The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Titus encourages Titus, Paul’s “true child in a common faith,” to lead the church of Crete.
Two key passages to look at:
Titus 1:5 – “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.”
Titus 3:8 – “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”
Key Chapter: Titus 2
Summarized in chapter 2 are the key commands to be obeyed which insure godly relationships within the church.
Observations about Titus:
– Titus, a faithful gospel preacher, faces the unenviable assignment of setting in order the church at Crete.
— Paul writes advising him to appoint elders to oversee the Lord’s work.
— Paul stresses the necessary, practical, working out of salvation in the daily lives of both the elders and the congregation.
— Good works are desirable and profitable for all Christians.
– Although Titus is not mentioned in the Book of Acts, he is mentioned thirteen times in the epistles of Paul.
— It becomes clear that Titus was one of Paul’s closest and most trusted companions.
— Evidently Paul converted him. 1:4 – “A true son in our common faith.”
— Titus was probably from Antioch in Syria where the disciples were first called Christians in Acts 11:26.
— Paul brought this uncircumcised Greek Christian to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:3) where he became a test case on the matter of Gentiles and liberty from the law.
— Years later when Paul set out from Antioch on his third missionary journey (Acts 18:22), Titus must have accompanied him because he sent by the apostle to Corinth on three occasions during that time (II Corinthians 2:12-13; 7:5-7, 13-15; 8:6, 16-24).
— He is not mentioned again until Paul leaves him in Crete to carry on the work (Titus 1:6).
– Paul spoke of this reliable and gifted associate as:
— His “brother” (II Corinthians 2:13)
— His “partner and fellow worker” (II Corinthians 8:33)
— His “son” (Titus 1:4)
– Because of the problem of immorality among the Cretans, it was important for Titus to stress the need for righteousness in Christian living.
– False teachers, especially “those of the circumcision” (Jews) (1:10), were also misleading and divisive.
– Paul wrote this letter about A. D. 63, perhaps from Corinth, taking advantage of the journey of Zenas and Apollos (3:13), whose destination would take them by Crete.
– Paul was planning to spend the winter in Nicopolis (western Greece), and he urged Titus in this letter to join him there upon his replacement by Artemas or Tychicus (3:12).
– Paul may have been planning to leave Nicopolis fro Spain in the spring, and he wanted his useful companion Titus to accompany him.
– In Titus 2:13-14, the deity and redemptive work of Christ are beautifully stated: – “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
Titus, like Timothy, was written by Paul after his release from his first Roman imprisonment and was also written to an associate who was given the task of organizing and strengthening a large work as an apostolic representative. Paul left Titus on the island of Crete to “set in order the things that are lacking, and
appoint elders in every city” (1:5). Not long after Paul’s departure from Crete, he wrote this letter to encourage and assist Titus in his task.
The letter to Titus stresses sound doctrine, warns against those who distort the truth, and is a conduct manual that emphasizes good deeds and the proper conduct of various groups within the churches.
There are two major sections in the book:
The salutation to Titus is actually a compact doctrinal statement, which lifts up “His word” as the source of the truth that reveals the way to eternal life (1:1-4). Paul reminds Titus of his responsibility to organize the churches (congregations) of Crete by appointing elders. Titus 1:5-9 list the qualifications of such men. This is especially important in view of the disturbances that are being caused by the teachers who are upsetting a number of the brethren with their Judaic myths and commandments (1:10-16). The natural tendency toward moral laxity among the Cretans coupled with that kind of deception is a dangerous force and must be overcome by godly leadership and sound doctrine.
Titus is given the charge to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (2:1). Paul delineates Titus’ role with regard to various groups in the church, including older men, older women, young women, young men, and servants (2:2-10). The knowledge of Christ must effect a transformation in each of these groups so that their lives and examples will “adorn the doctrine of God.” (2:10)
The second doctrinal statement of Titus (2:11-14) gives the basis for the appeals Paul has just made for righteous living. God in His infinite grace redeems Christians from being slaves of sin, assuring them the “blessed hope” of the coming of Christ that will eventually be realized.
Paul urges Titus to authoritatively proclaim these truths (2:15). In chapter 3, Paul moves from conduct in groups (2:1-10) to conduct in general (3:1-11).
The behavior of Christians as citizens must be different from the behavior of non-Christians because their regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
The third doctrinal statement in this book (3:4-7) emphasizes the kindness, love, and mercy of God who saves us “not by works of righteousness which we have done” (3:5). Nevertheless, the need for good deeds as a result of salvation is stressed six times in the three chapters of Titus: 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14.
Paul exhorts Titus to deal firmly with dissenters who would cause factions and controversies and closes the letter with three instructions, a greeting, and a benediction (3:12-15).