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Titus 3:10 – A sectarian man (1)

31-08-2023 - Posted by Hans

A sectarian man, after one and a second admonition, refuse.

In the preceding verse, Titus was instructed what he would avoid: foolish questions, genealogies, quarrels, and fighting over law. In the above verse, Paul continues his warning and names who is guilty of it (“a sectarian man”).

The term “sectarian” deserves further explanation. It is often translated “heretical” (“unorthodox” or “deviating from the teachings of the Church”), but that is as understandable as it is misleading. From the Greek word to which “sectarian” is related (hairesis), our word “heresis” (Eng. heresy) is derived. And indeed, that has the meaning of “heresy”. Yet that is certainly not the meaning of “hairesis” in the NT.

Originally, a “sect” (háiresis) was a school or denomination with a particular favorite teaching or leader. The idea of ​​”favourite” (exalt, prefer) is also contained in the word “hairesis”. Thus we read about the sect of the Sadducees and the Pharisees (Acts 5:17; 15:5). And the Christians are called the sect of Nazarenes (Acts 24:5). A sect in such cases has the neutral meaning of a party. However, a “partisanship” becomes very bad when someone misunderstands the existing spiritual unity and substitutes their own favorite doctrine or leader.