Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 18, Tit 1-3

Today's readings are Tit 1-3. Tomorrow's are 1 Pet 1-5.

Titus is the second of the three Pastoral Epistles (letters). It is written to Titus, whom Paul left on Crete to oversee the growth of the church on that Island. 

In Tit 1 we see the instructions to appoint elders, affirming that a plurality of leadership is the preferred structure for the church. The guidelines for choosing elders are similar to the ones seen in 1 Timothy. Paul makes it clear to Titus, however, that the leaders are to be blameless and their doctrinal beliefs should be biblical (Tit 1:6-9). This is necessary for them to be able to refute the false teachers that have entered the Cretan churches and are causing problems.

Paul addresses the various groups in the church in Tit 2. They are to learn how to recognize false teaching by the building up of their spiritual lives. To accomplish this, Titus is to preach sound doctrine which will lead to discernment and godly behavior. All of this is undergirded by God's grace, freely given to them, enabling them to become godly people. From this, we learn that God has graciously enabled us to embrace biblical teaching but our teachers must be carefully vetted and determined to hold to scriptural teaching. To do that, all believers have to be familiar with what the Bible says. While we currently live in a culture that sometimes eschews doctrinal teaching, Paul tells Titus it is foundational to the church. The church cannot live godly lives without the clear and concise teaching of the word of God.

What does godly living look like? We hear the answer in Tit 3:1-2, which tells us we should respect and pray for our civil leaders and those in authority, leading quiet lives that are testimonies to the gospel. Even if those leaders are ungodly, Paul reminds us that we were once like them. We are now the beneficiaries of God's grace and mercy. The effective way to put that on display is to be purveyors of mercy and grace, not sowers of dissension.

This lesson should permeate all our relationships, not just those we have with authorities. We should strive to become living, breathing examples of the gospel and the grace of God.

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