the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
1. One of Paul's Converts:
2. Paul Refuses to Have Him Circumcised:
The first notice of Titus is in Acts 15:2 , where we read that after the conclusion of Paul's 1st missionary journey, when he had returned to Antioch, a discussion arose in the church there, in regard to the question whether it was necessary that Gentile Christians should be circumcised and should keep the Jewish Law. It was decided that Paul and Barnabas, "and certain other of them," should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. The "certain other of them" includes Titus, for in Galatians 2:3 it is recorded that Titus was then with Paul. The Judaistic party in the church at Jerusalem desired to have Titus circumcised, but Paul gave no subjection to these persons and to their wishes, "no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you" ( Galatians 2:5 ). The matter in dispute was decided as recorded in Acts 15:13-29. The decision was in favor of the free promulgation of the gospel, as preached by Paul, and unrestricted by Jewish ordinances. Paul's action therefore in regard to Titus was justified. In fact Titus was a representative or test case.
It is difficult and perhaps impossible to give the true reason why Titus is not mentioned by name in the Acts, but he is certainly referred to in Acts 15:2 .
3. Sent to Corinth:
There is no further notice of Titus for some years afterward, when he is again mentioned in 2 Corinthians. In this Epistle his name occurs 8 times. From the notices in this Epistle it appears that Titus had been sent by Paul, along with an unnamed "brother," to Corinth as the apostle's delegate to the church there (2 Corinthians 12:18 ). His chief business was evidently to deal with the cases of immorality which had occurred there. His mission was largely successful, so that he was able to return to Paul with joy, because his spirit was refreshed by the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7:13 ). His inward affection was largely drawn out to them, and "he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him" (2 Corinthians 7:15 ). At Corinth Titus seems also to have assisted in organizing the weekly collections for the poor saints in Jerusalem. See 1 Corinthians 16:1 , 1 Corinthians 16:2 compared with 2 Corinthians 8:6 : "We exhorted Titus, that as he had made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace also."
After the departure of Titus from Corinth, difficulty had again arisen in the church there, and Titus seems to have been sent by Paul a second time to that city, as the apostle's messenger, carrying a letter from him - referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:3 ff; 2 Corinthians 7:8 ff.
4. Paul Goes to Meet Him:
The state of the Corinthian church had been causing much anxiety to Paul, so much so that when he had come to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to him of the Lord, he found no rest in his spirit, because he found not Titus, his brother; so he left Troas, and went thence into Macedonia, in order to meet Titus the sooner, so as to ascertain from him how matters stood in Corinth. In Macedonia accordingly the apostle met Titus, who brought good news regarding the Corinthians. In the unrest and fightings and fears which the troubles at Corinth had caused Paul to experience, his spirit was refreshed when Titus reached him. "He that comforteth the lowly, even God, comforted us by the coming of Titus ... while he told us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more" (2 Corinthians 7:6 , 2 Corinthians 7:7 ).
Paul now wrote to the Corinthians again - our Second Epistle to the Corinthians - and dispatched it to its destination by the hand of Titus, into whose heart 'God had put the same earnest care for them' (2 Corinthians 8:16-18 ). Titus was also again entrusted with the work of overseeing the weekly collection in the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 8:10 , 2 Corinthians 8:24 ).
5. Travels with Paul to Crete:
There is now a long interval in the history of Titus, for nothing further is recorded of him till we come to the Pastoral Epistles. From Paul's Epistle to him these details are gathered: On Paul's liberation at the conclusion of his first Roman imprisonment he made a number of missionary journeys, and Titus went with him, as his companion and assistant, on one of these - to the island of Crete. From Crete, Paul proceeded onward but he left Titus to "set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city" (Titus 1:5 ) . Paul reminds him of the character of the people of Crete, and gives him various instructions for his guidance; charges him to maintain sound doctrine, and advises him how to deal with the various classes of persons met with in his pastoral capacity.
6. Paul Sends for Him:
Titus is informed that Artemas or Tychicus will be sent to Crete so that he will be free to leave the island and to rejoin the apostle at Nicopolis, where he has determined to winter. Such were Paul's plans; whether they were carried out is unknown. But this at least is certain, that Titus did rejoin Paul, if not at Nicopolis, then at some other spot; and he was with him in Rome on the occasion of his 2nd imprisonment there, for he is mentioned once again (2 Timothy 4:10 ) as having gone to Dalmatia, evidently on an evangelistic errand, as the apostle was in the habit of sending his trusted friends to do such work, when he himself was no longer able to do this, owing to his imprisonment. "Paul regarded as his own the work done from centers where he labored, by helpers associated with him, considering the churches thus organized as under his jurisdiction. This throws light upon the statement in 2 Timothy 4:10 , that Titus at that time had gone to Dalmatia, and a certain Crescens to Gaul. There is no indication that they, like Demas, had deserted the apostle and sought safety for themselves, or that, like Tychicus, they had been sent by the apostle upon some special errand. In either case it would be a question why they went to these particular countries, with which, so far as we know, Paul, up to this time, had never had anything to do. The probability is that Titus, who had long been associated with Paul (Galatians 2:3 ), who, as his commissioner, had executed difficult offices in Corinth (2 Cor 7-9), and who, not very long before 2 Timothy was written, had completed some missionary work in Crete that had been begun by others, had gone as a missionary and as Paul's representative and helper to Dalmatia.... If by this means, beginnings of church organizations had been made ... in Spain by Paul himself, in Gaul by Crescens, in Dalmatia by Titus, then, in reality, the missionary map had been very much changed since Paul's first defense" (Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament . II, 11).
7. His Character:
Titus was one of Paul's very dear and trusted friends; and the fact that he was chosen by the apostle to act as his delegate to Corinth, to transact difficult and delicate work in the church there, and that he did this oftener than once, and did it thoroughly and successfully, shows that Titus was not merely a good but a most capable man, tactful and resourceful and skillful in the handling of men and of affairs. "Whether any inquire about Titus, he is my partner and fellow-worker to you-ward" (2 Corinthians 8:23 ).
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Titus'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​t/titus.html. 1915.