5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you —
6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
left (v.5) = left behind temporarily — Titus’s charge was not a permanent office
Crete (v.5) — Crete, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea [south of Greece] was not visited by Paul on any of his first three missionary journeys. He touched there on his way to Rome as a prisoner of the Roman Empire, but at that time, Titus was not with him. This is one of the facts which indicates that Paul was liberated from his first Roman imprisonment and spent some time in missionary work. Here he refers to the time when he and Titus had worked there together, and he had left him there to finish the organization of the churches they had founded. — Wuest, page 183.
that you should set in order (v.5) — tense indicates this was a task for Titus to attend to personally and diligently — “set in order” is a medical term used of setting broken limbs.
The phrase “set in order” indicates that disorder prevailed among the believers in Crete. The very same phrase is found in 1 Corinthians 11:34 where the apostle, having given instructions as to irregularities in the Corinthian church, says, “The rest will I set in order when I come.” — Stam, page 242.
lacking (v.5) = lit. “to leave” — things left undone when Paul left.
appoint (v.5) — no formal church process or ceremony is indicated.
The meaning of the injunction is, that Titus should appoint out of the number of elderly men of approved Christian reputation, certain ones to be overseers (episkopos) of the churches in several cities. The eldership was not a distinct office. “Appointed” is diatasso, “to prescribe, give a charge.” — Wuest, page 183.
elders (v.5) — same as bishops in v.7 (see Acts 20:17 and 28). Elders refers to their spiritual maturity, bishops to the character of their service. The word is plural — more than one in a given church (Acts 14:23; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:12).
It is evident from this passage that the apostle used the words “elder” and “bishop” (overseer) interchangeably, where position was concerned. True, there might be men older in years who were not qualified to be overseers, but here the apostle instructs Titus to “appoint elders (v.5) as bishops (v.7). Specifically, he says: “Appoint elders … if any be blameless … For a bishop must be blameless. These words “elder” (Greek, presbuteros) and “bishop” (Greek, episkopos) are also used interchangeably in Acts 20:17, 28, the word “elder” expressing the dignity of the office and the word “bishop” the responsibility. — Stam, page 243.
in every city (v.5) — We do not take this to imply that there were Christian churches in all the municipalities of this large island, the flourishing center of what historians call the Aegean Civilization. Rather we take it to mean that bishops, or overseers, were needed for what we might call the “city churches.” any small locality might have a church composed of a few members who could easily work well together, but the larger churches would be located in the cities, and these would need overseers. — Stam, page 242.
blameless (v.6) = that which cannot be called to account, with nothing laid to one’s charge (1 Timothy 3:2)
husband of one wife (v.6) — not a polygamist. This is not an injunction against remarrying if a wife dies, and probably not an insistence that elders be married (1 Timothy 3:2)
faithful children (v.6) = believing children
dissipation (v.6) = dissoluteness — The adverbial form is translated “with riotous living” in Luke 15, referring to the prodigal son
insubordination (v.6) = cannot be subjected to control
bishop (v.7) = manager of an household or estate (1 Timothy 3:1)
self-willed (v.7) = to enjoy one’s self, self-pleasing, arrogant
quick-tempered (v.7) = prone to anger, irascible
not given to wine (v.7) = not tarrying at wine (1 Timothy 3:3)
not violent (v.7) = not given to fighting (1 Timothy 3:3)
hospitable (v.8) = lit. “loving stranger” (1 Timothy 3:2)
lover of what is good (v.8) — philagathos
sober-minded (v.8) = lit. “of sound mind” — self-controlled (1 Timothy 3:2)
self-controlled (v.8) = having power over, keeping in hand, controlling
holding fast (v.9) = holding firmly to, with a suggestion of withstanding opposition
as he hath been taught (v.9) = according to the teaching
exhort (v.9) = I beg of you, please
convict (v.9) = convict so as to bring forth conviction or agreement
those who contradict (v.9) = lit. “to speak against”