"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee..." - Titus 1:5
Raymond brown uses this passage to justify the idea that there were communities without priests/bishops during the late 1st century:
"Some of the Pauline communities are deficient in that they do not have local authorities, but now that deficiency must be remedied and presbyter-bishops are to be appointed in every town (Titus 1:5,7). The authoritative guidance of these men will preserve the local church communities against disintegration...
That the picture has been oversimplified is indicated by Titus 1:5 where it is clear that there are towns of the Pauline mission without presbyters." - Raymond E. Brown, The Church the Apostles Left Behind, (Pauline Press, 1984), pp. 32-33
I must say that I had never taken this passage in that sense. I just saw it as a general command to ordain priests (elders) for the cities whenever that was necessary. Now that I look at it again, though, I can see where Brown is coming from. What do you think about this passage?