In this epistle the Apostle Paul exhorted Titus, who was a fellow missionary then serving in Crete, to use sound doctrine to teach and correct others. Paul also counseled Titus to teach the Saints to be righteous examples, to have hope of redemption through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and to continue in good works.
Locate the island of Crete on Bible Maps, no. 13, “The Missionary Journeys of the Apostle Paul.” Near the end of Paul’s life, Paul wrote a letter to Titus, who was serving as a Church leader in Crete. Titus had been converted by Paul several years earlier, and after his baptism he had served with Paul in various assignments. In his epistle, Paul encouraged Titus and counseled him about his calling.
As recorded in Titus 1:1–6, Paul testified of the hope he had for eternal life, which God had promised before the world began (see Titus 1:2). He explained that he had sent Titus to set the Church in order in Crete and to call men to serve as bishops.
Read Titus 1:7–8, looking for characteristics that a bishop should have and characteristics a bishop should avoid. You may want to mark or note what you find.
In Titus 1:7, the word self-willed means obstinate or arrogant and the phrase “filthy lucre” refers to money that is obtained through dishonest or otherwise unrighteous means.
Why do you think the characteristics Paul listed are necessary for bishops to have or to avoid?
Read Titus 1:9, looking for another characteristic bishops should have. “Sound doctrine” refers to true doctrine.
In Titus 1:9 we learn that it is important for bishops to hold fast to the word of God so they can use true doctrine to encourage others to live the gospel and to “convince the gainsayers.” A gainsayer is someone who speaks against or denies an idea (in this case, the truthfulness of the gospel). Gainsayers can be both nonmembers and members of the Church.
One principle we can learn from Paul’s teachings about bishops is that as we hold fast to the word of God, we will be able to use true doctrine to encourage others to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to refute those who oppose it.
Consider what President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said about the power that true doctrine has in helping individuals live the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.
“The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (“Little Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What can you do to be ready to teach true doctrine so that you can encourage others to live the gospel? (See D&C 11:21.)
What are some examples from the scriptures of times when someone taught true doctrine to a person who expressed doubt or animosity toward the Church or its doctrine? (Include at least one example of a time when someone repented because he or she was taught true doctrine.)
Think about a time when learning true doctrine helped encourage or convince you or someone you know to more fully live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
While true doctrine can help us encourage others to live the gospel and answer with faith and testimony those who oppose the Church, it does not necessarily lead someone to accept the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Because all individuals have agency, they can choose to accept or reject true doctrine.
Write the following in your scripture study journal:
List at least three scripture mastery passages that you have studied this year that could be especially helpful to encourage others to live the gospel. Explain how each passage could be helpful.
List at least three scripture mastery passages that could be used to help answer those who oppose a teaching or practice of the Church. Explain how each passage could help teach true doctrine to counter their opposition.
Continue to master key scripture passages so you will be prepared to teach true doctrine to others.
As recorded in Titus 1:10–16, Paul taught Titus that the Saints in Crete needed to rely on true doctrine because there were many deceivers and false teachers among them. He counseled Titus to rebuke the false teachers so they would forsake their errors and “be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13). Paul also explained that people demonstrate their closeness to God through their actions.
Read Titus 2:1, looking for what else the Apostle Paul instructed Titus to do with true doctrine.
Read Titus 2:3–5, looking for Paul’s counsel about how older women should live and what they should teach younger women. Then read Titus 2:2, 6–8, looking for Paul’s counsel about how older and younger men should live. In verse 2, sober means calm or serious and temperate means self-controlled. In verse 7, to show gravity means to be dignified and respectful. The phrase “in all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works” in Titus 2:7 means to be a good example of living the gospel. Consider marking or noting any of Paul’s counsel that applies to you.
One truth we learn from Paul’s counsel to Titus is that followers of Jesus Christ are to be good examples for others.
Think of an older member of your ward or branch who has been a good example of living the gospel and being dedicated to it. In your scripture study journal, explain how this person’s example has helped you.
Select one of the behaviors listed in Titus 2:2–8, and set a goal to better incorporate that behavior into your life so your good example can bless others.
Titus 2:9–10 records that Paul counseled Titus to teach Church members who worked as servants to be honest and agreeable in their dealings with their masters. By being honest and agreeable, these Church members would honor the Lord and set a good example for their employers.
Read Titus 2:11–15, looking for what the gospel does for the Saints and what Christ did for all of us. You may want to mark what the gospel leads people to look forward to. Joseph Smith Translation, Titus 2:11 reads, “For the grace of God which bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared” (in Titus 2:11, footnote b).
Based on Paul’s teachings in Titus 2:14, we learn that Jesus Christ gave Himself for us so that He could redeem us and purify us. The phrase “a peculiar people” in verse 14 refers to the Lord’s treasured people whom He has purchased or redeemed (see 1 Peter 1:18–19; 2:9) and who covenant to keep His commandments (see Exodus 19:5–6).
As recorded in Titus 3:1–2, Paul counseled Titus to teach the Saints in Crete to obey the law of the land and to set a good example by being meek and not speaking evil of others. Read Titus 3:3–8, looking for what Paul said about how the gospel of Jesus Christ had changed him, the Church members in Crete, and all of the Saints.
Notice in Titus 3:3 how Paul described himself and the other Church members before they learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may want to mark in Titus 3:4–6 what changed the people. In Titus 3:5 the phrase “the washing of regeneration” refers to being baptized.
Consider how you have been changed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Notice in Titus 3:8 that Paul counseled the Saints to “be careful to maintain good works.” In your scripture study journal, write about the good works you do and that you will continue to do to demonstrate your belief in God.
As recorded in Titus 3:9–15, Paul advised the Saints to avoid contending, or arguing, with unbelievers. He also told Titus that he would send other Church leaders to visit Crete.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignment in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Titus and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: