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.
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.
Comment: The ‘why’. –Titus was placed in Crete specifically to appoint elders for the church situated there. Good leadership is necessary! At the end of this passage he explains more. Some of the membership are not showing Christian character, and some false leaders are trying to get advantage from the poorly developed character of the young believers. Paul accuses them of trying to get shameful gain. Does he mean money wise or status wise? The fact that he mentions the circumcision party probably means that these false teachers were trying to draw them into the legalism of Judaism rather than into the freedom which is available in Jesus.
‘The who’ – The appointed elders were to be chosen looking at positive and negative characteristics: –
- The required negatives, that is absent characteristics. They were not to be polygamous, unable to rule their own household in a Christian way, nor open to moral charges from the outside world of non-believers; not arrogant, quick-tempered, drunkards, violent, nor money or status centred.
- On the positive side – beyond reproach, hospitable, loving goodness, disciplined, upright, self-controlled and just plain ‘holy’. Not self-righteous but thoroughly ‘good’.
And the result should be a man faithful to the gospel with abilities to teach and discipline.
Prayer: May your in our age be led by such men we pray, O God.