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Bible Commentaries

Derickson's Notes on Selected BooksDerickson on Selected Books

- Titus

by Stanley L. Derickson

Mr. D’s Notes on Titus

Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D.

Copyright 2004

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God’s work and I don’t want anyone to profit from it in a material way.

Titus is one of four books that normally are called the "Pastoral Epistles" even though the men they are addressed to, weren’t really pastors. The men, in the case of Timothy and Titus, were apostolic representatives to churches. They were to set things in order within the church and as such they contain a lot of church polity type material, thus many retain the "Pastoral" designation. The fourth book is Philemon which is quite often stuck in with the other two for convenience sake. It is very small and makes a good addition to Titus when you are trying to make the books work in a Sunday school, thirteen week series.

Philemon also gives the character of one that cares deeply for another as a pastor does his flock, when Paul intercedes on the behalf of the run-away slave Onesimus, with his owner/master Philemon.

Keathley (Hampton the III in this study, he has a commentary on http://www.bible.org which I used as reference for this work.) suggests we consider the fact that the "Pastoral Epistles" were probably the last books written by the apostle Paul. He further suggests that Romans and the doctrinal books came first because the doctrine was more important than polity, though polity is most certainly important.

I would suggest, however that the Pastorals were the last, due to the fact that God did not see fit to include them until last - He is the author of them, and as a result the time keeper of the time line. He wanted the Pastorals written last for a reason.

Now, what the reason was I do not know, but I can surmise that the church was quite small in the beginning and had little use for organization and that sort of thing. To exclude the fact that there was a lack of polity until the Pastorals is misleading in my mind. If you look at Ephesians four, you will see polity. If you look at the Corinthian books you see church discipline - polity - thus the Pastorals are not the only "polity" books nor was polity left till last.

As the church grew, there is an obvious need for more organization. Such it is in our day when someone starts a little church there is little need for thirteen elders and seventeen deacons, the pastor can handle most of the needs of the church. As the church grows, the polity expands as needed to assure the smooth running of the congregation.

I personally don’t see any reason to see "importance" in the fact that these three books were last other than the fact that these three books were last to be written.


The book of Titus is usually seen as from Paul to Titus, though there are always some detractors from any position on anything. It is thought that Paul dictated it with possibly Luke recording it.

Keathley properly points out that the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals has not been questioned until recent years by liberal theologians that basically question just about everything. They seek to discredit all that has gone on before.

It is my personal opinion that much of this questioning and "new" information that we see, not only in the liberal camp but across all shades of Christianity, are the desire to find something new and exciting so that the finder can feel important in his find. Many in evangelicalism seem to scrape and scratch their fingers raw trying to find something new from a passage.

This is rather an insult to the godly men of yester-year - it is almost as if we today don’t trust their scholarship and intelligence. Not that we should take their findings as law, but we should not try to disprove two thousand years of study so easily. New information does come to light now and then and this is good, but be sure it is new information, rather than manufactured information.

I am reminded of a television show that seeks to verify historical events, yet in their presentation it is obvious that they are attempting to disprove historical facts as recorded by people on the scene. Their whole show is normally based on an early assumption that the record is incorrect, and they then proceed to search until they find "supposed" proof of their assumption.


Paul is writing Titus with apostolic instructions to an apostolic delegate concerning the work that Paul left Titus there to do.

We don’t know a lot about Titus, for he is mentioned only in the writings of Paul. He is mentioned in Galatians 2:3 as being Greek, and as being uncircumcised. This tells us that he was probably not a convert to Judaism or he would have been circumcised. He was a convert to Christianity from a secular background.

His parents were Gentile as well, or he would be partially Jewish. Barnes Notes has an extended following of Titus and his travels with Paul if you would like further information about his relationship to the Apostle (I will include this at the end of this file). From the introduction of the letter of Titus it would seem that Paul was his spiritual father.

At the least he was a trusted friend and coworker of Paul’s since he is mentioned, according to Keathley, thirteen times by Paul. As you read some of these passages, you will see the close relationship that the two had as well.


Some instructions relating to how Titus is to proceed with his ministry.


Again, most hold to a late date in Paul’s life for Titus. Probably around 63 A.D.


Keathley suggests three key words and they are "good works," "faith," and "grace." What a trio! Faith accepts grace and good works are the result. How grand a message, and a message that Paul seems to present often. This was a major part of what he talked about in the book of Galatians as well.


