The book of Titus (Titus 1)

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Today many scholars deny that the Pastoral epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) are Pauline, but arguments against Paul’s authorship are not sufficiently compelling to overthrow the clear claim of the epistles themselves (see Authorship of the Pastoral epistles under 1 Timothy 1).

The letter to Titus was probably written from Nicopolis (Titus 3:12) in western Greece. It was delivered by Zenas and Apollos, who were on a journey that took them through Crete.

This letter was written by Paul to one of his associates, Titus, a Gentile Christian (see Galatians 2:1-3) who had probably been converted through Paul’s ministry and was presently overseeing the churches on Crete. Titus had travelled with Paul and become his trusted associate. After Paul’s release from his first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28), he and Titus had ministered briefly on Crete. When Paul departed he left Titus behind to continue the ministry, organize the churches and appoint elders (Titus 1:5).

Paul plainly stated that he had left Titus on Crete in order to set the churches there in order, both organizationally and doctrinally. The letter was intended to encourage Titus and to give him further instruction for accomplishing this task. Paul apparently regarded the Cretans as a particularly difficult group to work with (see Crete also under Titus 1). In New Testament times life on Crete had sunk to a deplorable moral level. Those who had become Christians were immature in their faith and needed basic instruction concerning immorality and Christian conduct. I  addition, false teachings of various kinds were troubling the Cretan churches.

As you read, list Paul’s qualifications for effective church leaders. Note his instructions for living a godly life, including his guidelines for successful relationships with family, friends and community. Note that specific groups had a special responsibilities but that every individual was accountable to live a life characterized by self-control, integrity and grace.

Did you know that Crete, the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, was a Roman province populated primarily by farmers and fruit growers (1:5)? Did you know that Roman slaves had no legal rights, their fates being entirely in their masters’ hands (2:9-10)? Did you know that in the Jewish sense the term “lawyer” referred to an expert in Mosaic law, while in the Gentile context it referred to a Roman jurist (3:13)?


 

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