Reading the Bible

Where do I start?

It takes a brave person to try reading the Bible if you've never read it before. It's intimidating with all those big names, thee's & thou's. We want to make it a little easier for you to get started! 

Regularly reading the Bible is an important part of getting to know God and growing more like Jesus.

This month, consider adding this Titus study to your normal routine and maybe even going over it together with a friend over a hot cup of coffee once a week.

Get started now by checking out our online study of Titus below.

Week 1

Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as your read this section of the Bible.

Read: Titus 1:1-4 

Do you really know who you are and why you are here? If we are honest, everyone wants to know this. The Apostle Paul who wrote this letter has a clear idea of who he is and why he is on Earth. 

He describes himself first as a "slave (or servant) of God"; someone owned by God and committed to serving Him with all of his life. Paul did not ask himself "who am I" but instead "Whose am I". Paul is the same one who wrote "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 5:20) This shows Paul's humble submission to the will of God.

Next Paul described himself as "an apostle of Jesus Christ". Paul did not just wake up one day and decide that he was going to be an apostle. No! You see, Paul used to hate Jesus and Christians! He was on his way to go persecute Christians like Isis in the Iraq,  when all the sudden the resurrected Jesus showed up with blinding light and chose Paul to be His apostle. (Read Acts 9:1-8) Can you imagine if that happened to a jihadist today?!

This may have gone against Paul's will or desires at that time, but when Jesus breaks into our lives we find new life, purpose, identity and eternal hope. We all serve someone even if it is ourselves…but for Paul his life is best lived under the authority of King Jesus. 

Lastly, Paul knew exactly what he was put here on Earth to do. Do you? His purpose was to reach the lost and grow the reached. He lived to bring people to faith in Christ and to help them grow to be more like Jesus. Jesus specifically sent him out on mission to 'the gentiles' who had not heard about Jesus yet. Maybe you have wondered what God's will is for your life? Although you may not know the specifics, every follower of Jesus can take part in reaching the lost and growing the reached in our everyday lives. 

Reflection Questions

  1. Who are you? What do you base your identify on as a person? 
  2. Why are you here on Earth? What will your life be about?
  3. What are some ways you can help 'reach the lost and grow the reached' this month? 

Memorize: Titus 1:1-2 (if you are feeling rather ambitious!) 


Week 2:

Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as your read this section of the Bible.

Read: Titus 1:5-14  

People new to Christianity often find the idea "elders" to be a bit odd. At least I did. Does this mean they are members of the AARP or must have stories about walking to school barefoot in the snow when they were my age? So why does the apostle Paul make such a big deal about appointing elders in the church? What kind of men do they need to be? 

Titus had a big job to do and he could not do it all himself. He needed to find mature men who could help organize these baby churches, protect them from unchecked false teachers and to teach these new Christians correct info about Jesus and how to live for Jesus in this world. Who wants to sign up for all that? The reality is however, that the need for elders is still just as important for us today at City Church. But seriously, this is an intimidating job description! Would anyone really qualify? 

Although none of us would meet or exceed all these requirements and characteristics perfectly (except Jesus), they ought to be observed to a large degree in the overseers of the church. If not, then a person may have many wonderful qualities that could be used in the church but not in the roll of ‘elder’. 

So, if we are not elders how does this all apply to the rest of us? These requirements and characteristics found in verse 6-9, are not for ‘super Christians’ only, but are marks of maturity for any followers of Jesus. As the Lord grows us we will see an increasing measure of these qualities in our lives. So, it does not take a super Christian to simply have a look at our own life and ask the Lord to grow us in an area that is required for eldership.

Those who are saved by Jesus grow to be more like Jesus. God did not purchase us with His own Son’s blood on the cross for us to keep living however we want (1 Cor. 6:20. Disciples of Jesus grow into disciple-makers for Jesus with the help, care, correction, teaching and guidance of our elders. Jesus doesn't want us to be a thorn in the side of our elders, He wants us to grow up alongside them and to partner with them in being for the Gospel and for the city.

Reflection Questions: 

  1. What are the two reasons Paul left Titus behind in Crete? 
  2. Look back over verses 6-9 and determine which of those godly qualities you personally would like to more of a reality in your life?
  3. What are some next steps for you to grow and mature in that area you just identified?

Memorize: Titus 1:7-9  (if you need a challenge for the week!) 


Week 3: 

Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as your read this section of the Bible.

Read: Titus 2:1-15 

Ever notice how sometimes church goers or Christians can seem like the biggest hypocrites?  Well, this is nothing new in the history of man and the church.  What we speak and how we conduct ourselves should match up.  What you see is what you should get.  Have you ever looked at someone’s Facebook page only to know them in real life and think, “That’s not them at all!” Wouldn't it be great if we could practice what we preach? What we claim to believe should have a profound impact on how we live.  If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.