The island, today, is kind of a mystery as I can find little information about it as an independent geographical location, unless you want to travel there.

It is of great significance to me that we have missionaries in Crete, and it is also significant that the encyclopedia I checked made no reference to religion when discussing Crete. The Greek Orthodox Church in Crete trace their ancestry directly to Paul and Titus.

This is of interest to the protestant, the Roman church as well as the orthodox church trace their lineage back to the apostles and they are the true church and all others are false religions. Of course there are a number of Baptist types that follow "THE TRAIL OF BLOOD" a book that traces the Baptist movement back to John the Baptist. And of course all others are not the true church so I guess the Romans and the Greek orthodox are the same as some Baptists - well in this one respect, and probably that is where the similarities would end.

There seems to be little semblance of a New Testament church in Crete, unless some of the missionaries are having success.

The island is about two hundred and seventy-five miles long and about fifty miles wide at its widest point.

Acts 2:11 indicates there were Jewish Cretans at Pentecost thus the gospel was taken there, in part, as a spread of the ministry of the Spirit on that day. This may also be where the Judaizers came from on the island. (Titus 1:20, 14-16; 3:9)

Some suggest that the Roman army may have had a training center on the island, thus we can imagine the situation that the church was sitting in. Pagan to total immorality might be the setting. Not all that different from some countries today. America can’t be called pagan but it is nearing that distinction in some ways. We are seeing total moral collapse while the worship of God is definitely on the decline, and worship of materialism definitely is on the incline.

I am reminded of similar situations in our own day. There are servicemen’s centers around the world that are involved in giving service people a place off base to gather as believers for study, fellowship and recreation. They are usually near the base for ease of transport. Also near the base are normally the bars and the other similar "service" related industries that draw the less than upright citizenry. Add to that the base itself which is blatantly secular and you have a real lighthouse in the midst of a storm.


The key verse is probably 1:5 "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:" This is the reason for the book, this is the reason for Paul writing, and this is the reason for Titus being left at Crete.

I would however suggest that the theme would run along the lines of "church polity" as it relates to this grand salvation that we have in Christ.


It could, and probably should be, surmised that there were multiple churches on Crete at the time of the epistle. It was the habit of Paul to "blast" an area, so to speak, with the gospel. He would go town to town leading folks to the Lord and then later going back to organize them by appointing leadership.

This, again, is an indicator that the late writing of the epistles is not necessarily important. He had been there and planted the church/churches and now, because he was personally unable to, was using Titus to organize the church of Crete.

There are a lot of similarities between I Timothy and Titus. Both are from Paul, to apostolic delegates relating to how to set up the churches. Both deal with the selection of church leadership as well. They are intended to assist in the building and strengthening of the church.


Week one: Titus 1:1-4 THE CHARACTERS

Week two: Titus 1:5-9 THE JOB

Week three: Titus 1:10-16 THE PROBLEM

Week four: Titus 2:1-3 THE AGED

Week five: Titus 2:4-8 THE YOUNG

Week six: Titus 2:9-10 THE SERVANTS

Week seven: Titus 2:11-14 THE BASIS

Week eight: Titus 2:15; Titus 3:1-3 THE PAST

Week nine: Titus 3:4-7 THE SALVATION

Week ten: Titus 3:8-9 THE LIFE

Week eleven: Titus 3:10-12 THE HERETIC

Week twelve: Titus 3:13-15 THE WORKS

Week thirteen: Philemon

Barnes Notes on Titus:


"OF Titus nothing more is certainly known than what we find in the epistles of Paul. It is somewhat remarkable that there is no mention of him in the Acts of the Apostles; nor does his name occur in the New Testament anywhere except in the writings of the apostle Paul. From his incidental allusions to him, we learn the following particulars respecting him.

"(1.) He was by birth a Gentile. In Galatians 2:3, he is called a Greek, and it is certain from that passage that he had not been circumcised; and the probability is, that up to the time of his conversion, he had lived as other Gentiles, and had not been converted to the Jewish faith. His father and mother were, doubtless, both Greeks, and thus he was distinguished from Timothy, whose mother was a, Jewess, but whose father was a Greek, Acts 16:3. Comp. See Barnes "Galatians 2:3". If Titus had been proselyted to the Jewish faith, it is to be presumed that he would have been circumcised.

