Titus 1:6 Having Believing Children

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 have believing children.

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 have believing children. Let’s start by reading Titus one, verses five through six. 

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 believing children who are not under charge of debauchery or rebellion.

If you remember from previous lessons, Paul had been in Crete, and when he left Crete, he left Titus behind. Apparently, Paul gave Titus some verbal instructions. Later, Paul put those instructions in writing and that is what we have in the book of Titus. 

One of the instructions to Titus was to set in order the things that were lacking. One of the things lacking was elders in each city. Paul listed the qualifications for elder.

The first qualification is a man has to be blameless. The second qualification is a man has to be the husband of one wife. Then the third qualification has to do with a man’s children. That’s the one we’re going to look at in this lesson. 

I’m going to talk about four words in verse six: the word children, the word believing, the word debauchery, and the word rebellion.

Let’s start with the word children. The Greek word that was used there is teknon. In the English language, when we use the word children, we often associate that with people who are minors under the age of 18, in other words, young children. However, sometimes, we also use the word children to refer to adults. When senior citizens talk about their children, they are usually referring to adults. 

Biblical Greek is similar. The word teknon does not necessarily refer to young children, sometimes it refers to adults. We see this in Luke 16. Jesus told a parable about a rich man and Lazarus. The rich man went through life living in splendor and had a very easy life. But when he died, he went to Hades and was in torment. He asked Abraham to have mercy on him. Then we read the following in verse 25.

Luke 16:25 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.’”

Notice, Abraham used the word child to refer to the rich man. The word child is a translation of the Greek word teknon. This indicates that sometimes the word teknon was used to refer to adults. When we think about the requirement for a man to have children in order to be an elder, it is not specifying age, either young children or adult children. A man simply has to have offspring and the stipulations regarding his offspring apply regardless of age.

Notice the word children is plural. In order to be an elder, a man has to have multiple children. 

Now let’s look at the word believing. Not only does a prospective elder have to have children, he has to have children who are believers. Look at the way it’s phrased. It says “having believing children”. Obviously, he has to have multiple children who are believers. I don’t think that necessarily means every single one of his children has to be a believer. Suppose a man has six children. Five of them are believers and one is not. He still meets the qualification of having believing children because he has five children who are believers.

Now let’s look at the word debauchery. The Greek word that was used there is the word asotia. The first letter of asotia is alpha. That’s significant because in Biblical Greek that’s how they created opposite words. In English if we start with the word grateful and add the prefix un to the beginning, we have ungrateful which means the opposite of grateful. In Greek they did something similar. When they wanted to create an opposite, they added the letter alpha to the beginning of a word. Asotia means the opposite of sotia. 

Sotia means safe, cured, well-preserved, or healthy. Asotia means the opposite: not safe or not healthy. Sometimes the word is translated dissipation. Sometimes it’s translated debauchery.

Asotia was used three times in the New Testament. It was used in Ephesians 5:18.

Eph. 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 

If somebody is drunk, then he’s not acting in a good, healthy way. In order to be an elder, a man’s children have to not be accused of acting that way. 

This word was also used in the 1Pe 4:4. Let’s start reading at verse 3.

1Pet. 4:3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

The word asotia was used in verse 4 and is translated dissipation. Dissipation is things like sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and idolatries. A man is not qualified to be an elder if his children engage in those activities. 

The last word I want to look at is the word rebellion. This is fairly easy to understand. In order to be an elder a man has to have believing children who are not under charge of refusing to submit to those in authority.

In summary, in order to be an elder, a man has to have at least two children who are believers and who are well-behaved, meaning they live healthy, productive lives and obey authority.

Let’s consider some scenarios. Suppose a man has two children who are both believers and well-behaved. Is qualified to be an elder? The answer is yes.

Suppose a man has eight children and only seven are believers and well-behaved while the eighth is very rebellious. is he qualified to be an elder? Overall, this man was a good father, but the eighth child is troubling.

Suppose a man has three children, only two are believers and well-behaved, and the third is not a believer nor well-behaved. Is he qualified to be an elder? In this case the man only had a 66% success rate as a father. That is very troubling. 

Obviously, when examining this criteria, it is not always black and white whether or not a man is eligible to be an elder. Ideally, every elder would have a 100% success rate with their children, but I don’t think the Bible necessarily demands that. Furthermore, since we are human, no elder is going to be perfect. When dealing with unclear situations, ask whether or not the prospective elder is one of the better fathers in the congregation. If not, he probably should not be an elder.

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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)