The next requirements Paul lists for men appointed as elders is that they be "just, devout, and self-controlled."
The Greek word rendered "just" is "DIK-ah-yos." It is a description of a person "who does what is right in action, renders just judgments, and who is virtuous." It is almost always rendered as "righteous" in the NAS Bible.
The word for "devout" is "HOS-ee-os," meaning "undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious."
The Bible mentions several people in New Testament days who were described as "DIK-ah-yos," and only One Who was "HOS-ee-os."
Let's examine the circumstances by which they were called just, righteous, or DIK-ah-yos. We'll take them in the order in which they appear in the New Testament.
The first just man mentioned in the New Testament was Joseph. Engaged to a virgin named Mary, he one day found out that she was pregnant. And he knew the baby wasn't his. The law decreed that she must be stoned - publicly put to death. But...
Matt. 1:19 ...Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
Joseph's righteousness manifested itself in mercy. A just person is a someone who demonstrates mercy.
Years later, John the Baptist began to preach the truth, unafraid of the consequences. Whether it was the commonfolk, religious leaders, or even soldiers, he told them the truth about their sin. Even when he came face to face with Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee, he did not fail to condemn sin and proclaim righteousness.
Mark 6:17-20 For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe...
John was DIK-ah-yos, or just. A just person proclaims righteousness - never backing down because of fear or threats.
Zacharias and Elizabeth were also DIK-ah-yos.
Luke 1:6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
Just people are those who walk in obedience to the commandments of God.
Simeon was the man who held the baby Jesus at the temple. He...
Luke 2:25 ...was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Simeon's righteousness was demonstrated in his faith and hope. A just person lives each moment with the expectancy and belief in what the Bible says about the return of Christ.
Joseph of Arimathea was the man who buried Jesus in his own new tomb. The Bible also describes him with the word DIK-ah-yos.
Luke 23:50-52 ...a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Like Simeon, Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God. Like John, Joseph boldly took a stand before the governing authority. Additionally, he sacrificed financially and materially for the sake of the body of Christ by giving up his own newly-hewn tomb (Matt. 27:60). A just person gives sacrificially for the body of Christ.
Cornelius was a Centurion, described as...
Acts 10:2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.
He received a vision telling him to call for Simon Peter. He sent some guys down to Joppa to get Peter.
Acts 10:22 They said, "Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you."
His just-ness was demonstrated by being devout, sincere, and pious. He feared God, gave generously, and prayed continually. Because of this, everyone heard what a righteous man he was. A just man fears God humbly, gives to the poor generously, and prays continually, and obeys God quickly.
Lastly, the New Testament speaks of an Old Testament character as DIK-ah-yos. Peter described him as...
2Pet. 2:7-8 ...righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)
Lot's just-ness was demonstrated in his internal torment from the unrighteousness of the cities he lived in. A just man is uncomfortable in this wicked world.
And of course, Jesus also is described as being "DIK-ah-yos" (Matt 27:19; Luke 23:47; etc.). Interestingly, He is the only one described as "HOS-ee-os," the word translated "devout" here in Titus 1:8. When you read of Jesus being called the "Holy One" (Acts 2:27; Rev. 16:5; etc.), it is in fact this word "HOS-ee-os."
And so while we may have many examples with which to imitate "just-ness," to be a devout people, we must be imitators of Jesus Christ.
Next, Paul lists "self-control" as a requirement of the elder. This ties in directly to the previous two requirements, just and devout. You see, the book of Galatians tells us:
Gal. 5:19-23 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...
Once again, we see that what Paul is telling Titus to look for in potential leadership is someone who walks in the Spirit, and does not fulfill the deeds of the flesh. How important it is that the Holy Spirit lead, guide, and direct our every step!