"(2.) He had been converted to Christianity by the instrumentality of Paul himself. This is clear from the Titus 1:4, "To Titus, mine own son after the common faith." See Barnes "1 Timothy 1:2". This is language which the apostle would not have used of one who had been converted by the instrumentality of another. But where he lived, and when or how he was converted, is wholly unknown. As to the time when he was converted, it is known only that this occurred before the fourteenth year after the conversion of Paul; for at that time Titus, a Christian, was with Paul at Jerusalem, Galatians 2:1. As to the place where he lived, there seems some reason to suppose that it was in some part of Asia Minor--for the Greeks abounded there; Paul laboured much there; and there were numerous converts made there to the Christian faith, Still this is not by any means certain.

"(3.) Titus went with Paul to Jerusalem when he was deputed by the church at Antioch with Barnabas, to lay certain questions before the apostles and elders there in reference to the converts from the Gentiles, Acts 15:1-41. Comp. Galatians 2:1. It is not known why he took Titus with him on that occasion, and the reasons can be only conjectural. See Barnes "Galatians 2:1". It is possible that he was taken with him to Jerusalem because his was a case in point in regard to the question which was to come before the apostles and elders there. It is not improbable, from an expression which Paul uses in describing his visit there-- "neither was Titus compelled to be circumcised"--that the case came up for discussion, and that strenuous efforts were made by the Judaizing portion there, (comp. Galatians 2:4,) to have him circumcised. Paul and Barnabas, however, so managed the cause, that the principle was settled that it was not necessary that converts from the heathen should be circumcised, Acts 15:19-20.

"(4.) After the council at Jerusalem, it seems probable that Titus returned with Paul and Barnabas, accompanied by Silas and Judas, Acts 15:22, and that afterwards he attended the apostle for a considerable time in his travels and labours. This appears from a remark in 2 Corinthians 8:23: "Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow-helper concerning you." From this it would seem, that he had been with Paul; that he was as yet not well known; and that the fact that he had been seen with him had led to inquiry who he was, and what was the office which he sustained, That he was also a companion of Paul, and quite essential to his comfort in his work, is apparent from the following allusions to him in the same epistle--2 Corinthians 7:6 -- "God, that comforteth those who are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;" 2 Corinthians 2:13, "I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother;"2 Corinthians 7:13, "Yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus." Comp. 2 Timothy 4:10 2 Corinthians 12:18.

"(5.) There is reason to believe that Titus spent some time with the apostle in Ephesus; for the First Epistle to the Corinthians was written at Ephesus, and was sent by the hand of Titus.... It is to be presumed, also, that he would, on such an occasion, send some one with the epistle in whom he had entire confidence, and who had been so long with him as to become familiar with his views. For Titus, on this occasion, was sent not only to bear the epistle, but to endeavour to heal the divisions and disorders there, and to complete a collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem, which the apostle had himself commenced. Comp. See Barnes "2 Corinthians 2:13"; See Barnes "2 Corinthians 7:6"; See Barnes "2 Corinthians 8:6". After this he met Paul in Macedonia, (2 Corinthians 7:5-6;) but whether he was with him when he went with the collection to Jerusalem, and during his imprisonment in Caesarea, or on his voyage to Rome, we have no information.

"(6.) We next hear of him as being left by the apostle in the island of Crete, that he might "set in order the things that were wanting, and ordain elders in every city," Titus 1:5. This is supposed to have occurred about the year 62, and after the first imprisonment of the apostle at Rome. It is evidently implied, that the apostle had been himself there with him, and that he had undertaken to accomplish some important object there, but that something had prevented his completing it, and that he had left Titus to finish it. This was clearly a temporary arrangement, for there is no evidence that it was designed that Titus should be a permanent "bishop" of Crete, or that he remained there long. That he did not design that he should be a permanent bishop of that island, is clear from Titus 3:12, where the apostle directs him, when he should send Artemas to take his place, to come to him to Nicopolis. If Titus were a prelatical bishop, the apostle would not in this summary manner have superseded him, or removed him from his diocese.

"(7.) He was with Paul in Rome during his second imprisonment there. He did not, however, remain with him until his trial, but left him and went into Dalmatia, 2 Timothy 4:10. For the probable reason why he had gone there, See Barnes "2 Timothy 4:10". What became of him afterward, we are not informed. The tradition is, that he returned to Crete, and preached the gospel there and in the neighbouring islands, and died at the age of 94. But this tradition depends on no certain evidence."

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