Thursday, April 14, 2016

STUDIES IN TITUS (chap. 1, pt 15)

Are these people holy?

What images come to your mind with the word ‘holy?’

For most of us, if we were brought up in any kind of a religious home, holiness is most often seen in the type of clothing one wore. For Catholics, it was the attire of priests and nuns. We could tell they were holy by their manner of dress. (I’m speaking from a child’s perspective at the time.)
Many religions have their special clothing for the clergy, and it is the clergy we most often associate with the idea of holy. Somehow, the concept of holy just does not belong to us regular folks.
That is too bad, but it is a topic for another discussion.
At this point, I am still talking about the leaders of the church and their qualifications as Paul outlined for Titus in his letter to the young man. I’m sure the irony is not lost on you with the previous thoughts about clergy and the current topic of leadership qualifications.
(Clergy/laity is also a topic for another discussion.)

The word translated ‘holy’ in this verse is not the ordinary one, which is γιος (hagios).

Hagios is used 229 times in the NT, whereas this word, σιος (hosios) is only used 8 times. The same disparity occurs with the words in the LXX (Septuagint), with hosios only being used 24 times out of the 430 uses of the word “holy.”

The two Greek words are not related. In fact, scholars have not been able to determine the origin of the word used here in this verse in Titus. However, in tracing its usage in classical Greek, an interesting connotation is discovered.

According to Friedrich Hauck, the word “corresponds to what a man does by disposition in accordance with his inward attitude…In content it is what is right and good from the standpoint of morality and religion.” (Theological Dictionary of New Testament, vol. v, p. 489)

This becomes revelatory when considered as an aspect of church leadership.

This quality eliminates the usual feature of putting on a display of holiness—wearing a mask, as it were—when the situation calls for it. Rather, what is the regular and ordinary disposition of the one being considered?

In other words, what is he like on the highway with inconsiderate drivers? What is he like in the office dealing with frustrations? What is she like in the marketplace when dealing with incompetency?

To be sure, the disposition revealed should be that which is consistent with holiness in attitude; but such is too often not the case with those in whom we have placed our trust for leadership.

Outside of the sanctuary, we often find anger, impatience, frustration, and other qualities not befitting those who should be “examples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:3)

Again, our lack of demanding scriptural accuracy in this area has led to our being deceived by the very ones in whom we trust.

Some have accused me of being too demanding with this list of qualifications, but I only remind them that I did not write the Bible; nor am I the one who wrote the letter that has been included in sacred writ.

We, as the people of God, must become more demanding of ourselves as well as those who have been given charge over us. These qualifications that God requires follow the idea of being “blameless,” which is the umbrella term, the overarching prerequisite of all that follows. (Titus 1:7)

May the Lord begin to raise up shepherds after His own heart who will care for the flock of God willingly, without constraint, and with a desire to see them all come into the fullness of the knowledge of the Son of God. (Jer. 3:15; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Pet. 5:2)

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