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Titus 1:9

ESV He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
NIV He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
NASB holding firmly the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
CSB holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.
NLT He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.
KJV 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.
NKJV holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

What does Titus 1:9 mean?

This is final verse listing qualifications for local church elders. The first requirement in verse 9 is "holding firm" to truth, as taught in the Word of God. One key distinction of an elder is the ability to persist in correct interpretation of God's truth. This was demanded of Jewish religious leaders (Ezra 7:10), and remained a key expectation of New Testament elders. Second Timothy 2:22 echoes this idea, explaining the need to find faithful men who are able to teach others the truth.

An elder must hold firm for two reasons. First, an elder must be able to teach God's truth, which requires a stable understanding of spiritual things. This is both a spiritual gift (Romans 12:7) and a skill which has to be developed (2 Timothy 2:15). Second, an elder must stand firm in order to counter those who contradict the truth. Titus faced many false teachings. He and the chosen elders had to be ready to stand against false teachings while promoting "sound doctrine," or healthy teachings, to those under their care. Standing firm requires both a solid offense and defense in communicating God's truth.
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