Titus 1-3

I have witnessed Pastors resigning their position in the church based on what this letter contains.    Should they have done that?   You decide.Read Titus 1-3
My first question when reading this was “when was this written?”   You probably didn’t ask that, did you?   Well, it’s a valid question, since we are reading the Bible chronologically, and we left Paul in prison in Rome a few readings ago.   Paul stays in prison for 2 years…we think.   You see, we can’t be sure of how long Paul was locked up, or if he was locked up several times.   From reading the text it certainly appears that he was released after 2 years, traveled back to Macedonia through Crete and visited some churches.    At some point he was incarcerated again, this time it would lead to his death.    This letter is written about 66 A.D.  which is the same year that the Jews in Jerusalem rebelled against Roman authority and ejected their king Herod Agrippa II and his sister Berenice from Jerusalem.     Jerusalem would be assaulted by the Romans in 70 A.D., the people were butchered and the temple was destroyed…putting an end to the rebellion.     The temple was never rebuilt…the “dome of the rock” that sits where the temple originally stood is of Muslim origin, and was built using some the stones from the original temple.  (you can tell by the cutting design on the stones)
I don’t know if the backstory and wandering “sidebar” musings help you at all…but they seem to help me put all the events into perspective and tie the whole story into one narrative.  It also helps me humanize the story, so that it’s not just words on a page.   I seem to learn more, and have better insights when I recognize that these aren’t stories…they are a record of events that really happened.   It just makes it more personal somehow.
Paul has left Titus on an island that he confirms is filled with lazy ignorant brutes that don’t follow instruction.   Well, that’s just great.   If I were Titus I would be saying “what did I ever do to you to have you appoint me to this terrible location?”   Of course, Titus wouldn’t say that, because he and Paul both knew why he was there.  The people needed help, and Titus was the solution.   
I notice in today’s reading that the requirements for being an elder are fairly strict.   I have seen men recuse themselves from ministry because their children were rebellious.  Personally, I’m not sure that’s what Paul was looking for.   I think Paul wanted to emphasize that a leader needs to be someone who knows how to raise children correctly, and has made legitimate efforts to do so.    Much of how children behave is a product of their home environment, and the way they are taught to interact with others.  If a man is a good father, training his children well, then it stands to reason he will carry that skill into his development of the church.   If a man is a “deadbeat dad” then he probably won’t nurture church children any more than his own.     If a child is raised correctly and still chooses to rebel, I don’t think that should be held against the leader, nor should the leader hold it against himself.     Hey, I could be wrong…several of my kids went through a wild and rebellious stage, but they are healthy loving functional adults today.   If I had taken this passage at face value, I wouldn’t be in ministry.
When Paul instructs Titus on what to teach several things caught my eye:  He wants the older men to be self-controlled and patient.  That’s interesting…I would think that you would want the younger men to exercise self control, and that the older men would already have learned it.   Apparently that was not the case in Crete.    Also, he wants the older women to “train” the younger women how to love their husbands and children.    I’ve never really thought about needing training to love someone, or training on how to love someone correctly.   Paul seems to think it’s very necessary.
Doing what is good is another strong theme in this letter.   Many times Paul says “do good” or “be ready to do good”.   Clearly, he sees our actions as tied to our salvation..not the cause of our salvation, but I think Paul would say that if you never did any good deeds then there isn’t any evidence of your salvation.