The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 56 & 57 – Titus & Philemon
Copyright, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
Lesson 56 – Titus
* KEYWORD–“GOOD WORKS.”
* KEY VERSE–Tit 2:7.
* KEY PHRASE–“THE VIRTUES AND GRACES OF CHURCH OFFICERS AND CHURCH MEMBERS.”
This brief letter sets forth 70 virtues and graces to be sought, and 30 vices to be shunned.
For family altar read:
* Sunday–A church officer should be a man of blameless character,–Tit 1:1-9.
* Monday–Rebuke false teachers,–Tit 1:10-16.
* Tuesday–Some virtues to be practice,–Tit 2:1-8.
* Wednesday–Christians should be a select people,–Tit 2:9-15.
* Thursday–Live as one regenerated and renewed,–Tit 3:1-7.
* Friday–Messages to Timothy and Titus have same emphasis,–1 Timothy 6:1-12.
* Saturday–Be devoted to good works,–Tit 3:9-15.
DATE–About 65 A. D. the same as I Timothy.
TO WHOM WRITTEN–Titus was a Gentile and Paul’s child in the faith, Tit 1:4. Also one of his co-workers, 2Co 8:23. When the church council was held at Jerusalem, Ac 15:13-19, to decide whether the Gentile Christians must be circumcised or not, Titus was made the test case and Paul’s plea for freedom from Jewish ordinances was granted. As Paul’s trusted friend, he went to Corinth with both the first and second epistles and tactfully and successfully persuaded the church to do the right thing in discipline and in the matter of divisions. Paul made a missionary journey to the island of Crete and left Titus there in charge of the work. It was during Titus’ stay at Crete that the apostle wrote this letter.
OCCASION–Apollos was about to journey to Crete, and Paul, hearing that certain converts from Judaism were deceiving whole families with false teachings, he took the opportunity of sending a letter to Titus full of practical advice. He suggests that the way to counteract the harmful influences is to lay more emphasis upon sound doctrines and holy character.
PURPOSE–To set forth the virtues and graces that should exist in church officers and church members, and that these virtues and graces should be expressed in good works.
3. Good Works.
Great Facts I. The Kind of Officers a Church Should Have
Officers of the church should be men of irreproachable character, having one living wife, and whose children are not accused of being unruly. Not self-willed or quick-tempered, not addicted to drink or to fighting, or to questionable money-making. On the contrary, he should be hospitable, a lover of the right, discreet, just, a man of holy life and capable of self-restraint. One who holds doctrines that are according to the scripture that he may be able to encourage others by sound teaching, and to refute opponents. There are false teachers who for money will pervert the message of the gospel, and the Cretans themselves, as one of their teachers have said, “Are always liars, base brutes and lazy gluttons.” Rebuke such, sharply, that they may be sound in the Faith and pay no attention to those who would turn their backs upon the Truth. Everything is pure to the pm e-minded, but to those whose minds are polluted, and who are unbelievers, nothing is pure. They profess to know God, but disown Him by their actions, being degraded and disobedient, and are worthless as far as every good work is concerned.
1. A minister must have but one living wife, but he is not compelled to be married as are the priests of the Greek church, neither should he be compel led to remain unmarried, as is the priest of the Roman Catholic church. This passage simply condemns polygamy.
2. A minister will be judged by his family life, he who cannot rule his own children wet cannot rule the church of God, 1Ti 3:5.
3. He must have all the moral and social qualities Of a good man and should be known for his virtues and sympathies.
4. He must be doctrinally sound, not always running after new and novel theories, not a creator of the truth, but a teacher of it, remembering that the Truth has been sacredly entrusted to him.
5. These qualifications which are applied to ministers here are applied to other church offices in 1Ti 3:8-10.
Great Facts II. Becoming Conduct for Church Members
Older men should be temperate, serious and discreet, strong in faith, love, and endurance. So too, the older women should be reverent in their manner, avoiding scandal and not given to drink, that they may teach what is right and tram the younger women to love their husbands and children and to be housewifely. Young men should exercise self-control, and be models of a noble life in everything. Servants should be obedient to their masters, trying to give satisfaction in everything, not contradicting or stealing, but showing praiseworthy fidelity so as to recommend the teaching of God our Saviour in everything. For the loving-kindness of God leads us to renounce irreligious ways and live upright in this present world while we await the Appearing of our great God and Saviour. For He gave Himself for us that He might deliver us from all wickedness, and to purify for Himself a select people zealous in good works.
1. Paul not only soars high into the unspeakable mysteries of God and into the heights and depths of God’s eternal purposes but also goes into every detail of practical Godliness. He lifts up the humblest duties to a heavenly platform, he would bring every relationship into accordance with the laws of righteousness and seeks to make all human life pure and happy.
2. John Selden was so thoroughly convinced of the superior value of the Holy Scriptures, as to declare that Titus, Tit 2:11-14, afforded him more solid Satisfaction than all he had ever read.
