- Locate the Passage
This is the first semantic unit after the introduction.
- Identify the Genre
Macro level genre: Epistolary
Micro level genre: Procedural
- Determine the Structure of the Passage
1:4-9 represent three sentences.
The passage begins with an implied command in v. 5, i.e. I left you in Crete to do this, so do it! The rest of the passage, vv. 6-9, is a straight forward list of qualifications for the elder.
The text answers the question, “who is qualified to be an elder?” The answer to the question is a list of qualifications.
- Exegete the Structure
Notice the key verb in v. 5, epidiorthoo. This verb means “to put or to set.” Combined with ho leipo, “what remains”, it gives the sense of setting straight. Think of the way a doctor will take a broken bone and “set a bone” or think of an orthodontist who sets teeth straight. Titus has inherited a situation that is very broken. He must begin the process of setting things right by finding the right elders.
Clearly this verb modifies more than what immediately follows, but it gives a sense of how important of a job Titus has. He must set things straight and will begin to do so through appointing men who have the right stuff to lead as elders.
It is important to note that the qualifications are not skilled based, they are character based. The only exception is that he must be able to give instruction (v. 9) which, when seen with I Tim 3:2, implies a teaching gift. Yet even giving instruction is a result of antecho. That is, holding the deep conviction of the word. In other words the teaching act flows from the deep conviction to hold tightly to the word.
Everything that follows is a result of an action – setting things in order.
There is no formal structure to the list that follows in v.5 other than to note the use of anekletos, translated “above reproach” which is used in v.6 and v.7. The idea is that they are unassailable. This word then gives us a hint at a formal structure. The elder must be above reproach in his family (v. 6) and above reproach in his character (v. 7), and have convictions about God’s word (v.9).
- Let the structure of the text drive the structure of the sermon
Set things right by appointing right elders (v. 5)
(So who is qualified?)
Elders must be above reproach with their families (v. 6)
Elders must be above reproach with their character (v. 7)
Elders must have a deep conviction to the word (v. 9)