Titus 3:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Titus 3:9, NIV: "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless."

Titus 3:9, ESV: "But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless."

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

Titus 3:9, NASB: "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are useless and worthless."

Titus 3:9, NLT: "Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time."

Titus 3:9, CSB: "But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and worthless."

What does Titus 3:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After giving Titus many positive instructions, Paul tells him four areas which he should avoid. First, Titus is to avoid "foolish controversies," or "foolish debates." Bickering over certain issues is poisonous to the Christian life. Paul took this so seriously that, in verse 10, he commands Titus to completely cut off a divisive person after giving them a second warning.

Second, Titus was to avoid genealogies. This sounds like an odd point, but certain false teachers took great pride in proving that they were direct descendants of Abraham. Yet God is not concerned with who one's parents are—He is concerned about our salvation. Titus was a Gentile and had no Jewish lineage. Instead of comparing family history, Titus is preach the good news of Christ.

Third, Titus was commanded to avoid "dissensions," "strife," or "quarrels." This comes from a Greek word ereis, referring to arguments or debates. In other words, Titus is not to be known for being argumentative. The New Testament gives many positive instructions to contend for the Christian faith (1 Peter 3:15–16; Acts 17:3; Acts18:28; Acts 19:8). This, however, is different from arguing for the sake of arguing.

Fourth, Titus is to avoid "quarrels [or disputes] about the law." The false teachers of Crete were using the law of Moses to make accusations against Titus' fellow Christians. Paul tells Titus not to lose focus by arguing about details of the Jewish law. Instead, he is to center his ministry on the good news of Jesus, promoting sound doctrine in the local churches.

All four of these practices—pointless debate, arguments over genealogy, quarrels, and debates over the law of Moses—are considered a waste of time. All they accomplish is taking energy and resources away from the ministry Paul had entrusted to Titus.