These small group studies of Titus 1:1-8 contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Titus 1:1-8 Bible Study Commentary And Questions – Qualifications for Elders

Outline

I. Greeting (1-4)
II. Qualifications for elders (5-8)

I. Greeting (1-4)

Discussion Questions

• How does Paul introduce himself?
• What can you learn from his introduction?
• Why was Paul serving?
• What elements can you see in Paul’s life vision here?
• What promise might Paul be referencing in verse 2?
• When and how was this promise manifested?
• Explain how the concept of being “entrusted” with preaching is important.
• What relationship do we see between Paul and Titus?

Cross-References

2 Corinthians 7:6 – But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.

Galatians 2:1, 3 – Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Paul, a servant of God and an apostle – Paul starts off by identifying himself as an apostle. As such, his words carry weight and credibility.

He is also a servant. It was important for Titus, who was also a leader, to remember that leaders are servants. Jesus taught the disciples the concept of servant leadership, revolutionizing how ministry in the church was to be done.

2. For the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge – Here, Paul shares why he did what he did. His service was to build up the faith and knowledge of believers. He wasn’t motivated by money or popularity. He put others’ needs above his own.

3. In hope of eternal life which God promised before the ages began – The end goal of Paul’s calling was that those he ministered to would receive eternal life. Simply put, he was going to heaven and wanted as many as possible to go with him.

The promise Paul refers to may be the one made to Adam and Eve in the garden that their descendant would crush the serpent’s head. It is the first promise of the coming Savior recorded in Scripture.

4. Entrusted with preaching by the command of God – Paul viewed his preaching ministry as a calling God entrusted to him. The word “entrusted” shows that it did not belong to Paul. He was a caretaker. His preaching was through and for the Lord, not for himself. Because God had given Paul this task, his responsibility was to be faithful to carry it out to the best of his ability.

Most things that are entrusted to the care of others have great value. Children, important papers, or a business are all things that might be entrusted to others for a period of time. Entrusted contains the word “trust,” which shows that trust is placed in the person receiving these valuable things. And that person should act in a trustworthy manner.

Application – What has God entrusted to you? How does understanding you have been entrusted with a task affect your attitude toward that task?

5. Titus and his relationship with Paul – Titus was a frequent travel companion of Paul. He served on the team of disciple-makers and church planters that Paul led.

Paul viewed Timothy as his “true child in a common faith.” Most likely, Paul was single. However, he had many spiritual children with whom he shared a close relationship.

This is a reminder of Jesus’ promise about the rewards of sacrificing for God’s kingdom.

Matthew 19:29

Titus was not a tool that Paul used. Paul cared deeply about him. It is a reminder that a team is more powerful than an individual. Paul’s ministry multiplied over vast regions because he trained up like-minded disciples who reproduced.

Ministry is about relationships. A knowledgeable missionary who lacks love and care for others on a personal level is not likely to be successful. Love is the distinguishing mark of believers. It is by our love that others will know we are Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35).

Application – God does not call us to be lone rangers in His service. Rather, we are to be part of a team that loves and cares for one another while serving together. Are you part of a team like that? Do you care for others like that?

II. Qualifications for elders (5-9)

Discussion Questions

• What mission was Titus given?
• Where is Crete?
• What do you observe about the importance of elders?
• What are the benefits of an eldership structure to church governance?
• What other passages teach about the importance of elders?
• Is any other authority structure mentioned in the Bible?
• Are any other authority structures (such as congregational or single-head pastor) acceptable? Why or why not?
• What do you observe about the qualifications for elders?
• Why are these qualifications important?
• Evaluated together, do these mean that an elder must be perfect?
• Do you think this is an exhaustive list of requirements? Why or why not?
• What does it mean to be above reproach?
• What does it mean to be the “husband of one wife?” Must an elder be married?
• If a man has an adult child who turns away from the Lord, is he disqualified from being an elder (6)?
• What is the job of an elder (7)?
• What does an arrogant person look like?
• Why is hospitality important for an elder?
• How does this passage apply to someone who is not (and may never be) an elder?

Cross-References

1 Peter 5:1-5 – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Acts 14:23 – And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 20:28 – Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

1 Timothy 5:17-19 – Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

Exodus 18:21 – Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Titus’ mission to appoint elders in every town – Paul left Titus in Crete (the largest and most populous of the Greek isles). Titus’ mission was to appoint elders in every town. At that time, there was generally one church in one city. Hence, there was an “Ephesian church,” “Colossian church,” etc. Every single church needed elders.

This statement shows us the importance of Biblical eldership in a church. It wasn’t an optional or merely advisable thing. Eldership was necessary for a healthy and functional church. We see no other model endorsed for church authority in the New Testament. The Biblical model is eldership.

2. The office of elder – The words overseer, elder, and shepherd in the New Testament refer to the same office. It is a position of leadership and oversight over a local ch