Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, February 25th, 2024
the Second Sunday of Lent
There are 35 days til Easter!
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Encyclopedias
Titus, Epistle to.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Search for…
Prev Entry
Next Entry
Titus, Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus
Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

This is the third of the so-called Pastoral Epistles of Paul, following immediately after those to Timothy.

I. Authenticity. In this respect there are no specialties in this epistle which require any very elaborate treatment distinct from the other Pastoral Letters of Paul. (See TIMOTHY, FIRST EPISTLE TO). If those two were not genuine, it would be-difficult confidently to maintain the genuineness of this. On the other hand, if the Epistles to Timothy are received as Paul's, there is not the slightest reason for doubting the authorship of that to Titus. Amid the various combinations which are found among those who have been skeptical on the subject of the Pastoral Epistles, there is no instance of the rejection of that before us on the part of those who have accepted the other two. So far, indeed, as these doubts are worth considering at all, the argument is more in favor of this than of either of those. Tatian accepted the Epistle to Titus, and rejected the other, two. Origen mentions some who excluded 2 Timothy, but kept 1 Timothy with Titus. Schleiermacher and Neander invert this process of doubt in regard to the letters addressed to Timothy, but believe that Paul wrote the present letter to Titus. Credner, too, believes it to be genuine, though he pronounces 1 Timothy to be a forgery, and 2 Timothy a compound of two epistles.

To turn now from opinions to direct external evidence, this epistle stands on quite as firm a ground as the others of the pastoral group, if not a firmer ground. Nothing can well be more explicit than the quotations and references in Irenaeus, C. Haeres. 1, 16, 3 (see Titus 3:10); Clem. Alex. Strom. 1, 350 (comp. Titus 1:12), and Titus 3:3-4; by Tertull. De Prcescr. H1er. c. 6 (comp. Titus 3:10-11), and Adv. Marc. 5, 21; and by Origen, in many places (Lardner, Works, vol. 2, 8vo); to say nothing of earlier allusions in Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph. 47 (see Titus 3:4), which can hardly be doubted; Theoph. Ad Autol. 2,. 95 (see Titus 3:5); 3, 126 (see Titus 3:1), which are probable; and Clem. Romans 2 Corinthians 1 (see ibid.), which is possible.

As to internal features, we may notice, in the first place, that the Epistle to Titus has all the characteristics of the other Pastoral Epistles. See, for instance, πιστὸς λόγος (Titus 3:8), ὑγιαίνουσα διδασκαλία (Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1; comp. Titus 1:13; Titus 2:8), σωφρονεῖν, σώφρων, σωφρόνως (Titus 1:8; Titus 2:5-6; Titus 2:12), σωτήριος, σωτήρ, σώζω (Titus 1:3-4; Titus 2:10-11; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:4-5; Titus 3:7), Ι᾿ουδαϊκοὶ μῦθοι (Titus 1:14; comp. Titus 3:9), ἐπιφάνεια (Titus 2:13), εὐσέβεια (Titus 1:1), ) ἔλεος (Titus 3:5; in Titus 1:4 the word is doubtful). All this tends to show that this letter was written about the same time and under similar circumstances with the other two. But, on the other hand, this epistle has marks in its phraseology and style which assimilate it to the general body of the Epistles of Paul. Such may fairly be reckoned the following: κηρύγματι ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ (Titus 1:3); the quotation from a heathen poet (Titus 1:12); the use of ἀδόκιμος (Titus 1:16); the "going off at a word" (σωτῆρος ...ἐπεφάνη γὰρ ...σωτήριος .. . Titus 2:10-11); and the modes in which the doctrines of the atonement (Titus 2:13) and of free justification (Titus 3:5-7) come to the surface. As to any difficulty arising from supposed indications of advanced hierarchical arrangements, it is to be observed that in this epistle πρεσβύτερος and ἐπίσκοπος are used as synonymous ( ἵνα καταστήσῃς πρεσβυτέρους ... δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ... Titus 1:5; Titus 1:7), just as they are in the address at Miletus about the year A.D. 55 (Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28). At the same time, this epistle has features of its own, especially a certain tone of abruptness and severity, which probably arises partly out of the circumstances of the Cretan population, (See CRETE), partly out of the character of Titus himself. If all these things are put together, the phenomena are seen to be very unlike what would be presented by a forgery, to say nothing of the general overwhelming difficulty of imagining who could have been the writer of the Pastoral Epistles, if it were not Paul himself.

