It is Paul who writes; God’s servant, sent out as an apostle of Jesus Christ, with the faith of God’s elect for his care; they were to acknowledge that truth which accords with holiness,
and fix their hopes on eternal life. It has been promised to us long ages since by the God who cannot fail us;
and now, in due time, he has made his meaning clear to us, through the preaching with which God, our Saviour, has seen fit to entrust me.
To Titus, my own son in the faith we share, grace and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.
If I left thee behind me in Crete, it was to put all in order, where order is still needed. It is for thee to appoint presbyters, as I enjoined, in each city,
always looking for a man who is beyond reproach, faithful to one wife; one whose children hold the faith, not accused of reckless living, not wanting in obedience.
A bishop, after all, since he is the steward of God’s house, must needs be beyond reproach. He must not be an obstinate or quarrelsome man, one who drinks deep, or comes to blows, or is grasping over money.
He must be hospitable, kindly, discreet, upright, unworldly and continent.
He must hold firmly to the truths which have tradition for their warrant; able, therefore, to encourage sound doctrine, and to shew the wayward their error.
There are many rebellious spirits abroad, who talk of their own fantasies and lead men’s minds astray; those especially who hold by circumcision;
and they must be silenced. They will bring ruin on entire households by false teaching, with an eye to their own base profits.
Why, one of themselves, a spokesman of their own, has told us, The men of Crete were ever liars, venomous creatures, all hungry belly and nothing besides;
and that is a true account of them. Be strict, then, in taking them to task, so that they may be soundly established in the faith,
instead of paying attention to these Jewish fables, these rules laid down for them by human teachers who will not look steadily at the truth.
As if anything could be unclean for those who have clean hearts! But for these men, defiled as they are by want of faith, everything is unclean; defilement has entered their very thought, their very consciences.
They profess recognition of God, but their practice contradicts it; it is they who are abominable, who are disloyal, who are ill qualified for the practice of any true virtue.