New International Reader's Version

Titus 1

1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I serve God, and I am an apostle of Jesus Christ. God sent me to help his chosen people believe in Christ more and more. God sent me to help them understand even more the truth that leads to godly living. That belief and understanding lead to the hope of eternal life. Before time began, God promised to give that life. And he does not lie. Now, at just the right time, he has made his promise clear. He did this through the preaching that he trusted me with. God our Savior has commanded all these things.

Titus, I am sending you this letter. You are my true son in the faith we share.

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

Choosing Elders Who Love What Is Good

I left you on the island of Crete. I did this because there were some things that hadn’t been finished. I wanted you to put them in order. I also wanted you to appoint elders in every town. I told you how to do it. An elder must be without blame. He must be faithful to his wife. His children must be believers. They must not give anyone a reason to say that they are wild and don’t obey. A church leader takes care of God’s family. That’s why he must be without blame. He must not look after only his own interests. He must not get angry easily. He must not get drunk. He must not push people around. He must not try to get money by cheating people. Instead, a church leader must welcome people into his home. He must love what is good. He must control his mind and feelings. He must do what is right. He must be holy. He must control the desires of his body. The message as it has been taught can be trusted. He must hold firmly to it. Then he will be able to use true teaching to comfort others and build them up. He will be able to prove that people who oppose it are wrong.

Warning People Who Fail to Do Good

10 Many people refuse to obey God. All they do is talk about things that mean nothing. They try to fool others. No one does these things more than the circumcision group. 11 They must be stopped. They are making trouble for entire families. They do this by teaching things they shouldn’t. They do these things to cheat people. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has a saying. He says, “People from Crete are always liars. They are evil beasts. They don’t want to work. They live only to eat.” 13 This saying is true. So give a strong warning to people who refuse to obey God. Then they will understand the faith correctly. 14 Then they will pay no attention to Jewish stories that aren’t true. They won’t listen to the mere human commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To people who are pure, all things are pure. But to those who have twisted minds and don’t believe, nothing is pure. In fact, their minds and their sense of what is right and wrong are twisted. 16 They claim to know God. But their actions show they don’t know him. They are hated by God. They refuse to obey him. They aren’t fit to do anything good.

The Message

Titus 1

11-4 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. 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! 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. Dear Titus, legitimate son in the faith: Receive everything God our Father and Jesus our Savior give you!

A Good Grip on the Message

5-9 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. As you select them, ask, “Is this man well-thought-of? Is he committed to his wife? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?” 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. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, 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.

10-16 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. They’ve got to be shut up. They’re disrupting entire families with their teaching, and all for the sake of a fast buck. One of their own prophets said it best:

The Cretans are liars from the womb,
    barking dogs, lazy bellies.

He certainly spoke the truth. Get on them right away. Stop that diseased talk of Jewish make-believe and made-up rules so they can recover a robust faith. Everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to dirty-minded unbelievers. They leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act. They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words. They’re real creeps, disobedient good-for-nothings.