Titus 1–3

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 218–19


Introduction

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “Titus is the epistle of obedience. Writing in his old age, Paul seems increasingly impressed by the Spirit to counsel his beloved Titus, and through him all the saints, of the overpowering need to walk in paths of truth and righteousness. …

“Titus is written to and for the saints. It is a sermon of practical exhortation to those in the fold, a common sense approach to the problem of living in the world without being of the world” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:119).

Prayerfully study Titus 1–3and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • In the premortal world God promised eternal life to those who would be faithful in mortality (see Titus 1:1–3).

  • Denying ourselves ungodliness and worldly lusts will lead us to the Lord (see Titus 2:1–15; see also Moroni 10:32).

  • Through God’s mercy we can obtain eternal life by being baptized and continuing in good works (see Titus 2:11–3:8; see also Alma 12:33–34).

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 370–75.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Titus 1–3.

Titus 2:11–3:8. Through God’s mercy we can obtain eternal life by being baptized and continuing in good works.

(20–25 minutes)

Display a live plant. Write the words water and light on the board. Ask:

  • Which of these can the plant live without?

  • What happens if one is missing?

Write on the board faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to God’s commandments (works). Ask:

  • Which of these is needed for eternal life?

  • How might we compare these gospel principles to the needs of a plant?

Read Titus 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14to discover the doctrine Paul was emphasizing. Ask:

  • What are good works?

  • How can they help us return to Heavenly Father?

Read Titus 3:3–5and ask:

  • Do these verses agree or disagree with the previous verses we studied on works?

  • Did Paul contradict himself? Why or why not?

  • What do you think Paul meant? (Works and grace go together.)

Read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

“We testify that being cleansed from sin through Christ’s Atonement is conditioned upon the individual sinner’s faith, which must be manifested by obedience to the Lord’s command to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:37–38). …

“Nephi taught, ‘… for we know it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23). And what is ‘all we can do’? It surely includes repentance (see Alma 24:11) and baptism, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 76–77; or Ensign, May 1998, 55–56).

Have students read Titus 3:4–8. Then have them write a letter to a fictional nonmember friend explaining why Latter-day Saints believe that both the grace of Jesus Christ and our good works are required for salvation.

Titus 2:1–15. Denying ourselves ungodliness and worldly lusts will lead us to the Lord.

(15–20 minutes)

Discuss with students the effect that someone who is critical and irritable has on others. Ask: Why is it unpleasant to be in the presence of such people? Read Titus 1:10–14and describe the people that Titus lived with. Ask:

  • What do you think it was like for him to teach the gospel to these people?

  • What would it be like to be their priesthood leader?

  • How important would it be to befriend them?

  • How would you do it?

Read Titus 3:10–11looking for Paul’s counsel and ask:

  • What did Paul mean by “reject”?

  • Is there a time when we should reject the association of an individual? When? Why? (compare Galatians 6:1).

Give the students paper and have them draw four columns. Have them scan Titus 2:2–6looking for the four groups of people for whom Paul gave “sound doctrine” (v. 1). Tell the students to use these groups as headings for the columns. Then have them read verses 1–8 carefully and list in the columns the counsel Paul wanted each group to receive. Invite them to ponder the counsel given and consider how it applies to them. Explain that we may not be able to change many of the people around us, but we can resist their worldly influences and improve ourselves. Read Titus 2:11–15looking for what we can do to change ourselves. Ask:

  • What has the Savior done that enables us to change?

  • What blessings come to those who work at changing their lives?