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Book of Titus
Titus, to whom this Letter is written, was a Greek, an uncircumcised Gentile, and who remained so. Paul did NOT circumcise Titus (Gal.2:3), as he did Timothy, when he became his companion (Acts 16:3), nor did the apostles at Jerusalem demand that Titus be circumcised. He was a man of great grace, and large gifts, and very dear to the apostle Paul. He calls Titus his brother, his partner, and fellow helper, and says he walked in the same spirit, and in the same steps (2 Cor.2:13; 8:23; 12:18).
Titus means honorable. He was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem (Gal.2:1-3; Acts 15:2), although his name does not occur in the Acts of the Apostles. Since he appears to have been a Gentile, and to have been chiefly involved in ministering to Gentiles; Paul refused to have him circumcised, because in his case the cause of Gospel liberty was at stake. We find him a little later with Paul and Timothy at Ephesus, when he was sent by Paul to Corinth for the purpose of getting the contributions from the church there in behalf of the poor saints at Jerusalem (2 Cor.8:6; 12:18). He rejoined the apostle Paul when he was in Macedonia, and comforted him with the reports he brought from Corinth (2 Cor.7:6-15). After this Titus’ name is not mentioned until after Paul's first imprisonment, when we find him busy in the organization of the church in Crete, where Paul had left him for this purpose (Tit.1:5). The last notice of Titus is in 2 Tim.4:10, where we find him with Paul at Rome during his second imprisonment. From Rome, Titus was sent into Dalmatia, no doubt on an important missionary errand. We have no record of Titus’ death. He is not mentioned in the Acts.
When and where this Letter was written, is not easy to determine; some think it was written between the first and second time the apostle Paul was in bonds at Rome. It is certain that Paul was NOT in bonds when he wrote this Letter, for he wants Titus to meet him at Nicopolis (Tit.3:19). Some have supposed it to be written, as the subscription shows; but others
think it was written much earlier, when the apostle Paul was at Ephesus, towards the end of his three years stay there, before he went into Macedonia; but instead, it seems that it was written when he returned from Macedonia into Greece. Paul had left Titus at Crete, and staying in
Greece three months, he intended to sail to Syria, but was prevented by the Jews lying in wait for him, upon which he steered his course to Macedonia again; and as he was going there, or when there, writes this letter to Titus, to come to him at Nicopolis. The reason for it was partly because the Judaizing preachers and false teachers that had gotten into that island, and were corrupting the values of the people there; and partly because of the improper lifestyles and practices of some professors of religion (hypocrites). Paul had left Titus in Crete, to finish what he had started, and to put the churches in order, and see that they had good officers, especially pastors over them. Paul wanted the saints there to be taken care of, both with respect to doctrine and practice. The plan of this Letter is to lay before Titus the various qualifications of a pastor, which might be instruction to him and to the churches, in the choice and ordination of them; and to stir Titus up to zeal and diligence in revealing false false teachers, and dealing with heretics. Paul wants Titus to urge and encourage the saints to do their duty, in every branch of it the church, by arguments taken from the grace of God, and the doctrines of it. This Letter was supposedly to have been written about AD 55.
This Letter contains the apostle's salutation and preface to it; an account of the qualifications of an elder, or pastor of a church; a description of these teachers; and a charge to Titus to rebuke the Cretians for their errors and immoralities. The inscription and salutation are in Titus 1:1-4, where the writer of the epistle is described by his name and office; by the faith and hope he had; and by the care and attention of the Gospel committed to him by the order of Christ (Acts 9:11-16), and the person to whom it is written is mentioned by name; and is described by the spiritual relationship in which he stood in to Paul, and to whom he wishes grace, mercy and peace. The foreword to the Letter is in Titus 1:5, where the reason is given for the apostle Paul's leaving Titus in Crete, which was to set things in order there, and to ordain elders in all the churches. That leads Paul to point out the needed qualifications of these elders, some of which respect their moral lifestyle, and others their doctrine, and are in Titus 1:6-9.
The elders should be sound in the faith, and hold it fast. The apostle Paul takes notice of the false teachers that were in Crete, whom he describes by their noisy, vain and deceitful talk; by their being malicious and hurtful to whole families; and by their covetousness and sensuality, which is confirmed by a testimony from one of the Cretian poets (Tit.1:10-12). Because of this, Paul charges Titus very sharply to rebuke either these false teachers, and those they had corrupted, that they respect sound doctrine, and not Jewish fables, and the commandments of wrong men (Tit.1:13-14), and examples of things forbidden in the law of Moses as unclean, which were NOT now to be attended to by those who were pure in heart (Mat.5:8), and sound in faith (Tit.1:13; 2:2), to whom all things were pure and lawful. There were others that were impure, whose minds and consciences were defiled, and were unbelieving, to whom nothing was pure to them (Tit.1:15). And there were also those who are further described as professors in words of the true knowledge of God, and yet in reality were deniers of Him (hypocrites), and were abominable in their nature and actions, disobedient to law and Gospel, and unfit for any good work whatever (Tit.1:16).
Book of Titus
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