Paul tells us to watch our lives and watch our doctrine (what we believe and what we teach). Why is this important?  Primarily because how we live and speak sends a message about God to others around us. Children of God should not live in a way that dishonors our Heavenly Father or provides a reason for others to reject the church. Instead, our lives should  is “adorn (make more beautiful or attractive) the doctrine of God our Savior”.

He gives very specific and timeless goals for growing our character and behavior to be more like Jesus. Paul gives charges to both men and women, young and old.  He instructs them/us to be:

·      sober-minded (literally means sober or free from the control of a substance)

·      dignified (to be of revered character; worthy of respect)

·      self-controlled (literally means ‘sane’ or of ‘sound mind’)

·      sound in faith (or of healthy faith/faithfulness)

·      (sound) in love (agape – unconditional love)

·      (sound) in steadfastness (or perseverance; able to patiently endure)

·      Working like we are… called not employed: To work in a way that honors God and has a gospel impact on our boss and co-workers.

Is this just a list of things to do so we can put on a front in order to look like a Christian? No way!  That is what we refer to as “Southern Comfort" ; trying to follow the rules just enough to fit comfortably into southern church culture and look good doing it. Hopefully your faith goes deeper than this. Either way, you may be thinking, “Whew!  That list is exhaustive!  I could never ever live up to those standards anyways.”  If we try to do this (which many churches and church folk do) we would be missing the gospel and missing the point.

Paul drops a gospel bomb right in between two sections about ethical living and good works (reread Titus 2:11-15 and check out that gospel-mushroom cloud!) We are not to live godly lives for the sake of feeling better about ourselves or to earn God’s favor or a seat in heaven. No, it is God’s grace that brought Jesus down to Earth to die for sinners and it is this grace of God that teaches us and motivates us to live like Jesus in the world.

Without this gospel-laden hinge piece of Scripture, the book of Titus would be in danger of looking like a moralistic checklist. However, the gospel is far more powerful than a soul-less checklist mentality.  We've got to remind ourselves and one another that the grace of God and the redemptive work of Jesus fuels our desire to live holy, God-honoring lives.

Reflection Questions: 

  1. Which expectation of Christian behavior resonated with you most? Why?

  2. Why did Jesus give Himself for you and how does that motivate you to live for Him?

  3. What is one way your daily life could point others to the grace of God this week?

Memorize: Titus 2:11-14 (if you wake up with a hankering to memorize something!) 


Week 4: 

Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as your read this section of the Bible.

Read: Titus 3:3-8, 14  

Have you ever found yourself looking down on others or even thanking God that you are not as jacked up as that other guy at work, next door or in hand-cuffs on the news? Arrogant Christians need a giant humble pie in the face sometimes. Do you treat the worst of sinners or the non-Christian people in your life with respect and compassion? If not, then this may be an indicator that your heart needs a reminder of the gospel.

Christians don't save themselves...God does, and it's not because of how awesome or impressive we are btw. So there really is no room for boasting or looking down our noses at others. Everyone has a past and probably several skeleton's in the closet. Some are traumatic, shameful, and highly visible while others are hidden, secret and subtle, but all are equally offensive to our holy God.

The Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death (Rom.6:23). Bottom line: we all would be heading straight to hell if it were not for the grace of God breaking into our lives. So why does Paul remind us of our foolish, disobedient, deceived, lustful, unfaithful and hateful past? Because it is too easy and tempting to think we've got it all together or that we fixed ourselves.

The only reason any of us will be going to heaven is because 'God saved us' out of His own goodness and mercy. God makes the first move, not us! This gives hope for the hopeless! No matter how far from God someone may seem, they are never too sinful for God to save them. If God can make everything from nothing and raise the dead to life, then surely He can save you. On the flip side, no matter how many good things a person does or how mother-teresa-like they are, they can not be saved apart from the grace of God. You can not earn what only Jesus can pay for. We are not saved by our performance (good works) but by the performance of Jesus on the cross. Thus we are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

However, Jesus did not die on the cross for us to disregard His sacrifice and keep on living however we want. No, the gospel should motivate us to "devote ourselves to good works" in a way that honors God and shows our love for Him. Too often though, we abuse God's grace by 'accepting Christ' to go to heaven yet try not to let Jesus interfere with our lives. A life saved by Jesus will be accompanied by a life devoted to living for Jesus.


Reflection Questions: 

  1. Do you have 'a past'? So what were you like before you were a follower of Jesus? (If you are new to Christianity or wouldn't consider yourself a Christian yet, then what are some things you would like to see different in your life if you did start following Jesus? )
  2. So why does Paul remind us of our sinful pasts? What is the point of remembering what we have been forgiven for?
  3. What are some 'good works' you could do this week out of response for God's grace in your life? 

Memorize: Titus 3:4-7 (if you need something witty to tweet or put as your Facebook status today!)