Titus 1:6 Defining blameless when the legal system has been weaponized

In this lesson I’m going to look at Titus chapter one verse six and talk about one of the qualifications to be an elder, which is to be blameless. More specifically, I’ll talk about what blameless looks like in the age of lawfare, when the judicial system has been weaponized to attack and silence good people.

Watch the video or scroll down to read a transcript.


Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain. In this lesson I’m going to look at Titus chapter one verse six and talk about one of the qualifications to be an elder, which is to be blameless. More specifically, I’ll talk about what blameless looks like in the age of lawfare, when the judicial system has been weaponized to attack and silence good people.

Let’s start by reading Titus one verses five through seven. 

Titus 1:5  For this reason I left you in Crete, in order that you might set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in each city as I commanded you, 6 if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, and having faithful children who are not under charge of debauchery or rebellion. 7 For it is necessary for the overseer to be blameless as God’s steward,

As we learned in previous lessons, Paul wrote this letter to Titus. Paul gave Titus instructions on what he was supposed to do in Crete. He was supposed to set in order the things that were lacking. One of those things was elders. Then Paul listed the qualifications for elder. The first qualification to be an elder is a man has to be blameless. We see this word twice. This word appears in verse 6 and verse 7. The word blameless is a translation of the Greek word anegkletos. 

In Biblical Greek, the way they converted a word from a positive into a negative was to add the Greek letter alpha to the beginning. This means anegkletos is the opposite of egkletos. 

We do something similar in English. In English, if you take the word prove and add the prefix dis- to the beginning, that forms the word disprove. Disprove is the opposite of prove. If you start with the word grateful and add the prefix un- to the beginning, you have ungrateful. Ungrateful is the opposite of grateful. 

Let’s go back to the greek word anegkletos. Anegkletos is the negative form of egkletos. Egkletos is a variation of egkaleo. In order to understand the meaning of anegkletos, let’s first understand the meaning of egkaleo.

Let’s go to Acts 19. In this passage Paul was on his third missionary journey. He was in Ephesus. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made a lot of money by making shrines to Artemis, basically started a riot, protesting against the Christians. Many Ephesians went into the theater and for several hours there was shouting and confusion. Eventually, the town clerk managed to quiet the crowd and said the following, starting in verse 38. 

Acts 19:38 “So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against any man, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another. 39 “But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly. 40 “For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today’s events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering.”

We see the words “bring charges against”. That is a translation of the greek word egkaleo. We also see the word “accused”, which is also a translation of the Greek word egkaleo. Egkaleo means to bring charges against someone. In this case it meant bringing charges in the legal system. It is similar to an indictment.

Egkaleo was also used in Romans chapter eight. The meaning is slightly different. Let’s start reading at verse 31. 

Rom. 8:31   What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 

The word charge is a translation of egkaleo. This is also the idea of bringing a charge against someone. However, in this case it does not refer to bringing the charge in an earthly legal system; instead, it refers to bringing the charge before God.

If egkaleo means to bring a charge against someone, then anegkletos means it is not possible to bring a charge against someone. Let’s go back to Titus chapter 1. In order to be an elder, a man has to be blameless. He has to be anegkletos. In other words, it should not be possible for somebody to bring a charge against an elder.

What does this look like in real life? First of all, in order to be an elder, a man has to be someone who cannot be charged with breaking God’s laws. Having said that, no human is perfect. Every man is guilty of sinning against God at some point. In light of that, how is any man ever qualified to be an elder. Here are a couple thoughts on that. 

First, a sin is a sin, and all sins are an offense against God. However, there are some sins that we recognize as worse than other sins. Certainly, we want our elders to be men who are not guilty of the more serious sins.

Second, there’s also a sense in which, when we’re choosing elders, since nobody is perfect, what we’re really looking for is the men who are the least sinful men in a particular church. It’s a little uncomfortable to say that because we don’t like to turn it into a competition that way. However, the reality is, that is what we have to do. 

This does not only apply to this particular qualification for elder. Since no human is perfect, no man is going to meet all the qualifications to be an elder perfectly. What we have to do in order to choose elders is choose the men who are the most righteous compared to all the other men in a particular congregation. 

Now let’s think about being blameless in relation to man’s laws. Obviously, if a man is guilty of illegal things like fraud, murder, theft, or assault and battery, then he should not be an elder. In other words, if a man has legal problems, he should not be an elder.

However, what do we do if a godly man takes a stand against sin, and evil people deliberately abuse the legal system and falsely convict that godly man of a bogus charge in order to shut him up and punish him? Over the past several centuries, we did not worry about that happening in the English speaking world. However, in recent years evil people have been weaponizing the legal system to attack moral people, and so this is something that could very well happen in the future. Maybe it has already happened to someone in your church.

The dilemma is we don’t want to choose anyone as an elder if he has any legal problems because we don’t want to sully the reputation of Jesus. However, if evil people weaponized the legal system against a godly man in order to punish him for taking a moral stand, and if we refuse to appoint that godly man as an elder because of his legal problems, then we are allowing evil people to dictate who can serve as leaders of our churches. We should not allow ungodly, evil people to dictate who can serve as elders of our churches. 

I don’t believe there’s an easy answer to this question. It’s probably something that will have to be decided on a case by case basis. I hope this does not become a big problem, but when you look at where our society is headed, this could very well become a significant issue in the future. It will take wisdom and discernment to navigate those situations.

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Scripture quotations from Titus taken from a translation by Bible Mountain.

“All other Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)