Justice in the Book of Titus, Day 3

Today’s reading is drawn from Titus 1-3.

The text of Titus is short; it is only forty-six verses. Nonetheless, the brevity of the text contrasts with the content’s depth, in particular from the perspective of what it teaches about God’s justice. In this epistle, justice is not a theoretical discourse to fire up heated philosophical and theological debates. On the contrary, justice is a value to be expressed practically in the life of the Christian community (1:5–16), in the personal behavior of family members (2:1–10) and in their behavior as citizens (3:1–8).

In his letter to Titus, Paul begins with instructions about the way the Christian community in Crete should be governed, establishing ministerial ranks and making sure that every position is filled with people of Christian character. He also indicates how to deal with people who, teaching erroneous ideas, cause divisions and disrupt harmony in the Christian community and even whole families. Such persons not only lead people astray with their doctrines, but also commercialize the gospel for their own benefit (1:10–11). Then comes the apostle’s central teaching: the opposite of false doctrines are not the correct theological declarations but rather unity and concrete social practices that promote (and are in themselves) God’s justice (2:11–13).

At the time Titus was written, Crete was apparently a prosperous island. Nonetheless, the Christian community included people who were left on the sidelines of that prosperity. Slaves, for example, who (amazingly enough), are now worshiping alongside their masters. This unprecedented breakdown of class distinctions could be the reason why the author insists on the need to do good works and to give testimony of God’s justice in concrete ways.

The major concern expressed in the letter is not combating the false doctrines that abounded in Crete. Nor is it the lack of orderly and respectable church leaders. The deepest concern Paul and Titus have is to challenge the Cretan church to give, through service, true testimony of its faith. For them, doing what is good is the crucial expression of the salvation found in Christ (3:7–8). When believers act with solidarity together, they are expressing their faith in a just God who has acted with love and mercy for everyone.

— Harold Segura Columbia, Costa Rica (Excerpted from the book introduction to Titus)

 

 

Bible Gateway

Love and Respect

Show proper respect to everyone. 1 Peter 2:17

Love is an important means to building a healthy self-concept in your children, but it is only half of the equation. Respect is equally vital—and it’s entirely possible to show one without the other. For example, when your son starts to speak to another adult, you may cut him off in midsentence and explain what he’s trying to say. Or you lecture your daughter before she leaves for a weekend at a friend’s house on how to avoid making a fool of herself.

A child is perfectly capable of understanding that he or she fails to measure up in the eyes of Mom or Dad. “Sure, they love me because they’re my parents. I can see that I’m important to them, but they’re not really proud of me as a person. I’m a disappointment to them.” The first step in building a sense of worth in your children is to be careful about what you say and do in their presence. Then, rather than focusing only on their problems, be sure to communicate your respect for them and the wise choices they do make. When the apostle Peter instructed believers to “show proper respect to everyone,” he certainly meant it to include the impressionable members of their own families. As you display an attitude of respect and love toward your children, you’ll establish a home in step with the heart of God.

Before you say good night…

Do you show your children respect as well as love? How?

Are you sometimes disrespectful to your kids? In what ways?

Which of your kids’ traits and accomplishments are worthy of your respect and praise?

Father, by the restraining power of Your own Spirit, keep us from damaging home and family with careless, critical words. Help us to focus on building up one another. We seek Your strength to accomplish this. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bible Gateway

You Decide!

Genesis 6 is one of the strangest and most controversial chapters in the Bible. “The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4 – Jewish Publication Society translation, 1917). The original Hebrew language describes a bizarre marital relationship between a group of fallen angels and human women, resulting in a race of hybrid giants the Bible calls the Nephilim. Many connect this sinful act of genetic rebellion against God with the worldwide, destructive flood of Noah. Columbia Law School graduate, Ryan Pitterson, spent 3 years of his life researching and writing the most comprehensive book on the Nephilim ever published—The Judgment of the Nephilim. Drawing on Scripture, little-known historical sources, and the writings of the ancient church fathers, Pitterson will take you places few have gone before. Join Gary and Ryan as they take a fresh look at this curious, but biblically-important subject!