Titus 3 verses 8 and 9

8 This saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on such truths, so that those who have placed their faith in God may be intent on engaging in good works. These things are good and beneficial for all people.
9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, quarrels, and fights about the law, because they are useless and empty.


Context: Paul described the work of the Trinity in our justification in the previous verse 5-7.

This saying is trustworthy-

A) saying

  • lóg-os means something said.
  • Some English versions have the previous verses from verse 5 through verse 7 shown within quotations to make clear to the reader the saying to which Paul is referring to in this verse.

B) Trustworthy

  • Meaning Paul’s revelation about the work of the Trinity in our justification can be trusted.

and I want you to insist on such truths-

A) insist

  • di-ab-eb-ai-ó-om-ai
    dee-ab-eb-ahee-o’-om-ahee; means to confirm thoroughly by words, to asseverate.
    Webster defines as-sev-er-ate to affirm or declare positively or earnestly.

Discussion Questions:

  • In addition to the below benefit given by Paul, what other benefits do you see by earnestly affirming doctrinal truths such as those in the previous verses?
  • Why do you think some denominations devalue doctrinal teachings?
  • Why do you think music in the modern church today has less doctrine than hymns of the past?
  • Why do we see less emphasis on catechisms today compared to the past?
  • Webster defines Catechism as a summary of religious doctrine often in the form of questions and answers.
  • http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp
  • http://www.reformed.org/documents/wlc_w_proofs/

so that those who have placed their faith in God may be intent on engaging in good works –

  • Previous verses 5 through 7 never spoke directly about engaging in good works, yet Paul teaches that the doctrine of our justification will cause believers to be intent in doing good works.

A) intent

  • phron-tí-zō means to exercise thought, to be anxious.

B) engaging

  • pro-ḯs-tē-mi means to stand before, to preside, or to practise.
  • Webster defines preside as to be in charge of something.
  • Webster defines practice as ..
  • To do something again and again in order to become better at it.
  • To do (something) regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life.
  • Therefore, doctrine should cause us to be anxious to preside over and practice good works.

Discussion Questions:

  • Why do you think the doctrine of the Trinity’s work in our justification causes us to be intent to engage in good works?
  • Can you name some good works Paul may have had in mind?

These things are good and beneficial for all people –

  • These things is referring to the trustworthy sayings and other similar truths.
    Doctrinal truth is good for all men, not only believers.

A) beneficial

  • O-phél-i-mos means helpful, serviceable, advantageous.

Discussion Question:

  • All would agree that common moral teachings are good for all men, but how is specific Christian doctrine good for all – including unbelievers?

But avoid –

  • Meaning to not engage, or to stay on the perimeter with regard to the following discussions.

foolish controversies –

A) foolish

  • mō-rós means dull or stupid (as if shut up).
  • English uses the word moron.
  • The sense seems to be to avoid unlearned or uninformed questions.
  • 2 Timothy 2:23 (YLT) and the foolish and uninstructed questions be avoiding, having known that they beget strife,
  • 2 Timothy 2:23 (KJV) But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

genealogies –

  • John Gill commentary state these genealogies refer to Jewish “elders, Rabbis, and doctors, by whom their traditions are handed down from one to another…”
  • It seems there was a controversy in Crete about from where some teachings were handed down. This type of controversy must have been started by those false teachers with Jewish connections mentioned in chapter one of Titus.

Quarrels and fights about the law-

  • Meaning arguments about interpretations of Moses’ ceremonial and civil laws or possibly man made religious commands also mentioned in chapter one.
  • It cannot mean the moral laws of Moses as these could not be called useless and empty as mentioned below.
  • It cannot mean the requirement of keeping the law for salvation since Paul argues against this in many of his letters showing that this topic should not be avoided.

because they are useless and empty-

  • Arguing about names and various ceremonies is not profitable. Stick to doctrine which really matters.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of empty and profitless subjects that Christians may argue about today?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

Why Insist on Doctrine?


Not only stand against sinful behavior directly, but also proclaim My amazing doctrine of grace. This will touch My people’s hearts, and will motivate them to do good works.

Many denominations and teachers water-down My doctrine in their music and in their teachings to avoid offending others. Yet they don’t see they are harming the souls of their own people.

The message of My grace is powerful to effect change in the hearts of My children. I loved them. My Holy Spirit washed them. My Son was sacrificed for them. The show of My abundant love and forgiveness will cause them to resist sin and do all kinds of good works for My glory.