Introduction

“Still More Tactics for Life and Ministry from

Titus”

 

A Bible Study of Titus

 

Introduction

Paul's epistle to Titus is the third of the group of three epistles that make up the Pastoral Epistles. It, like the other two Pastoral Epistles, serves the dual purpose of being both a personal as well as a congregational letter. It was delivered to Titus around 62-64 AD and after it had been received by him it was circulated among the other churches for further use.

The purpose of Titus, as for 1 and 2 Timothy, was to provide the pastor and the local congregation with instructions about leadership, church structure, purpose, and mission.

It's likely that Paul wrote Titus around the same time he wrote 1 Timothy. At the time of the writing Paul had likely been released from his house arrest mentioned in the final chapter of Acts (Acts 28). He had not yet been incarcerated for his final time and execution.

Paul refers to Titus as "a true son in our common faith" (1:4). It is very possible that Titus came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord under the ministry of Paul. Titus is not mentioned in the Book of Acts. However we know from Paul's other epistles that he was a Gentile convert and companion with Paul in ministry (cf. Galatians 2:1-3). Titus is mentioned by Paul as being a source of encouragement to himself and others (2 Cor. 7:6-7). It seems that Titus had a good grasp of the grace of God. When Paul mentions him as having been entrusted with the serious responsibility of traveling to churches such as Corinth to raise a collection for the church in Jerusalem which had fallen on hard times, he does so with words of grace:

            2 Corinthians 8 (NKJV)

            Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the           churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy           and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness     that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,            imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship     of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave             themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus, that     as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your      love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.

        8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the         diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though            He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty     might become rich.

        10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you         began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the             doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a     completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted         according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

       

        13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an          equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their       abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. 15 As it is       written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had          no lack.”

        16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of         Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went       to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is      in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also           chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us             to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this: that    anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us—21 providing     honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

        22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in     many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we       have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker             concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the            churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches             the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.

 

 From these inspired words of Paul we gather that Titus was trustworthy enough to be entrusted with collecting this gracious monetary gift for the hurting Jerusalem church (2 Cor. 8:6). It's not outside the realm of possibility that Paul chose Titus to be instrumental in "this grace," because Titus himself was an agent of God's grace or known for his graciousness. Such grace is defined in Jesus (2 Cor. 8:8-9). Our Model of grace giving is Jesus. Titus was the man selected by Paul to move the Corinthians on to fulfillment of a pledge to help they had made a year before (2 Cor. 8:10-12). Stewardship issues require leaders of integrity and grace. They have to be able to facilitate gracious giving with wisdom and equity (2 Cor. 8:13-15).

Titus was also apparently open, eager, and attentively available to the prodding of the Spirit. He heard the Spirit and jumped to obedient action (2 Cor. 8:16-17). Titus was not resistant to accountability as seen in Paul's mention that another brother was sent to accompany Titus on this mission. Some might proudly take such a decision as an affront to their honor or trustworthiness. Not Titus; he welcomed a partner in his task (2 Cor. 8:18-22).

Lastly from this passage we see that Titus was referred to by Paul as, "my partner and fellow worker," showing that Paul had no issue with giving his stamp of approval to Titus (2 Cor. 8:23-24).

Titus is mentioned as having been assigned to a pastorate on Mediterranean Island of Crete (Titus 1:5). Crete was not a big place; it measures 135 miles long and about 30 miles wide (similar to that of Long Island which is 118 miles long and about 25 miles wide at its widest point). Crete was a mountainous island and in Paul's day heavily populated.

Cretans were notoriously of low character (cf. Titus 1:12). There is evidence of the origins of the perennial enemies of Israel the Philistines that trace their origins to the Island of Crete. [1] One commentator states, "It’s interesting to note that the Philistines—they who were always hassling the people of Israel—originally came from Crete. Crete was an island steeped in Greek mythology, Zeus having supposedly been born on Crete’s own Mount Ida" [2] There were going to be battles and spiritual opposition for anyone endeavoring to preach the gospel and establish a church on Crete.

Paul sent Titus to a place that might have been a bit intimidating. It wasn't an easy assignment. No pastorate is. But as Paul sent Titus to Crete he might have remembered his own Corinthian ministry. When in the metropolitan merchandizing and immoral city of Corinth Paul was feeling a bit intimidated. (Yes, even the mighty Paul could feel fearful at times!). But The scripture records, "Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." (Acts 18:9-11). It was with such personal experience of the comfort and grace of Jesus that Paul was able to send Titus out to such harsh surroundings.  

The last mention of Titus is found in 2 Timothy 4:10 where Paul says he has gone to Dalmatia. Dalmatia is connected with the Region of what was once called Yugoslavia. In 1992 ongoing upheaval and fighting for independence in the Kosovo conflict has led to splintering of the region into various forms of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonian. In 2006 a State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was declared and accepted by the United Nations. This is an area of historic unrest and conflict. It would appear from Titus association with Crete and Dalmatia that he was a minister who did not shy away from hard assignments and was of character that suited him for such assignments. Titus tackled the tough areas for the Lord. If Paul spoke of life and ministry with military images to Timothy, he prepares Titus for the actual war ahead of him in his epistle to Titus.

The Bible does not give evidence on the death of Titus. Extra Biblical evidence points to his return to Crete and continued ministry until his death at age 94. [3]

The epistle to Titus can be outlined as follows:

I. Set the Church in Order - Titus 1

II. Speak Sound Doctrine - Titus 2

III. See Good Works in Light of Grace - Titus 3

 



[1] See http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/phc/phc03.htm and

[2] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1414). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[3] http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1-300/titus-11629586.html

 

 

#ChapterTitleListen
1Titus 1Set the Church in OrderListen
Titus 2Speak Sound Doctrine Listen
3Titus 3See Good Works in Light of God's GraceListen