1 1 I, Paul, am God's slave and Christ's agent for promoting the faith among God's chosen people, getting out the accurate word on God and how to respond rightly to it. 2 My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago - and he doesn't break promises! 3 And then when the time was ripe, he went public with his truth. I've been entrusted to proclaim this Message by order of our Savior, God himself. 4 Dear Titus, legitimate son in the faith: Receive everything God our Father and Jesus our Savior give you!
Qualifications of Elders and Bishops
5 I left you in charge in Crete so you could complete what I left half-done. Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions.
6 As you select them, ask, "Is this man well-thought-of? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?" 7 It's important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God's house, be looked up to - not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry. 8 He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, 9 and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it. 10 For there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk. Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst. 11 They've got to be shut up. They're disrupting entire families with their teaching, and all for the sake of a fast buck. 12 One of their own prophets said it best: The Cretans are liars from the womb, barking dogs, lazy bellies. 13 He certainly spoke the truth. Get on them right away. Stop that diseased talk of Jewish make-believe and made-up rules 14 so they can recover a robust faith. 15 Everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to dirty-minded unbelievers. They leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act. 16 They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words. They're real creeps, disobedient good-for-nothings.
The Teaching of Sound Doctrine
2 1 Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. 2 Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. 3 Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. 4 By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, 5 be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior. 6 Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. 7 But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, 8 your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around. 9 Guide slaves into being loyal workers, a bonus to their masters - no back talk, 10 no petty thievery. Then their good character will shine through their actions, adding luster to the teaching of our Savior God.
11 God's readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation's available for everyone! 12 We're being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, 13 and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. 14 He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.
15 Tell them all this. Build up their courage, and discipline them if they get out of line. You're in charge. Don't let anyone put you down.
Be Careful to Maintain Good Works
3 1 Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand 2 No insults, no fights. God's people should be bighearted and courteous. 3 It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. 4 But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, 5 he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. 6 Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. 7 God's gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there's more life to come - an eternity of life! 8 You can count on this.
9 Stay away from mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere. 10 Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with him. 11 It's obvious that such a person is out of line, rebellious against God. By persisting in divisiveness he cuts himself off.
12 As soon as I send either Artemas or Tychicus to you, come immediately and meet me in Nicopolis. I've decided to spend the winter there. 13 Give Zenas the lawyer and Apollos a hearty send-off. Take good care of them. 14 Our people have to learn to be diligent in their work so that all necessities are met (especially among the needy) and they don't end up with nothing to show for their lives.
15 All here want to be remembered to you. Say hello to our friends in the faith. Grace to all of you.