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Titus 1:5 elders, seniors

28-04-2023 - Posted by Hans

On this behalf I left you in Crete, that you should amend what is lacking and constitute elders city by city, as I prescribe to you.

Titus is left in Crete by Paul to appoint elders city by city. The translation ‘elders’ is not entirely correct because the Greek word (presbuteros) is not a superlative but a magnifying degree: elderly. Keep in mind that the word ‘elderly’ is a relative and not an absolute concept. A teenager in the midst of preschoolers is an elder. And by the way, someone with children is an elder anyway.

One can also be an “elder” in terms of experience. In business, a “senior” is someone with more experience in their field. The elders that Titus would appoint need not necessarily be people of advanced age. If they have been religious longer than others, they are therefore ‘elderly’ in terms of faith.

We should also remember that “elderly” (or elders) is not a job title. Titus was not to appoint people as “seniors,” as if that appointment would make them “seniors.” You are an older person (or not) and that is independent of your appointment. Titus would also not appoint all elders, but only those elders who meet certain characteristics (1:6-9). Their task is to be a supervisor: to see to “the sound teaching”.