Taking their cue from Ecclesiastes 3, the musical group The Byrds produced the 1965 hit, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” One stanza proclaims: “A time of love, a time of hate / A time of war, a time of peace / A time you may embrace / A time to refrain from embracing.”
Today’s final admonitions to Titus encourage a similar discernment. Previously, Titus had been instructed to confront and correct false teaching. Core doctrine must be defended. Now, Paul warned Titus to avoid engaging others in “foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels.” Squabbling over trivial matters is “unprofitable and useless” (v. 9).
Likewise, Titus must avoid divisive individuals in the community. They should be warned twice, but if there is no change, “have nothing to do with them” (v. 10). Discerning the right response to divisive controversies and personalities is important for godly leadership in the church.
Finally, Paul added some concluding instructions about daily, practical concerns for the church. Zenas and Apollos, traveling missionaries, would be passing through Crete; Titus was to help them and provide for their needs. And in more general terms, Titus was to instruct the churches in Crete to “devote themselves to doing what is good” (v. 14).
Finally, the seemingly mundane concerns demonstrate the importance of a conscious commitment to daily Christian living. Even while we await the coming of our Savior, we must not lose sight of the identity of the community, the needs of others, or our dedication to doing good. To do so, of course, we needs Paul’s concluding blessing: “Grace be with you all” (v. 15).