The Historical Background To The Letter To Titus
See The Historical Background To Paul's Pastoral Letters--The Books Of First & Second Timothy And Titus
Paul's letter to Titus was the second of his pastoral letters. It was written about the same time Paul wrote his First Letter to Timothy.
The Writer Of The Letter To Titus
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, Titus 1:1
The Recipient Of The Letter To Titus
Titus, Paul's true son in their common faith, Titus 1:4
Paul held a warm affection for Titus. He called him, “To Titus a true child in accordance with a common faith” (cf. Titus 1:4). Paul also called Titus “my partner and fellow worker” (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:23).
Titus accompanied Paul and Barnabas to the apostolic council in Jerusalem to discuss the issue of circumcision, which certain Jewish converts called Judaizers were insisting was necessary for the Gentiles according to the law of Moses (cf. Galatians 2:1; Acts 15:2). Titus was a Greek Gentile himself. The council did not compel him to be circumcised and upheld that Gentiles as well as Jews were saved by God's grace in Christ through faith alone without complying with the laws of Moses (cf. Acts 15:11). Since Paul and Barnabas left Antioch of Syria to attend the council meeting and took Titus with them from there, it appears that Titus may have lived in Antioch. There he heard the gospel from Paul and became one of Paul's early converts. For this reason Paul called him his “true child in accordance with a common faith.”
Titus was with Paul on Paul's third missionary journey. Paul spent most of that journey working in Ephesus. Paul sent Titus to Corinth as his personal agent when problems arose in the church there. It appears that Titus rejoined Paul in Macedonia to report the comforting news that Paul's ministerial efforts with the Corinthians had been successful (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:6,7, 13,14) Afterwards Titus returned to Corinth to encourage the Christians there and to assist them in completing the collection for the saints in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:6,16,17).
When Paul was released from his first imprisonment in Rome, he apparently did some mission work with Titus on the island of Crete. Congregations were established in every town (cf. Titus 1:5). Paul then appears to have traveled from Crete to Ephesus and then to Macedonia as he had intended to do (cf. Philemon 22; Philippians 2:24). When Paul left Crete, he left Titus in charge to complete the organization of the church there, to deal with the false teachers who were upsetting the faith of whole households, and to carry on the pastoral work that still needed to be done on Crete (cf. Titus 1:5,10,11; 2:1f). Paul left Titus with the verbal instructions he was to carry out (cf. Titus 1:5).
It appears that Titus was later relieved on Crete by Artemas or Tychicus, and that Titus then traveled to Nicopolis of the Roman province of Epirus on the western coast of Greece to spend the winter with Paul (cf. Titus 3:12).
Titus also seems to have been present with Paul during a portion of Paul's second imprisonment in Rome before Paul sent him to the Roman province of Dalmatia on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea across from Italy (cf. 2 Timothy 4:10).
Date Of The Letter To Titus
A.D. 63. It was written about the same time Paul wrote his First Letter to Timothy. See The Historical Background To Paul's Pastoral Letters--The Books Of First & Second Timothy And Titus
Where The Letter To Titus Was Written
Philippi. See The Historical Background To Paul's Pastoral Letters--The Books Of First & Second Timothy And Titus
Purpose Of The Letter To Titus
1. To encourage Titus to complete the difficult ministerial work that still needed to be done on Crete (cf. Titus 1:5).
2. To put in writing the verbal instructions Paul had given Titus before leaving the island (cf. Titus 1:5).
3. To give Titus' work in the church of Crete Paul's apostolic authority (cf. Titus 1:1-3). Paul's closing this letter with the benediction, Grace be with you all, indicates Paul intended the contents of the letter be read and heard by all the Christians on Crete.
