Titus 3:10—Should the wayward be instructed or expelled from the church?

Problem: This verse says we should “reject” them, and in 1 Corinthians 5 the adulterous member was excommunicated (v. 5). But in 2 Timothy 2:25 leaders are exhorted, “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance.”

Solution: The severity of the action of the church will depend on the seriousness of the sin of the member being disciplined. Those who are living in immorality should, after being exhorted to change, be excommunicated, since their sin has a leavenous or contagious effect on others (1 Cor. 5:5–7). Even so, if they repent, they should be reinstated in the church (cf. 2 Cor. 2:6–7), since the primary purpose of discipline is not to reject, but to reform.

The main difference in the severity of the discipline was in the penitence of the person being disciplined. If the person repented, he was to be reinstated (2 Cor. 2:6–7). If not, then “after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10) he was to be rejected.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.