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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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It is remarkable that Titus is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. The few particulars which are known of him, are collected from the epistles of St. Paul. We learn from them that he was a Greek, Galatians 2:3; but it is not recorded to what city or country he belonged. From St. Paul's calling him "his own son according to the common faith," Titus 1:4 , it is concluded that he was converted by him; but we have no account of the time or place of his conversion. He is first mentioned as going from Antioch to the council at Jerusalem, A.D. 49, Galatians 2:1 , &c; and upon that occasion St. Paul says that he would not allow him to be circumcised, because he was born of Gentile parents. He probably accompanied St. Paul in his second apostolical journey, and from that time he seems to have been constantly employed by him in the propagation of the Gospel; he calls him his partner and fellow-helper, 2 Corinthians 8:23 . St. Paul sent him from Ephesus with his First Epistle to the Corinthians, and with a commission to inquire into the state of the church at Corinth; and he sent him thither again from Macedonia with his Second Epistle, and to forward the collections for the saints in Judea. From this time we hear nothing of Titus till he was left by St. Paul in Crete, after his first imprisonment at Rome, to "set in order the things that were wanting, and to ordain elders in every city," Titus 1:5 . It is probable that he went thence to join St. Paul at Nicopolis, Titus 3:12; that they went together to Crete to visit the churches there, and thence to Rome. During St. Paul's second imprisonment at Rome, Titus went into Dalmatia, 2 Timothy 4:10; and after the apostle's death, he is said to have returned into Crete, and to have died there in the ninety-fourth year of his age; he is often called bishop of Crete by ecclesiastical writers. St. Paul always speaks of Titus in terms of high regard, and intrusted him, as we have seen, with commissions of great importance. It is by no means certain from what place St. Paul wrote this epistle; but as he desires Titus to come to him at Nicopolis, and declares his intention of passing the winter there, some have supposed that, when he wrote it, he was in the neighbourhood of that city, either in Greece or Macedonia; others have imagined that he wrote it from Colosse, but it is difficult to say upon what ground. As it appears that St. Paul, not long before he wrote this epistle, had left Titus in Crete for the purpose of regulating the affairs of the church, and at the time he wrote it had determined to pass the approaching winter at Nicopolis, and as the Acts of the Apostles do not give any account of St. Paul's preaching in that island, or of visiting that city, it is concluded that this epistle was written after his first imprisonment at Rome, and probably in A.D. 64. It may be considered as some confirmation of that opinion, that there is a great similarity between the sentiments and expressions of this epistle and of the First Epistle to Timothy, which was written in that year. It is not known at what time a Christian church was first planted in Crete; but as some Cretans were present at the first effusion of the Holy Ghost at Jerusalem, Acts 2:11 , it is not improbable that, upon their return home, they might be the means of introducing the Gospel among their countrymen. Crete is said to have abounded with Jews; and from the latter part of the first chapter of this epistle it appears that many of them were persons of very profligate lives, even after they had embraced the Gospel. The principal design of this epistle was to give instructions to Titus concerning the management of the churches in the different cities of the island of Crete, and it was probably intended to be read publicly to the Cretans, that they might know upon what authority Titus acted. St. Paul, after his usual salutation, intimates that he was appointed an apostle by the express command of God, and reminds Titus of the reason of his being left in Crete; he describes the qualifications necessary for bishops, and cautions him against persons of bad principles, especially Judaizing teachers, whom he directs Titus to reprove with severity; he informs him what instructions he should give to people in different situations of life, and exhorts him to be exemplary in his own conduct; he points out the pure and practical nature of the Gospel, and enumerates some particular virtues which he was to inculcate, avoiding foolish questions and frivolous disputes; he instructs him how he is to behave toward heretics, and concludes with salutations.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Titus'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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