Great Facts III. Church-Members Should Be Devoted to Good Works
Be submissive to rulers and authorities and be ready for every good work. Speak ill of no one, avoid quarreling and show a gentle spirit in dealing with others. Remember the time when we ourselves had all the faults that we hate in others. But through the kindness of God our Saviour we were saved, not as a result of the good works we had done, but in fulfillment of His merciful purposes. He saves us by that Washing which was a New Birth to us, and by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, which power He poured out on us richly through Christ Jesus our Saviour. Have nothing to do with foolish discussions and controversies, for these are useless and futile. If a man is causing divisions among you, after warning him once or twice, have nothing more to say to him. You may be sure that such a man has forsaken the Truth and is in the wrong, he stands self-condemned. Let all our people devote themselves to doing good, so as to meet the most pressing needs, and that their lives may not be unfruitful.
1. The washing and the renewing in Tit 3:5 are both done by the Holy Spirit. Regeneration always consists of two elements, first cleansing, second, renewing, or the giving of new life, Joh 3:5, and Tit 3:5, both mean this. “Except a man be cleansed by the Spirit’s application of the blood of Christ, and except the Spirit give him new life, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” See also Heb 9:13-14, where we are told that it is the blood of Christ that purges our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Also Re 7:14 where the white-robed ones are said to have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.
2. The doctrine of grace is the true fountain from which all good works flow. We should, therefore, devote ourselves to good works,
1. They are a blessing to man, Jas 1:25.
2. God remembers them, Heb 6:9-10.
3. They will be an evidence of faith in the judgment, Matthew 25:34-40
Questions on the Lesson
1. Give the keyword and key verse.
2. How many virtues and vices mentioned in Titus?
3. Tell who wrote it and when.
4. Tell about the life of Titus.
5. What the occasion of the letter?
6. What the purpose?
7. Name the great facts.
8. What kind of officers should a church have?
9. How about the minister’s married life?
10. How about his family life?
11. How about his moral and social qualities?
12. How must he be doctrinally?
13. Do these qualifications apply to other officers?
14. What should be the conduct of older men?
15. What of older women?
16. What of younger women?
17. What the conduct of young men?
18. What of servants?
19. Show that Paul went into the details of practical Godliness.
20. What did John Belden say?
21. What is meant by the washing of regeneration?
22. What are the true foundations of good works?
23. Give three reasons for devoting ourselves to good works.
Lesson 57 Philemon
* KEY VERSE–Phm 16.
* KEY PHRASE–“UNPROFITABLE SINNERS MADE PROFITABLE.”
This epistle has been called the most beautiful and most intensely human of all Paul’s letters.
For family altar read:–
* Sunday–The character of Philemon,–Phm 1-7.
* Monday–Paul pleads for the runaway,–Phm 8-16.
* Tuesday–Put the sins of the runaway to Paul’s account,–Philemon 1:17-25.
* Wednesday–Instruction in forgiveness,–Lu 17:1-10.
* Thursday–A forgiven servant,–Mt 18:21-25.
* Friday–Much forgiveness begets much love,–Lu 7:41-50.
* Saturday–Be tender-hearted toward one another,–Eph 4:20-32.
DATE and PLACE of writing, same as Colossians, 62 A. D., during his first imprisonment at Rome.
TO WHOM written–Philemon. Philemon was a member of the church at Colosse and was probably converted at Ephesus, during Paul’s three-year stay there. He was a man of wealth and celebrated for his hospitality for the church met at his house. It was customary in those days for people of means to own a number of slaves, and to keep less than ten was hardly possible for a man who wished to move in high society. APPHIA was the Christian wife of Philemon, and ARCHIPPUS, his son, and a fellow labourer with Paul in the gospel.
ABOUT WHOM WRITTEN–Onesimus. He was a slave of Philemon, and still a heathen when he robbed his master and ran off to Rome. There he came into touch with Paul, who was a prisoner in his own hired house. It is probable that at his master’s house, where the Christians met to worship he had often heard him speak of Paul to whom Philemon owed his conversion. This meeting of the runaway slave with the great apostle led to his conversion, Phm 10, and he at once began to assist Paul in the work. The apostle would have gladly kept Onesimus with him, but as he could not do this without the knowledge and consent of Philemon, he sent Onesimus bath to his master. Paul also recommends Onesimus to the Church at Colosse as a “Faithful and beloved brother who is one of you.” This recommendation would be of great value at Colonic assuring the Christians there that
Onesimus was not now merely a heathen slave, but is Paul’s spiritual child.
PURPOSE–To show that the gospel has the power to win a thief and a runaway, and to soften the harsh relationship that existed between a master and his slaves.