To the objections of the German critics, founded upon the difficulty of ascertaining the proper date of this epistle, the best reply will be furnished by ascertaining, if possible, when and where the epistle was written (see below); but even should we fail in this, it would be strange were we to relinquish our conviction of the authenticity of an ancient writing simply because, possessing very imperfect information as to many parts of the alleged author's history, we were unable to say with certainty when he was in circumstances to compose it.

I. Date. The only circumstances stated in the epistle itself calculated to aid us in determining this question are, that at the time it was written Paul had recently visited Crete (Titus 1:5); that he was about to spend the winter in Nicopolis (Titus 3:12); and that Apollos was about to visit Crete, on his way to some other place (Titus 3:13). There are three hypotheses that have been formed in order to meet these facts, especially the first, namely Paul's visit to Crete.

1. We learn from the Acts of the Apostles that Paul visited Crete on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:7); but the shortness of his visit at that time, the circumstances under which it was made, and the improbability of his expecting to spend the ensuing winter at Nicopolis, place it out of the question to suppose that it was to this visit he refers in this epistle. As this is, however, the only visit recorded by Luke, in rejecting it we are forced to suppose another visit, and to find some period in the apostle's life when it was probable that such a visit was paid.

2. It has been thought by Hug that the period referred to in Acts 18:18-19 admits of our placing this visit to Crete within it. Paul, at that time, was on his journey from Corinth to Palestine, but on some account or other landed at Ephesus. This leads to the suggestion that the apostle must either voluntarily have departed from the usual course in order to visit some place lying between Corinth and Ephesus; or that he must have been driven by stress of weather from the course he meant to pursue. In either case the probability of his visiting Crete at that time is strong. We find, from the above statement made by Paul in this epistle, that Apollos, if at this time on his way from Ephesus to Corinth (Acts 18:24; Acts 18:27; Acts 19:1), was to touch at Crete; which, it has been assumed, renders it not improbable that it was customary for ships sailing between these two ports to call at Crete by the way; and Paul may have availed himself of this practice in order to visit Crete before going to Palestine. Or he may have sailed in a ship bound directly from Corinth to Palestine, and have been driven out of his course, shipwrecked on Crete, and obliged to sail thence to Ephesus as his only remaining method of getting to his original destination a supposition which will not appear very improbable when we remember that Paul must have suffered several shipwrecks of which Luke gives no account (2 Corinthians 11:25-26); and that his getting to Ephesus on his way from Corinth to Palestine is a fact for which, in some way or other, we are bound to account. (Paul evidently, however, took that route as the only one of general travel, there being no vessel sailing direct from Corinth to Caesarea or Antioch.) It was while staying on this occasion at Ephesus that Hug supposes Paul to have written this epistle.

As confirmatory of this have been adduced the two other facts above referred to as mentioned in the epistle itself, viz. the visit of Apollos to Crete, and Paul's intention to winter at Nicopolis. From Acts 19:1 we learn that during the time Apollos was residing at Corinth, whence he had gone from Ephesus, Paul was engaged in a tour through the upper coasts (viz. Phrygia and Galatia; comp. Acts 18:23), which ended in his return to Ephesus. This tour was commenced after the apostle had been at Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts 18:22). It appears, therefore, that Paul left Antioch much about the same time that Apollos reached Corinth. But Apollos went to Corinth from Ephesus, Paul went to Jerusalem from Ephesus. At this city, therefore, they may have met; and before leaving it Paul perhaps wrote this epistle, and gave it to Apollos to deliver to Titus at Crete, on his way to Corinth.

Further. Paul went up to Jerusalem to keep the feast; after which he visited Antioch, and then traveled for some considerable time in Upper Asia. He, therefore, is supposed to have spent the winter somewhere in Asia Minor. (On the contrary, he seems to have rapidly passed through that region.). Now there was a town named Nicopolis, between Antioch and Tarsus, near to which, if not through which, Paul must pass on his way from Antioch to Galatia (Strabo, 14:465, ed. Casaubon, fol. 1587). May not this have been the very place referred to in Titus 3:12? In such a locality it was quite natural for Paul to desire to spend the winter; and as Titus was a native of Asia, it would be well known to him, especially if he knew what route the apostle designed to pursue. All this, it is held, supports the hypothesis that Paul wrote this epistle before leaving Ephesus to go to Syria.

