Paul is instructing Titus to appoint leaders in all the church in Crete. Actually, Paul tells him to find those who are already leading by the example they are setting by the way they live. Leadership by example is truly the biblical model according to Paul. Peter agrees with Paul. He explains leadership in 1 Peter 5:3. He tells the leaders not to try to be “domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”The author of Hebrews also describes biblical leadership as leadership by example. He tells us all to find those whose lives are exemplary and follow them. He writes in 13:7, “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith.”

The first thing Paul tells Titus to look for in a leader is their reputation. He tells Titus that those who are “above reproach” are those who are living out their faith. That speaks to their reputation in the world as a whole. The Greek word for “above reproach” might literally be translated “handle of offense.” It means that we live our lives in such a way that others will not find any blatant practice in our behavior that “they could get a hold of” to accuse us of misconduct. At a social function, J. C. Penney, a solid Christian, took ginger ale, and someone mistakenly reported that he drank a cocktail. So he said, “I am sure that a reputation which I value has been endangered by my drinking ginger ale. Hereafter it will be plain water or tomato juice for me.”

Since I’m quoting believers who are known by their initials, let me quote A. W. Tozer. He tells us what makes our reputation. There are seven things according to Tozer: 1. What we want most. 2. What we think about most. 3. How we use our money. 4. What we do with our leisure time. 5. The company we enjoy. 6. Who and what we admire. And finally, 7. What we laugh at. Let me close with a couple lines from Edgar Guests little poem: He writes, “…the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds, for to see the good in action is what everybody needs.”

“…And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church…” 1 Timothy 3:7