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 3 Inductive Bible Study
I. Exhortation to a Christian lifestyle (1-2)
II. Our new condition in Christ (3-7)
III. Focus on fruitful things, not meaningless ones (8-11)
IV. Personal instructions to Titus (12-14)
V. Final greetings (15)
I. Exhortation to a Christian lifestyle (1-2)
Who is the “them” in verse 1?
What does it mean to “be subject”?
Who would classify as rulers or authorities?
Which authorities do you have the most difficult time submitting to? Why? What if the authorities are not Christian?
How can you be “ready for every good deed?” What does this imply about how we should approach each day of our life?
What can we do to be peaceable with others? What fi the person is just intent to fight?
As a guy I don’t often think of my role as being gentle, but how can we as guys show gentleness to the people around us?
What is the significance of the adjective “all” in “all men”? How can we show consideration for all men?
Romans 12:18 – As far as it depends on you be at peace with all men.
1. As overseer of the churches on Crete, Titus was responsible to continually exhort the believers there to live in a Christlike way. This is not something that can be done once and then finished. It is like taking a shower or washing the dishes. You never finish these things. They need to be repeated again and again. Christian leaders need to remind the flock again and again how to live and follow Christ. Especially after sharing with some of you guys for 6 years or more, I feel that more and more of what I share is repetition. Most of it is not new anymore. But it is still necessary. Every one of us need reminders and encouragement to keep pushinmg forward in our walks with Christ because the “present age” in verse 12 is evil. The rest of the this chapter is mostly very practical and application oriented. The book of Titus is focused on the qualities of a sound church. And to have a sound church, you must have sound individual believers in the church.
2. The first reminder Titus was to give, was to be subject to authorities. On authorities: Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:12-17. It is not always easy to be subject to authorities. We will all go through life having various authorities at different times including parents, teachers, boss, government, husband, etc. Naturally speaking, no one likes to submit. The very first sin in history was of unsubmission to authority. Satan had a great life in heaven in paradise. He was powerful and beautiful and smart. He had everything he needed to live and be joyful. But for him it wasn’t enough. He lusted for power. He wanted to be in charge. The second sin was once again a rebellion against authority, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command in the garden.
From that time until now, people have resisted authority. Why? Sometimes it is easier to obey authorities than others. For example, if a mother gives a child 100 yuan and tells him to go buy himself something, most children will be delighted to obey their mothers. But if the mother tells the child to stop playing and do his homework, he might not be so happy. You see submission is not doing what we want to do. It is not finding the parts in the Bible that we agree with and following those. Submission requires joyful obedience to things that we don’t enjoy doing, think we could do another better way, or even disagree with. Some might make the excuse that their authority (be it the government, boss, or husband, etc.) is just unreasonable and not worthy to submit to.
But in fact, all authorities are established by God. They are not perfect, but they have a purpose. The Cretans were under the authority of the Roman government. Was that a good government? No, it was pagan, corrupt, war-hungry. It condoned slavery, gladiators, and at times was rife with homosexuality. But Paul still told the people to submit to authority. The Chinese government is not perfect either, but we still must obey it.
3. The believers were also to be ready for every good deed. Two words strike me in that sentence. The first is ready. Doing good deeds is not something that will happen automatically. Our flesh will often resist the chance and instead choose the lazy, easy, or selfish route. I will give two examples. If you are sitting a bus and not mentally prepared or thinking about giving your seat to someone needy, it will be easy to offer excuses or just ignore the need when the chance to give your seat to someone in need comes. The better way to approach it is to have the mentality that you are reserving the seat for the old. Then when you see them, you can jump up and give it to them right away. Some of you remember Woody. He did this. His parents preferred to sit in the back of the bus far away from the door so they wouldn’t have to give up their seats. But Woody would like to choose to sit in the front so that he would have more chances to give his seat to those in need. Another example is giving to beggars. If you are not ready, you will probably just walk past and not offer any assistance. How can you get ready? You could prepare some small bills to have in your wallet all the time so that when you see a a beggar your immediate reaction is help. There are many more examples. We need to be ready all the time.
