Epistle to Titus


This letter to Titus was written around 65 AD from Nicopolis (in southern Greece), which coincidentally was known for its athletic events, something Paul's writings show the apostle was passionate for. Titus would leave Crete to oversee the church in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia), but tradition claims he returned to Crete as bishop, serving in that office until his death as an old man. The epistle to him provides practical outlines for the structure of the church and its elders.



1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

3 But hath in due times manifested his word1 through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife,2 having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine,3 no striker,4 not given to filthy lucre;5

8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.6

10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.7

13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

15 Unto the pure all things are pure:8 but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.9

16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

1 Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to bring God’s elect to faith and acknowledgment of the truth that leads to, and illustrates, godliness,

2 In confidence of eternal life that God, the unlying, promised before the world began,

3 But has, in due time, manifested His declaration through preaching, a task I am appointed to through the command of God our Savior.

4 To Titus, my own son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

5 I left you in Crete so you could finish what we had started, and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed you to do. (But apparently you’ve been having some problems in carrying out this commission, so I advise you as follows:)

6 A qualified candidate should be of sterling reputation, a (non-polygamist), with faithful children who are well-behaved rather than accused of riotous or rebellious living.

7 For a bishop must be upright, as the steward of God, and not self-centered, nor hot-tempered, nor given to drinking, nor a hothead always ready to fight, nor the sort who makes money unjustly.

8 He must love to show hospitality. He must love goodness. He must be sober-minded, fair, holy, and even-tempered,

9 Holding fast the faithful Message as he has been taught, so that he, through sound doctrine, can exhort and convince criticizing unbelievers to accept the Gospel.

10 (Seek for men like this,) for there are many insubordinate, vain-talking deceivers, especially among those from a background mandating circumcision and Torah observance.

11 The mouths of these people must be silenced, for they subvert whole (groups of believers), teaching things they should not--and all for the sake of ill-gotten gain.

12 In fact, Epimenides--himself, a Cretan orator--once made the point: “The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.”

13 I couldn’t have said it better myself! So rebuke those (preaching circumcision and Torah observance) sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

14 Instead of giving in to Jewish fables and extra-biblical commandments of men who turn away from the truth (of salvation by grace, through faith in Christ).

15 “To those who are pure, all things are pure,” but those who are (spiritually) defiled in their unbelief can be pure in nothing, for their mind and conscience is defiled.

16 They claim to know God, but prove they don’t by their deeds, being abominable, disobedient, and useless in so far as doing anything good goes.

1. “Word,” refers to the Decree of God, not the Scriptures.

2. Meaning a non-polygamist.

3. This is not a prohibition against the imbibing of alcohol; Paul is merely stating that elders should not be those whose intake of alcohol exceeds that which is customary in society.

4. A “striker” is a hothead who’s always ready for a fistfight.

5. Meaning someone who is greedy or covetous.

6. A ‘gainsayer’ is someone who speaks against the faith.

7. The quote is from the 6th century BC Cretan poet Epimenides, referred to as a “prophet” because poets in that era were thought to speak under inspiration of the gods. Otherwise, the point is controversial in that it could be viewed as a bigoted denunciation of the entire population of Crete. Paul’s remarks, however, would absolutely have been in keeping with the way everyone viewed the Cretans, for they had an extremely bad reputation even within their own Empire.

8. This was a proverb of the time.

9. Paul's point here is that the mind that does not bring itself into subjection to God's way will always have a perverted outlook. The only cure is repentance and regeneration.




1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God1 be not blasphemed.

6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

7 In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

9 Exhort servants2 to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;3

10 Not purloining,4 but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;5

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar6 people, zealous of good works.

15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

1 But you--speak things which promote sound doctrine:

2 That the aged men be sober-minded, dignified, even-tempered, sound in faith, love, and patience.

3-5 That the older women should likewise display behavior consistent with holiness: Not false accusers, not given to too much wine; and teachers of good things--so they can teach the young women to be sober-minded, to love their husbands and children, and to be discreet, chaste, good housekeepers, and good and obedient to their husbands so that the Message of God is not spoken of in a blasphemous manner (by outsiders).

6 Young men should likewise be exhorted to be sober-minded.

7-8 You, yourself, need to show a pattern of good works by showing incorruptibility in your teaching; and serious, sincere, sound speech that no one can find fault with. Do this so that he who is against the Gospel will be put to shame for having nothing bad to say about you.

9 Exhort slaves to be obedient to their masters, and to perform all their tasks in a way that will please them, instead of back-talking.

10 They should not steal, but should show themselves good and faithful, so that in all things they can be a shining example of the doctrine of God our Savior.

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world,

13 As we fervently await the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works for those in dire need, so their lives show good fruit.

15 Speak words like this, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Tolerate no disrespect from any man (in the church there).

1. Again, “Word of God” means the proclamation of God’s message to mankind, not “the Scriptures.”

2. Should be translated: “Slaves.”

3. “Not answering again” means “Not talking back.”

4. “Not purloining” means “Not stealing.”

5. This verse is controversial, for those who believe Christ is God punctuate it differently than those who don’t, giving radically different meanings to it. Orthodox Christianity sees the verse as saying ‘Jesus Christ is our great God and savior,’ while others see it as saying, ‘Our great God, and in addition our savior, Jesus Christ,’ claiming the verse is talking about the Father and Son, rather than the Son alone. While it can be read that way, the most natural reading is the traditional one.

6. “Peculiar” is an archaic word that in its time meant “something belonging to someone,” rather than “weird.”




1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers,1 to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.

3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;2

6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.3

10 A man that is an heretic4 after the first and second admonition reject;

11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

1 Instruct the believers to be in subjection to the governmental princes and authorities, to obey local magistrates, and be ready to perform every good work.

2 Tell them not to speak evil of any man, and instruct them not to be brawlers, but instead to be gentle, showing meekness to all men.

3 For we, ourselves, also were once foolish, disobedient, and deceived, giving in to different ungodly lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, being hateful, and hating one another.

4-7 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared (in the person of Jesus), He saved us not because of our righteous deeds, but because of His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal through the Holy Spirit, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, being justified by His grace, we should all be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8 What I have just said is something you can place your faith in. And I wish you to affirm these teachings constantly, that those who have believed in God might be careful to pursue doing good deeds, for such deeds are good and profitable to men.

9 But avoid foolish questions, (Jewish) genealogies, and arguments and disputes about the Torah, for they are unprofitable and vain.

10. A man trying to bring sectarian division between Gentiles and Jews in the church should be warned once or twice. After that, have nothing more to do with him (and expel him from fellowship).

11 You can know that such a man is perverted and sinning, and is self-condemned for that.

12 When Artemas or Tychicus arrives there, make haste to come unto me at Nicopolis, for I have determined to winter there.

13 Speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way, and make sure they have all they need.

14 And let our believers learn with us to maintain good works for those in dire need, so they are not unfruitful.

15 All that are with me send greetings. Greet those in the faith who love us. Grace be with you all. Amen.

1. Although the same terms are used in Ephesians regarding spiritual entities, Paul refers here to the Roman governing authorities.

2. This is a very important verse that illustrates the act of salvation is not, as some believe, based on some muddy combination of man’s faith measured against the deeds he does to see if he has truly believed and been found worthy of eternal life--but through the regeneration of the Spirit that can come only by faith (though some would appeal to this verse to show this regeneration comes through Baptism).

3. Another instance where Paul wants the Gentiles to get their minds off the Torah and arguing about whether or how one should keep it.

4. A “heretic” refers here to someone bringing division between Gentiles and Jews, more than simply a person with bad theology.