Intro to Titus
"THE EPISTLE TO TITUS" Introduction Lesson #1
AUTHOR: The apostle Paul, as stated in the salutation (1:1). No one has ever questioned this as the relationship between Paul and Titus had been established. Both scripture and church tradition would agree with Paul being the author and Titus being the recipient.
RECIPIENT: Titus, Paul's "true son in common faith" (1:4). We might presume that Paul led Titus to faith in Christ making the claim that he is his son in common faith. There is no mention of Titus by name in the book of Acts, but we can glean much about him from the epistles of Paul. He was a Gentile by birth (Gal 2:3), and accompanied Paul to Jerusalem during the controversy over circumcision (Read Acts 15:1-2; Gal 2:1-5). This is when the Jewish converts to Christianity were telling people that must still be circumcised even after, or as part of their salvation. Paul as we see in Acts had a big problem with this. Also Paul basically told Peter he was wrong for going along with this. (Gal 2:11)
This letter from Paul is similar to ones sent to Timothy his other son in the faith. Both are to help and instruct these young pastors whom he had discipled and groomed to be ministers. In a since, he was passing the baton to them to continue these churches. Both men faced various challenges from within the church and without. At the time of the epistle to Titus, he had been left on the island of Crete by Paul to "set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city" (Tit 1:5).
The 3 chapters focus on the following:
- Chapter 1, Qualifications of church leadership
- Chapter 2, Character and Conduct of Church members among themselves
- Chapter 3, Character and Conduct of Church members before an unbelieving world in which they lived and witnessed to
Titus is responsible for the Churches at Crete.
Background concerning Island of Crete:
- Located in the Mediterranean Sea southeast of Greece and North of Africa
- The Island is 160 miles long
- Because of its strategic location Crete had been exposed to Greek and Roman civilization
- Acts 2:11 states that there were people from Crete at Pentecost. It is very likely that some of these converted to Christianity and took the gospel message back to Crete before Paul ever arrived and established churches there.
- These would have been mainly new believers who were spiritually immature and in need of guidance and doctrine
- In fact in Titus 1:5, Paul charges Titus with getting things in order in these churches
If Paul's plans as expressed in this epistle materialized, then Titus left soon after the arrival of Artemas or Tychicus, and met Paul at Nicopolis in northwest Greece (cf. Tit 3:12). When we last read of Titus, he had gone to Dalmatia (in modern day Yugoslavia) during the final days of Paul's life (2 Tim 4:10).
TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING: The general consensus is that following his first imprisonment in Rome the apostle Paul was released and allowed to travel for several years before being arrested again. The following itinerary has been proposed by the Ryrie Study Bible:
• Paul was released from his house arrest in Rome (where we find him at the end of Acts), probably because his accusers did not choose to press their charges against him before Caesar (Acts 24:1; 28:30). Their case, therefore, was lost by default, and Paul was freed.
• Paul visited Ephesus, left Timothy there to supervise the churches, and went on to Macedonia (northern Greece).
• From Macedonia he wrote 1 Timothy (1 Tim 1:3).
• He visited Crete, left Titus there to supervise those churches, and went to Nicopolis in Achaia (southern Greece, Tit 3:12).
• Either from Macedonia, Ephesus or Nicopolis, he wrote this letter to encourage Titus.
PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE: Like his first epistle to Timothy, this letter is written to a young preacher assigned a difficult task. Evidently the churches on the island of Crete were in need of maturation, and this letter is designed to assist Titus in that work. Therefore, Paul wrote to encourage Titus:
* To see that qualified elders were appointed in every city (1:5-9)
* To preach things befitting "sound doctrine" (2:1)
* To exhort the brethren to be "zealous for good works" (2:14; 3:1, 8,14)
* To encourage and rebuke with authority (2:15) – People might have questioned Titus’ authority being young and just beginning in the ministry. Paul establishes this and tells him to act with authority
I. INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING CHURCH ORGANIZATION (1:5-16)
A. QUALIFICATIONS OF ELDERS (1:5-9)
B. CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE TEACHERS (1:10-16)
II. INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING CHRISTIAN CONDUCT (2:1-3:11)
A. FOR THE OLDER MEN AND WOMEN (2:1-3)
B. FOR THE YOUNGER WOMEN AND MEN (2:4-8)
C. FOR THE SERVANTS (2:9-14)
D. FOR THE BRETHREN IN GENERAL (3:1-11)
GROUP REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE INTRODUCTION LESSON OF TITUS
1) What were the circumstances in which we first find Titus and Paul together in scirpture? (Gal 2:1-5)
- Titus had accompanied Paul in attending the conference in Jerusalem regarding circumcision
2) Why was Paul adamant in not allowing others to compel Titus to be circumcised? (Gal 2:3-5)
- Titus was a Greek, not a Jew; to force him to be circumcised would violate the truth of the gospel and apply some measure of works to faith. We have NOTHING to do with our salvation as far earning it.
3) Where was Titus when this letter was written to him? (1:5)
- On the island of Crete
4) In this epistle, what four things does Paul exhort Titus to do? (1:5-9; 2:1, 15; 3:1,8,14)
- To see that qualified elders were appointed in every city
- To preach things befitting "sound doctrine"
- To exhort the brethren to be "zealous for good works"
- To encourage and rebuke with authority
5) What is the focus of the 3 chapters of Titus?
- Instructions concerning church organization
- Instructions concerning Christian conduct towards each other
- Instructions concerning Christian conduct towards unbelievers
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