Guest Commentary: Titus 1- What it teaches us about false shepherds


The following was sent to me by my brother Robert Blake:

Titus is written by Paul to a young pastor who is probably over seeing a new church.
Paul begins by laying out a structure of elders to watch over the church. He gives a clear list of characteristics these men are to have. They are to protect the church, keeping it in line with the truth.
What seems to have hit me with some interest is the second half of chapter one. Paul sets up the structure out of concern for the church, that it maintain its integrity to the truth. He goes on to explain there are false shepherds and lists their characteristics.
These characteristics will all be framed within context of truth, which is mentioned later in the chapter. The characteristics starting at vs. 10 are:

Rebellious– Indicates a person who knows the truth but decides to do the opposite. A question is if we are all rebellious as Paul indicates in other writings, how are these people different? I would say they do not have the Romans 7 struggle between right and wrong actions. They choose to go after wrong actions.

Empty Talkers– It is a ripe term, hypocritical nature is what it is pointing to. Telling people to do one thing, and they do the other. Yes, it is related to the first characteristic. But, I wonder if it is more than that? We are warned in scripture that people in the end times will want their ears tickled, words that will please over words of truth. That is also at the heart of the empty talker, providing words to keep people happy over keeping people on the path of truth.

Deceivers– It tells us that the false teachers are doing more than just wrongly teaching, they are purposefully teaching something and it is wrong. It means they know the truth but choose to teach the opposite. Related to the previous characteristic, keeping the flock happy means they choose a lie over truth, ultimately deception.

Of Circumcision– It means they are participate and are active in the church community, the body of believers. It is why Paul wants elders to protect the church.

Wrongly motivated– They are in it for their own benefit and gain, contrast with the elders who are not self-willed and genuinely care for others. They simply have something to gain and will do what it takes to get it.

Teach Traditions and Commands– Part of their strategy is to use things that appear to be good but are not the truth. The root of what they teach is earth bound appearance instead of genuine faith. Simply put, they will teach things that pull a person away from total reliance upon Jesus for salvation and upon our own actions to obtain it. It is a teaching that counts on our own ability to save ourselves through what we do or do not do. Goes on to say that these people are unbelieving. They do not trust in Christ. Stay away from any teacher who does not point people to Jesus and nothing else for salvation.

No Truth- It is the central component in all of the characteristics, but Paul mentions it specifically. They are unbelieving in the truth and turn away from it. Truth is not their guide.

It is a long list, but a clear litmus test for believers. We are to scrutinize teachers with both the list of positive characteristics and the warnings Paul identifies as signs of a false teacher. When they are applied,  things will be clear. Their are many other items in scripture that warn us about false teachers, this is just one passage that is full to the brim in practical application. Study it and apply it. Follow the recommendations by Paul, to rebuke and silence those who stray from the truth.
We live in a pluralistic age, we are taught to accept all things. Paul tells us to do otherwise, confront it for the benefit of the church so that no one is harmed.

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3 Responses

  1. KNOWING A FALSE PROPHET IS DONE BY LOOKING AT THEIR OWN FRUITS, THEIR OWN REAL WORKS, ARE THEY BAD AND GOOD?

    SIMPLY SEE IF THEY DO THEY LIE, ASSOCIATE WITH BAD PEOPLE, SLANDER, GOSSIP, STTEAL, COMMIT ADULTERY, DRINK ALCOHOL FOR A START TOO.. MOST DO!

    (Mark 10:19 KJV) Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

    The too often misconception publicized by fundaments on the net too now is that a Prophet only foretells the future, and everything a false prophet does is false, and that he is not a God gifted person.. and this itself is false, not true. How ironical. Balaam was firstly a genuine Prophet of God, he communicated with , talked with God, but he did not always obey, or listen to him, for he did his own thing, unlike most of us today too, and that is what made him a false prophet, and so simply too are the many persons false Christians now too who follow his bad behavior, example, the devil now as well. God is still really always displeased with all such negative motivational behaviors, acts of self centered persons, not Christ centered, not Holy spirit obedient.. as the Bible clearly, undeniably indicates now many times.The too often misconception publicized by fundaments on the net too now is that a Prophet only foretells the future, and everything a false prophet does is false, and that he is not a God gifted person.. and this itself is false, not true. How ironical. Balaam was firstly a genuine Prophet of God, he communicated with , talked with God, but he did not always obey, or listen to him, for he did his own thing, unlike most of us today too, and that is what made him a false prophet, and so simply too are the many persons false Christians now too who follow his bad behavior, example, the devil now as well. God is still really always displeased with all such negative motivational behaviors, acts of self centered persons, not Christ centered, not Holy spirit obedient.. as the Bible clearly, undeniably indicates now many times.
    http://postedat.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/you-know-the-commandments/

  2. >>Titus is written by Paul to a young pastor who is probably over seeing a new church. LIE

    WHERE DOES THE BIBLKE SAY SO NOW?

    DREAM ON HE WAS A PASTOR .. TRY A JUNIOR APOSTLE, ELDER

  3. I don’t believe Rob indicated the Bible said such. Don’t know where you get the concept of a Junior apostle, at any rate that is a side issue and the main points of the passage are very poignant.

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