Titus – Faithful Sayings for Young Men

Titus, papyrus 32 (c. A.D. 200)


“You Cretan!”  In the 1st century, that was an ugly way to call someone a liar.  Cretans at that time were rough.  They were immoral, untrustworthy, leveraging their trade in agriculture to continue a riotous, raucous way of life.

Paul chose Titus to go to the Isle of Crete to lead the believers there to walk in faith and holiness with Jesus.  He was also tasked with establishing order in the church – a church made up of people who believed in God but held on to their earned name of “you Cretan!”

I’m reminded that in a culture of this nature, a man needs to be tough physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Titus was that type of young man.  Here, on an island 135 miles long and 35 miles wide, Titus ventured into a dangerous way of life.  Physically, he was an energetic young man who could identify with Cretan men, being equally Greek and uncircumcised as they were.  Mentally, he had the mindset to match the Cretan mentality and bend it to God’s purpose.  Spiritually, he wore the armor of God (Ephesians 6 :10-18) and was able to stand against spiritual wickedness in high places.  In total, he is traditionally credited with being this island’s spiritual leader, taming it for the duration of his lifetime.

And Paul did not leave him lacking and ill-equipped.


CHAPTER 1 – discussion points

  • An overseer (or elder) must hold to the Truth as Biblically taught (verse 9).

– Read Titus 1:5-9.  Discuss the qualities a young man should look for in a mentor.

  • He must “get it” so that he can pass it on as well as rebuke those who deny the Truth (verse 13).  As a matter of Biblical principle, this not only applies to overseers but to all Christians, and in the context here, to Christian young men.

– Define insubordination.  Read Titus 1:10-13 and discuss accountability between Christian young men using terms like:  warning signs, trust, reinforcement, loyalty, integrity, and courage.

  • Fables and commandments of men (verse 14) include perverse, deviant behavior (verses 15-16).

– Read John 18:28-28.  Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”  When people ask you, “What is truth?” what will you tell them?

  • There was also a matter of the stubborn Jewish requirement for all Gentile believers to be circumcised, a commandment of men that Paul disproved.

– Circumcision was a big deal in those days and was bound up in much legalism.  Why did Paul not have Titus circumcised like he did Timothy?  What can Christian young men do today to connect with non-Christians?  (Read Matthew 25:31-46.)
…With the unchurched?
…With the hungry?
…With the thirsty?
…With strangers?
…With the naked?
…With the sick?
…With those in jail?
– Discuss what it means in Titus 1:9 to hold fast the faithful word as he has been taught.

  • Verse 16 reads, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”

– Describe the kinds of works which show that one who claims to be believer actually denies a true profession of faith in Christ.

– Now, describe the kinds of works that a believer obediently maintains as a faithful follower of Jesus.

– What is the difference between faith and works?


CHAPTERS 2 & 3 – discussion points

Paul urges young men to be self-controlled and disciplined in body, mind, and spirit.  These are the faithful sayings Paul urged Titus to maintain in his living for Christ:

  1. Be sober.  (2:2)
  2. Have a good work ethic.  (3:1, 8, 14)
  3. Teach and learn with integrity and reverence.  (2:1, 3, 7)
  4. Speak with truth and sincerity.  (2:8, 15; 3:2)
  5. Guard yourself against ungodliness and lusts of this world.  (2:5, 11-12; 3:3-7)
  6. Live righteously and in a Godly way.  (2:2-12)
  7. Be sober (drives the point home about not using alcohol, see also 1:7-8).  (2:6, 12)
  8. Be alert to how God is working around you.  (2:13; 3:1)
  9. Speak, exhort, and rebuke with authority.  (2:15)
  10. Subject yourself to the rule of law.  (3:1-2, 9)
  11. Be obedient in good works.
  12. Maintain and be obedient in good works.  (2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14)
  13. Don’t speak evil of anyone.  (2:1-3, 8-9; 3:2, 9)
  14. Live in peace with others.  (2:2; 3:2, 9)
  15. Be a gentleman, humble in your relationships with other men.
  16. Constantly affirm your faithfulness to Christ.  (2:3, 7; 3:8)
  17. Maintain good works.
  18. Avoid stupid and pointless arguments.  (3:9-11)
  19. Don’t bear the courage of others’ worldly convictions.  (3:1-11)
  20. Defend Truth.  (2:1, 7-8; 3:8)
  21. Have nothing to do with those who cause division.  (3:10, 14)

Rank the above sayings in order of importance.  Okay, that’s not fair.  They are all equally important!  Instead, choose three that get your attention and write out or discuss both your strengths and your challenges in those areas.

In addition to encouraging living out one’s faith, Paul also urged Titus to model and teach the necessity of having a good work ethic.  Discuss the qualities of a strong work ethic, especially how it is impacted by one’s faith in Christ.