Another circumstance alleged in favor of this hypothesis is the close resemblance in sentiment and phraseology between this epistle and the first Epistle to Timothy. This resemblance is so close, and in some particulars so peculiar, that we are naturally led to conclude that both must have been written while the same leading ideas and forms of expression were occupying the apostle's mind. Now the First Epistle to Timothy is held by the maintainers of this theory to have been written after Paul had left Ephesus the second time to go into Macedonia, that is, about two years and a half after the period when Hug supposes the Epistle to Titus to have been written. To some this may appear too long a time to justify any stress being laid upon the similarity of the two epistles in this question of their respective dates; but when it is remembered that during the interval Paul had been dealing at Ephesus; with very much the same class of persons, to whom a great part of both epistles refer, and that both are addressed to persons holding the same peculiar office, the force of this objection will be weakened.

Against this date, on the contrary, may justly be adduced the many precarious, and (as above seen) some positively inaccurate, assumptions necessary to its support. The main objection, however, is the exceeding improbability that Paul, while on his way from Corinth to Palestine, which he was in haste to reach by a given day (Acts 18:18; Acts 18:20-21), could have found time to stop at Crete, found numerous churches there (Titus 1:5), and leave Titus in charge of them. Nor have we any evidence that on the voyage in question Paul was accompanied by Titus; nor yet that the individuals mentioned in Titus 3:12-13, were at that time so located with reference to Paul and Titus. For these and other reasons, this hypothesis must be discarded as too problematical throughout.

3. As to the time and place and other circumstances of the writing of this epistle, the following scheme of filling up Paul's movements after his first imprisonment will satisfy all the conditions of the case: We may suppose him possibly after accomplishing his long-projected visit to Spain) to have gone to Ephesus, and taken voyages from thence, first to Macedonia and then to Crete; during the former to have written the First Epistle to Timothy, and after returning from the latter to have written the Epistle to Titus, being at the time of dispatching it on the point of starting for Nicopolis, to which place he went, taking Miletus and Corinth on the way. At Nicopolis we may conceive him to have been finally apprehended and taken to Rome, whence he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy. 1 Other possible combinations may be seen in Birks (Horae Apostolicae 301 at the end of his edition of the Horae Pauline, p. 299301) and in Wordsworth (Greek Testament, 3, 418,421.'It is an undoubted mistake to endeavor to insert this epistle in any period of that part of Paul's life which is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. There is in this writing that unmistakable difference of style (as compared with. the earlier epistles) which associates the Pastoral Letters with one another, and with the latest period of Paul's life; and it seems strange that this should have been so slightly observed by good scholars and exact chronologists, e.g. Archdn. Evans (Script. ioy. 3. 327-333) and Wieseler (Chronol. des capost. Zeitalt. 329-355), who, approaching the subject in very different ways, agree in holding the foregoing theory (No. 2) that this letter was written at Ephesus (between 1 and 2 Corinthians), when the apostle was in the early part of his third missionary journey (Acts 19). (See PAUL); (See TITUS).

