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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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TITUS . A convert from heathenism ( Galatians 2:3 ), probably won by St. Paul himself ( Titus 1:4 ). He is not directly mentioned in Acts, and all that is known of him comes from the Epp. to Gal., 2 Cor., and the Pastorals. Neither his age nor his place of birth is told us. We first hear of him when he accompanies St. Paul on his journey from Antioch to Jerusalem a journey undertaken in connexion with the question of the circumcision of Gentile Christians ( Galatians 2:1 ). He is thus included in the ‘certain others’ mentioned in Acts 15:2 . The Judaistic party within the Church wished to have Titus circumcised ( Galatians 2:3 ); but the Apostle and those representing Gentile Christianity strenuously resisted (v. 5), and the decision of the Church was in their favour ( Acts 15:23; Acts 15:29 ). The case of Titus thus seems to have been the test case in this controversy. From this time we may suppose that Titus continued with St. Paul as one of his missionary companions and assistants, but we have no distinct reference to him until some 10 years after the Council at Jerusalem, namely, when the Apostle wrote 2 Corinthians. In this Epistle Titus is mentioned nine times, and from it we gather that he visited Corinth as the Apostle’s delegate probably three times. On the first occasion, which was a year before 2 Cor. was written ( 2 Corinthians 8:10 ), he came with an unnamed ‘brother’ ( 2 Corinthians 12:18 ), and on his arrival set on foot the necessary organization to secure the local contributions towards the collection for the poor Christians of Judæa which the Apostle had inaugurated ( 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 ). After his departure from Corinth serious trouble vexed the Church there, and he was a second time sent to reduce matters to order. Probably on this occasion he was the bearer of the letter referred to in 2Co 2:3 ff; 2 Corinthians 7:8 ff. St. Paul anxiously awaited at Troas the return of Titus ( 2 Corinthians 2:12 ); but the journey took longer than was expected; and so the Apostle moved on into Macedonia, with a view to meeting him the sooner on his road. Here Titus ultimately reached him, and bringing good news from Corinth refreshed his spirit ( 2 Corinthians 2:14 ). Titus was then despatched a third time to Corinth, bearing the 2nd Epistle ( 2 Corinthians 8:15-24 ), and was charged to complete ‘the collection’ the organization for which he had commenced the year before ( 2 Corinthians 8:10 ).

After these events we do not hear of Titus until St. Paul addressed to him the Pastoral Epistle. From it we gather that he had accompanied the Apostle, after his release from his Roman imprisonment, on a visit to Crete, and had been left there by him ‘to set in order things that were wanting’ and to ‘ordain elders in every city’ (Titus 1:5 ). He is charged to maintain sound doctrine ( Titus 2:1 ), to avoid unprofitable discussions ( Titus 3:9 ), and duly to assert his authority ( Titus 2:15 ). The Apostle tells him of his intention to send Artemas or Tychicus to him, and bids him, when this occurs, to Join him in Nicopolis, where he hopes to winter ( Titus 3:12 ). Whether these plans were ever realized we know not. St. Paul may have been re-arrested before reaching Nicopolis; but we learn from 2 Timothy 4:10 that Titus was with the Apostle during part of his second imprisonment in Rome, though at the time of the writing of that Epistle he had left for Dalmatia.

Titus and Timothy share the honour of being the most trusted and efficient helpers of St. Paul, and the fact that the former was chosen to deal with so sharp a crisis as presented itself at Corinth shows that prudence, tact, and firmness marked his Christian character.

Charles T. P. Grierson.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Titus'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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