10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
In the closing verses of chapter 1, Paul describes the characteristics of false teachers. He has already given the qualification for a leader in the Church. He gives them things to look out for in false teachers to distinguish them from sound teachers. The false teachers were Jewish converts who taught that salvation required circumcision. He indicates this in verse 10 by “those of the circumcision”. Judaizers were those who sought to introduce Jewish teachings and traditions as part of the Gospel and Christian doctrine. The false teachers in the Church at Crete were much like those that Timothy dealt with. The true Church of Jesus Christ has always had to deal with the wrong doctrine.
In verse 11 Paul writes about those of “dishonest gain”. What were these teachers seeking to gain?
There are false teachers in the Church today. They use the ministry of the Church for their own sake and gain. Some are in it for the money and others for fame and power.
In verse 12 Paul writes, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” He quotes a Cretan poet by the name of Epimendies. In the Mediterranean world, the Cretans were considered lairs. The term “to Cretanise” meant to lie. Why do you think Paul quotes Epimendies?
In verse 13 Paul gives wisdom in dealing with teachers who bring false doctrine to the people of God. How do we deal with false doctrine in the church and false teachers?
In verse 14 Paul writes about “Jewish fables”. These are liking to be legends about Old Testament figures some of which are taught today. They were teachings the traditions of men as doctrine. In Matt 15.9 Jesus said, “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” What are some of the worldly traditions we must look out for in the church today?
To the believer all sound doctrine is pure, but to those who teach falsehoods nothing is pure. Their conscience and minds are defiled by their lies and desire for self gain.
Our attention is also draw to what Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth. “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12.9) The Church is a place where sound doctrine should be taught and embraced. Pray for the leaders of the Church. They need our prayers and love. No church officer is above error as we all make mistakes.
Have you ever been in a situation that became leaderless and/or chaotic? What was your greatest concern?