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Let rulers see the good in you1Tell believers they're to obey the government rulers and officials, and to stay alert for opportunities to do something good for someone.
2Tell them not to badmouth anyone. In dealing with other people they should always try to be peaceful, kind, and gentle. 3I can testify that there was a time when we, too, acted like disobedient fools. We got baited and hooked by the sinful pleasures of this world. And we ended up living evil lives. We envied and hated other people. They disgusted us.
Thank God for his kindness4But that all changed.
God our Savior came to us
bringing with him his goodness and kindness.
Not because of anything good we had done,
but because of his mercy.
He washed us spiritually clean.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit
we became new again.
6God, through Jesus Christ our Savior,
poured the Spirit all over us.
7We’re now right with God,
for no reason other than God’s kindness.
We’ve got an inheritance waiting for us, too.
That hope is eternal life. 8You can count on those words. I want you to insist that believers accept these teachings. This way, those who believe in God will be able to devote themselves to doing good things for other people. Everyone can benefit from it.
How to deal with troublemakers9Avoid getting into arguments about dumb ideas, genealogies, and debates about Jewish laws. There’s nothing helpful about that. Talk like that only hurts people.
10If you’ve got a troublemaker causing splits in your group, give that person a first warning and the second morning. After that, give that person elbow room—don’t have anything more to do with the individual. 11People like that are damaged goods, warped in the head. They actually condemn themselves as sinners. They do it by the way they live.
On a personal note12I’m going to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. When that person gets there, please do your best to meet me in Nicopolis. I’m planning to spend the winter there. 13Also, do your best to help the lawyer Zenas along with Apollos when they get ready to leave. Make sure they have everything they need for the trip.
14Also, help our people to get into the habit of doing good things for others, so we can begin to meet the urgent needs ahead. Otherwise, the people are not going to be much good for anything. 15Everyone with me says hello to you. Please give our greetings to those believers who love us. May all of you experience God’s kindness.
Many Bible experts consider these verses, 3:4-7, part of an early Christian song or part of a statement of faith known as a creed.
More literally, “grace.”
Tradition and genealogies were important to observant Jews. In some cases, the family tree determined what a Jew could or couldn’t do. Three families of Jewish priests, about 500 years before Paul, returned from exile in what is now Iraq. But because they couldn’t prove they were priests by tracing their genealogy back to the tribe of Levi, they were disqualified (Ezra 2:61-62). A group of 652 other returning exiles couldn’t even prove they were Jews (Ezra 2:59).
Capital of the Roman province on what is now the west coast of Greece, about 300 miles (480 km) north of Crete.
The people of the island nation of Crete, like most other people around the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, lived under the thumb of the Roman Empire. Why do you think Paul would advise the citizens to obey rulers appointed by an oppressive, occupying invader?
Many Bible experts speculate that Titus 3:4-7 was either an early Christian song or a statement of faith that Christians recited as a creed. What does it feel like to you, lyrics or a creed?
If you had to boil down the message in Titus 3:4-7 to a single statement, what do you think that statement should be?
Paul told Titus, “Avoid getting into arguments about dumb ideas, genealogies, and debates about Jewish laws” (3:9). Bible experts are left guessing what Paul was talking about. Read the footnote about this. Is there anything about this info that rings true or perhaps sounds a little shaky?
LIFE APPLICATION. Paul uses loaded words to describe how sinful people feel about others: “We envied and hated other people. They disgusted us” (3:3). Really? Is that how people outside the faith tend to feel about others they know, such as their family, friends, and coworkers?
LIFE APPLICATION. What you think about Paul’s advice for how to handle the troublemaker who likes to drive wedges between people? Essentially, Paul seems to say we should warn them once, warn them twice, and then make ourselves unavailable to them (3:10).