Stay Healthy in Faith!
Highlights From Titus
THE Christian congregations on the Mediterranean island of Crete were in need of spiritual attention. Who could help them? Why, the apostle Paul’s coworker Titus! He was courageous, qualified to teach, zealous for fine works, and healthy in faith.
Paul visited Crete between his first and second imprisonments in Rome. He left Titus behind on the island to correct some things and to appoint congregation elders. Titus would also be called upon to reprove false teachers and to set a fine example. All of this is revealed in Paul’s letter to Titus, possibly sent from Macedonia between 61 and 64 C.E. Applying the apostle’s counsel can help present-day overseers and fellow believers to be courageous, zealous, and spiritually healthy.
What Is Required of Overseers?
It was necessary to appoint overseers and handle some serious problems. (1:1-16) For appointment as an overseer, a man had to be free from accusation, exemplary personally and in his family life, hospitable, balanced, and self-controlled. He had to teach what is true and to exhort and reprove those expressing contradictory views. Courage was needed because unruly men in the congregations had to be silenced. Especially was this so of those adhering to the circumcision, for they had subverted entire households. Severe reproof would be necessary if the congregations were to remain spiritually healthy. Today, Christian overseers also need the courage to give reproof and exhortation, with a view to building up the congregation.
Apply Healthful Teaching
Titus was to impart spiritually healthful teaching. (2:1-15) Aged men were to be exemplary in moderation, seriousness, soundness of mind, faith, love, and endurance. Elderly women were to be “reverent in behavior.” As “teachers of what is good,” they could help younger women to have the right view of their duties as wives and mothers. Younger men were to be sound in mind, and slaves were to be in subjection to their owners in a manner that would adorn the teaching of God. All Christians were to repudiate ungodliness and live with soundness of mind in this system of things while awaiting the glorious manifestation of God and of Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.” By applying such healthful counsel, let us also ‘adorn the teaching of God.’
Paul’s closing counsel promotes spiritual health. (3:1-15) It is necessary to show proper submission to rulers and to cultivate reasonableness. Christians have the hope of everlasting life, and Paul’s words were to be stressed to encourage them to keep their minds on fine works. Foolish questionings and fights over the Law were to be avoided, and a promoter of a sect was to be rejected after being admonished twice. As elders apply such counsel today, they and their fellow believers will stay healthy in faith.
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Not Enslaved to Wine: Though women must not teach men in the congregation, older sisters can instruct younger women privately. But to be effective in this regard, elderly women must heed Paul’s words: “Let the aged women be reverent in behavior, not slanderous, neither enslaved to a lot of wine, teachers of what is good.” (Titus 2:1-5; 1 Timothy 2:11-14) Because of concern about the effects of drinking, overseers, ministerial servants, and older women must be moderate, not giving themselves to a lot of wine. (1 Timothy 3:2, 3, 8, 11) All Christians must avoid drunkenness and need to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages while doing “the holy work” of preaching the good news.—Romans 15:16; Proverbs 23:20, 21.