Titus 1


Chapter 1

Address. 1 Paul, a servant of God[b] and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of those whom God has chosen and their knowledge of religious truth, 2 with its hope of eternal life that God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and who now at his appointed time has revealed his word through the proclamation with which I was entrusted by the command of God our Savior, 4 to Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share:[c] grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.[d]

Church Organization

A Bishop Must Be Blameless.[e] 5 The reason I left you behind in Crete was so that you could finish up the work that remained to be done and appoint presbyters in every town as I directed you. 6 Each man must be blameless and the husband of only one wife, with children who are believers and free from any suspicion of licentious or rebellious behavior.

7 For in his role as God’s steward a bishop[f] must be blameless. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or prone to drunkenness or violent or avaricious. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. 9 In addition, he must hold firmly to the authentic message he has been taught, so that he may be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.

10 For the Pure All Things Are Pure.[g] For there are also many rebellious people, especially among the Jewish converts,[h] who deceive others with their empty talk. 11 It is essential to silence them, since they are ruining whole households by teaching for dishonest gain what it is not right to teach. 12 It was one of their very own prophets, a man from Crete, who said,

“Cretans have always been liars, vicious beasts, and lazy gluttons.”

13 This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply so that they may be restored to a sound faith, 14 rather than paying attention to Jewish myths or to the commandments of those who turn away from the truth.

15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are corrupt and without faith nothing is pure.[i] Their very minds and their consciences have been corrupted. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds. They are detestable and disobedient, totally unfit for any good work.


  1. Titus 1:1 In this beautiful salutation the author highlights the centrality of the Letter’s salvation theme in two ways. (1) He defines the role of an apostle—to tell all people of God’s plan to lead them to eternal life. (2) He specifically mentions Christ’s role as Savior, which he does in no other salutation.
  2. Titus 1:1 Servant of God: this is the only place Paul applies the phrase to himself; elsewhere he calls himself “servant of Christ” (see Rom 1:1; Gal 1:10; Phil 1:1). Apostle: see note on Mk 6:30.
  3. Titus 1:4 God our Savior . . . Christ Jesus our Savior: the term “Savior” is applied three times to God the Father (here and Tit 2:10; 3:4; see also 1 Tim 1:1; 2:3; 4:10) and three times to Jesus (Tit 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; see also 2 Tim 1:10).
  4. Titus 1:4 My loyal child in the faith we share: Titus is Paul’s true child because he accepts and will proclaim the faith that Paul preaches. This links Titus with the developing chain of tradition.
  5. Titus 1:5 The young communities remain under the direct supervision of the Apostle or his delegate. But the latter establishes a group of people entrusted with its day-to-day operation and regular instruction. Such delegates are given various names in the New Testament: presbyters, bishops, and pastors. Each one seems to be responsible for the community.
    After the disappearance of the Apostles and their immediate delegates, the situation will evolve; the community will be led by a bishop, who presides over the college of priests and the group of deacons. At the time of this Letter, the leaders possess an authority linked to that of the Apostle. They must truly imitate his manner of life and also fulfill the primary task of preaching the word of God.
  6. Titus 1:7 Bishop: (i.e., “overseer”) this term could replace presbyter (i.e., “elder”: vv. 5-6) because the two were equivalent at that time (see Acts 20:17, 28).
  7. Titus 1:10 There will always be troublemakers who profit from fables and practices that they propagate; they monopolize religion instead of entering into the Gospel. The important thing, Jesus had declared (see Mk 7:1-23), was not to wash one’s hands or to forbid foods but to give oneself to God with an upright and sincere heart (see Mt 5:8). The author sternly reminds the Cretans of their now firm reputation as liars, and he does not miss the opportunity to cite (in v. 12) a saying (which had become a veritable proverb) of one of their poets, Epimenides of Cnossos, who lived in the sixth century B.C.
  8. Titus 1:10 Jewish converts: literally, “those of the circumcision.” These individuals (who have come to be called “Judaizers”) had two basic characteristics: (1) the belief that Christians had to be circumcised and also keep the Jewish ceremonial law (see notes on Gal, ch. 2); (2) a fondness for unscriptural Jewish myths and genealogies (see note on 1 Tim 1:3-20).
  9. Titus 1:15 This is a proverb that takes on a Christian meaning (see Mt 15:10-20; Rom 14:14-23). Christians have been purified by the sacrificial Death of Christ. Hence, to them “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided that it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:4). On the other hand, to those who are corrupt and without faith, nothing is pure. They set up man-made prohibitions against certain foods, marriage, and the like (see Mt 15:10-11, 16-20; Mk 7:14-19; Acts 10:9-16; Rom 14:20).

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