We know from Ephesians 2:10 that God has prepared good deeds for us to do. We should be looking for these opportunities with our eyes wide open and alert minds (the opposite of those who turn their eyes from and pretend to sleep on the bus when an old or pregnant lady gets on). The second word that strikes me is “every”. Maybe there are some good deeds we like to do (perhaps doing some public service in church where others can see us, giving gifts to our wives, or maybe even some from pure motives like sharing the gospel or doing ministry). There may also be some good deeds we don’t like doing such as the dishes, the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, putting out the trash, showing hospitality to the ungrateful, sending messages, emails, or phone calls to check how brothers/sisters are doing, etc. But we must not pick and choose which good deeds to do just as we cannot pick which authorities to obey or when to obey them. We should do every good deed that God lays on our heart, not just the ones that are more enjoyable for us.
4. Peaceable. We cannot control others’ actions, but we can control our own. What are some principles that will help us be at peace with others? Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 17:14
5. Showing every consideration for all men – We are to show kindness and good deeds not only to those who are believers, those we are comfortable around, or those we like. It says to “all men.” This especially points to those whom it is difficult for us to show kindness and consideration for. Basically we should be others centered and others focused.
II. Our new condition in Christ (3-7)
What is the relationship of verse 3 to verse 2? In what way were you deceived (not only doctrinally, but personally)? In what way were you foolish? Were you envious of others? What is the difference between the world’s wisdom and verses 2-3?
What changed this desperate condition? What is this that appeared? How did He appear?
What does verse 5 tell us about the conditions for salvation? Who saved us (ourselves?)? Why? How? To what degree (6)?
What was the result of this salvation? Heirs of what?
James 3:13-18 – World’s wisdom vs. God’s wisdom.
1. These verses connect back in to the “showing every consideration for all men.” When hearing this, an excuse might pop up, “But they don’t deserve it. They don’t show this kindness to me. They are sinners and they don’t follow God. Etc.” Paul preempts that excuse with a reminder that we were all in the same boat prior to receiving Christ. We are not any better or superior to those who don’t know Christ. In fact, all of us here at one point in our lives didn’t know Christ. All of us were as lost as lost could be. Therefore we should show compassion (and not pride) towards those who are still lost.
2. Foolish. The fool says in his heart there is no good. This doesn’t refer to IQ level, but to spiritual insight and worldview. Discuss each quality of the lost.
3. Deceived. Satan is the master of deception. How does he deceive unbelievers? We must be careful that now that we are believers we practice more discernment and are wary of the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.
4. Pleasures – Luke 17:27.
5. Malice, envy, and hate. We have discussed the first and second sins occurring in history that are recorded. What about the third recorded sin (event)? That was Cain killing his brother Abel because of envy and hate. This rivalry, competition, and selfishness is still corrupting the world today. James 3:13-18 – World’s wisdom vs. God’s wisdom.
6. What is one of the most important single words in the Bible? To me, it is “but.” Such a simple word, but such a powerful one. Without Christ we are lost, desperate, hopeless, deceived, and in bondage to sin. But, BUT. That is not the end of the story. God chose to do something about it. Because of Him, everything changed. Because of Him, we have hope. Because of Him, we are no longer lost, but found.
7. What principles can we learn from verses 4-7? Discussion and discovery.
a) God took the initiative. He took action. He loved us first.
b) He saved us. We didn’t save ourselves.
c) This salvation can not be earned or deserved. It is NOT because of our own deeds. It is NOT because of our own righteousness. Remember back in verse 3. We were lost like everyone else. Because salvation is not from ourselves, we can never be prideful about our salvation or look down on those who are not saved. We are not better than them.
d) This salvation IS from God’s mercy. This is very basic. I hope all of us understand this fact. We are saved by grace, not by works. When you share with others, this must also be emphasized.
e) When we are saved we are washed. Our old is gone. The new has come. We are transformed, regenerated. We are a new person. We must live like this. Do not live like a verse 3 person. Live like a verse 5 person.
f) The Holy Spirit is integral in this process of renewal and regeneration.
g) God is not stingy. Once again we see a superlative word describing the way that God gives grace to us. What is the word? Poured. He pours out the Holy Spirit to us. And richly.
h) We are justified by His grace. Just as if I never sinned. He declares a guilty person innocent because of Christ’s work on the cross.
i) We are heirs with Christ. We are heirs of eternal life. We have hope. Romans 8:17, 1 Peter 1:3-4
III. Focus on fruitful things, not meaningless ones (8-11)
What does Paul mean “this is a trustworthy statement?” What is the application for us based on the fact that this is trustworthy?
