These small group studies of Titus 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 1:7-16 Inductive Bible Study
I. Qualifications for an elder continued (7-8)
II. The elders must rebuke and teach against the worthless men who would mislead others (9-16)
Why are they called overseers? What does this tell us about he job of the elder? In what way, does God want Christian leaders to lead?
1. As overseers, they must serve the people under them.
2. As overseers they must use the Word to correct, teach, and rebuke the people God has put under them. 2 Timothy 3:16.
3. As overseers, they must train the people of God to do the work of God (not do it all themselves). Ephesians 4:11-13
God’s Steward. What has God entrusted to him? Matthew 25:14-30 (parable of the talents), Luke 16:10 (faithful little, much), Hebrews 13:17 (stewards of the flock)
Not self-willed – Why do you think this quality is important? As an elder, you are in a way responsible for others. You cannot be selfish or put yourself over others. Also there is a plurality of elders, meaning you can’t make all decisions on your own. It is important to be a team player and cooperate in harmony with other elders and the whole church. This doesn’t mean weak or directionless or compromising. Elders must also take a stand for what is right even if that stand is unpopular. Remember what we learned in Exodus 23:2 (do not follow the masses in doing evil.)
Not quick-tempered – Do you think being an elder is easy? What makes it difficult? What might make an elder lose his temper?
It is not always easy being an elder. A lot of people go to church and are takers and complainers and arguers, whiners, criticizers, etc. Not all churchgoers are saints. An elder might get complaints about the seating structure, about the music (it is too loud, it is not loud enough), about the temperature (it is too hot, it is too cold), about the preaching style or content, about Sunday school, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. If an elder has a quick temper, he will often lose it and be a bad testimony. Someone might come to him to complain and he says, “Fine, you don’t like the way we do it. How about you!! You don’t do anything! From now on, you do it your way. I quit!!
Not addicted to win – Ephesians 5:18. By extension an elder should be addicted to any sins (that would mean he is not above reproach.) As believers, we should all seek to live a sin-free life free of any addictions left from our our old life. Romans 6:8-14
Not pugnacious – This means “ready to fight” and is quite similar to the one about not being quick-tempered. Elders need to be peacemakers in a very real sense, making peace between people and God by sharing the gospel and making peace between people and people by encouraging tolerance over non-foundational issues.
Not fond of sordid gain (lover of money) – See 1 Timothy 6:3-10. Just as all believers, elders can have only one master, not two, not both God and money. Unfortunately, in the history of the church all kinds of problems and bad testimonies have been created by pastors/church leaders who got their positions because of a love of money rather than from a love of God and His people. For hundreds of years, many pastors became pastors because it was a stable, well paid profession, not because they sought to spread God’s Word. Why is this so dangerous for the church? These leaders have the wrong goals and motivations. If you start off with the wrong goals and motivations for doing something, not much good can come of it. What can a church do to help prevent this? Keep finances above board and public information and do thorough investigation about potential leaders/pastors before asking them to take the positions.
Verse 8: Notice there are some negative things (not, not, not and some positive things)
Hospitable – Why is this required? Elders will have many opportunities to show hospitality. They can open their homes to the people of the church and those in need, invite newcomers for meals, etc. 1 Peter 4:8-10
Loving what is good – This one seems pretty self-explanatory. However, I really like this requirement. It shows a certain passion. It is not just “doing what is good.” It is not just having the right actions and habits. It is enjoying doing what is good, doing them happily for the sake of doing right rather than from any selfish motivations. A person who loves what is good will end up doing what is good most of the time.
Sensible – An elder should have common sense. He should be well-grounded. He should be able to think about things logically and analytically. He will handle many requests and petitions. He needs to be able to practice discernment in decision making.
Just – Why do you think this requirement is so important for a leader in the church? How might an elder who is unjust disrupt or harm a church? By showing partiality to one group over another group he will create resentment and bitterness and the church will be easily divided. An elder needs to be able to put his own emotions aside and listen to the full story and make a just an informed decision. James 2:1-7, Exodus 23:3, 6. One application of that is that an elder should hear both sides before making a decision. Proverbs 18:17, something that we would be wise to do as well (when dealing with our kids or friends who disagree or co-workers, etc.).
