1. Paul writes to Titus who is on the island of Crete. He gives a small insight into the Cretan society and culture when he quotes a poet of the time. He says: “Someone said from out of their own, a prophet from among them: Cretans always are liars, evil beasts, idle bellies. This testimony is true. What do you make of this statement? What does this tell us about the history and culture of Crete 2000 years ago in the context of being an island nation in the Mediterranean world. Try searching for information about Cretan culture and family life in the first century AD and discuss the differences between that culture and ours in 21st century New Zealand.
2. Paul writes a description of the characteristics that are looked for in elders of the church and gives a list of what to avoid as well. In the light of Cretan culture why do you think he also wrote a list to avoid? Paul also writes on the same topic to Timothy (1 Timothy 3). What are the similarities and differences in these descriptions of Elders? Does Timothy being in Ephesus and Tutus being in Crete make a difference? What do you think these scriptures say about women being in leadership in the church?
3. Paul teaches strongly to Titus about Christian living and how this is a powerful way of sharing the gospel, and not bringing Jesus or his gospel into disrepute. What is our response in the 21st century to this same call on our lives? What do we need to change to bring a fresh clarity to our own lies as we meet and work and live our lies with those that do not know Jesus yet so that they more clearly see and experience the life transforming love of Jesus? Make a list and commit with one person to change something in your life to make Jesus better known to those around us that do not know him yet.