TITUS, LETTER TO
A letter written by the apostle Paul to Titus, a fellow worker whom Paul had left behind in Crete to ‘correct the things that were defective and to make appointments of older men’ in the various congregations there. (Tit 1:1, 4, 5) The letter’s authenticity is attested by all outstanding ancient catalogs of the Christian Greek Scriptures, starting with the Muratorian Fragment of the second century C.E.
Time and Place of Writing. As no record exists that Paul engaged in Christian activity on the island of Crete before his first imprisonment at Rome, he must have been there with Titus sometime between his release and his final imprisonment. Thus the time for the letter’s composition would be between about 61 and 64 C.E. Macedonia may have been the place from which the letter was sent; it was apparently there in the same general period that Paul wrote First Timothy.—1Ti 1:3.
The Letter’s Purpose. The letter evidently was to serve as a guide for Titus and gave him apostolic backing for the performance of his duties in connection with the Cretan congregations. His assignment was not an easy one, for he had to contend with rebellious persons. As Paul wrote: “There are many unruly men, profitless talkers, and deceivers of the mind, especially those men who adhere to the circumcision. It is necessary to shut the mouths of these, as these very men keep on subverting entire households by teaching things they ought not for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Tit 1:10, 11) Also, lying, gluttony, and laziness were common among the Cretans, and apparently some of the Christians reflected these bad traits. For this reason Titus had to reprove them with severity and show what was required of Christians, whether young or old, male or female, slave or free. Personally he had to be an example in fine works and show uncorruptness in teaching.—1:12–3:2.
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HIGHLIGHTS OF TITUS
Counsel to an elder regarding the handling of situations in a most difficult assignment
Written by the apostle Paul evidently after his first imprisonment in Rome
Appointment of overseers and handling of serious problems
Titus is commissioned to correct things that are defective and to appoint overseers in various cities of Crete (1:5)
A man who is appointed to be an overseer should be free from accusation, exemplary both in his person and in his family life, hospitable, balanced, and self-controlled; he must properly represent the truth in his teaching and thus be able to exhort and to reprove those who contradict (1:6-9)
Unruly men in the congregations must be silenced, especially those adhering to the circumcision, who have subverted entire households; severe reproof must be given so that all may be healthy in the faith (1:10-16)
Foolish questionings, genealogies, and conflicts over the Law must be avoided; reject a promoter of a sect after he has been admonished twice (3:9-11)
Healthful counsel to all kinds of Christians
Aged men are encouraged to be exemplary in moderation, seriousness, soundness of mind, faith, love, and endurance (2:1, 2)
Aged women are likewise urged to be exemplary; they should be teachers of good, in order that they may help younger women to have the right view of their responsibilities as wives and mothers so as not to bring reproach on the word of God (2:3-5)
Younger men are exhorted to have a sound mind (2:6-8)
Slaves should be in subjection to their owners in a manner that will adorn the teaching of God (2:9, 10)
God’s undeserved kindness should motivate Christians to repudiate ungodliness and live with soundness of mind in this system of things, while they wait patiently for the glorious manifestation of God and of Jesus Christ (2:11-15)
Show proper submission to rulers, shun belligerency, and cultivate reasonableness and mildness (3:1, 2)
Paul and his fellow Christians, too, at one time carried on badness; but by God’s undeserved kindness they were saved and now have the sure hope of everlasting life; constantly stress these facts in order to encourage believers to keep their minds on fine works (3:3-8)