Titus 1:12–13, Cretans are. In today’s politically correct speech climate, this statement would be considered racist, even if it were a totally accurate statement. The word Crete may mean “fleshly.”
Titus 1:14, Jewish fables. Many people in the mainstream church are content to dismiss the Torah merely as a Jewish fable having little or no relevance to Christians. Yet, at the same time, the same preachers will passionately promote Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Easter bunnies. So what’s wrong with this picture?
Moreover, many Bible teachers in the mainstream church teach that this verse refers to the Torah. They use it in attempting to prove that the commandments of the Torah are no longer valid for believers. Is this correct? You mean, since the Torah has been “done away with” it is now acceptable to steal, murder, commit adultery, lie and worship idols among other things?
In reality, Paul can’t be referring to the Torah here without contradicting himself elsewhere. In numerous places, he strongly upholds and defends obedience to the Torah (Rom 3:31; 7:7, 12, 14; 13:8–10; 1 Cor 7:19; 9:21; Gal 3:10; 6:2; 2 Tim 6:14; Tit 2:14) and even claims to follow it himself (Acts 21:24; 24:1425:8; 28:17; 1 Cor 9:21). He must be talking about the Jewish traditions of men, which Yeshua said in Matthew 15:3–9 and Mark 7:7–9 make of non-effect the word of Elohim.
In fact, this is exactly what Paul is referring to here in this verse when he says “Jewish fables and commandments of men.” This is not a reference to the Torah the commandments which, in truth, came from YHVH Elohim and not from men. In the same verse, Paul contrasts these commandments of men with “the truth” from which men have turned away.
So what is this truth that Paul references here? Since Bible defines its own terms, we must look to it for the definition of the word truth. Elohim is the source of truth (Deut 32:4 cp. Pss 86:11; 89:14; 117:2), he is truth (Ps 25:10; 31:5; 33:4), and his Torah is truth (Ps 119:142, 151).
Truth is the opposite of a fable. One example of a Jewish fable and a commandment of men would be the idea that one can’t be saved unless they’re first circumcised (Acts 15:15:1, 5), which was the subject of the Acts 15 council. Paul vehemently fought this Jewish fable, and the whole Book of Galatians, for example, largely deals with this issue. If Paul had meant the Torah when mentioning “Jewish fables” then this makes Paul into a schizophrenic liar (since he promotes and lauds the Torah and claims to follow it elsewhere), while elsewhere he views the Torah as irrelevant and not necessary to be obeyed. Were Paul against the Torah, this would put Paul at odds with Yeshua who upheld the Torah (Matt 5:17–19) and with himself when he said to imitate Yeshua the Torah-keeper as he himself did (1 Cor 11:1).
From this brief discussion, it should be obvious to a logical minded person that Paul doesn’t have the Torah in view when he mentions fables in this verse.
Titus 1:15, Mind and conscience. Mind is the Greek word noos meaning “the intellect, that is, mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will.” Conscience is the Greek word suneidesis meaning “co-perception, that is, moral consciousness.” Though the conscience or spirit of man is the candle of YHVH (Prov 20:28; Ps 18:28) and is what the Spirit of Elohim activates at the time of one’s spiritual regeneration, the spirit of man can be defiled (stained, polluted or contaminated) obviously by the corrupting influences of the world, the flesh and the devil. Since the spirit of man can be influenced or informed negatively it needs to be made perfect (complete). (See notes at Heb 12:23.)