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by Gary Hampton
Titus and His Relationship to Paul
Two young men in the New Testament stand out because of their relationship with the apostle Paul. Timothy is better known because he is so often with Paul in Acts. Titus' name never appears in Luke's record. However, it appears he was at the center of the controversy which led to the Jerusalem conference. Paul clearly stated that Titus was a Greek. When some brethren tried to insist Titus be circumcised, Paul refused to submit to them lest the gospel of Christ be compromised. James, Peter and John extended to Paul the right hand of fellowship and the controversy ended ( Gal_2:1-10 ). J. W. Roberts, in his book on Titus, Philemon and James, states plainly that Titus was present with Paul in Ephesus since it was from there that
“...he was sent to Corinth in connection with the collection for the saints and to learn the effects of the First Corinthian letter ( 2Co_7:6-9 ; 2Co_8:6 ; 2Co_12:18 ). While there he had acted in a commendable way. After this he went to Macedonia, where he rejoined Paul, who had expected to join him at Troas ( Act_20:1 f; 2Co_2:12 f; 7:6; 8:23). The news which he brought to Paul from Corinth was cheering ( 2Co_7:6 ). He was then sent before Paul to Corinth to complete the contribution ( 2Co_8:16 f, 23).
Paul clearly trusted Titus. This is seen in all the various tasks he was sent to perform, as observed in the above references. By the time the letter bearing his name was written, he was on the island of Crete. His duties there will be discussed as we comment on specific verses within the epistle.
The Nature and Purpose of Paul’s Writing
The letters of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus “are of the greatest interest, for no letters in the New Testament give such a vivid picture of the growing Church. In them we see the problems of a Church which is a little island of Christianity in a sea of paganism; and in them we see as nowhere else the beginnings of the ministry of the Church” (Barclay, ix). As Bruce Stewart noted, Paul wrote the letters to Timothy and Titus like a father might write a letter to his son. Stewart also says Paul had the purpose of expressing affection and appreciation, while charging them personally with rebuking false doctrine, reminding brothers and sisters of basic teaching, living as examples, using their gifts to teach others, guarding their relationship to God, holding the pattern of sound words and remaining cool in volatile situations (pp. 1-2).
Titus is one of those people many of us would like to meet. Little is written about him, but what is written commends him. He was born of Gentile parents ( Gal_2:1-3 ). He was a traveling companion of Paul. Like Timothy, Titus is described by Paul as his true son in the faith ( 1Ti_1:2 ; Tit_1:4 ). The apostle sent him to Corinth during a troubled time. Paul was anxious over the report he would bring back. In fact, he left Troas despite the open door he found there ( 2Co_2:12-13 ).
When they met in Macedonia, Paul received comfort from God in the form of Titus' words. The apostle rejoiced in the way they had refreshed the young preacher. Their response to loving instruction had confirmed the things he had earlier told Titus. Titus grew to love and appreciate them for their obedience (7:6-7, 13-16). Paul urged him to return with the second letter to complete the good work he had begun at Corinth (8:6, 16-18, 23). He described Titus as a partner and fellow worker.
Paul also sent him on a mission to Dalmatia ( 2Ti_4:10 ). He left him in Crete to help the church with things lacking. When the job was finished, the aging apostle wanted him to meet him in Nicopolis ( Tit_1:5 ; Tit_3:12 ). Paul's prayer for Titus was that he would receive grace, mercy and peace from God ( Tit_1:4 ).
Barclay, William. The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon . Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960.
Coffman, James Burton. Commentary on I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Austin: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1978.
Guthrie, Donald. The Pastoral Epistles . Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1957.
Lipscomb, David. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles, Volume V . J. W. Shepherd, editor. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1942.
Roberts, J. W. Letters to Timothy . Austin: Sweet Publishing Company, 1964.
Roberts, J. W. Letters to Titus, Philemon, and the Epistle of James . Austin: Sweet Publishing Company, 1962.
Spain, Carl. The Letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus . Austin: Sweet Publishing Company, 1970.
Stewart, Bruce. A Call to Faith: An Exegetical Commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus . Mobile: Southeastern Press, Inc., 1996.
Vine, W. E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words . Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1940.
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28