Titus 1. Forum Discussion

Instructions for appointing Elders/Overseers

Today we will begin our study on the book of Titus. Titus is made up of 3 chapters. It was written by Paul in AD 63 after his first Roman imprisonment. Paul writes this letter to Titus and refers to Titus as his, “True child in a common faith.”   In chapter 1:5 Paul writes to Titus, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.”   Crete was a troubled city with many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers. Paul writes that these deceivers, “Must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain.”   Knowing that Titus’ undertaking will be challenging Paul encourages Titus to:

  • “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
  • “Speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.”
  • “Speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds.”

Paul can relate somewhat to the people of Crete. As he puts it in chapter 3:3, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” He goes on to talk about God’s grace and His love for mankind in the following 2 verses, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.”

Chapter 1 is a short chapter made up of 16 verses. Paul shows his fondness for Titus in his warm introduction.  Verse 5 tells us that it was Paul’s decision to leave Titus in Crete so that he would, “Set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”  He instructs Titus about what Elders should not be.

  • Self-willed
  • Quick-tempered
  • Addicted to wine
  • Pugnacious
  • Fond of sordid gain

Paul also gives instructions about what Elders should be.

  • Above reproach
  • Hospitable
  • Loving what is good
  • Sensible
  • Just
  • Devout
  • Self-controlled
  • Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with their teaching.

Paul paints a dark picture of the situation in Crete: “For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.' This testimony is true."

Paul was exceptional at looking out for the brethren.   He does an amazing job of encouraging and teaching those less experienced than him – as seen in both of his letters to Timothy and now in this letter to Titus. 

Paul understood what it took to establish churches and spread the gospel. He is now preparing the next generation to do the same. Establishing church leaders was an important part in that process. 1 Timothy 5:17 says:

“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”

May God bless all of those that have taken on this noble service to the Lord!



That's an interesting question, and one that should be prayed over at any congregation that is appointing an elder / elders.

My opinion is that you accept the best possible candidate / candidates, meeting as many qualifications as possible. If they meet most, but not all, of the qualifications, pray for wisdom to decide if they are the right choice. If after prayerful consideration, you do not believe they are qualified for the position of an elder, it may be wise to continue your search.

Pat Dermody

I agree with all that you said, Michael, especially about praying for guidance.