III. Design and Contents. The task which Paul had committed to Titus, when he left him in Crete, was one of no small difficulty. The character of the people was unsteady, insincere, and quarrelsome; they were given to greediness, licentiousness, falsehood, and drunkenness, in no ordinary degree; and the Jews who had settled among them appear to have even gone beyond the natives in immorality. Among such a people it was no easy office which Titus had to sustain when commissioned to carry forward the work which Paul had begun, and to set in order the affairs of the churches which had arisen there, especially as heretical teachers had already crept in among them. Hence Paul addressed to him this epistle, the main design of which is to direct him how to discharge with success the duties to which he had been appointed. For this reason the apostle dilates upon the personal qualifications of Church officers and members, and their functions, with such local allusions as rendered these directions, especially pertinent. After the introductory salutation, which has marked peculiarities (Titus 1:1-4), Titus is enjoined to appoint suitable presbyters in the Cretan Church, and specially such as shall be sound in doctrine and able to refute error (Titus 1:5-9). The apostle then passes to a description of the coarse character of the Cretans, as testified by their own writers, and the mischief caused by Judaizing. error among the Christians of the island (Titus 1:10-16). In opposition to this, Titus is to urge sound and practical Christianity on all classes (Titus 2:1-10), on the older men (Titus 2:2), on the older women, and especially in regard to their-influence over the younger women (Titus 2:3-5), on the younger men (Titus 2:6-8), on slaves (Titus 2:9-10), taking heed meanwhile that he himself is a pattern of good works (Titus 2:7). The grounds of all this are given in the free grace which trains the Christian to self-denying and active piety (Titus 2:11-12), in the glorious hope of Christ's second advent (Titus 2:13), and in the atonement by which he has purchased us, to be his people (Titus 2:14). All these lessons Titus is to urge with fearless decision (Titus 2:15). Next, obedience to rulers is enjoined, with gentleness and forbearance towards all men, these duties being again rested on our sense of past sin (Titus 2:3), and on the gift of new. spiritual life and free justification (Titus 2:4-7). With these practical duties are contrasted those idle speculations which are to be carefully avoided (Titus 2:8-9); and with regard to those men who are positively heretical, a peremptory charge is given (Titus 2:10-11). Some personal allusions then follow: Artemas or Tychicus may be expected at Crete, and on the arrival: of either of them Titus is to hasten to join the apostle at Nicopolis, where he intends to winter; Zenas the lawyer, also, and Apollos, are to be provided with all that is necessary for a journey in prospect (Titus 2:12-13). Finally, before the concluding messages of salutation, an admonition is given to the Cretan Christians, that they give heed to the duties of practical useful piety (Titus 2:14-15).

IV. Commentaries. The following are the special exegetical helps on the whole of this epistle exclusively: Megander, Expositio [includ. Timothy] (Basil. 1536, 8vo); Willich, Expositio (Lips. 1540, 8vo); Hoffmann, Commentarius (Frcft. 1541, 8vo); Culmann, Notae (Norib. 1546, 8vo); Alesius, Explicatio (Lips. 1550, 8vo); Espencasus [Romans Cath.], Commentarius (Par. 1568, 8vo); Hunnius, Expositio (Marp. 1587,1604; Vitemb. 1610, 8vo); Rhodomann, Commentarius (Jen. 1597, 8vo); Maglian [R. C.], Commentarius (Lugd. 1609, 4to); Sotto [R. C.], Commentarius [includ. Timothy] (Par. 1610, fol.); Taylor, Commentary (Camb. 1612, 4to; 1658, fol.); Scultetnus, Observationes [includ. Timothy and, Philem.] (Frcft. 1624; Vitemb. 1630, 4to); Goupil [R. C.], Paraphrasis (Par. 1644, 8vo); Daille, Sermons [Fr.] (ibid. 1655, 8vo); Hobert [R. C.], Expositio [includ. Timothy and Philem.] (ibid. 1656, 8vo); Wallis, Expositio (Oxon. 1657, 8vo); Fecht, Expositio (Rost. 1692,1700, 4to); Rappolt, Observationes, (in his Opp. 1, 781); Breithaupt, Exercitatio (Hal. 1703, 4to); Outhof, Verkltaarting (Amst. 1704, 4to); Zentgrav, Commentarius (Arg. 1706, 4to); Gebhard, Paraphrasis (Gryph. 1714, 4to); Koehnen, Verklaaring (Utr. 1724, 4to); Vitringa, Verklaaring (Franek. 1728, 4to); Rambach, Erklarung [includ. Galatians] (Gies. 1739, 4to); Van Haven, Commentatio (Hal. 1742, 4to); Hurter, Cozmmentarius (Schafh. 1744, 4to); Mosheim, Erklarung (ed. Von Eincnm, Stend. 1779, 4to); Kiinol, Explicatio (Lips. 1788, 4to); Van den Ess, Compositio (L. B. 1825, 8vo); Paterson, Commentary [includ. Timothy] (Lond. 1848,18mo); Graham, Commentary (ibid. 1860,12mo). (See EPISTLE). Titus, bishop OF BOSTRA, in Arabia, was driven from his see, under Julian, A.D. 362; returned under Valentinian; and died about A.D. 371. He wrote Contra Manichoos Lib. III, which is extant in a Latin translation in Biblioth. Pair. tom. 4. A discourse On the Branches of Palm, Greek and Latin, and a Commentary on Luke, in Latin, have been published under his name, but are questioned. Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. 1, 248. See Herzog, Real- Encyklop. s.v.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Titus, Epistle to.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​t/titus-epistle-to.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile