January 14, 2018 – Titus 1:1-16

Lesson Date: January 14, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: Titus 1:1-16

AIM: To lead students to recognize the seriousness of their church leaders’ responsibilities, and to (1) commit to pray for them and (2) take steps to guard themselves from false teaching.

Before class: Read the notes on Titus 1:1-16 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): An older pastor gave this advice to a younger pastor: “People don’t want controversy. They come to church to be soothed and comforted. If you want to survive in the ministry, never preach on anything controversial.”

Ask members for their reaction to this advice. Ask: “Should the young pastor follow this advice? Why or why not?”

Tell the class that many churches fall into doctrinal error because of a fear of confronting error or offending people. Often the persons espousing such error are powerful or influential, so the pastor feels intimidated and fears antagonizing them.

Tell the students that today’s lesson from Titus 1 will help us see the seriousness of our church leaders’ role and responsibilities.



  1. Review and Introduction to Titus.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the New Testament books of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.
    • Timothy and Titus were young pastors. Paul wrote them to give advice and counsel.
    • Tell the class that last week we finished the book of 1 Timothy.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (guidelines for relationships within the family of God).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (1 Tim. 6:6).
    • Introduce the study of Titus by explaining the following to the class:
      • Paul’s letter to Titus was written after he was released from his first Roman imprisonment – about the same time as he wrote 1 Timothy.
      • Titus was a close and trusted associate of Paul’s.
      • He was a Gentile Christian, who evidently traveled extensively with and for Paul.
      • Titus was ministering on the island of Crete (locate Crete on the map) when Paul wrote this letter.
  2. God Can Be Trusted.
    • Tell the class Paul may have written Titus 1:1-4 in order to reassure Titus that God can be trusted regardless of our circumstances. As a young pastor facing difficulties within his church, these verses could be very reassuring.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Titus 1:1-4.
    • Briefly lecture on these verses using the following outline:
      • Verse 1 – Paul was called by God and given a work (ministry) to do. This was not Paul’s choice, but God’s choice for him. Paul viewed himself as God’s servant; therefore he could trust God.
      • Verse 2 – Since eternal life was settled before the world was formed, Paul urged Titus to trust God. Eternal life doesn’t end, pause, or slip away from us, therefore God can be trusted. God cannot lie, so He obviously can be trusted.
      • Verses 3 – Since God sent His Son into the world to save us He can certainly be trusted. Since God was gracious to provide preaching of the Word so we could be saved, He can be trusted.
      • Verse 4 – Paul prayed for grace, mercy, and peace to be upon Titus. This would give him strength to face difficulties.
  3. The Need for Godly Church Leaders.
    • Tell the class that the remainder of this chapter can be divided into three sections.
      • Verse 5 deals with the need for godly church leaders.
      • Verses 6-9 deal with the qualifications of godly church leaders.
      • Verses 10-16 deal with the work of those godly church leaders.
    • Read Titus 1:5.
    • Ask: “Why did Paul leave Titus in Crete?” (to correct errors and to appoint elders in every city).
    • There was an obvious need for godly church leaders in the churches of Crete.
    • Summarize: Churches need godly leaders.
  4. The Qualifications for Godly Church Leaders.
    • When we studied 1 Timothy 3 (Dec. 17) your class already learned about the qualifications for church leaders, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time on that here.
    • Read Titus 1:6-9.
    • Ask: “Based on these verses, name some of the qualifications for godly church leaders?”
    • After allowing time for several responses, tell the class the qualifications for godly church leaders may be summed up in four words or phrases. Godly church leaders must be:
      • Moral (verse 6).
      • Controlled (verse 7).
      • Loving (verse 8).
      • Firm in Bible doctrine (verse 9).
    • Suggest that the students write these words beside the appropriate verses in their Bibles.
    • Summarize: The qualifications for godly church leaders are that they must be moral, controlled, loving, and firm in Bible doctrine.
  5. The Work of Godly Church Leaders.
    • Tell the class that the work of godly church leaders may be grouped into three categories.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Titus 1:10-11.
    • Ask: “What kind of problems were certain people in the church causing?” (they were subverting whole families, leading them away from the truth for personal gain).
    • Ask: “What’s the first thing godly church leaders must do?” (stop vain talkers and false teachers).
    • Read Titus 1:12-14.
    • Ask: “What’s the next thing godly church leaders must do?” (rebuke error and turn people toward the truth).
    • Ask: “What types of error should be rebuked sharply in the church?” (lying, laziness, evil, and gluttony).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Titus 1:15-16.
    • Explain that “the pure” are saved people and “them that are defiled” are lost people.
    • Ask: “What’s the third thing godly church leaders must do?” (point out the differences between those who are saved and those who are lost).
    • Ask: “Why is it important for the church to understand the difference of behavior between those who are saved and those who are lost?” (so they know who to believe)
    • Ask: “What does verse 15 say about lost people?” (their mind and conscience is defiled).
    • Note (from verse 16) that the false teachers claimed to know God, but their evil works proved that they were really lost.
    • Summarize: The work of godly church leaders includes stopping vain talkers and false teachers, rebuking error and turning people to the truth, and pointing out the differences between the lifestyles of saved people and lost people.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class that the work of our church leaders is a very serious matter. It is important that the church be guarded from error and taught the truth of God’s Word. Ask: “How do our church leaders protect us from doctrinal error?” “How do they teach us the truth from God’s Word?”

Our church leaders have a serious task, so we must support them and uphold them in prayer. Ask: “Do you pray daily for your pastor and other church leaders?” Church leaders need many things from their church family (such as encouragement, love, follow-ship, and a sense of belonging), but the most important and foundational thing they need is our prayer. Tell the class we need to commit ourselves to pray for our pastor and other church leaders.

Tell the students we must also do all we can to learn God’s Word, and thus protect ourselves from doctrinal error. Ask: “What are some practical steps we can take to become more knowledgeable about Bible doctrine?” Allow time for responses, but be sure to mention the “Daily Bible Reading Guide” and learning activities in the Sunday School Member Quarterly. Attendance at Sunday School and preaching services helps us grow, as does the encouragement and example of our fellow class members.

Lead a closing prayer of commitment to (1) pray daily for our pastor and other church leaders, and (2) spend more time in God’s Word.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to put our church leaders on their daily prayer list. Tell them to pray for them and to thank God for them. Warn the students to avoid false doctrine.

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  1. Lorraine Shaw : January 9, 2018 at 2:36 am

    Excellent Sunday school lesson- very thorough.
    May I ask what Sunday School study tool do you use?

    • Thank you for the kind comment. I write our Sunday School materials for adults and youth. We follow a book-by-book approach, covering the entire Bible in about 11 years. Each week’s member lesson can be found on our Sunday School page (http://morningside.ws/sunday-school/) under the heading “This Week in Sunday School.” God bless you!

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