The Biblearc Blog

Encouragements and Updates from Biblearc

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Take a breath and get to work. (Titus 3, Part 5)

Do you feel overwhelmed and like you are juggling so many balls on your to-do list that half of them might hit the floor at any minute? You cannot handle what is already on your plate, let alone add something. But then your pastor tells you that he wants you to make more time in your schedule to serve the church. Titus knows how you feel.

We’ve come to the end of this little letter from Paul to his young apprentice in Crete. Paul has given Titus a detailed description of the qualifications for a leader in the church, and for the leader’s family; and he has a painted a picture of what holy living should look like. Now in chapter 3, it feels almost as though Paul is rushing to squeeze a few more taxing items onto Titus’ to-do list, as if the last two chapters weren’t challenging enough! “By the way Titus, remind them and teach them to do all these other additional things too. Avoid all the unprofitable and worthless talk about the law. And if anyone is not cooperating but stirring up divisions instead, remove yourself from them. Oh and don’t forget to send Apollos and Zenas my way too. Get all this done then pack your bags to meet me in Nicopolis by winter. Say hi to everyone for me!”

Remember where we came from? We were a mess just like these Cretans! But God saved us.. He’s given us an inheritance as well! If he did it for us, he can do it for them too…

Whew! In the middle of all that something caught my attention; something that I think would calm Titus from the nervous breakdown he might have been heading for. Do you see the magnificent gospel presentation in verses 3-7? You might think it is being presented as the reason for churchgoers to be submissive, obedient, gentle, ready for every good work and perfectly courteous… but it is not. It is actually Paul’s reason for why Titus should remind them of all those items listed above. As though Paul were telling Titus, “Look bud, I know I am asking a lot of you. You definitely have your work cut out for you, but remember where we came from? We were a mess just like some of these Cretans (if not worse)! But God saved us. Not only did he clean us up but He’s given us an inheritance as well! If he did it for us, he can do it for them too so don’t throw in the towel!”

In chapter 1, Paul made a theological appeal to Titus to continue working in Crete. Now he makes an emotional appeal. I am sure Titus was brought to tears in reading v. 4-7. It was the motivation he could use to finish strong.

If you ever needed a reason to serve, here it is: you’re alive! You were dead in sin but God made you alive..

If you ever needed a reason to serve, here it is: you’re alive! You were dead in sin but God made you alive and has decided to keep you here for little while. That is all the reason you need to get going on whatever your “Island of Crete” may be. Just like Paul strategically placed Titus on Crete, God has sovereignly placed you where you are now. If God wanted you home, He would have called you home. Maybe you will not be picking the new leadership team for your church like Titus, but you are still called to spread the gospel and make disciples so long as you are here. Now take a breath and get to work.

Titus (Part 2)

Go back to part 4 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Josh Reyna

Saved By Grace, Trained By Grace (Titus 1-2, Part 4)

Grace is the wonderful attribute and demonstration of God in which he bestows upon us something we do not deserve, seen most clearly in our salvation. We can discuss, write, preach, and even sing about it for hours. But have you ever thought about how grace not only saves us but trains us as well?

Let us look at Titus 2. Paul tells Titus, “Now you, unlike the false teachers (that we discussed in the previous post), teach about what behavior corresponds with the truth.” Paul goes on to list what saved people behave like, whether young or old, at home with the family or at work with the boss.

Paul anticipates from Titus the questions of why and how. He explains in v. 11-14 that redeemed people will behave in a holy manner because of the grace of God that is with them. It is important to know that God’s grace does not just show up like an impressive fireworks display, brilliant one second and then nothing but a trail of smoke the next. The grace of God is not a cherished, but distant and fading memory. Rather it fills our day-to-day lives and trains us to be the holy people God wants us to be.

[Grace] fills our day-to-day lives and trains us to be the holy people God wants us to be.

But how does grace train? Verse 1 reveals the simple answer: sound doctrine.

I do not imagine that those living on the island of Crete in Titus’ day were much different then many of us today. Many of us cringe when we hear words like “doctrine” and “theology.” They are weighty words that trigger a serious and solemn look about our faces. Yet Paul says that sound doctrine is the vehicle that drives our sanctification. Doctrine is a matter of collecting all of what God has said about a certain subject and organizing it in a systematic way. It is a formidable assignment, but we only need to take it little by little, line upon line.

It is much like training at the gym (which, by the way, also causes me to cringe). You would not show up, run around the entire building like a maniac and then call it a work out. Instead you organize your schedule to exercise certain groups of muscles on specific days and other muscles on other days; and of course, this is all aided by nutritious eating. After a while you start to ask yourself how you ever were able to physically function.

