These small group studies of Titus 1:9-16 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 1:9-16 Bible Study Commentary And Discussion Questions


I. Elders should rebuke false teachers (9-14)
II. A false teacher is exposed by his lifestyle (15-16)

I. Elders should rebuke false teachers (9-14)

Discussion Questions

• What does the phrase “that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine” mean?
• Why must an elder be able to rebuke?
• In what kind of situations should an elder rebuke someone?
• Is this only the job of an elder or of all believers?
• What verbs are used in verse 9?
• What kind of people does an elder need to deal with (10)?
• What is the “circumcision party”?
• Why must these people be “silenced”?
• What should motivate an elder to either speak up or not (11)?
• What do verses 12-13 teach us about man’s sinful nature? Were Cretans just especially sinful?
• What is the goal of the rebuke according to verse 13?
• What are these Jewish myths?
• When a normal church member sees false teaching or someone in sin, what is their responsibility?


Galatians 6:1 – Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

James 5:19-20 – My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 – If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 – And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Hold firm to the trustworthy word – One foundational key of a qualified elder is that he must hold firm to the Word of God. He must stand on it without compromise. It is the absolute standard for the church and believers to live by.

2 Timothy 2:15

Many churches have floundered and eventually fallen away because their leaders stopped holding firm to the Scriptures. They allowed worldly teachings and arguments to win the battle in their minds. Many fell for Darwinism and attempted to compromise with the world by explaining away literal creation and trying to shoehorn the Bible into the theory of evolution. Many more have fallen away because they have abandoned Biblical truth on the design of the family and embraced the world’s false teaching that a person can choose their own reality. Still, others stray because their leaders are holding on to some alternative dogma, such as politics or religion, rather than to the Word.

The number one question you should ask when deciding whether to join a church is, “Is it Bible-believing?” If the leaders do not hold on to the truth of God’s Word–run.

2. Be able to give instruction – An elder is not mandated to be a gifted speaker. In a team of elders, it is undoubtedly beneficial if some have the teaching gift, but it is not required for each elder. Furthermore, a person may have the gift of teaching but not be qualified in other areas.

However, elders should be “able to give instruction.” They should be able to open up the Bible and explain it clearly and logically. This will enable them to answer questions or refute false teaching. Therefore, elders should be students of the Word and able to “accurately divide the Word of Truth.”

3. Rebuke those who contradict it –

An elder must accurately handle the Word of Truth. He must hold on 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 the Scriptures.

There will be false teachers. There will be people who base their opinions on what is popular, what is culturally correct, what is expedient, or 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 – 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. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Unfortunately, where God is working, Satan also is working against Him. Most churches will occasionally run into problems with troublemakers and false teachers.

Where do wolves go? They go where the sheep are.

“The pastor ought to have two voices, one, for gathering the sheep. And another, for driving away the wolves.” – John Calvin

An elder is called to be gentle toward the weak but bold toward the malicious.

Matthew 12:20

One problem is that some leaders generally go one way or the other. Either they are always rebuking and correcting or never doing so. Finding the right balance between knowing when to speak up and when not to can be difficult. Nonetheless, an elder cannot be passive. Overseeing is his duty.

As a shepherd of the flock, an elder cannot sit idly by and let false teachers come in and mislead. He is the one who is charged with the responsibility to speak up and expose any subtle lies or false ideologies that creep in the church.

Reflect – Should a church member be silent when he sees false teaching and wait for the church leader to do something about it? Why or why not?

4. Verse 10 –

Titus 1:10 – For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.

The church is not like some idyllic stained glass window sce