Titus 1:8

Monday, 28 May 2018

…but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, Titus 1:8

In the previous verse, Paul noted disqualifying factors for the office of bishop. Now in this verse, he gives things which are necessary for qualification. The word “but” shows the contrast between the two. The first qualification is being “hospitable.”

This is a compound word coming from philos, meaning “friend,” or “associate;” and xenos, meaning “stranger,” or “foreigner.” Thus, it is one who is a friend of strangers. The word xenos is where our modern term “xenophobia” is derived. That speaks of having a phobia against foreigners. The word “hospitable” is then speaking of one’s conduct – being fond of guests, and good towards strangers. Such a person is to be naturally given to hospitality.

Next, Paul says he must be “a lover of what is good.” It is a word found only here in Scripture. It gives the sense of having personal affection for what is inherently good. Thus, it speaks of those who love what God loves. A paraphrase of its meaning would be “One who loves God’s good.” That which is of God, or of which God is pleased with, also pleases him.

Paul then mentions the “sober-minded.” It is a word found four times, all in the pastoral epistles. It signifies soundness of mind. Such a person is to be well-balanced from God’s perspective. It is a person who lives in line with the word of God, setting the boundaries of his life in accord with that word. Thus, a good definition of this word would be “discreet and discerning.” HELPS Word Studies gives the following example: “An opera singer controls the length (quality) of their tones by their diaphragm which even controls the ability to breathe and moderates heartbeat. Hence it regulates (‘brings safety’) to the body, keeping it properly controlled.”

The next qualification is being “just.” The word signifies being righteous, and thus “just in the eyes of God” (Souter). One who conforms to God’s righteous standards is indicated here. He is an upright individual.

Being just is followed by being “holy.” This indicates that which is sanctioned by higher (divine) law. Such a person lives in accordance with God’s divine truth. Thus, he is set apart as godly.

Paul finishes this verse with “self-controlled.” It is another unique word in Scripture, egkratés. It literally signifies “mastered from within.” Thus it is a person who is temperate, prudent, and able to control his passions and desires.

Life application: Think on the negatives of the words given today. Can you imagine appointing someone to a leadership position who isn’t hospitable toward others; who despises what is good; who is unsound in his thinking and decisions; who is unjust; who is unholy; and/or who cannot control his passions? Paul’s words should be obvious concerning the selection of men to the ministry. And yet, how many times do we read of pastors, preachers, and deacons who live very ungodly lives. It is possible for anyone to slip up, but some appointments are made of those who are just truly unqualified. This is a great fault in the church, and it has led to entire denominations quickly going apostate.

Lord God, great denominations have quickly fallen away from what is holy, godly, and in accord with Your will and Your word. The most vile of conduct is now being accepted under the premise that it is “loving.” In fact though, it is hateful of You, and of Your word. When will the ungodly be brought to account for this? We pray that You will act, and bring about restoration of our churches. Return our hearts to godliness, O God. Amen.

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