2. Faith and Kindness.
Great Facts I. The Apostle’s Greeting
Paul begins this letter, as was his custom, with words of appreciation, calling his friends, “our dearly beloved, our fellow-labourer, our fellow-soldier.” He did this not from a desire to please or to say nice sounding things, but because he always recognized good in others, and had a heart full of love for them. The best way to secure the doing of further good is to give deserved praise for good already done.
Philemon, by throwing open his house for prayer and worship, sets us an example for today. When a church-house is not nearby, it is a very worthy thing for a man to make his house “a house of prayer.” House-to-house prayer meetings have done a vast amount of good, and the custom should not be allowed to pass away.
Great Facts II. Philemon’s Faith and Kindness
Paul here thanks God for the faith which Philemon had toward the Lord Jesus, and for the love and kindness which he showed toward all the Lord’s people, and the apostle prays that Philemon’s faith may ever result in everything that is good and Christ-like.
LESSON–Faith in Christ is a saving grace, the very principle of the Christian life, and Of good works. This faith is manifested in love to fellow-Christians for these graces never exist separately, for those who love Christ must and will love those also who are begotten of Him, 1Jo 5:1.
Great Facts III Paul’s Plea for the Runaway
The apostle here claims to have authority to command Philemon in this matter, and yet for love’s sake, he, the grey-haired Paul now a prisoner for Christ’s sake, pleads for his new spiritual child Onesimus, the runaway slave, whom he is sending back, who once was of little service, not only to Philemon but to the apostle as well. He had become so dear to Paul that it was like tearing out his very heart to send him back, yet be would not keep him without Philemon’s consent. This temporary separation of the slave from his master was intended by God, that his master might have him back, forever, no longer as a slave, but as something better–a dearly beloved brother.
The apostle further pleads with Philemon to receive Onesimus back as he would receive him–Paul–and if the fugitive has caused any loss or owes anything, then charge it to Paul for he will repay it, although Paul will say nothing about Philemon owing his very self to him. Paul would gain something from Philemon because of his union with the Lord and has confidence that he will do even more than is asked.
1. It must not be thought that because Paul returned a slave to his master that therefore, Christianity endorses slavery. The truth is, that the law as it then stood gave certain rights to Philemon, and an apostle would be the last of all men to violate the law. His mission was to set forth such truths as the fatherhood of God for believers, the sonship of Christ, and the brotherhood of man,so that masters would recognize their responsibility to God, and see that their Christian slaves were fellow-citizens of the household of God. As Christian nations have come to believe these Bible truths, slavery has been abolished. Notice that when Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon, it was not as a slave to be punished for deserting, but as a dearly beloved Christian brother.
2. As Paul found Onesimus wandering from his master’s house and his place of duty, so the Lord Jesus found us wandering from God, Luke 19:10. The story is told of a mother, who although she had eleven children buried in the little graveyard, wept not for the dead, but for a living son who had run away from home. As she sent a friend to find him, she said. “If you find my boy, sick, or in prison, or in want, do all you can for him and I will repay you.” She had the streets and alleys of a great city searched until she found him. If parents, “being evil,” are so moved to find their prodigals, how much more the Saviour who is all love?
3. As Paul pleaded that all of the slave’s demerits be placed to his account, and all of Paul’s merits be placed to the slave’s account, so Christ has taken upon Himself all our sin and guilt, and in exchange has bestowed upon us His righteousness and His divine nature, 2Pe 1:4. How happy we should be that Christ will pay all our debts, and so identify Himself with us that we all shall be received as Himself!
4. As Philemon received Onesimus, so God will receive us and make us profitable. Grace changed a criminal, in this case, to a Christian brother, from unprofitable to profitable. How many of the world’s greatest characters were nobodies, lost amid a lost multitude, until Christ called them by name, put a new heart and a new spirit within them, and made them somebodies in the realm of noble service. Who would ever have heard of Peter, James and John if Christ had not made them profitable to the world? Augustine, Luther and Muller would have been Dust ordinary failures, common worldlings, but for the enriching grace of the Lord Jesus, which made some of the most valuable men who has ever lived. If our lives are not counting for as much as they should, let us give ourselves utterly to Him who magnifies and makes valuable every life laid upon the altar.
Questions on the Lesson
1. Give the key word and key verse.
2. Who was the writer?
3. Give date and place of writing.
4. Tell about Philemon.
5. Who was Apphia and Archippus?
6. Tell about Onesimus.
7. What the purpose of the letter?
8. Which is the best way to secure the doing of further good?
9. In what did Philemon set an example?
10. Show that faith and love must exist together.
11. Describe Paul’s plea for the runaway.
12. What obligation did Paul take upon himself toward slavery?
13. How has Bible truths abolished slavery?
14. Show that Jesus has ever been seeking wanderers.
15. What does Jesus take upon Himself and bestow on us?
16. Show that grace makes men profitable.
17. Name some men made profitable.
18. Have you read the Home Readings?
19. Name the great facts.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. — Matthew 28:19-20 KJV