Devout – An elder must be committed. Normally elders are “recognized” more than chosen. That means that they have proven these mature qualities over a period of time and then the other elders recognize that they are already functioning as an elder in the church. “Devoutness” is not something that is easy to be faked for a long period of time.
Self-controlled – A fruit of the Spirit.
II. The elders must rebuke and teach against the worthless men who would mislead others (9-16)
One absolutely foundational key of a qualified elder is that he must hold fast the Word of God. He must stand on it without compromise. It is the absolute standard for the church and for believers to live by. 2 Timothy 2:15
What verbs are used in verse 9? An elder must accurately handle the Word of Truth. He must stick to sound doctrine and use this to exhort the members of his church to godly living. At the same time, the elder must refute those who contradict. There will be false teachers. There will be people who base their opinions on what is popular, on what is culturally correct, on what is expedient, or on what makes them feel good. An elder must not give in to these people. He must stand on the Word of God without moving and use it to rebuke those who want to cause trouble.
Acts 20:28-32. The overseers must protect the flock from the wolves.
These verses go into more detail about what elders at that time (and really in all times) are up against. Unfortunately where God is working, Satan also is working against Him. Most churches will occasionally run into some problems with trouble makers (I know even some here who teach at Shamian have run into some)..
Verse 10. At that time especially there were a lot of troublemakers. Who was the biggest group? The biggest group was the circumcision. That means Jews. These were Jews who opposed Christianity or at least wanted to greatly alter it. They followed Paul and other missionaries around to disagree with them, stir up trouble with authorities, and try to create divisions and problems in the churches.
Verse 11. It fell to the elders to deal with these people, making it all the more crucial to put godly elders into place. Why were these troublemakers doing this? They had evil motivations, notably money. If they could get a group to follow them, then this group might support them. At least they could gain power and influence and a following. The elders were to silence them. How to do that? They must use the Word to preach the truth so clearly that the enemies of Christ would be shown to be liars to the entire group so that nobody would listen to them.
Apparently one of this group of troublemakers made the statement that all Cretans were liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. Paul agrees with him in a kind of sarcastic way and therefore applies this statement to the very troublemakers that uttered it.
Verse 13. What was the goal of rebuking these people? The goal was that they would eventually be sound in faith, that they would repent of their own motivations and turn to God. This is always the ultimate goal of rebuke. We don’t rebuke for the sake of rebuking. We rebuke and correct. We tell a kid “no” not so that he will feel bad and go into a corner and hide and do nothing. We tell him “no” to some things and “yes” to others and encourage him to do the right way the next time.
As an apostle, Paul was not afraid to use his authority (and tell Titus and then the elders to do that as well. This the responsibility of leadership. Notice it says “reprove severely.” But at other times Paul commended. He prayed for the people. He taught the people, etc. His approach was well rounded. If an elder only rebukes people in the church without any positive exhortations I am pretty sure the church will quickly dwindle in size. If a pastor only praises (ear tickler), a church OTOH, might explode in size, but that is not the goal either.
Verse 14. Jewish myths – These were the same kinds of human traditions and additions to Scripture that Jesus taught against, Matthew 15:1-9.
Verse 15. Paul applies this verse to the group of troublemakers so we should be careful not to take it out of context. His point is that their mind and motives are corrupt and therefore everything they do, even seemingly pure/innocent/good things is corrupt by extension. Their selfish motives pollutes the things they do although some of those things appear good on the surface.
On the other hand, the one who loves what is good, will do things with the right motivation.
Verse 16. Actions speak louder than words. You will know a tree by its fruit. This group of people can talk a good game. They might sound convincing. Their talk is probably smooth and persuading. Yet their actions reveal that they don’t belong to Christ. Are you just talking the talk, or are you walking the walk?