(Vs. 5.) How long Paul was in Crete is unknown, but he had spent some time there. When he had to depart, he left Titus there to continue what he had begun. The building of a church and the growth of individual believers is not a work that can be brought to maturity or perfection at once (John 16:12,13; Eph. 4:11.13; 1 Peter 2:2). Titus was left to teach the young converts the doctrines of the gospel; to instruct the church in the proper order of ordinances, discipline, officers, conduct and manners; to answer and deal with false teachers and troublemakers; and to ordain pastors in every city (Acts 14:23).
Paul knew that churches could not long remain without the ministry of pastors. Where there is a body of believers, a pastor should be appointed over them. It is thought by some from 1 Timothy 5:17 that there were two classes of elders; however, it is certain that this text refers to those who taught the Word, for immediately afterward he calls them "bishops".
(Vs. 6-9.) Paul points out the necessary qualifications of pastors other than being called to that office and gifted for that work by the Spirit of God (Acts 13:2,3).
"Blameless." No man is entirely free from sin or blameless in the sight of God, but the meaning is that he should be a man of excellent reputation among men, a man of honesty, integrity and upright conduct!
"The husband of one wife." It is not required that a man be married (Paul was not) or that he should not have a second wife after the death of the first, but one wife at a time! Polygamy and divorce were prevalent at that time. The elder is to be married to one woman only!
"Having faithful children." This cannot mean that his children must all be converted, for that is not in the power of any man (2 Sam. 23:5). The phrase can only intend that they shall be brought up in the principles and doctrines of Christ, and as long as they remain at home they shall be restrained, disciplined and obedient to their parents (1 Tim. 3:4, 5).
"Blameless as the steward of God." This refers to his faithfulness in the discharge of his office, faithfulness to his Lord and the trust committed to him (to preach the gospel and feed the sheep, and to those persons under his care).
"Not self-willed" not doing things according to his own will, but seeking only the will and glory of God. He is not to be stubborn, obstinate and inflexible.
"Not soon angry," but slow to wrath, which shows a man to be one of compassion and understanding. An angry man is not fit to teach others nor to lead the church.
"Not given to wine." The pastor is not intemperate in the use of wine and is not addicted to the use of it.
"No striker" either with his tongue or hands. He is not a bully nor a harsh person, but gentle and considerate.
"Not given to filthy lucre" - not greedy of money or possessions, Covetousness and greed are distasteful in any believer, but especially in a minister of the gospel (1 Tim. 6:6-10).
"A lover of hospitality." The elders minister to people; therefore, they must love and be concerned for individuals. Their hearts, hands and homes must be open to all men, especially to those of the faith.
"A lover of good men" - a lover of goodness, of good things and good people, which shows the sincerity of his character.
"Sober," or self-controlled and moderate.
"Just," righteous and fair in his dealings with others.
"Holy," devout toward God, the Word and in his personal and private life.
"Temperate" in eating, drinking, hobbies and in all things pertaining to the flesh.
"Holding fast the faithful Word." This is the chief gift and requirement in a pastor. He is chosen principally for the sake of teaching, for the church cannot be governed or taught in any other way than by the Word of God! The Word is called the "faithful Word" and "the Word which he has been taught".
1. "The faithful Word." It is so called because it is the Word of God, it is true and it is to be believed! It contains nothing but truth and will not deceive either in its doctrine or promises (1 Tim. 1:15).
2. "The Word he has been taught" according to the prophets, Christ and the apostles. We are to teach nothing else for doctrine or in a theoretical way except the Word of God (Isa. 8:19,20). Opinions, speculation and human logic have no place in the pulpit.
Sound doctrine and true scriptural preaching will not only edify, exhort and instruct the true believer, but it will at the same time subdue, convict and answer those who are in error and who deny the truth (2 Cor. 2:15,16).
It is true that pastors, elders and bishops (by whatever name they may be called) are teachers and overseers in the church and should lead the congregation not only by instruction, but by example; but these qualifications, with the exception of "apt to teach", ought to be characteristics of every believer. Not just our pastors are to be men of godliness, honesty and witnesses of truth, but every believer has, firstly, a responsibility to glorify God in word and deed, thus adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour, and, secondly, a ministry to fulfil.