Establish a 13 week schedule of focused attention on the following weekly actions.  Using the journal section in this manual, be sure to:

  • Dedicate a week to each action praying for strength to do well, challenges to be mastered, and opportunity to be present.
  • At the beginning of each week, write out or discuss with your group or father/mentor how the action is addressed by Paul’s faithful sayings to Titus.
  • At the end of each week, write out or discuss with your group or father/mentor how “maintaining good works” has affected you as a young man living out your faith in Jesus.
  • At the end of the 13 weeks, write out or discuss with your group or father/mentor how this has changed your life, challenged your living, and/or affirmed your faith.
  • Do this with a friend, brother, or group. Agree to check up regularly, like at the beginning and end of each week.
  • Ask your father/mentor to walk and talk with you during this time, and to connect weekly to check up.


Week 1
This first week, refrain from:  the use of alcohol, use of any kind of illegal or questionable drug or chemical, playing video games, listening to head-banging and/or inappropriate music, expressing oppressive (bully) behavior, and no road rage.  Don’t hang out with those who do these things.  Act like a prince.

Week 2
At your job (or school), go above and beyond the call of duty.

Week 3
Read I Corinthians 15:1-4 each day.  Learn the answer to “What is the Gospel?”  That answer is:  Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He was buried dead, and God raised Him to eternal life.  Believing this, share that definition with at least one person this week either in person, on the phone, in an email, in a text, or on social media.

Week 4
Answer everything with total honesty.  Be utterly, if not brutally, truthful this week.

Week 5
Do not look at porn or “undress” women with your eyes, nor watch anything that you suspect contains sexual content.  Refrain from masturbating.  Practice purity.

Week 6
Be alert to how God is working around you each day.  Meditate on those things and find ways to engage some of the work.  Intentionally do good deeds this week.  Be a gentleman in every respect.  Practice chivalry!

Week 7
This week, determine to not be intimidated by anything.  Face any crisis with the authority given to you as a man who is made in the image and glory of God.  Stand firm so that when the smoke clears and the dust settles, you’re still standing.  Wear the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Week 8
Each day this week, subject yourself to the rule of law:  Go the speed limit, make complete stops, pray for government leaders, demonstrate patriotism, gladly pay taxes, tip well, etc.

Week 9
Treat others as you want to be treated.  Speak calmly.  Make peace.  Each day, find a way to bring joy into someone’s life.

Week 10
Be a perfect gentleman this week in your relationships with women and other men.  Chivalry is not dead.  Remember, you are a prince.

Week 11
Each day this week, several times each day, affirm your faith in Christ to yourself, out loud (maybe look in a mirror!).  Recall Week 3.  Very simply, before you speak to others about Jesus, speak to yourself about Him, and speak to Him often.

Week 12
Avoid arguing with others over insignificant things.  Don’t say something stupid or act toward others in a dumb way.  Think before you speak.  Pause before you act.

Week 13
Speak out when others speak badly about God, the Bible, or Christians.  Don’t agree with unholy thoughts and ideas.  Be strong and courageous – don’t be afraid or dismayed (Joshua 1:9).  Walk away from divisive, immoral people.  Walk with Christ.  Draw close to God and He will draw close to you (James 4:8).  Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove (Matthew 10:16).


Weekly journal

Week 1


Week 2


Week 3


Week 4


Week 5


Week 6


Week 7


Week 8


Week 9


Week 10


Week 11




Week 13


I made it!  Now, write out how this has changed your life, challenged your living, and/or affirmed your faith.





Every young man should have an appreciation for art.


Young man reading by candlelight, Matthias Stom

Young Man Reading by Candlelight, Matthias Stom.  Stom (1600-1650) is believed to have been a pupil of Gerrit van Honthorst in Utrecht, before going to Rome in 1628.  He mainly painted genre pieces and Biblical subjects.  His works differ from Honthorst’s in that the faces of his subjects are more highly elaborated and have broader features and more furrows.  His paintings make use of a warmer palette, dominated by reds and yellows. While in Rome, Stom painted several genre pieces like the present work.


Return of the prodical son, Rembrandt

Return of the Prodigal, Rembrandt (1665).  Perhaps Rembrandt’s most moving painting, the theme recalls Jesus’ parable in Luke 15:11-31.  Henri Nouwen, in his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, observed, “Moving my eyes from the repentant son to the compassionate father, I see that the glittering light reflecting from golden chains, harnesses, helmets, candles, and hidden lamps, has died out and been replaced by the inner light of old age.  It is the movement from the glory that seduces one into an ever greater search for wealth and popularity to the glory that is hidden in the human soul and surpasses death.



David, Michelangelo (1504).  This masterful 17 ft. tall marble statue took young Michelangelo over two years to carve.  At over six tons, it literally stands as a Renaissance interpretation of a common ancient Greek theme of the undaunted, heroic male nude.  Although Biblically inaccurate (David was circumcised), the statue is a reminder of an uncircumcised Titus and what that meant to his ministry on the Isle of Crete.


The American Way, Norman Rockwell (1944). Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was an American author, artist, and illustrator. His works appeal to a broad audience in the United States, reflecting on the American culture and way of life. Many of his paintings capture inspirational patriotic moments, such as the artwork presented here. Rockwell did not receive the acclaim he deserved during his lifetime. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 for “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country.”