Today’s reading: Titus
Today we read Paul’s letter to Titus. It has many similar themes as his letters to Timothy. Paul had sent Titus to Crete to lead the Christian community there.
First, Paul gives the criteria for the ordination of clergy, which Titus is to appoint:
This is why I left you in Crete so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 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. Titus 1:5-9
What is important to understand is that this is a minimum. This is what must be present in this era of transition from paganism to Christianity. In this time the men most likely to go into the clergy were already married with families. The Church was not going to break up families. Thus, responsible men who had demonstrated a life of upright moral character could become clergy.
Paul also makes the point that correct doctrine matters:
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Titus 1:16 – 2:1
So sound doctrine is important and that is why Paul is sending Titus to Crete, to ensure sound doctrine. This is a key thing to understand. With hundreds (if not thousands) of Protestant denominations all teaching different doctrines knowing which Church is the one true Church, whose doctrine is protected by the Holy Spirit, tradition and teaching authority is critically important.
Tomorrow: 1 Peter 1