If we are not saved by good deeds, what is the point to do them? What should be our attitude toward good deeds? What do you think are some good deeds God might like you to do that you haven’t been doing? Towards your family? Friends? Co-workers?
How are they profitable? Who are they profitable for?
What kind of things would fall into this category of worthless discussions in verse 9? Examples? Do we ever get involved in these worthless debates? Why? So if these are worthless and unprofitable, what is profitable? Does this mean that doctrine is not important?
How would you describe a factious man? What should we do if a divisive person comes to our fellowships/church? Why does it say he is self-condemned?
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, Matthew 18:15-17, Romans 16:17-18 – How to deal with troublemakers in the church.
1. All of the things mentioned in verses 4-7 are not a false hope. They are real and true. It is not something made up as a psychological comfort. They are fact. Because the Word of God and the gospel is true, we can speak out these things confidently. Imagine a debate where one person is unsure of the facts. He doesn’t really know what he believes or why. He doesn’t really believe the things he is arguing about. It would be natural for this person to lack confidence, to be unsure of himself. But we don’t need to be like that. We can speak out boldly and confidently because we KNOW that the Bible is right. We KNOW that one day all the people we share with will know this too. We KNOW that we are on the side of truth. This must give us confidence to speak with authority.
2. How will knowing this is true effect how we live? Well, we know we will be judged one day. We know God will reward us for the good things we have done. We know that the good things we do on earth are meaningful and will have eternal fruit. Simply put, serving Christ has meaning. We have a goal. We have a purpose. What we do on this earth has meaning.
3. This is the second time in this chapter we have seen believers exhorted to do good deeds. This time it says we must be “careful to engage in good deeds.” This is very similar to the exhortation to be ready to do good deeds. We have to set our mind to do it. It won’t happen by chance. How can we be careful to do good deeds? We can write out lists of goals. We can set reminders on our ipads, smart phones, and computers. We can ask the people close to us what things they would like us to do for them. We can pray for opportunities to do acts of kindness for others.
4. Verse 9 refers to foolish debates and discussions. These are debates that have no value, that cannot edify or build up those who listen. This could include arguing about points in the Bible that we cannot know one way or another. For example, what happened to the Ark, what Jesus did before He was 30, what would have happened if Paul didn’t appeal to Caesar, etc. These are just a couple of examples. But the point is, on earth, we cannot know the answers so why waste time debating or arguing about it. Other types of meaningless debates? Other examples could include petty squabbles over insignificant things. Whether to use projector or song sheets, whether to use a podium or a hand mic, whether to serve apple juice or orange juice for snacks, etc. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. We must not get caught up debating the incidentals. Other types could be arguing with false teachers or factious people. This is what the Pharisees kept trying to get Jesus caught up in. They would come with a trick question about the Law designed to trap Jesus. But He didn’t fall for their questions and many times didn’t even answer their questions. It is also not fruitful to argue about non-fundamental doctrines. In general, we must understand that doctrine is meant to shape our behavior. Do not get caught up in doctrine, but miss the basic things we must be doing like loving others, helping others, sharing the gospel, etc. Last time we met we were talking about Jesus’ return. Do you think Jesus would be happy if He returned and found that all the believers were holding meetings, conferences, debates and arguing with each about when he would return or if the trumpet is a real trumpet or figurative or if the church is raptured first or if people can still get saved in the tribulation, etc? I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t be pleased. This is not to say doctrine is not important. We must study the Word to know the truth. But we must not get caught up in incidental things.
5. Discuss verse 10-11.
IV. Focus on fruitful things, not meaningless ones (8-11)
Why do you think Paul wanted to see Titus?
What final tasks/instructions did Paul give to Titus in verses 13-14?
What phrase do we see here again for the third time in this chapter?
Review again good deeds and verse 14. Discuss applications. How can we apply the exhortations to doing good deeds that we see repeated three times in this chapter? Will it do us any good to learn about doing good deeds if we don’t do any more than before?
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