Titus 1:10–16, The perils of false leaders in the church.By the time Paul wrote this letter to Titus, only a few short decades after the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the church was already in a state of spiritual disarray. False leaders had already arisen subverting and deceiving the saints, while lying and giving in to “Jewish fables” or to unbiblical doctrines or “commandments of men” for “dishonest gain,” “defiled” in “mind and conscience” feigning to know Elohim but the fruit of the lives were “abominable, disobedient” and they failed to meet the qualification of the true servant-leaders of Elohim. Paul called on Titus to “rebuke sharply” these “evil beasts” (v. 12). How much worse is it today, 2000 years later, within the Christian church?
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, Turning from the truth. As we have stated many times previously, in contrast to doctrines and traditions of men by which the Word of Elohim is made of non-effect, Scripture defines Truth as YHVH’s Torarh-Word and Yeshua the Messiah who was the Word of Elohim incarnate. Any doctrine or teaching of men that falls short of this in any way is, to one degree or another, deficient in Truth and is thus suspect.
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 They use it in attempting to prove that the commandments of the Torah are no longer valid for believers.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.)
Titus 1:16, In works deny him. A spiritual leader is known by his works or fruits, not his words. If the works of his life fall short of the biblical standard of righteousness, then his words, no matter how alluring and good sounding they may be, are meaningless.
Titus 2:1, Sound. Literally “healthy or uncorrupt or true.”
Titus 2:3, Not given to much wine. It doesn’t say “not given to wine,” but “not given to much wine” contrary to what some in the Christian church teach. The fact is that the saint shouldn’t give themselves over to any other influence, wine or otherwise, except that of Yeshua the Messiah and his Word and the Spirit of Elohim.
Titus 2:4–5, Young women…homemakers. This statement that young woman should be homemakers is not only not politically correct today, but is ridiculed and derided by today’s society. However, the fruit of woman not staying home and rasing their children is well-evidenced in the broken families and dysfunctional children that women not being homemakers has engendered.
Titus 2:10–11, Adorn [Gr. kosmeō] the doctrine of Elohim. Kosmeō means “to put in proper order, that is, decorate (literally or figuratively) or to adorn, garnish, trim.” Those around us observe our actions and all that we do either brings glory to YHVH Elohim and his Word, or it doesn’t. Our lives may be the only Bible that some people read, the only light of heaven that shines into their lives, and the only human mirror through which they see the reflection of Elohim and his Word; therefore, live an obedient, faithful, righteous, godly and sober life in this present age (v. 11).
Titus 2:11–13, The grace [Gr. karis] of Elohim. This scripture lists the two aspects of grace or karis: redemption from sin or free unmerited pardon AND the free gift of divine enablement to now go forward and to live in Torah-based righteousness.
Titus 2:13–14, Looking for. There is perhaps no better verse in Scripture that so succinctly expresses the quintessential hope of the saint as this one.
Titus 2:14, Special people. This is a biblical idiom or Hebraism that in Hebrew is am segullah meaning “treasured possession, or the special treasure of a king.” Am segullah is how YHVH refers to his people, the Israelites, first in Exodus 19:5 (see also Deut 14:2; 7:6; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17; 1 Pet 2:9).
Lawless [Gr. anomia] deed. That is, Torahless deed.
Titus 3:5, Works of righteousness. Scripture doesn’t leave us guessing as to what it means by “works of righteousness.” See Ps 119:172; Matt 5:19 and Rev 19:6–9.
Titus 3:8, 14, Good works [Gr. ergon]. Ergon refers to “toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: – deed, doing, labour, work.” The mainstream Christian idea that good works are somehow antithetical to the Christian walk is erroneous and has led many people astray spiritually. The Scripture is clear that no ne is saved by their good works, but once saved, the evidence or fruit of their salvation and of the Spirit of Elohim being at work in their lives will be good works. Moreover, the saint will be rewarded accordingly in the world to come on the basis of his good works in this life.