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by Paul E. Kretzmann
The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Titus
Although Titus did not enjoy that degree of intimacy with the great apostle which bound the hearts of Paul and Timothy together, he also belonged to that inner circle of friends whom Paul valued very highly and whom he entrusted with very important missions in connection with his apostolic ministry. Titus was a Greek, a Gentile, by birth, Galatians 2:3. We do not know from which province or city he hailed or when he was converted. At the time of the great meeting in Jerusalem Paul took him along, refusing, in his case, to administer the rite of circumcision, lest he deny the principle of Christian liberty. In later years we continually find Titus mentioned as a valued coworker of the apostle. After Paul had written the first letter to the Corinthians, his loving care for this congregation prompted him to send Titus for the purpose of obtaining reliable information concerning conditions in that city. It was a very delicate and important mission, one that affected the apostle so deeply that he had no rest, but traveled up to Troas in the hope of meeting Titus there. And when the news brought back by him proved to be joyful, it was probably Titus that returned to Corinth with the apostle's second letter. With this relation obtaining between Paul and Titus, it is no wonder that the latter is called "mine own son after the common faith. " Titus 1:4, that Paul believed him capable of handling the difficult situation in Crete, Titus 1:5, that he desired his companionship at Nicopolis, Titus 3:12, and that he sent him to Dalmatia as his representative in mission-work, 2 Timothy 4:10.
The letter to Titus was probably written at about the same time that the first letter to Timothy was sent, and conveys almost the same impression of intimacy. After the address and opening greeting the apostle gives Titus directions about the appointment of bishops in the Cretan congregations, whereupon he adds some excellent hints concerning the treatment of the errorists. He then discusses the manner of dealing with the various stations in the congregation, referring incidentally to the grace of the reconciliation through Christ and its sanctifying power as the basis and motive for a truly Christian life. Hereupon follows a suggestion as to the manner by which Titus should attempt to urge the Christians to show obedience and meekness in their daily walk, on the basis of the washing of regeneration. This method of dealing with the situation presents a sharp contrast to that pursued by the false teachers and enthusiasts. The letter closes with a few commissions and the customary greetings showing the intimate fellowship among Christians.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26