Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless – Titus 3:8-11 – 02/25/2016
This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.
Titus 3:8 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse eight; let’s look at the text on a verse by verse basis…
V8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
In the last article we looked at those who were foolish and disobedient, and Paul reminded those to be submissive to rulers and authorities and gave some great characteristics of how a Christian should be especially in a society that is not “Christ-friendly”, Paul continues this thought and finishes it with this sentence, he was insistent that the Christians focus on what is important.
We are all called to a battle, a heavenly war if you will and as soldiers in that battle against darkness we all have to stay on task. We are fighting an enemy who is relentless in his pursuit against the people who have chosen to follow the messiah Jesus Christ; I know from personal experience that my most trying times where I have been spiritually attacked have been when I have been deepest in the trenches following the will of God in my life.
We are to be devoted to good works, that is what we are saved for, we are called to be different to this world, as the world gets darker we are supposed to shine as beacons of light that point towards our Messiah Jesus. Paul goes on to look at our conduct as Christians…
V9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
Paul goes back to the beginning of his letter and almost brings it full circle and continues the thought that began when he spoke of the things that should not be taught, Paul uses a word for “avoid” that literally means “point the other way” and that is possibly a better understanding for us. My advice to the modern day Christian is the same, ask yourself a question “will this debate matter in five years?” or “Is this debate worth the people it will cost me?” and often times that will change our minds in getting involved in discussions that we really have no business being in.
We usually do this electronically these days as opposed to in person, when we add our fellow brothers and sisters onto our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts we give them access to ourselves and sometimes that access leads to viewpoints that are different, most often in the areas of theology and politics, just because they sit near you in a building on your preferred day of worship (most of us Sundays) does not always mean that they mirror your stance on every issue.
The Pharisees were tremendous at causing dissention and creating “holy laws” (or cultural laws) in addition to the already unattainable Law of Moses and often times they created these great religious discussions to flex their theological muscles and show how much they knew. That also happens today and as Christians we should avoid any discussions that stoke individual pride even if we are doing so “for God”. If the motivation (and be honest now) is prideful or the motivation is to show how holy you are then it will have little worth.
Quite often we see the mission of God as discussions like these and we neglect the basics such as “loving our neighbor” or “mentoring up a weaker believer” claiming that we are simply too busy to do these simple works when we are tying ourselves up in great theological disputes that will often cause contention and very rarely win a soul to Christ.
And lastly we should avoid contention for the sake of contention. I have friends who are young earth, some who are old earth, I have friends that are pre-trib, I have friends that are post-trib and I respect and value their friendship enough that I won’t keep tagging them in article that are against their viewpoint on these issues that are contentious. If they have known me for more than five minutes they will know my individual stance on these articles and how I back that stance up with scripture. I find that most drama can be avoided with a little care on the instigators part. Here is what Paul says about these types of people…
V10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
We all have those folks, we maybe know those folks, and we maybe are those folks who could cause a fight in an empty room. Even as you are reading this I bet you are casting your mind to some folks that you could think of who are like this. Paul is not using this as an excuse to cut someone loose that is contentious (I have seen this passage of scripture used to shun someone who has less popular viewpoints in the hope that the person eventually gets the message and leaves) but more as a guideline that they should not be shunned as stated earlier, that we should be pursuing that person who has gone his own way.
We should be warning him multiple times yes but we should not give up on him. Jesus paid such a high price for our Salvation and we should be doing all we can to welcome him (or her) back if they decide to repent and wish to be part of the church again. Often times the leaving of that person is done in such a way that the person would never be able to be returned to fellowship. Obviously that should be avoided and we must love even in tough love and often times that is missing when situations like this happen and people with axes to grind against churches will often feel “unloved”. (It may or may not be the case but we have to take that idea out of the water)
Obviously, if the person is unrepentant and has to go then so be it, but it should not be the first option. If he chooses to not partake of the communion of the saints and chooses the route of self-condemnation then let him go. I would go as far as to say minister to him from a distance in prayer in the hope that he returns to his messiah and also in the hope of correction of doctrine also. His choices are between him and God now.
Lord willing, in our next article in Titus we look at the end of the chapter and see how Paul concludes this letter to Titus in chapter three verses twelve through fifteen. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.