Theme Of The Letter To Titus
Complete The Ministerial Work That Must Still Be Done On Crete
Outline Of The Letter To Titus
Part 1: Greeting, Titus 1:1-4
A. From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Christ, Titus 1:1-3
1. For the faith of God's elect, Titus 1:1
2. For the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, Titus 1:1
a. A faith and knowledge that rest on the sure hope of eternal life according to God's promise, Titus 1:2
b. This promise God brought to light by the preaching God entrusted Paul to do by his command, Titus 1:3
B. To Titus, Paul's true son in their common faith, Titus 1:4
Part 2: Titus' Assignment--Complete The Ministerial Work That Still Must Be Done On Crete, Titus 1:5-3:11
A. Paul charges Titus to appoint qualified pastors in every town in which they had established a congregation, Titus 1:5-9
1. Paul lists the qualifications for the pastoral ministry, Titus 1:6-9
B. Paul charges Titus to deal with the false teachers in the church of Crete, Titus 1:10-16
1. Qualified pastors are needed because on Crete there are many rebellious talkers and deceivers, especially those who are converted Jews who continue insisting the rite of circumcision must be done according to the law of Moses, Titus 1:10
2. Paul charges Titus to silence those rebellious talkers and deceivers, Titus 1:11-13a
a. They must be silenced because they are upsetting the faith of whole households with their errors that they teach for their own dishonest gain, Titus 1:11
b. They must be silenced because they are surely liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons, Titus 1:12,13a
3. For these reasons Paul charges Titus to rebuke sharply those rebellious talkers and deceivers, Titus 1:13b-16
a. So they will be sound in the faith, Titus 1:13c
b. So they will pay no attention to Jewish myths and the commandments of men who have rejected the truth of God's Word and the gospel of Christ, Titus 1:14
c. Because they are corrupted unbelievers, who claim to know God but have denied him, and who are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good, Titus 1:15,16
C. Paul charges Titus to teach what is according to sound doctrine, encouraging and rebuking with all authority the various groups of Christians on Crete so they know how to conduct themselves properly, Titus 2:1-3:2
1. Teach the older men how to conduct themselves, Titus 2:1,2
2. Teach the older women how to conduct themselves, Titus 2:3
a. Then the older women can train the younger women how to conduct themselves, Titus 2:4,5
3. Teach the young men how to conduct themselves, Titus 2:6-8
4. Teach the slaves how to conduct themselves, Titus 2:9,10
5. Teach all groups that what motivates them to conduct themselves as godly people is that the grace of God has appeared in the person of Christ, bringing them their salvation. It teaches them to deny ungodliness and to live self-controlled, righteous, and godly lives while they wait in hope for the second coming of Christ the Savior, Titus 2:11-14
6. Teach all groups the preceding, encouraging and rebuking with all authority, Titus 2:15
7. Also teach all the groups to be subject to their governing officials and to be ready to do whatever is good, Titus 3:1,2
D. Paul charges Titus to stress the gospel that motivates believers to devote themselves to doing what is good, Titus 3:3-8
1. Paul reminds himself, Titus and all the Christians on Crete that they all are sinful and have done much evil, Titus 3:3
2. Paul states he wants Titus to stress the trustworthy gospel, so the believers will devote themselves to doing what is good, Titus 3:4-8
a. Though the believers were so sinful, the kindness and mercy of God appeared in the person of Christ, Titus 3:4
b. God saved them all, not because of any righteous things they had done, but because of his mercy, Titus 3:5a
c. God saved them by means of their baptism, which is a washing of rebirth and renewal accomplished by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5b-7
c.1 In their baptism God poured out on them the Holy Spirit by means of Jesus Christ, Titus 3:6
c.2 So that having been justified by God's decree that declared them righteous and forgiven in Christ, they became the heirs of God who have the sure confidence of eternal life, Titus 3:7
d. This is the trustworthy statement of the gospel that Titus must stress, which will motivate the believers to devote themselves to doing what is good, Titus 3:8
E. Paul instructs Titus in what to do about the false teachers that are upsetting the church on Crete, Titus 3:9-11
1. Paul charges Titus to avoid the false teachers' foolish controversies, genealogies, arguments, and quarrels because they are unprofitable and useless, Titus 3:9
2. Paul charges Titus to warn the heretics who are dividing the church with their false teachings twice. When they persist in their divisive teachings, they must be excluded from the church, Titus 3:10,11
Part 3: Closing Instructions, Greeting, And Benediction, Titus 3:12-15
A. Paul instructs Titus to join him in Nicopolis for the winter when he is relieved in Crete by Artemas or Tychicus, Titus 3:12
B. Paul instructs Titus to assist Zenas and Apollos, Titus 3:13
C. Paul instructs Titus that the Christians must learn to provide for the daily necessities and not live unproductive lives, Titus 3:14
D. Paul sends his greeting, Titus 3:15a
E. Paul's closing benediction, Titus 3:15b