The scheduled reading I have followed for Advent inexplicably stops this reading at Titus 3:8 and skips 9-15. I am sure there is a well meaning, thoroughly explained reason for this such as they will come to it later in the cycle, but for now I thought it best to go ahead and translate the whole thing for you. It didn’t seem right to translate all of Titus except the last seven verses.
3:1. You must remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, and to be ready with every good work.
2. Insult no one. Be peaceable and considerate to everyone. Show yourselves gentle to all people.
3. For we were once senseless, rebellious, led astray to serve desires and all kinds of pleasures, handing ourselves over to negative impulses—envy, loathing, hatred for each other.
4. But when the kindness and love for humanity was revealed by God our savior
5. not from works of righteousness we ourselves had done, but by his mercy, we were saved through washing, being born again, and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6. which he poured out upon us richly through Messiah Jesus our savior.
7. Having been made righteous by this grace, we could become inheritors through hope of eternal life.
8. The word is faithful. Now about these things, I want you to insist they give their minds to good works and those who are trusting in God to put first these things which are good and helpful to people.
9. But you must stay out of foolish speculations, rivalries about genealogies, and arguments concerning the law for it is useless and pointless.
10. One or two warnings for heretical people, then you must ignore them
11. knowing that a person like that is turned inside out with sins. He condemns himself.
12. When I am able to send Artemis or Tychicus to you, be quick to come to me in Nicopolis, for I have decided to winter there.
13. You must see off Zenas the lawyer and Apollos diligently so that they lack nothing.
14. Our people should learn to lead out in good works for critical needs, so they might not be fruitless.
15. The people with me greet you. You should greet the people who love us in faith. Grace be to you.
The second verse here sticks in my throat like a lump. It is so obvious and clear, but hard to abide by in our world. The command to be peaceable is completely in line with the teachings of Jesus our Lord. We are told by him to be peacemakers. The kind of person who is considerate is also consistent. Considerate here is the idea of thinking about what other people need in their life. Putting the needs of others first. Show yourselves gentle to all people. What a beautiful sentiment.
And he started that line off with ‘don’t insult people.’ Can you imagine a world where people put into practice just this one line of thought? What if Christ-followers did? We are, at least not where I am living, not known for being gentle, considerate, or peaceable people who don’t insult others. No, we are confrontational, insistent, demanding, and harsh.
I think an emphasis on verse two could lead to revival in our land. I am serious.
Now, pair that thought with verse 14. The ‘our people’ here is cryptic, at least to me, in the Greek. I am not certain if he means ‘our people on Crete’ or if he means ‘Christ-followers.’ I feel like it is the later. Christ-followers should be leaders — a word he also uses in verse 8 where it translate it ‘put these things first’ because of the context.
As the time of the Nativity of Jesus comes closer, may I exhort you to lead out by helping people in their critical needs. Be considerate. Bless others with peace. Demonstrate gentleness with everyone you come across. Try your best to not insult other people. Try, okay. Just try.