Titus 1; Titus 2; Titus 3; Philemon 1

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Titus 1

1 From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I was sent to help the faith of God's chosen people and to help them know the truth that shows people how to serve God.
2 That faith and that knowledge come from the hope for life forever, which God promised to us before time began. And God cannot lie.
3 At the right time God let the world know about that life through preaching. He trusted me with that work, and I preached by the command of God our Savior.
4 To Titus, my true child in the faith we share: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
5 I left you in Crete so you could finish doing the things that still needed to be done and so you could appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
6 An elder must not be guilty of doing wrong, must have only one wife, and must have believing children. They must not be known as children who are wild and do not cooperate.
7 As God's manager, an elder must not be guilty of doing wrong, being selfish, or becoming angry quickly. He must not drink too much wine, like to fight, or try to get rich by cheating others.
8 An elder must be ready to welcome guests, love what is good, be wise, live right, and be holy and self-controlled.
9 By holding on to the trustworthy word just as we teach it, an elder can help people by using true teaching, and he can show those who are against the true teaching that they are wrong.
10 There are many people who refuse to cooperate, who talk about worthless things and lead others into the wrong way -- mainly those who say all who are not Jews must be circumcised.
11 These people must be stopped, because they are upsetting whole families by teaching things they should not teach, which they do to get rich by cheating people.
12 Even one of their own prophets said, "Cretans are always liars, evil animals, and lazy people who do nothing but eat."
13 The words that prophet said are true. So firmly tell those people they are wrong so they may become strong in the faith,
14 not accepting Jewish false stories and the commands of people who reject the truth.
15 To those who are pure, all things are pure, but to those who are full of sin and do not believe, nothing is pure. Both their minds and their consciences have been ruined.
16 They say they know God, but their actions show they do not accept him. They are hateful people, they refuse to obey, and they are useless for doing anything good.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Titus 2

1 But you must tell everyone what to do to follow the true teaching.
2 Teach older men to be self-controlled, serious, wise, strong in faith, in love, and in patience.
3 In the same way, teach older women to be holy in their behavior, not speaking against others or enslaved to too much wine, but teaching what is good.
4 Then they can teach the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be wise and pure, to be good workers at home, to be kind, and to yield to their husbands. Then no one will be able to criticize the teaching God gave us.
6 In the same way, encourage young men to be wise.
7 In every way be an example of doing good deeds. When you teach, do it with honesty and seriousness.
8 Speak the truth so that you cannot be criticized. Then those who are against you will be ashamed because there is nothing bad to say about us.
9 Slaves should yield to their own masters at all times, trying to please them and not arguing with them.
10 They should not steal from them but should show their masters they can be fully trusted so that in everything they do they will make the teaching of God our Savior attractive.
11 That is the way we should live, because God's grace that can save everyone has come.
12 It teaches us not to live against God nor to do the evil things the world wants to do. Instead, that grace teaches us to live now in a wise and right way and in a way that shows we serve God.
13 We should live like that while we wait for our great hope and the coming of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
14 He gave himself for us so he might pay the price to free us from all evil and to make us pure people who belong only to him -- people who are always wanting to do good deeds.
15 Say these things and encourage the people and tell them what is wrong in their lives, with all authority. Do not let anyone treat you as if you were unimportant.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Titus 3

1 Remind the believers to yield to the authority of rulers and government leaders, to obey them, to be ready to do good,
2 to speak no evil about anyone, to live in peace, and to be gentle and polite to all people.
3 In the past we also were foolish. We did not obey, we were wrong, and we were slaves to many things our bodies wanted and enjoyed. We spent our lives doing evil and being jealous. People hated us, and we hated each other.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was shown,
5 he saved us because of his mercy. It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit.
6 God poured out richly upon us that Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior.
7 Being made right with God by his grace, we could have the hope of receiving the life that never ends.
8 This teaching is true, and I want you to be sure the people understand these things. Then those who believe in God will be careful to use their lives for doing good. These things are good and will help everyone.
9 But stay away from those who have foolish arguments and talk about useless family histories and argue and quarrel about the law. Those things are worth nothing and will not help anyone.
10 After a first and second warning, avoid someone who causes arguments.
11 You can know that such people are evil and sinful; their own sins prove them wrong.
12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to stay there this winter.
13 Do all you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey so that they have everything they need.
14 Our people must learn to use their lives for doing good deeds to provide what is necessary so that their lives will not be useless.
15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Philemon 1

1 From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, our brother. To Philemon, our dear friend and worker with us;
2 to Apphia, our sister; to Archippus, a worker with us; and to the church that meets in your home:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers,
5 because I hear about the love you have for all God's holy people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus.
6 I pray that the faith you share may make you understand every blessing we have in Christ.
7 I have great joy and comfort, my brother, because the love you have shown to God's people has refreshed them.
8 So, in Christ, I could be bold and order you to do what is right.
9 But because I love you, I am pleading with you instead. I, Paul, an old man now and also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
10 am pleading with you for my child Onesimus, who became my child while I was in prison.
11 In the past he was useless to you, but now he has become useful for both you and me.
12 I am sending him back to you, and with him I am sending my own heart.
13 I wanted to keep him with me so that in your place he might help me while I am in prison for the Good News.
14 But I did not want to do anything without asking you first so that any good you do for me will be because you want to do it, not because I forced you.
15 Maybe Onesimus was separated from you for a short time so you could have him back forever --
16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a loved brother. I love him very much, but you will love him even more, both as a person and as a believer in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me.
18 If he has done anything wrong to you or if he owes you anything, charge that to me.
19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back, and I will say nothing about what you owe me for your own life.
20 So, my brother, I ask that you do this for me in the Lord: Refresh my heart in Christ.
21 I write this letter, knowing that you will do what I ask you and even more.
22 One more thing -- prepare a room for me in which to stay, because I hope God will answer your prayers and I will be able to come to you.
23 Epaphras, a prisoner with me for Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you.
24 And also Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, workers together with me, send greetings.
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.