Crete, about 170 miles south of the Greek mainland, is the largest of the Greek islands/at 156 miles (252 km) long (from east to west) and, at most, 35 miles wide (from north to south).
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece.
The capital and the largest city of Crete is Heraklion.
It was home to the Minoan civilization, a Mediterranean culture that reached its high point around 1500 B.C., but collapsed at the end of the Bronze Age, in around 1200 B.C.
The most spectacular remains of this civilization may be viewed at Knossos. Crete is referred to in the Old Testament as Caphtor (Deut 2:23; Jer 47:4), and the Philistines came to Canaan by way of Crete (Amos 9:7).
Crete does not figure significantly in history during the classical period, although the island is said to have been a base for pirates. It was brought under Roman rule in 67 B.C.
The island had a substantial Jewish population during the New Testament period and Paul was troubled by the negative influence of some of these Jews on the early Christians.
Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centers.
Its development begun in the wake of the 9th century A.D. (in antiquity, Knossos was the island’s most important center, followed by Gortyn).
In later times, Heraklion came under Arabic, Venetian and Ottoman rule; its conquerors initially gave it the name Khandaq or Handak which was corrupted to Candia.
During the 2004 Olympic Games, the city of Heraklion provided one of the venues for the football tournament.
The Cretan poet who labeled his fellow Cretans as liars and lazy gluttons is supposed to have been Epimenides, although the original text is no longer available.
The Bible mentions Crete in Judges 2 and Acts 27, but it doesn’t appear to ever be an important city, at least in ancient time. The only reason the Bible probably speaks about it is because it was primarily populated with heathens (makes me think of Washington D.C.) and of course Paul preached there as well.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at what might have created so many non-believers, and we definitely have to thank the Jews for that.
Qualifications for Elders
1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Crete has been home to advanced civilizations for thousands of years.
Crete is the fifth largest island in the Meditteranean and is located at the southern edge of the Aegean Sea.
“Cannot lie” – in contrast to the Cretans (v. 12) and the devil (Jn 8:44).
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
“Due times” – crucial events in God’s program occur at His designated times in history (1 Tim 2:6; 6:15).
“His word” – the authoritative message that centers in Christ.
4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
“Mine own son” – Titus, like Timothy, was a spiritual son, having been converted through Paul’s ministry. Onesimus was also called a son by Paul (Phil 10).
“The common faith” – the “complete” faith in Jesus that all “true” Christians share. When it comes to Jesus Christ there is nothing partial about Him or faith in Him.
5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Crete serves as a barrier island between the mainland of Greece and the continent of Africa.
It is a strategically important island and was the site of fierce fighting during World War II.
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
“Husband of one wife” – since elders, by definition, were chosen from among the older men of the congregation, Paul assumed they already would be married and have children.
A qualified unmarried man was not necessarily barred. It is also improbable that the standard forbids an elder to remarry if his wife dies (cf. Rom 7:2-3; 1 Cor 7:39; 1 Tim 5:14).
The most likely meaning is simply that a faithful monogamous married life must be maintained.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
“Bishop” – the use of “elder” in v. 5 and “bishop” (or “overseer”) in v. 7 indicates that the terms were used interchangeably.
“Elder” indicates qualification (maturity and experience), while “bishop” indicates responsibility (watching over God’s flock).
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
According to Greek mythology, the first queen of Crete was Europa. Later on, Crete became the land of King Minos.
The legend is that the king refused to sacrifice a bull to the gods and Poseidon punished him by making his wife fall in love with a bull.
From this union the Minotaur was born and was hid in a labyrinth. Crete is the place where the Minoan civilization, one of the most important civilizations of the world (2600-1150 B.C.), started.
“Sober” – a virtue much needed in Crete.
“Temperate” = possessing the inner strength to control one’s desires and actions.
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
“Sound doctrine” – correct teaching, in keeping with that of the apostles. The teaching is called “sound” not only because it builds up in the faith, but because it protects against the corrupting influence of false teachers.
Many pastors, evangelists, teachers, or just talkers do not express the “sound doctrine” of Jesus Christ. To name a few, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Pope Francis, Oprah Winfrey, Rhonda Byrne, etc.
10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
“Slow bellies” – more clearly stated as “lazy gluttons.” The quotation is from the poet Epimenides ( a 6th century native of Knossos, Crete), who was held in high esteem by the Cretans. In Greek literature “to Cretanize” meant to lie.
Huge palace-states were built, such as the famous and superb palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Zakros, and the Minoans established a naval empire in the Mediterranean.
This great civilization was stopped by the huge waves caused by the eruption of the volcano of Santorini Greece in 1450 B.C.
The architecture of ancient sites and temples such as the temple of Asklepios in Lissos, Chania, proves the wealth of the island since antiquity.
Crete later fell under the domination of the Arabs, in 824, and stayed under it for 137 years.
During those years the city of Heraklion was founded, first called Handak.
In 1204, the Venetians conquered the island of Crete.
They fortified the old castles built by the Arabs, built new ones, and founded new fortified cities such as Chania and Rethymno.
13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
If someone does not tell “sound doctrine” (v. 9), it is the same as Cretanizing.
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
The people mentioned in v. 9, to name a few.