That’s how it is with doctrine. The goal is not necessarily to become a scholar, it is to become more and more Christ-like and that is what Paul maps out for us in v. 1-10. Is it hard work? Of course! Are we left to fend for ourselves? Absolutely not. God’s grace trains us.

Paul says it best when he writes: “…by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” -1 Corinthians 15:10

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Go back to part 3 of this series…
Continue to part 5 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Josh Reyna

They Must Be Silenced (Titus 1-2, Part 3)

In Titus 1:10-16, Paul lays out in black and white who the false teachers are, what they do, and what to do about them. The false teachers are defiant, speaking empty and deceitful words; they are detestable, disobedient, and dysfunctional and give nothing more than lip service. They go around declaring that they know God, yet their lives prove the exact opposite. The defiled minds of these counterfeits result in defiled lives. I think C.H. Spurgeon echoed Paul’s bluntness and urgency when he said “whatever ‘call’ a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.” (Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students).

[If a man] has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry. –Charles Spurgeon

In our day and age, false teachers are not just behind pulpits. They are writing books and producing top-chart albums; they can be bloggers and YouTuber’s, scholars, artists and politicians. They use words like “grace,” “faith,” “believe,” and “hope,” and throw in a few Bible verses in an attempt to appear pious and credible. There is no better word to describe them than “false!” Their actions give them away. Verse 16 says, “they deny him by their works,” and Jesus himself said, “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16)

Stop giving the false teachers a platform.

So, Paul, what are we to do? Silence them! Pull the plug on these false teachers. Turn off the TV and radio. Give up the playlists and the podcasts. Stop giving the false teachers a platform. They are counting on you to tune in and watch. You will be tempted to be “relevant” by following along, even if just at a distance, but you must hold your ground. Paul instructs us not to participate in anything that denies Christ. This movement also calls for rebuking the false teachers. Call them out lovingly and biblically so that the believers they have misled will have their eyes opened and pray that God might grant these false-teachers repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).

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Go back to part 2 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Josh Reyna

What’s On Your List? (Titus 1-2, Part 2)

Grocery lists. To-do lists. Check lists. Wish lists. The list goes on… but when is the last time you stumbled upon this list?

Paul tells Titus: “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—” (v5)

That’s pretty clear right? Next comes the list.

Part of Titus’ daunting task was to designate leaders who met a strict set of conditions that set a man “above reproach.” In verses 6-9, Paul describes these leaders as needing to be a “one-woman man” with saved children who are far removed from things such as drunkenness and rebelliousness. In other words, a faithful man with faithful children in the faith.

In addition to requirements on the makeup of a prospective elder’s family, Titus receives a rigorous list of requirements for the prospect himself. There is a list of “must-not-be’s”: not arrogant, not easily angered, not an alcoholic, not violent, not motivated by greed. There is also a list of “must-be’s”: be friendly, be a lover of all that is good, be sensible, be just, be holy, be disciplined, be able to teach, be able to reprove. All these things are under the banner of “above reproach” according to Paul–and the majority of them apply also to any who claim to be children of God.

So then the question begs to be asked… do your day-to-day actions line up with this list?

Before you add another exhausting list of things to your docket, remember that God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).

Well before you go adding another exhausting list of things to your docket, let us remember that God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). You see, keeping the Christian testimony is much like owning a rare, antique Stradivarius violin. You would not exert the effort to keep such a violin in pristine condition in hope that it might be of some value; rather, you maintain it’s impeccable condition because it is already highly valuable.

And so it is with our testimony. We maintain ourselves “above reproach,” not to gain entrance into God’s kingdom, but rather because we already are part of God’s kingdom. Therefore let us run back to, and remember, the gospel of Christ! For in Christ you’ll find a reason not to be arrogant or short tempered, violent or greedy. In Christ you’ll find the best model for hospitality, holiness, discipline, and self-control.

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Go back to part 1 of this series…
Continue on to part 3 of this series…

Meet our Devotional Blog Contributor: Josh Reyna

Cheat Sheets (Printable PDFs)

Cheat sheetsConjunctions are an important part of discourse analysis and can often trim down the logical relationship possibilities for a given connection in a significant way.

In view of this, we have prepared for you these cheat sheets which you can print for reference, with conjunctions in Greek and English and their associated logical relationships, each including an example.

In addition, we have prepared a new and revised reference to the 18 logical relationships which presents each relationship’s description and common conjunctions in English and Greek, along with a clear biblical example—all on a single page.

Cheat sheet

The 18 logical relationships

Greek conjunctions

Greek conjunctions

English conjunctions

English conjunctions