What does Titus 3 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
Titus, 1 Timothy, and 2 Timothy are the three "Pastoral Epistles" of the apostle Paul. These were written in order to give instructions to local church leaders.

Titus chapter 3 applies the teachings which Paul gave in chapters 2 and 3. He encourages Christians to live separately from the immoral culture of Crete. Paul contrasts seven worthy behaviors with seven sins associated with unbelief. These are a reminder of what these believers had already been taught, not a new set of instructions.

Paul then explains that salvation is entirely on the basis of God's mercy. It is not something we earn by doing good works. When a person accepts Christ, they experience a spiritual cleansing, or "regeneration." The Holy Spirit is given to us as a result of God's generosity and grace.

The text affirms that this depiction of grace is something to be trusted. Titus is given instructions to emphasize these basic principles—to insist on them. Paul also lists four activities which Titus is told to avoid. These are pointless debate, arguments over genealogy, quarrels, and debates over the law of Moses. These not only waste time, they give inappropriate attention to false teachers. Instead, those who teach false doctrine are to be warned, then cut off.

Paul concludes the letter with greetings of love from fellow believers. He instructs Titus to assist Zenas and Apollos, who had delivered the message. He also asks Titus to make plans to visit him in the Greek city of Nicopolis, where Paul plans to spend the winter.
Verse Context:
Titus 3:1–3 applies the teachings Paul gave Titus in chapters 1 and 2. Crete was famous for its immoral culture, but this letter encourages Christians to live according to better principles. This passage contrasts seven worthy behaviors (associated with belief), to seven sins (associated with unbelief). Paul tells Titus to “remind” people of these ideas, meaning they have been taught already.
Titus 3:4–7 is a poetic description of how God saves us. Rather than depending on our good deeds, God rescues us on the basis of His mercy. When a person accepts Christ, they experience “regeneration,” meaning a spiritual cleansing. God generously gives us the Holy Spirit and forgives our sin through His grace.
Titus 3:8–11 affirms that the previous description of God’s grace can be trusted. Paul instructs Titus to insist on these basic principles. On the other hand, Paul lists four activities which should be purposefully avoided. Most of these involve an element of bickering. False teachers, according to this passage, should be warned, then cut off completely.
Titus 3:12–15 concludes Paul’s letter to Titus. Paul sends greetings of love from other Christians to the churches on Crete. Paul instructs Titus to provide assistance to two fellow believers, and asks him to make plans to visit Paul in Nicopolis prior to winter. This conclusion suggests that Paul’s letter is meant to be read to all of the local churches on Crete.
Chapter Summary:
Paul reminds Titus of seven positive behaviors, and seven contrasting sins, which he is to insist on teaching correctly. False teachers are to be cut off, not given a public platform. Believers are not to waste time bickering, but focus on good works and urgent needs. This passage also explains how salvation is entirely the result of God’s grace, not our own good deeds.
Chapter Context:
Titus chapter 1 focused on the character traits of a church leader, contrasted to the immoral culture of Crete. Chapter 2 explained the ideal traits of church members, especially in their acts towards each other. Chapter 3 focuses on the relationship between Christians and their surrounding culture. Through goodness and peace, we are to make a positive impact, so people will see Christ in us.
Book Summary:
The book of Titus is a letter written by the apostle Paul, to a Christian leader on the island of Crete. This is one of Paul’s three Pastoral Epistles, where he offers instructions to younger believers caring for large groups of others. Paul uses the book of Titus to emphasize the importance of selecting church elders carefully. Many of the topics discussed in Titus are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. Though the details of this message are specifically for Titus, and the believers of Crete, they offer insight useful for churches today.
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