Titus 1-2, Psalm 118


Paul commands Titus to straighten out what is “left unfinished” by appointing elders for the churches on the small Greek island of Crete. As Paul describes the qualities he expects of elders, after reading 1 Timothy, we might anticipate his description of godly leaders as “self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined” (Titus 1:8). Perhaps we don't expect the portrayal of an elder as one guarding the Gospel by “refuting those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9) Paul goes on to add that some disruptive people “must be silenced” (Titus 1:11) and even “rebuked sharply” (Titus 1:13) This does not mean an elder should be temperamental. Instead they should respond with strength and boldness in rooting out opposition, false teaching, or disruptive behaviors. To summarize how Paul guides elders to engage conflict: elders should have self-controlled strength in the word of God for the good of the church. At times this strength might come across to wicked teachers and agitators as aggressive. This direct and confrontational approach is only that the Gospel might be honored and God's people protected, but never to puff up an elders ego or that they might display machismo. This protection of the body is necessary to enable the teaching and learning environments that Titus chapter 2 portrays so wonderfully; for elders to equip other older men and women to train up the next generation. May God give us the sort of leaders and churches Titus 1-2 portrays.