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17. False Teachers Are Known by Their Deeds

Titus 1:1-16


Titus was a convert, friend and helper of Paul’s. He was Greek, the son of Gentile parents. Unlike Timothy, Titus was not circumcised (Galatians 2:3). Yet, like Timothy, Titus was sent by Paul to minister to specific churches. First, he went to the church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:6-16). Then, he was sent to Dalmatia (a region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea), which was another difficult area (2 Timothy 4:10). Finally, he went to pastor the church on Crete. We know very little of Titus from the Bible. According to ancient tradition, Titus returned to Crete in his old age, died and was buried there at the age of 94. [See also “Who Were Timothy and Titus?” in the Overview.]

Day One Study

To refresh your memory, read the letter to Titus.

1. Read Titus 1:1-4. Paul often introduced a letter with comments relevant to the letter’s message. Which words or ideas are included in this introduction that you may have also noticed in the whole letter to Titus? In other words, why do you think Paul is writing this letter?

2. Verse 1 speaks of the “truth that leads to godliness” (or “truth which is according to godliness”). Read the following passages and summarize what Jesus says is “truth.”

·         John 8:31-32—

·         John 14:6—

·         John 17:1-8—

·         John 17:17—


3. According to John 14:16-18 and John 16:13-14, how does the believer continue to discern truth?

4. Read Titus 1:5. For what two purposes did Paul send Titus to Crete?

5. Review the qualifications of elders in Titus 1:6-9. In verses 6 & 7, what character trait did Paul use twice? Why do you think he emphasized this point?

Historical Insight: The Cretan character was proverbial in the ancient world. In Greek, to “Cretanize” meant to lie. The prophet Paul mentioned in verse 12 was Epimenides, a Cretan philosopher of the sixth century BC. Most educated men of Paul’s day had to study Epimenides. (Titus Lifechange Series Bible Study)

6. Read Titus 1:10-16 & 3:9-11. In contrast to the characteristics of an elder (given in verses 6-9), how does Paul describe the false teachers in Crete?

7. What kind of influence do false teachers have?

8. How did Paul want Titus to deal with these false teachers? Be sure to look at both passages from question 6. What is the goal of treating them in this manner?

9. Adorning Yourself: What can you do to avoid unprofitable discussions or “empty talk” and ensure healthy ones?

Day Two Study

10. “To the pure, all things are pure” (verse 15) is a statement that could easily be abused…either to excuse sin, or to judge/condemn others. Summarize these similar instructions given by Paul:

·         Romans 6:15—

·         Romans 14:1-3; 22—

·         1 Corinthians 6:12-13—

·         1 Corinthians 10:23-24—

11. In light of the previous passages, what do you think Paul means by, “To the pure, all things are pure”?

12. Compare what Paul says about false teachers to what Jesus says about the Pharisees in Mark 7:5-13 and Luke 11:42-44. How are the false teachers and Pharisees alike? How are they different?

13. According to Titus 1:16, how can a person who claims to know God actually be denying God?

14. Adorning Yourself: Reflect on verse 16 this week. Do your daily actions deny or reflect a relationship with God? Ask God to show you how you can better live a life that reflects your faith.

Think About It: Titus is a short epistle, but it contains such a quintessence of Christian doctrine, and is composed in such a masterly manner, that it contains all that is needful for Christian knowledge and life. (Martin Luther)

Related Topics: Curriculum

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