. 1:10 Or “those of the circumcision” (group), i.e., Jewish converts. Paul is pointing to three types of people who will refute and argue with church leaders: rebels, empty talkers, and deceivers. The leaders (elders) must be faithful to the Scriptures in order to correct them and set them in order.
  13. 1:11 Or “reined in.” The Greek word epistomizo is used for the reins of a horse.
  14. 1:12 Although the Greek uses the word prophet, it is not used here in the biblical sense of a “prophet” of God, for the author of this proverb was a pagan.
  15. 1:12 A quote from the Oracles of Epimenides, a six-century BC poet. The first line is quoted from The Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus.

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