Titus 1

Fighting Bad Teaching With Good


For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would . . . appoint elders in every city (Titus 1:5).

Crete is a large island (approximately 3,220 square miles [8,340 sq km]) in the Mediterranean Sea to the south of Greece. This verse reveals that Paul visited Crete, and since there is no mention of such a journey in the book of Acts, this trip is believed to have occurred after his release from his initial imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28). Paul’s death is usually placed between AD 65 and 67, so he presumably wrote Titus within a few years of his release in 62.

Empty Talkers

For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers (Titus 1:10).

An “empty talker” (Gk. mataiologos) is someone who talked idly or without purpose, a windbag. A “deceiver” (Gk. phrenapatēs) is one who misleads or leads astray. Such men could be illustrated by the Greek philosophers Paul met at Athens, whom Luke characterized as “spending their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21). This mosaic was photographed at the Naples Archaeological Museum.

Destructive Forces

They overthrow whole households (Titus 1:11).

The word “overthrow” (Gk. anatrepō) is a strong word that indicates causing something to fall, to be destroyed, or to be ruined. The idea is illustrated here figuratively by the ruins of a Greek temple. The columns of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia were built of stacked drums. The temple was built in the second quarter of the 5th century BC and continued in use for nearly a thousand years. The Byzantine emperor Theodosius II ordered the temple to be destroyed in AD 426, although many scholars believe the columns shown here may not have fallen until the earthquakes of AD 522 or 551.

Teaching for Greed

Teaching things which they ought not for the sake of sordid gain (Titus 1:11).

The phrase “sordid gain” (Gk. aischrou kerdous) refers to profit that is made in a way that is socially or morally unacceptable. Silver was the most commonly used high denomination coin of that time. Gold coins were in circulation, but were beyond the means of most people, and bronze coins were of little value. Each of the silver coins in this photo was worth about four denarii. This hoard would have been worth more than a year and a half of a good salary (cf. Matt 20:1-13).

A Pure Conscience

To the pure, all things are pure (Titus 1:15).

Paul uses this same phrase “all things are pure” in his discussion of the brother with the weak conscience in Romans 14:20. There, Paul affirmed a Christian liberty that is free from the imposition of commandments of men (as he does here in verse 14), but also admonishes his readers against encouraging fellow believers to engage in any activities against their conscience, such as eating meat offered to idols, drinking wine, etc. (cf. 1 Cor 10). The scene depicted on the krater in this photo shows just such an offering of meat to idols.

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